Good or bad there is an epidemic sweeping the net “online reviews”. The credibility is non-existent, business owners can log in thru a personal email account and leave bogus reviews or even malicious reviews about their competition. I read a very interesting article about the effect of reviews on a local florist industry. I also have many of my clients who have both good and bad reviews floating around the net.
Negative reviews have been a problem for lot of local businesses. Companies like City Search and Yelp offer the public the ability to grade service and product experiences. While this is a feeble attempt to provide a due diligence service, the by-product is a outbreak of bogus reviews and unethical negative marketing. These companies have spent millions of dollars to generate traffic and rank for these reviews, some reviews rank higher than the company they talk about.
Now, there is some good in all this review bashing. Companies like Angieslist and the BBB Online, provide credible reviews of local business. Many online business directories offer some sort of review process, just make sure that there is a credibility protocol in place to validate the review.
In conclusion, don’t believe everything you read. When you search for local services and products do not allow your purchasing to be swayed by some high ranking review service with some elementary star grading system.