Yelp? You mean that restaurant review thing on the internet?
Well, yeah. Most people do think of Yelp as a way to find a new restaurant or to check out the venue where their favorite band is playing but it’s more than that. For the unfamiliar, Yelp is an online review site where users post their impressions and ratings of various businesses, services and, of course, restaurants and nightlife.
Once you go beyond restaurants and nightclubs, you’ll find information about lots of other businesses, including basement waterproofing companies. As I’ll explain, though, there are some questions about the value of that information found on Yelp.
First of all, if you want to look up basement waterproofing companies on the Yelp site, forget the list of categories on the left side. You’ll hunt for a long time that way and get led down a few wrong paths -- just type “basement waterproofing” into the main Yelp search engine. This will get you 94 results and almost all are legit basement waterproofing companies.
So, let’s take a look at U.S. Waterproofing's Yelp page. Let’s see, three reviews. Only three? For a company that’s been in business for 55 years? Well, Yelp has only been around in Chicago for a few years so maybe that’s why.
But, when you scroll through those reviews, you’ll see below them in faint type, “17 filtered.” My friend, you have just spotted the big problem with Yelp – filtered reviews. For some reason, Yelp chooses to put only some reviews of a business on its main page and hides other reviews on a filtered page that the user has to enter one of those goofy “captcha” phrases to access. Even more confusing is that there is no clear explanation how the filter works and no one, neither the reviewer nor the reviewed business, has any idea why some reviews are filtered and some are not.
Now, I am not naïve enough to think that some companies don’t try to write their own glowing reviews on Yelp and I guess the filter is there to help prevent that. However, I believe in being transparent about our business and I’m perfectly happy with your reading our great reviews and our not-so-great ones as well. If you balance them out, we still look good, especially when you consider that most of the lesser ones are from people who either didn’t do business with us or who were blown a lot of smoke by a competitor.
I’m not the first one to point out the issues with Yelp reviews. There have been many complaints and several lawsuits over Yelp’s review filtering and other practices because of the significance of online reviews and the effect, both positive and negative, they can have on a business.
So, is Yelp a good way and a fair way to find a Chicago basement waterproofing company? In my opinion, if you’re only going to use one source of information, there are better choices. Being the statistics guy that I am, I believe that bigger samples produce better results. For example, we have hundreds of reviews on Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau has been rating our company for years.
If you’re using Yelp reviews as just one part of your research, it’s a decent source but just make sure you look at all the reviews and keep in mind that not everyone thinks that Yelp plays fair.
If you want to know what U.S. Waterproofing’s customers think of our company, we’ll be happy to give you the names of satisfied customers near you – after all, we have more than 300,000 to choose from. They all started out just like you can, by asking for a free consultation.
Had some experience, good or bad, with Yelp reviews? Let us know in the Comments box below.