Are online customer reviews really that reliable?
Many consumers rely on customer review sites like Yelp for advice on where to find the best dry cleaners or restaurants. But are the reviews reliable?
Small business owners have long accusing Yelp of filtering out positive reviews about their firms and therefore skewing the rating system against them.
They also claim that an unrealistic and unreliable algorithm causes honest companies to be ranked lower than they actually deserve.
It's a big deal since researchers have determined that each ratings star added on a Yelp review translates into anywhere from a 5 percent to 9 percent boost on revenues.
Which is why unscrupulous businesses might be tempted to get someone to write positive reviews or post unflattering comments about competitors -- for a modest fee, of course.
To get a solicited review onto a profile page, cheats need to find someone with a track record on the site, whom Yelp has called an “elite” reviewer. They do this by advertising on classified sites like Craigslist, according to the New York Times.
That's why Yelp has begun outing businesses which solicit for paid positive reviews. Businesses that are discovered to have paid for positive reviews will be slapped with a "Consumer Alert" for 90 days.
Is that enough though? How much confidence do you have when it comes online consumer reviews?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: jimmy | Oct 30, 2021 12:57:53 AM
To me yelp is untrustworthy. Based solely on the restaurant review aspect, and as someone who has worked in restaurants and bars for a long time, I recognize major problems with yelp reviews.
Firstly, none of these reviewers have any sort of critiquing qualification other than being human beings who were breathing at the time of their experiences. Most have no culinary background, or basic understanding of what service and real food is. In my experience I have come across countless people with out a clue, but who are so sure of themselves, and the the kind of people who complain about minute things are definitely the kind of people, but not solely to be fair, who write reviews about their experiences.
For the most part I have seen great, and just normal people come through my section, but there are countless doosies out there the average person wouldn't believe exist.
A couple of recent examples, but for your info I currently work in a high-end restaurant:
I served a man a NY striploin, what he ordered. People who eat steak know what a NY steak looks like, it has a unique appearance. Upon receiving his steak he insisted it wasn't a NY steak. Now this was THE most classic looking NY I have ever seen. I assured him it was, he got instantly angry and insisted I didn't know what a NY steak was ( one of my previous jobs was as a first cook at the Keg for four years!), anyway I told him to order something else because all of our NY steaks actually looked the same (because they always DO!!). Now I wasn't rude to him even though he got angry and basically insulted me right away, BUT, I never conceded to his stupidity nor did I kiss his ass, unlike what MOST servers or managers would have done. Imagine his word of mouth about his experience that night...he was the ONLY one at fault but I guarantee his review, verbal or written, would have been negative.
Second, I read a review on Yelp that blew me away, one that was circulating social media!! A local restaurant received a negative review because someone had a heart attack at a table near the reviewer. Apparently that ruined the mood and atmosphere, and the reviewer actually mentioned they were upset that they didn';t receive a complimentary dessert for this!! UNBELIEVABLE!!
there are countless other ridiculous reviews out there, and I have numerous stories of bogus complaints I've witnessed personally. These people are out there. How can I trust any review on a bullshit site when I know this??
As far as non restaurant yelp reviews, there are some funny skits that can be found on you tube called "real actors read yelp reviews", which is exactly what it sounds like. Watch them, they're real reviews!!
Posted by: Helen | Oct 30, 2021 1:03:44 AM
Jeremy Stoppelman CEO of Yelp is a real winner. Well, no, not really. This man runs a company that not only thrives on negative attention, but refuses to respond to legitimate concerns.
I am not sure how he can sleep at night knowing that he is running such a joke of a company.
If any of Yelp's investors or advertisers are reading this, I urge you to immediately pull out of Yelp while you still can. You do not want to be associated with a company that is being run in such a reckless manner. Yelp is a company with no core values. No core - period. Like an onion. Peel away the layers, and you'll never get to the core. I can honestly say that I do not think Yelp will be around much longer. Jeremy obviously does not care about doing the right thing. He is unethical and unprofessional.
Posted by: Heather | Oct 31, 2021 12:46:10 AM
I stoped using Yelp and even posting on Yelp because I noticed that Yelp was filtering reviews. Yelp seams to have a matrix and rate reviewers. I've posted honestly regarding businesses regarding issues of their practices (having spoken to managment to no avail) and not wanting others to experiance the same hardship, especialy due to the nature of the businesses. Hoewever I noticed that certain reviewers comments were pushing my reviews and any descriptive (usually negative) out of sight. I would return a month later to the business page and notice my review was gone compleatly. This trend was disturbing as businesses that I knew were not emplimenting proper practices and bullying their patrons were recieving decent or great reviews. The reviews that were older but from "elite" reviewers. I read a couple of this one "young woman's" reviews. We must have two very different oppinions of customer service and that is where one of the main problem lies with Yelp.
1. With statistics, rports can be skewed to distort the data to arrive an an outcome desirable when you start ommiting the raw data. This is what is happening by ownly showing a protion of the comments posted.
2. It's vital to show all the comments posted. Or atleast be able to access older posts because not everyone whill have the same opinions and values.
3. The big issue is that as somone reading a review I only see one side of the situation. Not only do people see situations differently, have different values but people in the service industry are people. The clerk at the shoe store could have been having a bad day - the reviewer could have been the reason why the clerk was having a bad day.