- September 28th, 2013
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(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TX) Each year millions of consumer dollars are being spent based on reviews and ratings of user-review websites such as Angie’s List, Yelp and other similar websites. The Consumer Team talk radio program will be airing a special segment featuring Jeff Blyskal of Consumer Reports on Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 5-7 PM on KRLD Radio. Blyskal will be addressing Consumer Reports’ recently published study regarding the objectivity of user review websites.
Pete Thomson, host of The Consumer Team called the Consumer Reports study the most complete and objective he’s seen. Thomson said, “Consumers are spending so much money as a result of the ratings and reviews from Angie’s List, Yelp and other similar websites that it’s important to understand how the sites are processing information. As usual, Consumer Reports dug deep into each of these sites to analyze exactly how ratings are given out.”
Thomson added that the feature with Jeff Blyskal is the first of a series of segments that The Consumer Team will be doing on user-generated ratings and review sites. Thomson added, “I’m very concerned about several aspects of teh veracity of user-generated business reviews. First, there’s the issue of competitors or disgruntled employees purposely posting negative reviews to sabotage a business. Secondly, internet marketing companies are often hired by small business to post fake reviews online. And, we’ve discovered at least one website, Scambook.com, which appears to have built a lucrative business model out of charging small business a monthly fee to remove negative reviews on their site. In our opinion, it’s online extortion.”
Regarding Scambook.com, Thomson said investigations are underway to expose the site along with others using similar tactics. Thomson added, “Eventually the truth will come out, but when you consider the damage being done to small business across America, it’s chilling. I’m an advocate of free speech, but this type of small business shakedown needs to be recognized for what it truly is.” Thomson continued, “In addition to exposing the Scambooks of the world, consumers need to understand now, more than ever, that information on the world wide web should be considered carefully relative to its source and credibility.”
Scambook, according to Thomson is a good example of how investigation can yield useful results. He added, “On the surface, Scambook looks like a real friend of the consumer. However, when you dig down and peel back the layers of the onion, it’s very obvious what their true motives are. In fact, there are numerous sources of intel, including BBB complaints and an investigation by WMAQ-TV in Chicago, that shine the light on the truth regarding these guys. But again, if a consumer is only looking at their website or their marketing that shows up in a Google search, its very easy to miss the truth.”
The Consumer Team is one of the most listened to weekly consumer advocacy programs in America. Its flagship station is 1080 KRLD which is owned and operated by CBS. In addition to his work in consumer advocacy journalism, Pete Thomson also serves as President/CEO of McQ Media, an advertising and marketing firm based in Dallas, Texas.