Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A Review of Review Sites
Not long ago, I met a woman at a business conference who had founded,
and several years later, sold a successful clothing company. We got to
talking about business in general and she excitedly told me about the
new internet company that she had recently founded. She went on to
explain that her new company provided reviews for companies that would
be posted on the various review sites. I was a bit confused at first and
asked her if these reviewers actually shopped the different companies
that they were providing reviews for? She explained that was not the
case; that these reviewers were simply writing enthusiastic reviews for
their client’s companies. I asked her if she considered it ethical for
people to write reviews for companies that they have absolutely no
first-hand experience. She explained somewhat defensively that this is
now a common practice. I have to admit; I was totally dumbfounded. I
had suspected that this occasionally happened. However, I couldn’t
believe that this was now a common practice and that there were actually
companies that could be hired to write and place phony reviews on the
assorted review sites.
The review sites will tell you that they
have experts at detecting such bogus reviews; that they can tell by the
algorithms and other such complex detection methods. My reply to this
is, “baloney!” (I’m refraining from using my real response in the
interest of remaining PG). Without saying which review site this is; I
can tell you that we have had literally dozens of customers tell us that
they have posted enthusiastic reviews about our company (without our
even asking them to do so) and for a variety of reasons, these real
reviews from real customers are then dropped off the review site as they
are suspected to be untrue. At the same time, on the most popular
review site, there is a small jeweler in a small upstairs office whom
none of us at EE Robbins has even heard of, that has over three times
the number of reviews that our successful and customer service driven
company has. There is another small local jeweler on this same review
site that also has triple the number of reviews of any other local
jewelry company. I have walked by this store many times and haven’t once
even seen a customer in the store. I’m guessing that these above
companies have hired the woman’s company mentioned above or some other
“social media” company to help them get positive reviews posted.
friends with businesses both here and in other cities constantly
complain of similar problems with these various review sites. So how is
one to know what reviews are real and which ones are just
“professionally written” bogus reviews?
The answer is you just
can’t possibly know! This is why we post customer reviews on our own
website. Because we know they are real. No matter how many positive
reviews we could have on these review sites by hiring one of these
social media companies; if they are not real customers writing real
reviews, we want no part of such unethical business practices.
can tell you without hesitation that I don’t know of another company
that values customer satisfaction more than we at EE Robbins do. And no
company works harder to please customers than we do. Every associate at
EE Robbins can and will gladly testify to the fact that we will not
tolerate anything less than “over-the-top” sincerely caring customer
service. It is what we strive and work for every single working hour of
every day. So I cannot help but question these reviews when I see small
companies that we’ve never even heard of, or companies that we know
don’t offer the same level of customer service with an inordinate number
of positive reviews posted on these review sites.
So how do we
as consumers find out what companies we should shop at and what are the
best quality products to buy and other important questions that allow
us to purchase wisely? There are no easy answers here, but I would
start with the following suggestions:
Maybe it all comes down to the old adage that there are no simply no shortcuts in business or in life. Caveat emptor!
- Don’t believe everything you read.
someone who you know and trust where to shop - someone that you know
for sure who has really shopped at that company or purchased an item or
items from that company.
- Shop around. Listen to your own
instincts and the feelings you get from the associates of that store as
well as the general feeling of the store itself. This may be your best
guide as to where to shop and what the best products are.