Monday, January 21, 2013

Is Yelp Mostly Irrelevant to Remodelers?

Remodelers might come out smelling like roses or stinking like rot when they're reviewed on Yelp -- as on Angie's List or Kudzu or Google + or so many other sites where consumers can post reviews of businesses. Over at GuildQuality, Geoff Graham makes a compelling case for why Yelp isn't terribly relevant to the building and remodeling industry. Which is not to say that remodelers shouldn't be aware  of what's being said about them.
"... Yelp works well for prospective customers seeking feedback about businesses with a large volume of customers. Restaurants (their biggest market) may serve hundreds of people in a day. With a very large volume of customers, over time a business will attract a meaningful number of reviews on Yelp. This is good for customers, and it's also good (in the long run) for elevating professionalism in the restaurant industry. It shines a spotlight on great restaurants, and makes it tougher for less-than-great ones to attract customers."
"...Yelp, Google, Angie's List, and others all face the same problem: the way they gather information and communicate quality is inherently biased in favor of businesses with large volumes of customers and against those with small volumes of customers." 
Read the rest of Geoff's post here.

In the meantime, we at d5R have covered online reviews a number of times, most recently tracking the story of a DC-area remodeler who sued a client for posting inflammatory reviews. (See that thread here.) And on Wednesday, we'll publish a big story about the potential hazards of online reviews: how to get good reviews, how to avoid negative reviews, and how to mitigate the damage of negative reviews when and if they happen.

If you'd like to share your experience in avoiding and mitigating damaging reviews, post a comment below, or email me:

Go to the main site of daily5REMODEL.

Go to the home page of this blog.


Anonymous said...

I believe any remodeler or builder who ignores Yelp, Google, Yahoo, or Angies list reviews are missing a HUGE opportunity. Although some of what is written above is correct about bigger companies the reality is these reviews do get seen by people searching for quality remodelers, and also boost the SEO ranking on many site because reviews give your company name relevancy. We not only manage these sites, but we ask that all are written reviews are given to us through these venues.

Geoff said...

I was absolutely *not* suggesting that people should ignore Yelp, Google, Angie's List et al. I definitely don't believe that. In my post, I said Yelp was extremely relevant to the small percentage of remodelers who have one or more reviews. A single review (as we've seen with Deitz) can have a dramatic impact on a business.

Here's the main point that I was trying to make (excerpted from my post):

"Likely as not, there are very bad companies on Yelp with a single good review and nothing else. Likewise, there are very good companies on Yelp with a single bad review and nothing else. In these cases, Yelp is inadvertently promoting bad companies and punishing good ones. And with only 1 out of 625 customers sharing a review on Yelp, it’s going to be a long long long long time before that second, third, or fourth review rolls in. So when should a prospective client start paying attention to the average? When there are five reviews? 10? 20? The reality is that prospective clients don’t think about that. They see the negative or positive score average, read the reviews, and think that they’ve become informed."

Abe Degnan said...

The chances of Yelp helping me very much are next to nothing, it seems. Until my reviewers start using Yelp actively, it won't do any good. I have 1 published review and 8 hidden reviews. My only hope is that by asking people to use Yelp they might choose to do other ratings besides mine, which will eventually make their review of me become credible and non-filtered.

My company page:

My filtered reviews: