Consumer Review Site Trustpilot Expands Its New York Footprint

8/11/14Follow @jpruth

Online review site Trustpilot is ramping up its New York staff. The Danish company opened new offices here in late July as it expands operations around the world.

Trustpilot lets people review their experiences with e-commerce companies in such industries as travel, retail, and online services. The site also lets the reviewed businesses interact with those customers. Trustpilot’s local office has some 50 employees, largely in sales and marketing roles, with plans to expand to as many as 85 by year’s end. Marketing, sales, and customer service are the current hiring focus, but other types of jobs may be coming to New York. “It’s not unrealistic that we’ll add some product-related positions,” says Peter Holten Mühlmann, CEO and founder.

The companies listed on Trustpilot, he says, might not have the brand recognition of giants such as Amazon or Zappos, but they want to capture and react to customer feedback online. Businesses reviewed on Trustpilot include New York-based electronics store B&H Photo Video and cloud computing service ExaVault in Oakland, CA.

Despite the growing attention Web reviews get, the authenticity of some comments—positive or negative—is debatable and highly subjective. Likewise, businesses may take questionable actions in response to negative reviews. For instance, last week a New York inn drew the ire of the Web over what appeared to be a policy of fining patrons for negative online reviews.

Mühlmann says Trustpilot tries to make it fair for consumers and merchants. The site has a set of guidelines that, if broken, can be grounds for review of comments and potential removal.

Trustpilot was born, Mühlmann says, as Web reviews gained more influence over consumers’ buying decisions. He saw a need to create a common platform for listing comments about e-commerce sites as online reviews get increasingly mainstream. Mühlmann also says more businesses in different sectors are looking for ways to interact with customers. “Yelp [covers] restaurants and the local world,” he says. “TripAdvisor is for hotels and travel. I wanted to become that global standard as fast as possible.”

To broaden Trustpilot’s reach among U.S. businesses and consumers, the company sent two staffers to New York last year to get the word out. Back in January, the company raised $25 million in a Series C round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and its affiliate DFJ Esprit in London, with participation from Northzone, Index Ventures, and SEED Capital. That funding is, in part, is being used to help Trustpilot expand internationally.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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