By Ellie Cachette (Founder, ConsumerBell)
Back in October of 2009, I had the idea of creating a site that collected people’s complaints.
Not in the back-end kind of way but in a crowdsourcing way where people could vote if they had the same issue, which I then could contact the company to work out some kind of deal. Today, ConsumerBell helps companies track and manage product recalls online. They work with consumers and parent bloggers to spread information about product safety.
My main goal from the beginning was to minimize class action lawsuits and find a faster way to resolving product complaints by consumers (which stems from my father getting infected with HIV from a spoiled product in the eighties. Read more here). At the time I had a male CTO and two female interns who worked with me for four months trying to find juicy leads and work with companies but we had absolutely no success and for a lack of better count, essentially zero internet traffic.
I realized we needed to find a different way to solve the problem and re-brand. I especially wanted a blog so we could have a conversation with our consumers and users so we could learn more about the process and issues that can happen from a customer service side.
“A blog is a stupid idea,” my-then CTO told me. “What’s the point of a blog if you have no traffic? Besides we’ll never get funded unless it’s because someone thinks you are hot.” That was an eyeopener. I decided at that very moment that whoever I worked with in the future needed to have full faith in our vision. I killed the project, terminated any ties with that CTO and built the very first version of ConsumerBell myself using Weebly which was, for the most part, ugly and as ghetto as possible — but it worked.