Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review Websites: Yay or Nay?

What are your thoughts on review websites?

Our medical, dental, and vision insurance just kicked in, so I have been searching for providers like a crazy woman the last few days. I asked my friends, colleagues, and Twitter to get some recommendations, but I still have been searching the review websites to see what other strangers are saying about a potential provider.

I am a little overwhelmed to say the least. Here is the cycle.....someone will recommend a provider, I will Google them, find a review on Yelp or RateMD, undoubtedly find at least one bad review, and subsequently be scared that they will be a terrible doctor/dentist/optometrist.

I had a similar experience when looking at RateMyApartment (I think that is what the website was called) when we were planning our move to DC. Every single apartment complex had at least one horrid review. Whether it was the management, the bugs, the noise, the leaks, or whatever....there was always something that made one person's living experience a nightmare. This was one of the major reasons we decided to rent from a random guy that listed his condo on craigslist. There were no bad reviews to look at since the place was part of a row house. Plus, we felt more comfortable dealing with one guy instead of a big company.

To be honest, we never really had any issues at our old place, minus the one mean guy that hated Kona. But even if there was a website that allowed me to rate our last apartment, I probably wouldn't.

I know a lot of people use Yelp to review restaurants too. Do you read them before you choose a place? Does it influence your decision? AJ will sometimes check them, but I usually dismiss them because I am a picky eater (although I am getting better) and I don't think my experience will be the same as some random person that likely has different tastes than I do. Why can't I be this blasé when it comes to providers and apartments?!?

Do you think people usually only submit a review if they have an exceptionally good experience or an exceptionally bad experience? Are the websites really that useful then? I can't say for sure, but I guess I will find out soon....

I decided to call a few places to set up appointments. I figure if the person and/or office is terrible we can just look for a new provider next time. AJ has a dentist appointment tomorrow and I have an eye appointment Thursday, so I will know sooner rather than later if I made good choices.

20 comments:

  1. I sometimes look at them, especially for doctors, though they don't always make my mind up completely.

    Are you looking for a doctor? I love mine, if that helps at all!

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  2. If you are looking for good doctors in the DC area, let me know -- I have been here for 9 years and have a slew of recommendations. My husband is also a physician, so he knows from the inside who he would/would not see based on insurance providers. If you are not happy with your ophthalmologist, I have been very happy with Dr. Lustbader at Georgetown (I believe he also sees patients at Washington Hospital Center) - I have a lot of eye problems due to migraine medication, and he has provided better care than anyone else I have seen in the past.

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  3. I'm big on checking out reviews for things but I do take them with a grain of salt and I'm not afraid to try a new food place and get my own opinion.

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  4. My thoughts on the sites are that everyone's experience is usually different (concerning insurance)
    And most of the time when people write on review sites they are pissed. Or maybe that's just me. haha!

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  5. I think you have to go with the majority. If most of them are good, and there is only one bad, it is probably fine.

    I think about it in terms of myself. I think 9/10 students would say I was cool but there might be 1 that thought I am mean. Am I really mean, NO. It is probably them. So there you go, my logic :).

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  6. For doctors, dentists, apartments, whatever, I value a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone I trust much more so than online reviews.

    Although when I was moving to FL, then back to AL, I remember going to ratemyapartment.com like CA-RA-ZAY!

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  7. I agree with Southern Web Girl...I tend to only rely on word-of-mouth for doctor recommendations. I am really leery of review websites - mostly because of apartmentratings.com. That is the single most depressing website EVER. Because really, when people have nice things to say, they rarely say them...but if something bad happened, well then...they want the world to know. :)

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  8. I think the websites are helpful, but I don't completely depend on them. THe things people might not like, may be what I love. But they definitely give you some background on the sources.

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  9. I think reviews are always helpful, but I try to keep it in perspective-- if there is only one bad review and many good ones...maybe that person is just crazy or difficult. For a doctor, word of mouth might be better, if you can get some recommendations.

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  10. I honestly don't pay any attn. to review sites. I think people are only inclined to post on them if they have a really good or really bad experience, and honestly I think more people are likely to post if they have a really bad experience. People like to complain. I tend to trust people I know more than perfect strangers, and I feel better just checking things out for myself.

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  11. I haven't ever submitted a physician's review mostly because the doctors I love aren't accepting new patients. I would suggest taking the words of friends/family/associates over the reviews you hear online. I also always throw out the best/worst review when I'm reading online. Good luck with your appointments!

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  12. I usually check reviews as well. However, I've learned to take some of them with a grain of salt depending on what the industry is. Also, I find that sometimes people ONLY submit reviews if their experience is extraordinarily terrible or amazingly wonderful and never just a-okay. Overall, I say go ahead and check for yourself and form your own opinion.

    Good luck :)

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  13. we were just talking about this the other day - people are much less likely to post good reviews about anything. no one goes somewhere, has a great experience and says "i'm gonna go post about this!" (except for bloggers of course). the average person only feels the need to write a review when they're pissed off, they feel vindicated and like they've made their point. it's a very you-screwed-me-so-i'll-screw-you attitude.
    so you have to take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. some people also think they're entitled to EVERYTHING and get ticked when they're just treated like everyone else, they're the first to write such scathing reviews.
    so i'm not surprised to hear that some only have negative reviews... you'll find that with anything. go back and look up somewhere or someone you've already been to and had nothing but great experiences... it's very likely that there are bad reviews on there.
    you will only be able to find out for yourself. granted if they're reported with the BBB definitely steer clear : )
    otherwise it's all trial and error... good luck!

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  14. its so hard to trust a review because the only time people will generally post is when they have a really great experience or a really horrible one.

    there is some website - i think it's called annie's list or something similar to craiglist, but people strictly review services and healthcare providers. maybe you could check that? the best ones ive found though are from asking coworkers. i now have a great dentist & dr!! :)

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  15. Thought I'd better check out your blog since we're going to be all supportive weight loss buddies and all :) I'm sorry I didn't find it until now!

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  16. I was the same way when I had my first "big girl" health insurance plan. I drove myself nuts. I finally just asked some co-worker friends for recommendations an tried out those drs. Worked like a charm!

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  17. Hi there! Thought I'd check out your blog - I found you through Jen Lucky in Love and Shaina. Nice to meet you :D

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  18. I use them but I always think that I only post reviews if I hated something so who knows.

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  19. I often look at review sites but I always keep in mind that people are more likely to review something bad (or really good). With doctors/dentists I almost always go by word of mouth

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