By Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R.
Throughout history there have been groups of people who believe that the stars and planets could predict their future, however, the stars that I’m referring to are not up in the sky. These are the stars presented to you on your internet search engines when you’re seeking feedback on stores, designers, contractors, etc.
The new stars, albeit smaller, are almost as important as the as the one’s seen on a clear summer’s night. They represent how other people, who have had experience with a company, judged the performance of the service and/or work accomplished. Now, with the click of a mouse, you can really discover what a prospective business is capable of.
Of course you must use your common sense when evaluating these reviews. Unlike the astronomical stars, the internet stars must be interpreted for their accuracy, because they are subject to manipulation.
I’ve found that houzz, Google, Yelp and Angie’s List seem to have the most reliable feedback. In many cases their posted comments have been carefully checked for accuracy by their Review Departments, prior to publishing. Yelp has recently made it more difficult to post false reviews and their latest policy discourages companies from requesting reviews from their clientele.
Google Reviews can be very helpful but must be evaluated carefully. Anyone who creates a gmail account can post a review on Google. Although I’m sure that most of the evaluations on Google are legitimate, anyone who is determined, can create ten or twenty new gmail accounts at no cost and post to their hearts content. Who would do such a thing? Perhaps a devious, corrupt vendor, who has many low-star reviews to boost up.
And let’s not forget the good old Better Business Bureau. I always thought that they were above reproach, until I received a phone call and was told that they have only heard good things about my company and have decided to invite me to become part of their auspicious community. I was so moved, as I had always held them in high regard, that I said I’d be proud to be part of such an organization. Until I was informed that I had to pay them $600 a year, and in return they would indicate I met their “accreditation standards”. I said, “No thanks”.
So like everything else in this world, it’s best to use your common sense when evaluating the stars. Just as Nick Copernicus did when he mapped out the stars above, you need to evaluate the sources of your information when checking out the stars below.
Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to eZine and Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com.