People like to have decisions approved, praised, and verified by other people before they make similar decisions. This is particularly true today when many people only have words and images on a screen to guide them.
For example, Turntonetworks has found that 90% of Americans consider reviews to be the most influential part of their buying decisions. Combine that with the 60% of consumers who search for third party reviews (from Collective Bias) before even shopping at online storefronts and the picture becomes clear:
This demand leads to a profusion of review sites of all different types and reliability. These include:
Let’s take a deeper look.
Every type of review site has a place in the wider picture, with advantages and disadvantages.
Paid vs. Unpaid
Paid reviews tend to cover the product more deeply, yet inherent bias may still be present. Unpaid reviews skew negative since there is little incentive to praise the product or service beyond the person’s actual experience of it, regardless of other factors at play.
Verified vs. Unverified
Verified and unverified reviews are a slightly different story. While both have a place, verified reviews offer more assurance that the person behind the review has received the product or service in question and thus, can speak with authority about it. However, unverified reviews tend to be straight from the source in question–and the reviewers are often uncompensated.
Aggregate & Anecdotal
Finally, aggregate and anecdotal sources can be overwhelming rabbit holes that offer very little information–or be a gold mine of resources. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you need from your search.
In order to facilitate and assist, here is a list of the best review sites, categorized by industry. These sites typically pull from multiple sources and solicit exclusive reviews on their own sites, though this can vary, depending on the site in question.
For simplicity’s sake, these are all aggregate sites. While quality reviews can be found in all sorts of places, from personal blogs to stray LinkedIn posts, the selection below allows you to compare and contrast multiple reviews in one place.
Let’s get started.
If you’ve ever run a Google search for reviews or researched an individual company, you have probably run across at least one, if not multiple of these sites. That’s because they are generally well known and trusted across the board. Millions of people visit them in the United States and many businesses rely on them to spread the word about their products and services.
No one wants to rely on the first advertisement for HVAC services when the heating system goes out in the dead of winter or the A/C quits on a 90-degree day. However, it’s still an incredibly stressful time to hunt down someone who is reliable and affordable. Here are five places where you can start, depending on what you need.
Medical care, from basic checkups to specialty care, is particularly opaque to shop around for when you need it. The options are bewildering, especially if you are in a new or unfamiliar location. For your convenience, the below sites are split between health professions, including dentists.
The legal profession, while well advertised to most people, is more varied than many other professions. Not every lawyer can help every case and many of them are extremely niche. The three sites below can help guide you through the tangle to the firm or individual who is best suited for your needs.
Similar to home services, the automotive industry can take advantage of people at some of their weakest moments. It’s important to know who other people trust and what their past experiences have been, particularly with smaller shops and local chains. Mechanic Advisor can help you find a trusted source for repairs. If on the other hand, you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, check out the top four on the list. CarGurus is a personal favorite, due to its best-known feature, the Instant Market Value (IMV), which is the site’s own calculation of the fair retail price for a particular vehicle, based on comparable listings.
Moving into a slightly different and more niche profession, marketing agencies benefit from review sites in multiple ways. You can filter out different companies’ reviews to suit your needs before you reach out to their sales teams. This can save a lot of time and effort, especially if you need a very particular skill set from prospective agencies, such as a heavy design approach or covering specific marketing channels.
For the frequent traveler, who has a network of places and people at their favorite destinations, vacation travel may be as simple as a series of clicks and packing a bag. For the rest of the traveling population, it’s rarely so simple. From the luxury-loving to the primitive adventurer, the three sites here have options–and reviews–for everyone.
Finally, here is a list of aggregate sites for those who are interested in real estate, apartments, and rentals. It’s particularly important to consider all available reviews and options from these sites as people have very strong opinions about their housing, especially when they go through negative experiences.
Review sites are a valuable research tool for almost everything today. They provide you with a wide variety of options and opinions right away with a minimum of fuss. This is particularly helpful at the beginning of your research, especially when the field or industry is relatively new to you as a consumer.
When you are ready to start making decisions, review sites offer you options that you may not have considered otherwise. They provide a jumping-off point for deeper dives into locations, businesses, and organizations. Small businesses have a chance to compete with larger businesses, and everyone’s voice can be heard.
But don’t forget that review sites depend on everyone using them. That includes writing reviews! Consider not only reading the reviews provided but creating a few of your own.
This way, we can all help each other.
With Convirza Call Tracking Solutions, clients can automate and send review requests through call actions and SMS messages. To learn more, talk to one of our call tracking experts.