Bazaarvoice Partners With Buddy Media to Make Ratings, Reviews Social

In Beta Launch, Westin's Facebook Sites Will Be Populated With App Showing Top-Rated Hotels

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Social-media-management platform Buddy Media is partnering with Bazaarvoice, a social-commerce company, to help brands distribute reviews and other user-generated content to their social-media audiences.

Bazaarvoice's technology currently enables 700 clients such as Macy's , Panasonic and Timex capture ratings , reviews and other customer-engagement data related to their products and services. Through the new partnership, it plans to integrate its content into Buddy Media-powered brand pages, starting today with Westin Hotels & Resorts, a mutual client.

According to Buddy Media's CEO Michael Lazerow, the thought was to amplify positive ratings and reviews -- known to have a significant impact in triggering potential customers to purchase -- by funneling them into social-media channels.

"The idea we wanted to figure out is is there a way to break down the walls between this awesome word-of -mouth content and what was going on on [clients'] Facebook pages where they happened to have anywhere from thousands to tens of millions of connections," Mr. Lazerow said.

Buddy Media on Facebook

For the launch, Bazaarvoice built a social application, "What's Popular Right Now," which identifies a customer's most-popular products or services based on criteria such as ratings , reviews, comments and shares. It then promotes them on the application within Facebook, encouraging fans to engage with content and share with friends. It will also be populated with links to brand destinations, with the intent of driving traffic to owned sites.

In the case of Westin, the application is populated with the top-rated hotels within the chain, showing the top scorer and number of reviews for hotels in the U.S. and abroad, as well as for resorts.

While Bazaarvoice already offered Facebook integration for content, enabling customers to push favorable ratings and reviews to their Facebook fan pages' walls on a one-off basis, it was seeking a less onerous way of pushing the treasure trove of consumer-engagement data it captures to social.

"[Westin parent] Starwood has over 10,000 fan pages. Our approach, while it works, is not scalable," said Jim Petty, Bazaarvoice's VP-strategic partnerships. "What [Buddy Media] allows is for the content to really promulgate across all the fan pages in a really efficient manner."

The service is currently in beta-testing but will be more widely available in June. It will only be available to mutual customers of Buddy Media and Bazaarvoice, which currently number in the "dozens," according to the companies.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, 6-year-old Bazaarvoice filed its S-1 to go public in August and is looking to raise as much as $86.25 million in its initial public offering.

Seemingly awash in cash, Buddy Media was founded in late 2007 and raised another $54 million in funding in August to bring its funding total to nearly $90 million.

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