The Credibility of Online Review Sites

The popularity of online review sites has risen hand in hand with the growth of the internet. They make it easier to gauge how good a company might be before you get their services. Whether it’s looking for a new restaurant or searching for a contractor to redo a deck, we’re inclined to go online to find out what past customers thought.
Unfortunately, like everything else related to the internet you can’t trust everything thing you read. Online reviews are usually left by honest customers looking to share their experience. Yet, the ease of posting reviews means disgruntled employees as well as competitors can leave untrue reviews on a company’s review page to drive down their ratings, despite the fact they may be worthy of your business.
The Good
Let’s take our company, for example, we have an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with over a hundred reviews and thousands of customers. We hold a Top Rating with Angie’s List with a ton of reviews and award-winning customer service. We currently have 4.5 Stars on Google (out of 5).
The Bad
Now you’re thinking, what about Yelp? This brings me to the 2 review sites with unusual practices to say the least.
Yelp has a supposed algorithm that they claim filters out unreliable reviews while allowing what they claim are the real ones. As most business owners have come to find, this is untrue. They have filtered out all the 5-star reviews our customers have sent in. You can only see them when you click the link called unreliable reviews. Real people, real names and faces we have actually done business with, many of which are on our website giving testimonials in their own words.
Yet, Yelp’s algorithm allows the posting of reviews from people in states we’ve never worked in. There are reviews up there from people that we’ve never done business with. Sound suspicious?  We thought so too. Our company has contacted Yelp many times to complain and they have no interest in hearing any of it. They stand by their algorithm. Our CEO reached out recently and the representative hung up him on when he inquired about the reviews from people who aren’t customers.
As a result, if you go on Yelp, we are one star and the worst companies in the world. If you go on every other legitimate site, we are top rated. Now, Yelp calls us quite often to ask if we want to advertise. You can go online and google “Yelp scam” or any other similar description. You’ll see claims from countless businesses who say they’ve hurt, all throughout the country. Does that sound like a good way to vet a company? Nope.
Additionally, Rip-off report is another scam site that acts in a very similar manner as Yelp. The BBB is customer centered and doesn’t do it for the money. Home Advisor and Angie’s List are reliable and considered honest review sites. Google reviews are fair. The others ask for payment. Plain and simple.
Be aware. Here’s another thing to consider, if you put up a one star review on Yelp for a company, it shows up immediately. But a 5 star review gets taken down within a matter of a couple of days or doesn’t make post at all. Try it, let us know what happens.
Do you have any Yelp horror stories? Let us know in the comments below!