What is cross-network syndication?
For the last six years, PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice have syndicated content from brands to retailers using our respective platforms. Cross-network syndication originally started in July 2012 when Bazaarvoice attempted to acquire PowerReviews. It was continued by order of a federal judge after Bazaarvoice’s attempted acquisition was found to be anti-competitive and was forced to divest PowerReviews. Prior to this time, Bazaarvoice operated a closed network and did not syndicate third party content. We estimate that Bazaarvoice has charged brands at least $100 million for access to retailers using their platform.
What is the PowerReviews Open Network?
In March 2017, PowerReviews announced the extension and expansion of the PowerReviews Open Network to provide syndication of content to any retailer seeking access to millions of reviews from more than 800+ brands using the PowerReviews platform. As always, any retailer using the PowerReviews platform can accept content from any brand regardless of the reviews platform the brand uses.
In January 2018, PowerReviews announced five new syndication capabilities and in June 2018, announced the elimination of access fees. The open network approach and benefits of competition is evident, and recognized by many of the largest retailers.
What’s happening to cross-network syndication as of July 3, 2018?
As of July 3, 2018, the cross-network syndication agreement ended and PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice entered a “wind-down period” where either party could choose to accept syndicated reviews for up to a year. PowerReviews will continue to accept new content from brands using Bazaarvoice to prevent any disruption.
Bazaarvoice notified PowerReviews on July 3rd they would no longer accept cross-network syndicated content from new PowerReviews clients. On July 16th, some PowerReviews clients heard from the Bazaarvoice sales team that Bazaarvoice plans to stop syndicating all new content from PowerReviews brands to Bazaarvoice retailers starting on September 30th, 2018. PowerReviews has not been directly notified of this change.
To be clear, due to market pressures, Bazaarvoice will accept content from brands not using their platform for a “premium access fee” which will amount to millions dollars being charged to brands to appear on retailer sites. Despite claiming $7,000 entry-level syndication pricing for a brand, Bazaarvoice is already quoting fees at $50,000 or more for a single brand looking to purchase syndication alone. As explained in January 2018, Bazaarvoice continues to believe they have the right to control and profit from content syndicated to retailers using their platform. This is where PowerReviews has a fundamentally different approach, and as it turns out, so do many of the largest retailers in the world.
What is PowerReviews doing to make sure there is minimal disruption for clients?
Eighteen months ago PowerReviews signed agreements with 25 of the largest retailers in the world, accounting for $60 billion in online sales. Direct syndication enables better match and coverage rates, faster set-up times, access to a bigger network, more content types, more transparency and more control. PowerReviews will continue to operationalize direct syndication to retailers providing our clients with additional reach.
PowerReviews is committed to working with our brand clients to make their content available to any retailer using the Bazaarvoice platform. We will match content from brands that use our platform at no cost and provide retailers with an easy-to-ingest file. These direct relationships make signing new agreements and paying extra fees unnecessary. We can add new retailers quickly and easily upon request.
How is direct syndication different than cross-network syndication for retailers?
With direct syndication agreements, PowerReviews uses the retailers’ product catalog to match content supplied by brands that use the PowerReviews platform. Previously, Bazaarvoice would perform this function for PowerReviews brands and PowerReviews would perform the same function for Bazaarvoice brands.
Operationally there is no difference to the retailer or the brand. The major change is that PowerReviews is taking on the cost and effort of matching reviews to products. The process for a retailer to receive directly syndicated content from PowerReviews is simple:
- Sign a simple no cost one-page agreement.
- Provide an up-to-date product catalog.
- PowerReview will match the content and send the already-matched file to the retailer, and Bazaarvoice need only ingest and display the content.
What’s the average timeline to enable direct syndication to a retailer?
Previously with Bazaarvoice, implementing review syndication relationships from PowerReviews could take up to 4 to 6 weeks. However, working directly with PowerReviews, we can implement a direct syndication brand or retailer in as little as 1 to 2 weeks for initial results and 2 to 3 weeks for a full implementation.
Will there be an interruption to my reviews after September 30th?
Our goal is to minimize any disruption of content syndication by Bazaarvoice, particularly before the critical holiday shopping season. All retailers using PowerReviews will remain open and accessible for all brands without premium access fees.
The special arrangement Bazaarvoice has made with Walmart has ensured there will be no interruption of content from brands on PowerReviews to retailers in the Walmart family. There will be other retailers that are not yet accepting directly-syndicated content. Upon signing a no-cost single page agreement, they can be up and running in a few weeks. PowerReviews will work with any retailer on behalf of our brands, and we will be fully transparent through this process as we establish direct syndication relationships with retailers our clients wish to syndicate reviews to.
Can you summarize the benefits of direct syndication through the PowerReviews Open Network?
- No access fees: We have eliminated cost-prohibitive access fees, which has made review syndication affordable for thousands of brands.
- $90 billion retailer network: Including the Walmart family (Walmart, Sam’s Club, Jet), and 25 of the largest retailers in the world including Costco, Home Depot, Walgreens, and many others who a year ago pledged to continue accepting our content. This is in addition to the hundreds of retailers such as Ulta, Dillard’s, Ace Hardware, Thrive Market, Zappos, Overstock, Wayfair and more.
- 800+ syndicating brands (and counting): In the last year alone, PowerReviews has signed more than one new syndicating brand each day to the benefit of retailers participating in the PowerReviews Open Network. Our CPG brand clients alone represent $350 billion in annual revenue, and 25% of the 2017’s Top Consumer Goods Companies.
- Better matching services: PowerReviews’ combines a fully dedicated team and AI-powered matching technology to help clients drive 80% increases in products matched and 13% lift in total number of reviews syndicated.
- More content types for syndication: PowerReviews is enhancing review syndication by now syndicating questions, answers, social content such as images, video and more not previously available to brands and retailers. This includes our direct syndication partners.