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Consumer Reports rolls out mobile service to influence purchase decisions

Consumer Reports has rolled out a new mobile platform, letting users access its database of reviews, ratings and reliability studies while they are shopping.

The service is free for the company?s subscribers. Non-subscribers can sign up for a 24-hour or 30-day access for $0.99 and $4.99 respectively, which will be charged to their wireless bill.

?Our strategy is to deliver our ratings and product-reliability information where people need us most ? while they?re shopping,? said Jerry Steinbrink, vice president of publishing at Consumer Reports, New York. ?If you?re in a store trying to decide which LCD TV to buy, having our ratings at your fingertips is extremely valuable.?

?We?re keying in on two audiences with this product,? he said. ?The first is subscribers who will gain extra value from having this included in their subscriptions.

?The second audience is that larger group of people who want to make good buying decisions even when they?re in a hurry ? we think there are a lot of people who would gladly pay $0.99 when they?re in a store confronted with a tough decision.?

Mobile decisions
The company?s mobile site provides data by category including cars, appliances, electronics, home and garden and babies and kids.

Users can browse information via any mobile device with Web access.

Consumers can access ratings, reviews, product comparisons, poll results, buying advice, user reviews, brand reliability information, the latest news and blog posts.

Additionally, video content can also be accessed via iPhone and Android devices.

?The service fast and ready to help whenever and wherever you need it,? Mr. Steinbrink said. ?We think the speed and convenience of Consumer Reports Mobile will make it very helpful to thousands of consumers.

?As far as marketing the service, we?re sending out an e-mail blast to existing subscribers letting them know their subscription just got better,? he said.

?We?ve put a banner announcement at the top of the home page, and the home page slideshow features the new product and are blogging and tweeting about it.?

SMS alerts
Users can register for the service at

In addition to the service, consumers can sign up to receive product safety and recall alerts via text messages.

Users can text the keyword SAFE to the short code 76666 to receive alerts.

?We have an extensive mobile product plan that we will be rolling out over the next 18 months,? Mr. Steinbrink said. ?We have an iPhone and Android app coming out early this summer and our iPad app will debut soon after that.

?We?re also working on a Spanish-language app and plenty of more surprises,? he said. ?We feel delivering information via mobile will be critical to our future success.?