Reviews – Can you trust online reviews?

A lot of times when you are looking for a new company to provide a service you will look at a companies reviews to get a good idea of what kind of service to expect. You will usually come up with a wide range of companies with a range of stars and mix of negative and positive reviews. A lot of us will take the companies with the highest “star rating” without diving too deep into the reviews themselves.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies out there are simply not honest with their reviews. Many will post fake reviews for themselves. You can usually spot these pretty easily as they tend to follow the same patterns each time. Unfortunately, even if a company is not positing fake reviews themselves some will offer incentive programs to their employees in exchange with any positive review that mentions their name.

This leads to the employees posting reviews for themselves that mentions their name in it. The company does not check if the review is “real” or not just as long as the review mentions the employees name. This leads to many fake reviews posted not by the business itself but by the employees of the business. If you want a quick example you can see this exact behavior listed below. I have only chosen 2 reviews in this case but nearly all of their 200 5 star reviews follow this same format:

At Colorado Springs House Cleaning we work hard when it comes to our reputation. We avoid posting self reviews or breaking the terms of service of Google and Yelp by incentivizing reviews. Instead of trying to present ourselves as perfect we instead embrace that we are not and are not afraid to have an accurate score when it comes to our reputation.

What We Do Different

While most companies out there are aiming to present themselves as the “best rated” company. We aim to be honest. This is the core difference between us and other businesses. We know we are not perfect and we do not pretend to be. We ask our customers to leave an honest review not a positive one and we never incentive our reviews in any way. Here is a letter we wrote to some of our regular customers over Christmas this year:

How do we get reviews?

To put it simple. We just ask our customers. We have been in business over 30 years and only recently have we started to ask our customers for their honest feedback. This not only helps us improve as a company but also make sure that we are leaving our customers satisfied every time. We are all about our customers and are not afraid to ask our customers for their honest opinions.

What about Yelp?

If you have ever been to our yelp page you will notice that it is quite a stark difference compared to our google & other reviews. You are probably wondering “Why?”.

The short answer is because Yelp’s system is dishonest and Yelp as a company extorts and bullies businesses into paying to “play”.

With Google and other services we can simply ask our customers to leave us a review and if they do it will show up. With Yelp’s system it does not work that way. If you make a fresh account on Yelp or do not actively participate in their system your review will be hidden. It does not matter if this is a real review or a fake one, Yelp automatically hides reviews without telling anyone why.

Yelp exploits their system by calling businesses to try and get them to advertise with them. If they do businesses seem to magically start having their “good” reviews hidden less and less. Negative reviews also tend to be hidden more. If you decline, well for some reason your positive reviews tend to be shown less frequently. Yelp, of course will never openly admit this but their are numerous articles and experience that can attest to this practice.

As a result of Yelp’s poor and manipulative business practice we choose not to participate. We do not ask our customers to leave us reviews to that site nor do we actively maintain our Yelp page. We will not support or participate in such a business.

Since we never go out of our way to encourage any reviews on our Yelp page, very few people will leave reviews. When we do have a customer that is dissatisfied they tend to go on a rampage posting negative reviews on every website they can. The result is the majority of our reviews on Yelp being negative with no real balance or accuracy being shown.

Most businesses all deal with same problem with Yelp. Most, don’t have the same morals and us and will either pay the fee or fake their reviews on Yelp too.

The Point?

The point is that most companies are not honest when it comes to online reviews. Even tho a company may be highly rated does not mean those rating are real. Look around a bit and actually read the reviews. Make sure there are no weird patterns. Look at things like age of company. If a company has been in business for 30 years with 50 reviews and another company has been in business for 2 with 200 reviews, you can pretty easily spot the honest and dishonest companies.