Businesses and consumers alike must learn to use discernment in evaluating the validity and accuracy of the reviews they read online. When I read the comments in blogs, forums and on Social Networking sites it is apparent to me that many have never heard this old saying:
“Don’t believe everything you read”.
For reviews to benefit us as consumers to know which businesses and products we can trust, more people who can write accurately and honestly need to be contributing their opinions. The more individual reviews there are the more likely we are to find the truth.
We must hold business communities like Merchant Circle and Yelp accountable for their actions and not allow them to charge businesses protection fees or encourage them to allow merchants to manipulate real reviews.
At the same time we do not want to allow any individual to use the threat of bad reviews to hold businesses hostage or businesses to sue over bad reviews. Although we have no control of what others do, the bad behavior of some who claim to be online reviewers reflects poorly on us all.
Do your favorite small businesses, friends and neighbors a favor and write reviews of their businesses and services and add product reviews after you use what you buy. To make that easier for you see the section under the bold heading Where to Write Reviews in our post about Supporting Small Businesses.
- Top 10 Local Search Directories By Importance (growmap.com)