16 May

Remember When Google Adwords Meant Spam?

We do. Well specifically I do. Basically you would avoid paid search ads like the plague as the vast majority of advertisers sole purpose was making a quick buck. Well, now things are a bit different strangely enough. You would think with more people using the system, a greater number of people trying out get rich quick internet schemes there would be even greater confusion. On some level this is still true, but in a way it has changed.

Let’s briefly go over the main issue. Cost. Search ads have increased dramatically over the years. So, the people buying keywords for the top positions are not just spending a dime or less each click. You search for “buy cheap flight to vegas” you can bet the folks ranking at the top are paying over a dollar for each click they get. Certainly not chump change and what we are getting at, you gotta know what you want to be spending that much.

This means something really interesting. For interest, this very site pays for search ads. Why do we do it? Cause we either break even or barely make money off them. It is worth it to us. Are we some junk site that offers nothing in the way of good information? Absolutely not. Consumers these days are much smarter in the ways of most sorts of manipulation. If you have a poorly done site the fact is simple. You will lose money.

So, what does this mean for you? It means that, if you are searching for something on the web. A review, a product, an idea on the best couch for your new home. Those search ads…might just represent people who think they have something to offer that is good enough for the consumer. This is a change and a big one at that. Could this change in the future? Always a possibility with the way in which social media is taking over. For now though, put a little more trust in the ads that you see. And of course, follow the rest of our review tips to hit it home.

19 Jan

The Anatomy of the Video Review

Sometimes I ask myself what the deal with video reviews actually is. And I admit, we will be moving into that territory quite quick. It seems like many people just want to actually see if a product exists. The “product opening” videos are quite popular and without getting into existential ideas regarding why they exist its probably good enough to just say that they do. And that for whatever reason, they hold some sort of importance within the human psyche. I know what you are thinking, why is a review site discussing the inner workings of the human mind regarding shopping. Well, its our blog!

The will it blend videos on Youtube were one of the first that put effort into testing the durability of products. Nobody wants to know some sort of arbitrary scientific rating regarding product build quality. So think about it, sure it’s fun to see an iPhone explode but it also makes you consider buying one. Cause in your own mind youre like alright this thing isn’t going to just fall apart. There’s also this alter component where I think people always wonder what is actually inside of these things. It is almost a demystification process in a way.

When I think about value in terms of video reviews to me it seems like a concise picture confirming the product does what you think it does is of the utmost importance. This needs to be done in a fast manner, under the 3 minutes is absolutely essential. Beyond this the reviewer must be entertaining on some level and combine the will it explode concept with the hey, here it is we opened it picture. This is what our video reviews will consist of. Concise to the point funny but informative. And of course, with a little extra value add for those who don’t want the audio.

Rock on!

03 Nov

Yelp Reviews and Why Location Matters

So, you are probably aware that we don’t have much love for Yelp here at opClarity but that certainly doesn’t mean we are haters. In fact, we will admit that hands down Yelp is good for reviews in very specific categories. For instance, you are looking for a good dry cleaners, bam! Yelp, is going to have reviews. Oh, you need to find a good frame shop for a really special piece of artwork or photograph, Yelp is gonna absolutely steer you in the right direction. Basically, for specialized services Yelp has got it down. But, this isn’t what we are talking about today.

We are discussing what they are known for. Restaurant reviews. If you are familiar with these reviews you are aware that oftentimes it is impossible to navigate through them. To understand a review you have to understand the part and parcel of the person who is writing it. So, one of the reasons this site exists is to discuss the anatomy of reviews in order for the reader to come away with a greater understanding for themselves. Today we discuss location and how it impacts Yelp reviews and specifically restaurant reviews.

Location dictates the depth and thorough nature of Yelp reviews. The reason is simple, Yelp is a technology platform that a user signs up for specifically to review businesses. So, it isn’t Facebook where you are already there and provided direct to you an easy mechanism for reviews. No, the Yelp user is someone who has chosen to use this technology to review. So, the barrier to entry is much greater than another platform. Which means, if it isn’t obvious, the average Yelp user will be college age and educated. This face introduces a million issues that could be dissected but let’s just look at the two main ways this impacts location.

First, the “Yelp cities” provide the most obvious indicator. Go to San Francisco and you will see hundreds, potentially thousands of Yelp reviews for innocuous companies, services and restaurants. You can guess the other cities where there is a deluge of Yelp reviews for the most mundane businesses. If you are searching for a review and it seems as though everywhere you look is 5 stars 400 reviews you know you are in a Yelp city and you will, have to take that into account. In these circumstances we would suggest only reading reviews from the past 3 months. Now, of course there’s a hundred other problems with Yelp reviews but for this problem specifically go with only recent.

Second and a much greater problem that the Yelp cities is college proximity. New York City couldn’t be a greater example than this. So, let’s break it down. You live in a city where there’s a large college. It might be a large city, the kids who go to the college do not venture out more than 5 blocks in either direction. So…..what happens? The most reviewed restaurants are in the proximity of the college. In this case NYU, we will let you ponder the food knowledge of the typical NYU freshmen. So, you see this very bizarre dichotomy, the typical New Yorker, even educated New Yorker isn’t really the Yelp type, I mean don’t get us wrong, there are lots of them in NYC. But it’s not like San Francisco.

So, the results of this couldn’t be more in your face. Some seriously bad restaurants have more reviews and better ratings than some of the best places in the entire city. You have certain Brooklyn spots that have some of the best fish at phenomenal prices with only iffy reviews because they aren’t deluged with positive reviews, only the complainers show up. We will talk about the complainers at another point. There are eateries within a ½ mile from NYU that are some of the most discussed and loved spots with less reviews than an OK burger joint. So, how to mitigate this? We say stay away from college areas in big cities completely unless you have been recommended a specific place. For college areas in small cities it’s a bit different. The main reason is that the best restaurants will more than likely cluster around the college. And the good ones outside the immediate area will in fact, have reviews.

25 Oct

The Perils of Consumer Watchdog Reviews

This is a column that will hold the ever so often advice and tips on how to pick out the best reviews and understand the product you might be purchasing. Let’s take a moment to alert readers that think they are the best at this, let us remind you that even if you are special, not everyone else gets it. And, even the best of us, in a flurry of excitement can make bad business and consumer decisions. So, the first thing we wanted to discuss is consumer watchdog sites and why basically, in most circumstances you should discount them entirely.

The only legitimate reason to pay attention to review sites like the BBB or “scam or legit” or the host of other similar sites is to find out specifically; is this business a scam. You are not gonna find out if your new TV will come dinged up or possibly refurbished from these sites. Sure, if you are thinking of ordering 100 iPhones from China you might want to check these sorts of reviews sites. But here is the catch, if you already know the business is real, just don’t pay attention to these places.

Unfortunately, a big unfortunately many of these business reviews show up first in the listings. And, if you rely on them you will have incomplete and confusing data to rely on. I mean, you might come away with a review on a business owner that defaulted on a check in 1995 but currently runs a great legitimate business selling cool stuff. Anyhow, if you know it exists, go elsewhere. If it seems to good to be true, check the BBB or the other consumer reports style sites.

In subsequent posts we will go over some very basic on-site, meaning when you are staring at a website tasks that will help you determine the legitimacy of a business. Hint, if they accept credit cards and are scamming they open themselves up for serious litigation!


Great Example of Dumb Review Results for Legitimate Site