Recently, I’ve been helping a friend who’s a local small business owner; it’s opened my eyes to some of the things that are going on in the online review business. You know the sites – the ones where you provide reviews of your local restaurants, services, and other establishments, and then others use those reviews to decide where to have lunch, get their car serviced, or hire someone to repair their roof.
In fact, online reviews are critical in many venues, including my own (which I’ll get to in a minute).
The problem is that online reviews can be gamed in both directions by all sorts of interested parties. Worse, the solutions to stop reviewers from gaming the results are often worse than the problem that they’re attempting to solve.