Consumer site Which? opens its data to non-subscribers

Consumer champion Which? has relaunched its website, adding a price-comparison service and practical advice section to its existing database of independently tested product reviews.

Because of its tradition of not carrying advertising, is one of the few to be largely subscriber-funded. It has 215,000 subscribers, each paying £7.75 each month to access it.

But following the relaunch, the site is beginning to give away more of its information.

Access to the existing database of Which? reviews remains subscriber- only, but lists of products and specifications are now publicly available.

‘If you are not logged in you do see some information that makes you think that this is a thorough review that has a lot of information that is going to be valuable to you,’said site editor Jess Ross.

‘We don’t want to hide everything behind a subscription barrier. We’re keen for as many people as possible to benefit from Which? research and testing, so we’re trying to give people a better sense of what we do offer.”

The price-comparison tool, which covers products that have not yet been reviewed by Which? is also free to use.

‘Which? is possibly the only truly independent source and price-comparison site out there in the UK,’said Ross. ‘This doesn’t compromise any of our product testing or the way that we operate. We still don’t take any advertising.”

The price-comparison service also provides a new revenue stream to the advertising-free site.

Which? links to the online retailers it recommends on a cost-per-click basis, but does not participate in commission-based methods of online advertising which, Ross says. would cause a conflict of interests.

Which? magazine and its website are produced by a ‘channel netural’team of 80 content producers, researcher editors and scientific advisers, along with seven specialist online staff.

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