While online shopping is probably most driven by convenience, I know I really appreciate the ability to see what others think about a product or service… can’t remember the last time I booked a hotel room, for instance, without reading through the ratings and comments left by previous guests. So, from the time we launched our product comparison engine, I knew I really wanted to implement community features that allowed such input from our customers, or even those just browsing who know something about listed items. I knew that no product description could match reviews by actual users of a product in helping our customers know if a product worked well and met their green criteria.
Today, I’m proud to announce that we’re now offering such features through our sustainablog Community created in partnership with Lunch.com. While I’ve seen a number of third-party services that offer community features, I was blown away by Lunch’s offering: yes, you can rate and review products, but you can also offer eco-tips of your own, ask questions, create lists… many possibilities for offering your opinions and ideas not just on the products we list, but on green topics of all kinds. There are even badges you can earn for offering your thoughts on certain products and topics…
I also really like Lunch’s product because it allowed for broader community within the green blogosphere and web. If you go to our site, you’ll see that the user-create content isn’t just coming from sustainablog users… but also from other green sites that have implemented a Lunch community (or even just trying it out). So going to our community site also allows you to see tips, reviews and questions from users at sites like Grist, Greenopolois & Treehugger (all still demoing at this point), ENN, Eco-Babyz, Green Lodging News, Ways2GoGreen.com, and Mongabay. It really creates an opportunity for all of us to work together and support one another.
While I’d still like to do some more integration into our current properties, the community is there for you now… so whether you’ve got something to say about a product we offer or a blog post we’ve written, you can do it there. I’ll be spending some time there each day, so please feed free to add me as a friend… and let me know what you think. You can also follow all user contributions through a separate Twitter account for the site: @susblogreviews