Angie's List: a Colossal Scam?

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omarECD said:   The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.
The problem is that all the bad reviews get hidden and often this leaves an inaccurately positive impression.  Take a look at this lawsuit against Yelp (users critical of a business were being personally ID'ed by the court in order for the business to tell whether or not they had been customers; only customers have a protected 1st amendment right to their opinion). 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/8/court-rules-yelp-...

A telling part of the article was how this business had 9 visible Yelp reviews, but nearly 100 "hidden" ones due to the business complaining about negative comments.  Yet another example of how an apparently customer-friendly business decides that their user base is the product and sells them out.
Hadeed Carpet, which advertises heavily throughout the D.C. area and in The Washington Times, has a two out of five star rating on Yelp, based on nine reviews. The ninth review was posted Wednesday and is a one-star condemnation of Hadeed ’s lawsuits.
But the review site also has a long, contentious history of hiding reviews, listing them as “not recommended.” Hadeed Carpet has 88 hidden reviews, the majority of them negative

Joe Hadeed's motto is "if you stand on it, we stand behind it". Apparently, doesn't ring true all of the time.

xerty said:   
omarECD said:   The Yelp system isn't perfect, but none are. This is as good as it gets for reviews. You just have to learn which reviews to trust and which not to trust. For example, looking at the profile of the user and making sure they have multiple legitimate seeming reviews. Also if a business/restaurant has 100+ reviews, it's usually very reliable. Just like anything else, you need many data points. You can't draw a conclusion on a place with only a handful of reviews; that's your own fault if you do.
The problem is that all the bad reviews get hidden and often this leaves an inaccurately positive impression.  Take a look at this lawsuit against Yelp (users critical of a business were being personally ID'ed by the court in order for the business to tell whether or not they had been customers; only customers have a protected 1st amendment right to their opinion). 

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/8/court-rules-yelp-... 

A telling part of the article was how this business had 9 visible Yelp reviews, but nearly 100 "hidden" ones due to the business complaining about negative comments.  Yet another example of how an apparently customer-friendly business decides that their user base is the product and sells them out.
Hadeed Carpet, which advertises heavily throughout the D.C. area and in The Washington Times, has a two out of five star rating on Yelp, based on nine reviews. The ninth review was posted Wednesday and is a one-star condemnation of Hadeed ’s lawsuits.
But the review site also has a long, contentious history of hiding reviews, listing them as “not recommended.” Hadeed Carpet has 88 hidden reviews, the majority of them negative


  
Good point, xerty.  I wonder if Yelp (or other companies) can report something like:

4.3 out of 5 stars (12 visible reviews)
88 out of 100 reviews are invisible due to various issues.

If ratio of visible to invisible reviews is high, you know something stinky is being hidden.

But looking at the type of reviews that Hadeed Carpet has on Yelp, there is about 0.01% chance I would use their service.

It is pretty clear what is going on there:

7 reviews that average 1.5 out of 5 stars.
8 other reviews that are currently not recommended.  These include 1 star and 5 star reviews.  It is pretty clear that 5 star reviews (whether true or not) are not trustworthy.  Note that even true reviews may not be trustworthy.
4 additional reviews that violate the content guidelines.  All 1 star.

This is a solid business that needs to be avoided like the plague.

I think what would be a very valuable start-up idea is a bull-shit detector service.  You feed a bunch of reviews from different websites, and the service tells you which one are not trustworthy.

E.g., review of Hadeed from "George H" living in Springfield, VA: "...=14pxToday's society is full of companies and people who claim to know how to perform a service; however, it is a blessing that companies such as Hadeed Carpet actually follow through with that claim...".

I mean, why give Hadeed (or any other service) a public fellatio?  That just smells a like a rat.

 



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