Internet Reviews: Can They Be Trusted?

These days, almost every roofing contractor has a website. A lot of companies include customer reviews and testimonials right on the page to give potential customers the impression they have lots of satisfied customers. While it is important to look out for testimonials on these sites, where these reviews were posted are equally important. While researching a roofing contractor it is also important to be able to discern “real” reviews vs “fake” reviews. This is why it is important to not only take into consideration what you read but where it was posted. Companies that haven’t been around long or have a bad reputation may fabricate fake reviews or pay a company that will post fake reviews in order to convince homeowners to give them their money.

To help determine if the reviews you find are legitimate or not, ask yourself these questions:

Does the review include the name of the customer?

Some fake reviews may not include a name but something like “A satisfied customer” or “A Customer” but no name or indication that the person is real. Not everyone wants their personal information plastered on a website but most don’t mind having their name published with initials omitting parts of their name (A. Smith, Colin P.). Many fake reviewers get lazy and tire of making up names so they go with nonsense usernames such as “Bob566347” or “Cust9037” and post only one or 2 reviews. If you suspect a fake, see if they reviewed anyone else, most fake accounts are used only once as “throwaways”, if you see a lot of these, be suspicious.

Does the review sound like a marketing pitch?

When you review a company, rarely do you use their slogan or marketing materials in your review. You are telling the world about your experience, not writing a commercial to promote the company. Many “made up” reviews included marketing terms such as “Call Today!” and “I’ve tried all the rest”. While some people may write like this, most reviews will explain the services needed and how the company performed without using marketing terms and “action statements” like “you should call today” or “the best since 1999!” Using a lot of slogans and action words should set off a red flag. Ask yourself if the review sounds like a review or an ad.

Do all the reviews sound the same?

Companies that create fake reviews (yes they are out there, and quite successful) have a tendency to make the reviews sound similar. They use the same phrases or seem to include marketing materials and are singing the highest praises with no downsides. Some are harder to spot than others, but they almost always have a limited range, resulting in reviews that in many cases are just copies of other fake reviews, pasted over and over.

Do they have reviews on third party sites or just their page

If they only have a few reviews on their site and you are unable to find anything on third party sites, such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Kudzu, Home Reports and others, this could be an indication that the company hasn’t been around long enough to garner reviews or that they have changed company names to avoid bad reviews. Any legitimate company should have listings on other sites that accept reviews from customers, if they are not, you should ask why.

Telling fake reviews from real ones can be a tricky thing, but if you are able to find many reviews on several sites (especially third parties) this usually indicates that the company is on the up and up and that they don’t worry about having control over what reviews are posted. If they are responding publically to bad reviews, even better, this shows that the company cares what their customers and are not afraid to admit to their mistakes.

The more reviews you find the better, if you cannot find more the 10 (including bad reviews) ask yourself if it’s worth the risk, with many companies, like Atlanta Roofing, with hundreds of reviews on many, many sites, you don’t have to take that chance.

For more information on how to spot fake reviews, see this article by the Consumerist 30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews and be sure the reviews you are reading are real, if not, avoid that company like the plague.

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