with Homestars Founder & CEO Nancy Peterson

Can you spot a fake review? Consumers provide online ratings and reviews to share their opinions and stories about brands. This can provide us with valuable information regarding our purchase decisions. Unfortunately not all reviews are credible. In this episode we learn from Homestars CEO Nancy Peterson about how to write and interpret product ratings and reviews.

3 Key Learnings

1.Tips for Writing an Effective (i.e. Credible) Online Review

  1. Write multiple reviews. One-hit-wonders are suspect.
  2. Don’t be vague. Provide some specific information so people know you are real.
  3. Try to use the full scale – not just the top and bottom rating.
  4. Include at least one positive and one negative comment.
  5. For negative reviews, use “the 24hour rule” and consider Defamation Law. Ensure your comments are based on tangible evidence only, not subjective accusations.

2.Tips for Assessing Online Reviews

  1. Consider the list above, plus:
  2. More reviews is not always better. Once a brand has a reasonable number, start to look at the ratings and the comments.
  3. If 100% of the ratings are 5/5, that is suspicious.
  4. Multiple reviews that happen in a short period of time (i.e. batching) can be suspicious.
  5. Things change. So more recent reviews matter more than reviews from long ago.
  6. Read the low-rated reviews in detail. Are there trends in why people are dissatisfied? Is it something you care about?
  7. Look at the company’s responses to negative reviews. How they respond is very revealing about what kind of company this is.
  8. Check multiple sources. Amazon plus others!
  9. Plug the reviews you are looking at into reviewmeta.com

3.Tips for Hiring a Major Service Provider (e.g. Contractor)

Once you have narrowed the options down, Nancy suggests:

  1. Ask the contractor to provide you with the contact information of a few past clients.  Call them.
  2. Be suspicious about a company that’s been around for a long time and has no reviews on the Internet. It doesn’t matter on what source: Google, Homestars,… Ditto if they don’t have a website.
  3. If it’s a big job, make sure they have insurance.  Ask to see a copy.
  4. Never provide large deposits for work. Keep it under 15%, just to get the project going.
  5. Keep your eyes open. If something seems off, it’s off. Check into it. If you’re getting funny vibes from a company, then just pause.
  6. You get what you pay for. So if something’s cheap, then consider that you might not get the same quality.

Listen to the Podcast

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