One of our readers alerted us that RatePoint, the customer review software solution that many eCommerce and other businesses used on their websites, is shutting down. The RatePoint homepage is still operational as of this writing. But some customers report being unable to access their accounts, or report what they consider poor treatment.
Michael McDermott of BashFoo wrote a few days ago:
The leaders in online reputation management services, Ratepoint Inc. of Needham, MA reported this afternoon the abrupt shutdown of all operations. In an email that was sent out this afternoon to all “partners, customers and friends” they stated:
“RatePoint’s assets and technologies are currently being acquired, and unfortunately this means that all RatePoint accounts will soon be closed. Effective February 2, 2012, all RatePoint services, including Reputation Management, Email Marketing, Surveys, and Product Reviews will be discontinued. Your ability to access your RatePoint account will end at this time.”
Although the date of February 2, 2012 was mentioned as the deadline date that accounts could no longer be accessed by customers to retrieve their data, some RatePoint customers are reporting that they are unable to access their accounts now.
According to a thread at the Web Hosting Talk forum, some customers were taken by surprise by the news of the closure. They are scrambling to find a replacement for customer reviews.
What baffles me is that from the homepage of the RatePoint website, it is still apparently business as usual. There is no notice of the pending closure on the RatePoint homepage, as of this writing on January 28, 2012. You have to dig into the Customer Support center to find the notice of operations discontinuing buried deep, with the date of January 4th on it. Yet over 3 weeks later, there’s nothing on the home page about it.
But here’s the worst part: RatePoint made the decision to shut down as early as November 2011, according to this item in their Customer Support database. Yet they seem to have done little to notify customers at that time and — so it would appear — kept accepting new ones in the meantime.
A Venture Funded Company Goes Sour
RatePoint was venture capital funded. According to a press release back in 2009, the company reported at the time that it had “closed a $10 million Series B round of funding led by Castile Ventures of Waltham, Mass., with participation by existing investors .406 Ventures and Prism VentureWorks.” Which goes to show … venture funding is no guarantee of business success.
We reviewed RatePoint back in August 2011 during happier times for the company. Since then, Constant Contact acquired the email marketing portion of the business, leaving the reputation management/reviews piece behind at RatePoint. It’s the reputation management (customer reviews) piece that is shutting down at this time.
What Should You Do if You Are a RatePoint Customer?
So what should you do if you are a RatePoint customer?
- Try to export your existing customer reviews if you can — immediately. There are these instructions for exporting your Business Reviews buried in the Customer Support database.
- What if you’ve prepaid annually already? Buried in the help center is a notice of where to mail your refund request.
- Search for a competitor offering a special deal for a replacement. Customer Lobby and Shopper Approved are two such that are offering special deals to RatePoint customers left in the lurch.