How much trust should you have in online reviews?
I am searching for online writing assistance. I am having difficulty determining if the online reviews are genuine or not. For example, this is a review site: http://toptenwritingreviews.com
In my opinion, I think the site looks extremely professional and I haven't seen any bad reviews, therefore I believe the service providers are genuine.
Am I putting too much emphasis on online reviews? How much should online reviews factor into my business decision making?
Online reviews can be extremely biased. In my experience I've found that forums have much less biased information than review sites. The majority of review sites are built for the purpose of generating referral commissions. I wouldn't use them as a credible source, you really have to cross check your information with several different forums.
To me it does not look extremely professional at all. Their website has no favicon (little browser tab bar icon), broken links, the links that do work link back to even less professional (old) looking sites and they use cheesy unimaginative stock photos. About the only thing that is slightly professional about it is the dynamic design. Content wise it looks like a scam to me so personally I would say: not genuine.
When you say you are looking for "online writing assistance," do you mean a writer who is skilled at digital content development? I'm a longtime professional content creator/blogger/web content developer, etc. and would be happy to discuss your needs. You will likely find a number of other well qualified writers here and on various freelance writing sites. You can also post a description of your needs to reputable writing sites such as JournalismJobs.com, http://jobs.problogger.net, http://journalism.berkeley.edu/career/jobs, http://www.writerfind.com/freelance_jobs and even CraigsList in your area. Many such sites are free to the job poster. These are just some of the online portals where I've connected with clients over the years.
Happy to help further if you'd like to email.
I put little to no stock in online reviews. First, they can be gamed . Second, they are provided by the public. 'The masses are assess'.
Do not trust that website.
Other online reviews should be considered a guide only and put your BS detector on high. If they sound genuine, they probably are. If they seem even a little bit off, they are probably not genuine and run from the company.
Regarding a writer, this can be VERY tough to find. Be sure to ask for samples before you hire them so the writing is what you want. I have hired wonderful, trustworthy writers in the past who could NOT write in the style and tone I needed, even with hours of guidance. Like artists, writers have styles and can be challenging to write against your natural style, which can make the writing stilted and read strangely.
I suppose the most important "review" is how you feel about their writing examples. Testimonies can be fraudulent and, in any case, they may not reflect how you will be served given your needs.
BTW..."Toptenwritingreviews.com" is seems to be owned by an Indian company, Sarobal Consultancy (if that is there real name!?) I am suspect they have other websites promoting similar services, but I'm not inclined to waste time searching.
If you are looking for writing assistance, there are many very reputable US based and international sites that can service you.
Online reviews are to be taken at Face value and should not be a major influencer in decision making especially on Critical things.
I find that people write reviews either:
1- when they're really really angry about something that didn't go their way; or
2- when they're really really elated because of the great service they received.
As for this website, I don't trust anyone selling their writing so others can use it as their own.
Here is what I recommend in hiring a writing assistant.
1) Check out the reviews from the websites you are searching
2) Ask to speak to their references
3) Do a test project with them that you can measure their performance and see if it meets your requirements.
Online reviews should only be a piece of the hiring process, I would recommend you truly rely just on reviews alone.
As a branding professional I will share my experience with you from a customers perspective as well as a vendor:
Things to be aware of as a customer:
1) Professional sites are easy to come by nowadays and you shouldn't place too much emphasis on it. Don't decide to go with a company just because they have a fancy website. This is the same as saying I wear fancy clothes therefore it makes me a good person.
2) Finding a good company that matches your needs is the same as dating, don't just jump straight in with both feet - you will get burnt. instead give them a very small project and see how well they handle it or better yet ask for a referral list from the company in question (a list of people you can call to verify the level of service the company provides)
3) Do not judge a company by reviews alone good or bad - some people are just difficult and will give any company problems (these reviews usually turn up on social media where a company can't regulate or control it as much) so I would check out how they deal with their customers on social media and how quickly.
As a Vendor/Company:
1) First off any respectable business will always put their best foot forward, in other words everything I show you (the customer) has to be the best. So you won't be able to see any bad reviews and even if you do I will try my best to conceal it (Social media complaints, etc.)
2) Sometimes companies may fake their reviews i.e. get a relative to write one. They may even write some themselves or hire a company to do this (social media can also be faked) - That being said most respectable companies would try and avoid this at all costs as honesty and integrity are very important traits for a company.
3) As a company I will do whatever I can to get your business If I think you are my ideal client - If I believe that there is value in creating a business relationship with you then I will do whatever I can to look after you and keep you. You have to understand Sarah as business sometimes some customers are just not worth it. We will spend time and resources servicing this customer only for them to keep demanding the impossible and sometimes withhold payment as a result. So when looking for a company make sure to manage your expectations especially when it comes to the scope of your project.
I.e. don't expect exceptional service and support for a $100 project.
If it is a large long-term project - look for 3 comparable companies (google is your friend) ask them each to give you a quote or proposal and a list of references that you can call to verify. then give your selected company a small project to start and see how they handle it.
If it is a small project, just find the most price competitive company and go with it.
Hope this helped Sarah.
Take into consideration reviews and articles from multiple sources. A website could be unprofessional looking, but still have credible information. Design skills don't equate to trustworthiness.
I really have no trust in online reviews at all. My experience is that most are from angry customers - usually people who won't be pleased no matter what. The 90% or more of customers to a business who happen to be happy or satisfied rarely write reviews without being asked or given an incentive. It's only when people are upset that they post reviews.
OK - done venting! As for this particular website, the reviews look "spun" - i.e., they came from "spinning" software that takes one review then substitutes words with synonyms and other tactics to produce multiple versions of the same review. At least that's my initial impression having seen "spun" content in the past.
YMMV (your mileage may vary) is often applicable to things coming off the internet - otherwise you'd see it in daily life - in stores or in the papers.
The best way to assimilate opinions is to find people who are really earnest about a product or service and then to find all the most vehement detractors. You can trust your instincts after you read both sides. Bose is one such research opportunity to cut your teeth on to see if you have the knack. Another is Malaysian politics :-)))
The question is not whether the online reviews are genuine or not, but instead:
1. Is it my ideal client that is writing it?
2. What should be my response?
3. How can I use this review to improve my business?
Online reviews are one of the measurement tools you may choose to use for evaluating the success of a product or service your business offers.
There are no bad reviews. There is only bad response to reviews. In other words, if you don't respond to reviews by thanking the reviewer and commenting on their comments then it shows that you don't take your clients' views as important or relevant. This goes for 5 star or 1 star reviews.
Perhaps try soliciting reviews as a form of feedback from your clients, staff, and suppliers on a regular basis for improving your marketing message and improving your business in general.
Lastly, if branding is what you're all about, check to see if the review supports the branding message you are trying to build or clearly shows a disconnect between what you're trying to achieve and what is being perceived by the reviewer.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask for clarification if you need it Sarah.
Personally I will go with 60% review and 40% on what ever product. But it all depends on you actually, as you are doing the research. You can always check other websites. Thank God for Google too. That's if the reviews on the site are too good to be true vice versa. Sorry, didn't really have time to visit the link you shared.
I, myself, put very little value on any website full of reviews unless others whom I associate with can validate it with some degree of confidence.
There are plenty of websites which are designed for hire with no reviews such as Indeed.com, Monster.com, and so on.
The only sure thing is solicite "Wanted - Professional Content Writer Needed A.S.A.P." send resume`. Once you have the resume`in hand then do your research.
I, myself, speak and write fluently in several languages - natively. Sometimes, yes my brain functions faster than my fingertips and I mispell, or write with brokeness, but I can still write. Sometimes I need to go back over my work as in to proof read for spelling, grammatical, and punctuational errors. Does that mean I am not a good writer.
Many of the suggestions here are well founded and notable.
As with any recommendation, online or not, it's mostly about whether you should trust and value to opinion of the reviewer. I give a much higher weighting to reviews or recommendations from people I know than from 'strangers'. Another approach is the old Reaganite "trust but verify" i.e. give a small piece of work to a well rated supplier before committing further.
I always advise that you you use the reviews as a starting point in narrowing down your search. Once you have found one or two you are interested in have a conversation and request that they provide you with contact information of people you can call. I have seen first hand that some reviews are actually paid for, also I know from first hand experience that negative reviews are not always reflective of the true nature of the individual or the business. They can be done strictly with malicious intent due without just cause. Always trust your own instincts first!!!
All of my reviews, on my website, have links to that person's company website--but I work for other businesses. Maybe an independent 3rd party review like Yelp or Epinions for products or services
Online reviews are very influential now-a-days. It is more likely for people to enter bad reviews instead of good ones. Take about 30% of the reviews to be legitimate and make your decision accordingly.