All review sites are equal. Some are more equal than others

I am a big user of reviews to help me research a company.  It’s usually the place I start when doing a due diligence investigation of a company a client wishes to do business with. I am not too interested in the reviews the company provides… I go hunting for reviews on-line.

For example, a client recently admitted they had considered working with a company called the “Link Building Ninjas”.  It’s really hard to find positive reviews about this company because… well… their business is all about paid links.

If you hire a company to artificially inflate your links and this results I higher search engine rankings… well… you aren’t going to to tell the world about it are you?  You might get busted by Google and lose all those hard earned rankings.

What if you had a poor experience?  You aren’t going to leave a bad review are you… because your business is STILL vulnerable?  You not have got any benefit from the links they put in place for you, but you might not have been penalised either.  But start going public about how your link buying program with the Link Building Ninjas didn’t work out… well…. That could come to the attention of someone at Google who does an investigation of your links, decides they are fake and WHAM!  Manual Google penalty.

So.  No reviews positive or negative from their clients to be found online, but curiously, there are a bunch of staff reviews on Glass door (Employer review site where employees can review their employers)

Lookie here Internet Marketing Ninjas  It’s pretty rare for an employer to get an overall negative score at Glass Door, so the really low score here set off some alarm bells.  The reviews painted a picture of:-

  1. A toxic environment with knee jerk strategy changes and hire/fire policies.
  2. Use of dated link building methods where staff are supposed to just get as many for clients as possible.
  3. A cowboy CEO who operates in an environment of no accountability. Oh he has plenty of salesy charm to poor on the fires… but so many fires?I showed this to the client who wisely decided no, they were not going to do business with them.A client of mine was interested in doing business with an Australian maker of accommodation booking technology, I find these reviews of the company online

http://www.capterra.com/vacation-rental-software/spotlight/128184/GENKAN/GENKAN

Seems legit right?  All good reviews from actual users of the company?

It was quite a shock to me when in dealing with this company my own experience was very different.  Far from being a positive one… it was one of the most negative business associations experiences I’ve ever had.  I contacted Capterra about the reviews and quickly realised.

  1. They aren’t much for publishing bad reviews.
  2. Their terms and conditions are such that unless you had a contract with the supplier, you review can’t be published.

So if as a consultant I find a software supplier and recommend them to the client; am involved in installing the software; am the nominated IT person for the client in all dealings with the supplier and saw first-hand all the problems?

My review cannot be published as I didn’t sign the service contract. Crazy right?

If only I’d found THESE reviews earlier I could have spared my client and myself so much grief. http://www.serchen.com/company/genkan/ (Serchen.  Guys.  You really need to work on your SEO Damn it. Where the heck were you when I tried to find you 9 months ago?)

If you are looking to do some business with a company you’ve not done business before?

  1. Personal referrals are always the best.
  2. Reviews should be read with a grain of salt (or in the case of Capterra, the whole shaker full.)
  3. 50 100% positive reviews might mean the company is AWESOME! Or it could mean, the reviews are fake.
  4. Google Places reviews are usually pretty good.  Google has ways and means of weeding out the fake ones.  Sure, they don’t get them all, but on the whole they are pretty reliable.

 

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