So our users tell us, and why we are so committed to making HomeStars a trusted forum to read and write our experiences.
I was reading Mike Holmes’ article in the Globe this weekend about how so many directory sites are a joke. He didn’t name anyone but gave an example about a site where companies are automatically rated 5 star and only get knocked down if there is a complaint. I’m still trying to figure out which site that is. We certainly have our fair share of bad reviews and even the best companies will get critiqued on our site. But the good ones understand this is important feedback and get involved in the conversation. My favourite example is Rafina Flooring. He was hopping mad when he got his first bad review. He called and told me in no uncertain terms that he knew who wrote it and they were a crazy and overdemanding customer that shouldn’t be allowed to air their ridiculous views. But the owner took the time to respond and he found out users would comment on how well they thought he handled the beef, and hired him because of his response. Touche!
Some companies reviewed on our site you want to just run from. One craftsperson has racked up dozens of horrific stories and the owners continue to stay in business, and even respond to many of them. You can even find these guys at the major home shows.
Regarding Mike’s comment on the false claims of hiring pre-screened contractors, I couldn’t agree more with the lack of credibility of these statements. How can a site possibly guarantee insurance is paid and up to date from one month to the next or a licence is valid? Homeowners should do their homework before hiring anyone for a significant project and getting word-of-mouth referrals and reading reviews on HomeStars is a great starting point.
Our main challenge is ensuring companies don’t post false positive reviews on themselves – and we’ve had to pull down quite a few so far! We are getting smarter at detecting these autobiographers. Soon we will be adding features to provide more visibility for trusted reviewers – those that provide more details about their identity, have contributed multiple reviews and regularly on our site, and where other users have found their posts helpful.