Robbie Goldfarb has a specific complaint about the way most websites solicit feedback: Whether it's about a company's products, services, or the website itself, web designers have a habit of compiling a bunch of questions into a survey and then asking users to fill it in, one radio button at a time.
"Often the survey requires 10 questions," he says. "But you might only have something to say about three of those questions."
Brevada, Mr. Goldfarb's startup, wants to break the system apart and offer small and medium-sized business owners a way to collect what he calls "one-click feedback." A clever, thermometer-like widget sits on a web page and encourages visitors to rate just one metric, with one click.
E-commerce is already awash in public-facing ratings systems for products, but widgets that ask users to rate the company itself – or a facet of its services – are rarer, and tend to be consigned to the ghetto of feedback pages.
Mr. Goldfarb argues feedback-gathering is something that needs to be actively marketed, not just passively performed (he uses the term 'feedback marketing'). Brevada offers companies a hosted feedback page, either on Brevada's website or white-labelled on their own site. Alternately, companies can put a widget on any existing page.
The feedback is tracked through a back end – Brevada is particularly suited to businesses with multiple locations, providing analytics that flag discrepancies if one location performs better or worse than others in some metrics.
Mr. Goldfarb is also a medical science and computer science double major at the University of Western Ontario. His three-person company says it has about 150 paying locations with Brevada accounts, and Mr. Goldfarb says he just added the Bad Boy furniture chain as a client, a good example of the type of business he's targeting. (The chain is well-known, among other things, for aggressively soliciting user feedback on the question of "who's better than Bad Boy?")
Optics play a part in the service's appeal. What Mr. Goldfarb says he's found in his conversations with small-business owners is that they're looking for ways to visibly demonstrate a receptiveness to feedback – even if traffic on their pages is uneven. "For a lot of small biz, its not about gathering the feedback, it's about showing their customers they care," he says.
"We're selling them a product that even if they're not getting tonnes of feedback, they're spending a few hundred bucks a year to make their business look good."