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NastyClient.com is the opposite of Yelp and Angie’s List

NastyClient.com was launched by a business professional who saw the need for a review database of clients, turning the Yelp model on its head.

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NastyClient.com launches to counteract consumer reviews

As Yelp and Angie’s List have gone mainstream with the majority of consumers becoming aware that they can publicly sing a business’ praises or tear them a new one, but one professional has launched NastyClient.com, a Yelp for businesses to share insight into, you guessed it, nasty clients, turning the Yelp model on its head.

Business owners and professionals have reacted differently to consumer reviews going mainstream, some suing for false reviews damaging their business, others mock negative reviews, but as a whole, the business community is sometimes unfairly mistreated as many reviewers only take to the internet when displeased, regardless of any facts.

As more consumers join the review game, airing their opinions, startups have sprouted up to handle consumer complaints, ranging from Publik Demand which tends to consumer complaints publicly as a means to pressure large companies to get involved, while Mifft helps consumers to privately resolve issues with companies of any size.

NastyClient.com founder, Matt Stachel explains to Philly.com that membership to the site is only $15.99 per year, and he was inspired of course, by a nasty client who wanted some trees removed after he had planted them, which would void the warranty for the work. When some of the trees died, the property owner threatened to report him to RipOffReport.com and the Better Business Bureau. Stachel replaced the trees at his own cost, but responded by launching NastyClient.com so he too would have a place to air grievances, likely knowing that he wasn’t alone as a professional who has consumer review sites as a constant threat.

The founder rewrites any complaints that include opinions, sticking to the facts only and encourages contractors to share their reports with clients they review, and if disputes are settled, he’ll amend the reports and remove them from the site, but not right away. “If we took it off immediately, a client might just do the same thing to the next contractor.”

Pros and cons of NastyClient.com

Small businesses definitely need some form of empowerment that consumers do, because the one-gal caterer knows that if one person thinks her cake was not sweet enough, or she didn’t smile brightly enough during delivery, those details can be twisted into an opinion on a consumer review site that makes her sound like an evil monster who can’t cook. Where is she to go when a nightmare client is simply abusive? She can’t exactly search a person on Yelp and review them from a client perspective, it’s just not realistic. So that is the positive of the site – a form of relief, a place that could be somewhat cathartic.

The cons, unfortunately, outweigh the positives, as the business model has some major flaws that will hold it back. First, unless completely saturating the small business community (which is nearly impossible), most businesses won’t know to go search first, so it will mostly be professionals that come across it and think “oh, I have some crappy clients, let me get this off of my chest for revenge.” That’s a bad start.

But let’s say I’m wrong, and saturation is possible, and user behavior will actually be productive. Even then, when the site owner edits any comments, he takes responsibility for them, even if he is being a good guy and stripping out opinion. Just as on your blog, you cannot edit comments without becoming responsible for them (especially for potentially altering their meaning), Stachel may be stepping into something deeper than the roots of the trees he is actually an expert on.

But let’s also say that I’m wrong about that and that his lawyer’s green light keeps him safe. Stachel obviously has good intentions and is on a one-man crusade to right the world’s wrongs, and he should be commended for that, he really should. But the NastyClient.com site is bad. That’s as politely as I can phrase it. Take a look at NastyClient.com alongside Yelp.com:

nastyclient.com vs. yelp

Do you know what to do when you go to Yelp? Yep. Right at the top, you can search, and there are even suggested searches. What about on NastyClient.com? There’s a hard to read “Join Now” button with a 1993-era splash of paint at the top right of the page, but the rest of the page is just a lot of words in heavy font, wasting valuable real estate. At the “Join Now” page, there is no pitch, no explanation, just a “Why do I have to pay for this?” link, which right off the bat, any marketing professional will cringe at. There’s no sample review or demonstration of value, no call to action other than to just do it.

So maybe I’m wrong about that too, and web design doesn’t matter, I mean Craigslist sucks, but is still highly trafficked, and maybe I’m wrong that marketing copy matters. I will move on to my last reason that the company has problems. The tone is aggressive. It is all about revenge, being able to post anonymously, and even goes so far as to plaster the following ad on the sidebar of the site on some pages:

nastyclient.com

The takeaway

With some real web development behind it, a marketing expert who knows marketing as well as NastyClient.com’s founder knows landscaping, and some structural changes that make it easy to search and post could make NastyClient.com a legitimate value for businesses.

As it exists now, NastyClient.com stands in its own way of success, but we are fascinated by the idea of turning Yelp on its head and creating a community for businesses that can factually state events from their point of view, unfiltered, and not for reasons of revenge, but to give something back to the community in the form of sharing people that have ripped them off.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. JoeLoomer

    January 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Completely agree with your assessment, Lani. This site isn’t going anywhere without some serious help from a seasoned web designer.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Lani Rosales

      January 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, I don’t think it will take much, to be honest. The idea is FABULOUS, just needs sexier presentation, which I think would help it expand exponentially. The price point isn’t bad, it matches the value. Regardless, I hope the company does really well, because it looks very handy!

  2. Russell Hatfield Jr.

    January 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Interesting idea. There are certainly at least two sides to every story and it does make for a richer and more useful resource, I think, to present both sides, together. At Zillow we have over 250,000 published reviews of Real Estate professionals. And for each and every one of them we allow the professional(Reviewee) the opportunity to respond to the review directly: it gets published for all to see right next to the review. I think consumers(myself included) understand that mistakes happen, folks screw-up, intentionally and not, and that there is certainly a subjective component to any assessment of a customer experience. And because they appreciate this, they love to hear both sides. We have ample evidence that shows that consumers weigh very heavily how a professional(business) responds to a review: whether they do at all, what they say, what they don’t say, and how they say it. It really does matter. Thanks, Lani!

  3. Nick Braak

    January 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    An enthusiastic effort by someone who believes he is addressing an unfilled need. Perhaps he is correct. Or perhaps it is unfilled because offering such a platform for the purpose of “blacklisting” and charging for it, is a deep dark tarpit filled with the bleached bones of CDA Section 230 noobs and their lawyers.

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Business News

IBM is putting blockchains to work for banks

(BUSINESS NEWS) IBM is putting blockchain tech to work so that they can launch a banking system for international transactions.

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Earlier this year, IBM unveiled its “Blockchain as a Service” based on Hyperledger Fabric, creating a public cloud service for customers to build secure blockchain networks.

Now the tech company announced they’re teaming up with payment company KlickEx Group and blockchain startup Stellar to change up the cross-border payment game.

The team is launching a blockchain-based system for banks, aimed to lower the cost and reduce settlement time for global payments for both businesses and consumers. International transactions typically take days, or even weeks, to complete.

Blockchains could speed things up, minimize errors, and provide more flexibility and transparency to banks. According to IBM, the collaboration “is intended to improve the speed in which banks both clear and settle payment transactions on a single network in near real time.”

In case you forgot what blockchains are, here’s a refresher course. Blockchains are a secure digital ledger of transactions with bits of information stored across multiple nodes in a network.

Since there’s no centralized hub, it’s less vulnerable to hacking.

Any time an action is taken, the ledger updates and that data is available to anyone with access to the blockchain. Additionally, each transaction is secured with digital signatures and encryption, providing transparency and security.

Blockchains can be used to trace and track transactions along every step of the way, providing a handy place to combine all product information besides just financial dealings.

For example, IBM suggested a hypothetical in which their system connects a Samoan farmer with an Indonesian buyer.

In this transaction, they stated, “the blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease.”

Instead of scattered information, blockchains collect all relevant steps in a transaction. Currently, they system is used in twelve currency corridors, including New Zealand and the UK, as well as Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Within the next year, the system is expected to handle 60 percent of the South Pacific’s retail industry’s cross-border payments.

Bridget van Kralingen, Senior VP of IBM Industry Platforms, said in statement, “with the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world.”

Over a dozen banks are part of the initial pilot program, and plan to expand to Southeast Asia, South America, and other areas by early next year.

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A real life robot battle: America vs Japan

(BUSINESS NEWS) Robots are real and America is fresh out of a battle with Japan in a real life robot battle royale.

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What’s the future of sports look like?

Giant. Fighting. Robots.

That’s right, your childhood dreams have arrived, at least I know mine have.

Two years ago, American robotics firm, MegaBots Inc., challenged Japanese rival, Suidobashi Heavy Industries, to a showdown of the battle of the mechs. The challenge was accepted, but with one simple caveat: the inclusion of melee combat.

And so the Super Heavyweight Title Fight two-years in the making premiered on leading social video platform, Twitch, yesterday evening to tech and sci-fi fans alike who waited with baited breath for such an event.

In order to prepare for the match, the American team needed to build a new bot capable of fulfilling the duel requirement, as well as one that would be a force to be reckoned with against the Japanese fighting machine.

MegaBots, or “Team America,” was able to crowdfund the robot battle through a Kickstarter campaign earning over $500,000 by just under 8,000 backers. With this campaign, they were also able to upgrade their Mk.II behemoth that would be entering the rumble.

Meet Eagle Prime.

More metal. More power. More American.

According to MegaBots, Eagle Prime “weighs in at 12 tons, stands 16 feet tall, seats two, is powered by a 430 horsepower V8 LS3 engine, and costs a cool $2.5M.” This robot is massive; a good foot higher than its predecessor.

Founders Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti commented on the design of Eagle Prime, quipping, “We made it huge and strapped guns to it;” as American as apple pie.

Suidobashi’s robot, KURATAS, stands a few feet shorter (about 13 feet tall), but carries a more sleek and elegant design to it. With a tripod-wheeled base and twin Gatling BB canons with the ability to fire 6,000 bullets per second, it seemed a toss-up as to who would reign supreme in the first mech battle.

While this sounds like an epic episode of awesomeness, don’t expect Pacific Rim level combat just yet. Rather than give a play-by-play of the event, I’ll just tell you straight away that Eagle Prime came out on top in the brawl. To be fair though, it really wasn’t much of a brawl.

Eagle Prime had two years of extra time to be built in preparation for such a match against Kuratas. It was made bigger (and for “funzies”, added patriotic colors to the bot as well as a head of a bald eagle for a “head” as well as a chainsaw-sword-type of device that likely, and ultimately, ended up costing Kuratas a pretty penny in damages.

Really, Kuratas had no chance: there was a bit of overkill on the part of Eagle Prime.

The chain-sword alone raises some safety concerns, especially when we’re talking the future of sports. That said, the pilots of both mechs, Eagle Prime piloted by both Oehrlein and Cavalcanti and Kuratas by Kogoro Kurata, could use a bit more protective gear than helmets, even if the robots in action look like a couple of toddlers fighting.

But hey, it’s a start. And that’s the point.

Maybe one day we will be in giant stadium arenas watching huge robots piloted by humans hashing it out, but we’ve got a long ways to go. And maybe, just maybe, these things could be of use in natural disaster efforts.

Who wouldn’t want to be saved by an Optimus Prime-like, human-piloted “robot” that could withstand whatever was thrown its way?

It’s going to be an expensive endeavor that will require a nice chunk of change in investments and endorsements, though I will say, what a time to be alive.

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These stores refuse to start Black Friday early

(BUSINESS NEWS) There is a rising trend of stores being pressured to open their doors earlier and earlier each holiday weekend but these companies refuse.

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This year, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are among a group of retail super villains who have decided it’s appropriate to begin the Black Friday shopping nightmare on Thanksgiving Day, with some opening as early as 5pm on Thursday.

As someone who has only had the misfortune of working the retail tornado of Black Friday once, I would never wish it upon anyone. Yet many stores feel pressured to begin the doorbusters earlier every year.

To compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers implement drastic measures to get customers in stores during the discount season.

Last year, eMarketer reported internet users in their survey were likelier to shop online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching retail stores crumble as online shopping continues to dominate the market.

To lure in shoppers, physical stores must come up with deals so alluring that people would kill for them.

Literally. I just googled “did anyone die on Black Friday last year” and found out that there’s a handy site called Black Friday Death Count. The answer is yes, some people died last year in Black Friday-related incidents, and in fact two of the three deaths took place at separate Walmarts.

So that makes this year’s disturbingly early foray into deal hunting even less enticing.

While I don’t hold Thanksgiving sacred by any means, moving the even unholier Black Friday back to impede on a holiday is ludicrous. But a handful of heroes are saying no seriously guys, we’re not doing this.

Over fifty retailers are collectively putting their foot down, and will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. While some may still be party to next-day discounts, they’re at least taking a stand.

Here’s a list of all the places you can’t go on Thanksgiving, because mercifully they’re closed:

  • A.C. Moore
  • Abt Electronics
  • Academy Sports + Outdoors
  • At Home
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Blain’s Farm and Fleet
  • Burlington
  • Cabela’s
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Costco
  • Craft Warehouse
  • Crate and Barrel
  • DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse
  • Ethan Allen
  • Gardner-White Furniture
  • Guitar Center
  • H&M
  • Half Price Books
  • Harbor Freight
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Home Depot
  • HomeGoods
  • Homesense
  • IKEA
  • JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores
  • Jos. A. Bank
  • La-Z-Boy (all corporately owned stores)
  • Lowe’s
  • Marshalls
  • Mattress Firm
  • Micro Center
  • Music & Arts
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Office Depot and OfficeMax
  • Outdoor Research (closed Black Friday too)
  • P.C. Richard & Son
  • Party City
  • Patagonia
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Publix
  • Raymour & Flanigan Furniture
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sierra Trading Post
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Sprint (Corporate & Dealer Owned Stores; Mall Kiosks May Open)
  • Staples
  • Sur La Table
  • The Container Store
  • The Original Mattress Factory
  • TJ Maxx
  • Tractor Supply
  • Trollbeads
  • Von Maur
  • West Marine

And while that’s a pretty hefty list, the fact remains that many unfortunate employees will have to show up to work on Thanksgiving when they should be taking naps, or avoiding helping their family clean up after lunch.

Thinking about some retailers’ decision to open a day early for Black Friday almost makes Cards Against Humanity’s crowdfunded hole stunt last year seem reasonable. Maybe if we’re lucky, the tradition of Black Friday will get sucked up in a black hole, never to plague us again.

I guess staying home is also an option. If you opt into the shopping this year, stay safe. And if you choose to do so on Thanksgiving, maybe just don’t tell anyone.

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