Online customer reviews are changing the way businesses work online. They can act as free advertising. They can also seriously steer sales away from the business. They can hurt a business just as much as they can help it. The unfortunate fact is that many businesses believe they cannot control customer reviews. They end up reacting to the reviews as opposed to trying to maintain and subsequently control them. It is true that customer reviews cannot be controlled, at least not in any traditional sense. But, there are systems in place to help keep consumer reviews fair and reasonable. There are a few customer review forums that people use to obtain information about where they want to put their time and money.
Yelp: Yelp is completely public. Anyone can post reliable product reviews, however thoughtful. There are moderating boards that will remove reviews they find poorly written or intentionally blasphemous. Companies are also able to respond, though limited, which helps bridge that business-to-consumer gap.
Google: Google Places is the kingpin of consumer reviews. They do not get many, but the ones they do get matter. They do not generally have a strong filtering process. Anyone can write a review. All the need is a Google account. At this point, everyone has one. Google is currently revamping their review system.
TripAdviser: TripAdviser is an extremely intuitive platform for offering consumer reviews. Content is immediately ranked by its total average score. Reviews can be favorite, which brings them to the top. This is a similar platform seen at Amazon.com. The market specifically caters to travel events.
Review sites can be a dynamic tool for bringing in additional foot traffic. They can also backfire. These sources should be monitored regularly. Marketing companies can help sift through these resources. They also suggest responding to bad reviews that seem reasonable. Thank kind reviews, which will hopefully promote more people to write their own. Customer review boards are like their own ecosystem. The bad ones will fade away as the good ones rise, and a business that actively stays on top of fair criticism and encourages positive feedback will ultimately rise as well.
Visit Reviewz Rock at www.reviewzrock.com for a fair critique of these various forums, and to find out methods for monitoring their effects on the business. Find Truthful and honest Product Reviews that are already out there, and obtain new ones to help build the business up and boost its credibility.