Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Google Turns to Startup StellaService to Power Google Trusted Store Ratings

Customer-service data startup StellaService is getting a nice of nod of approval from Google, which is going to start integrating the startup’s customer-service data into some of its products.

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The first Google product to get powered by StellaService’s data will be the Google Trusted Store badge program, the companies announced today. As its name indicates, the Google Trusted Store program aims to signal to online shoppers which online merchants are the most trustworthy.

Up to now, the program’s ratings have used a few signals, including the percentage of a given retailer’s orders that ship on time and survey results from customers who have opted in to sharing information about their shopping experience. Now, that ratings methodology will also be supplemented by StellaService’s data which, frankly, seems more comprehensive.

StellaService has dozens of employees who test out the customer service practices of online retailers big and small on a daily basis. These employees/shoppers perform tasks such as buying products, returning them, emailing and calling with questions in an effort to put together a comprehensive rating of customer service departments.

“We’re out there stress-testing the marketplace to find out what it’s really like to be a customer,” said StellaService CEO Jordy Leiser. “For example, it’s amazing how many companies just don’t answer email.”

The little digital Google Trusted Store badge might not matter for shoppers who only shop at big online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.com. But for those shoppers who will buy from a lesser known site if it means saving $20, the Trusted Store icon could make a difference in deciding it might be worth it to cough up a bit more dough for a less stressful buying experience.

Google pays StellaService to license the data, Leiser said. The two companies will be looking for other ways to integrate the StellaService data into the Google shopping experience, but a Google spokesperson said the company did not have any other product integration announcements to make at this time.

StellaService has raised more than $22 million from investors, including Norwest Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham Ventures and RRE Ventures.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik