Is Trustpilot Legit? How Does It Make Money?

Trustpilot is a legitimate and publicly listed company that allows users to post their feedback about a business.

Anyone with a recent interaction with a business can post a review on this platform which will be available publicly.

On the other hand, Trustpilot serves businesses to collect reviews and customer analytics as well.

What is Trustpilot?

Trustpilot is an online business rating platform that allows customers of a business to post public reviews about their experiences.

Peter Holten Mühlmann founded Trustpilot in Denmark in 2007. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2021.

Since its inception, the company has grown in popularity of its worldwide use of public reviews. It serves businesses to receive customer reviews and improve their marketing plans as well.

Trustpilot serves businesses as well as clients for similar objectives. For customers, it allows a public platform to post their reviews and rate their experiences with a particular business.

For businesses, it helps them receive customer feedback or target a potential customer market using the available data with Trustpilot.

How Does Trustpilot Work?

Anyone with a business shopping experience within 12 months can post a review on Trustpilot. Customers can create a new profile using an email address or log in with their Google account.

Customers rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. 1 star represents the poorest rating and 5 stars represent the best.

Trustpilot then uses its aggregate algorithm to create a cumulative rating of a business based on customer reviews. This cumulative score is called a company’s trust score.

On the other hand, Trustpilot serves businesses to collect reviews and feedback to increase their trust level. Businesses can show these reviews as social proof and improve their marketing plans.

Customer reviews about a business are free. Businesses can use a free plan with basic customer insights or use a paid plan for comprehensive customer data collection from Trustpilot.

Is Trustpilot Legit?

Yes, Trustpilot is a legitimate business. It was founded in 2007 in Denmark and has had an established history since then. Trustpilot is now a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and went for an IPO figure of £473 million.

Listed companies must follow strict regulatory compliance standards as compared to private companies. These companies also make their financial, governance, and regulatory compliance records publicly available.

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How Does Trustpilot Make Money?

Trustpilot makes money from businesses with paid plans primarily. Its main source of revenue is the income generated from paid plans.

It does not charge any fee to customers posting reviews on the forum. Businesses can use a free plan to get basic services as well.

Trustpilot has three paid plans for its business customers. The standard plan starts at $225 per month, the scale plan costs $900 per month, and the enterprise plan is a customized offer for large businesses.

However, the company claims that 90% of its business clients use its free plans.

Since its inception in 2007, Trustpilot has also received private venture funding. Also, the company is now publicly listed, and its market share capital would increase with public investment as well.

What Does Trustpilot Offer to Business Clients?

Trustpilot offers its business clients a wide range of user data and analytical services. It offers these services with one free and three paid plans.

Businesses can use a plan according to their needs as each plan costs differently.

Some of the key services offered by Trustpilot to its business clients include:

  • Respond to and report reviews
  • Dashboard and analytics
  • Company and location profile pages
  • Automated review invitations
  • Service, Locations, and Product Reviews
  • Marketing graphics and templates
  • Access to third-party integrations (Zendesk, Slack, Hootsuite, etc.)
  • Invite past customers in the first 90 days
  • Social sharing on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
  • Google Seller Ratings and Product Ratings, Bing and Yahoo Merchant Reviews

Criticism on Trustpilot

The ease of posting a business review is the biggest advantage of Trustpilot as a public review forum. At the same time, it is the biggest drawback as well.

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Trustpilot has been criticized for being lenient with fake reviewers. Once dissatisfied customers post negative reviews about a business, it can improve its rating artificially by arranging “paid reviews”.

Then, Trustpilot was accused of siding by the business clients. It allows business customers with paid plans to flag and even remove “unwanted” or “fake” reviews.

Critics also argue that there is a potential conflict of interest as Trustpilot would favor its paid clients against its free site users (individuals).

How Trustpilot is Trying to Combat Fake Reviews?

Under consistent public pressure and demand for improved transparency, Trustpilot has introduced a few steps to combat fake reviews on its platform.

The company has recently introduced an AI tool to detect fake reviews and potential fraud attempts.

The company claims that it has removed around 2.1 million fake reviews in the year 2021 alone.

Trustpilot has also introduced a new feature that allows users to see flagged reviews. It also allows its community users to flag potentially fake reviews.

The company’s stats show that it has deployed dedicated enforcement, tech, and content integrity teams comprising over 88 people.

These teams analyze 128,000 reviews each month with the help of its AI software tools.

Things We Like in Trustpilot

Here are a few things that we like in Trustpilot.

Anyone Can Post a Review

Registration and access to Trustpilot are easy. Anyone with an email address or Google account can post a review on this platform.

Businesses can also collect and showcase these reviews as part of their marketing plans. So, easy access to this public platform serves both sides of the business.

Free to Use

Customers posting reviews about a business product or service experience can use this platform for free.

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Trustpilot claims that 90% of its business clients also use its free services. These services include customer reviews, location reviews, product reviews, and other types of analytics that businesses can use to improve their growth strategies.

No Review Moderation

Trustpilot does not moderate customer reviews. It means each review will be posted without any edits or cuts from the platform.

This feature helps customers post honest reviews about their experiences with a particular brand. However, it has meant that companies can misuse this opportunity and can arrange “paid” reviews to boost their ratings artificially.

Serves Businesses

Trustpilot generates its revenue from business clients. It offers them valuable services against these paid plans.

Businesses can also use the free services offered by Trustpilot. It means the company does not need to charge individuals for posting feedback and reviews.

Things We Wish to See from Trustpilot

Here are a few things we wish to see from Trustpilot.

Improved Transparency

Although the company has taken a few steps to show more transparency in its dealing with business clients, it needs to improve a lot.

The company has been under criticism for siding with its paid business clients and letting them use unfair advantages through features like “flag a review”.

Combatting Fake Reviewers

Trustpilot has recently started a crackdown on fake reviews. It removed 2.1 million fake reviews in 2020 and 2.8 million reviews in 2021.

It also shows that historically there have been a significant proportion of fake reviews unremoved on its platform. Therefore, the company must ensure to further tighten the noose on fake reviews.

Avoiding Conflict of Interest

Trustpilot can also take a few steps to avoid the potential conflict of interest. If it is charging its business clients to collect public reviews, it is unlikely that businesses will accept a large chunk of negative reviews about them.