August 29, 2011, 10:36 AM

Bazaarvoice files for an initial public offering

The ratings and reviews provider reports a $20.1 million net loss for fiscal 2011.

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Bazaarvoice Inc., which sells product ratings and customer reviews services to online retailers, has filed for an initial public offering of up to $86.25 million.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bazaarvoice had revenue of $64.5 million in 2011, up 67% from $38.6 million on 2010; the firm’s 2009 revenue was $22.5 million. Last year, the company generated 24.9% of its revenue from outside the United States. 25.2% of its revenue came from outside the United States in 2010, and 15.8% in 2009.

Bazaarvoice says it posted a net loss of $20.1 million during the fiscal year ended April 30.  It warned in the filing that losses may continue for the foreseeable future. But the company also says it is well positioned in a growing market.

Bazaarvoice is the leading provider of customer reviews technology to retailers in the Top 500 Guide, serving 136 e-retailers, including No. 3 Apple, No. 4 Dell and No. 5 Office Depot. PowerReviews is No. 2 in providing ratings and reviews technology to top 500 retailers, at 78, with BizRate a distant third at five.

With customer ratings and reviews now a standard feature on major online retail sites, both Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews have added features that enable consumers to share their reviews on such social networks as Facebook and through Google’s +1 social-sharing system.

The Bazaarvoice SEC filing highlights the growing role of social media. “Given the broad reach of our network and the important impact that our social commerce solutions have on consumer purchasing behavior, we believe that we are competitively positioned to capture a share of the growing social media marketing spend,” reads the filing.

Bazaarvoice also says it retained 89.4% of its clients in 2011, 88.2% in 2010 and 84.4% in 2009.

The company hopes to grow by expanding its global sales force, developing new products, increasing the volume and variety of consumer-focused data offered to clients and making acquisitions, according to the filing.

Main competitor PowerReviews is privately held, and raised $10 million in venture funding this spring, bringing the capital the company has raised to $37 million.

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