History of Online Reviews

September 17, 2019

It’s finally September! That means back to school, the start of fall, and the start of football season. With all the kids going back to school, we thought it would be a good time to have a little history lesson, SureCritic style! So gather around, today’s lesson is the history of reviews and how their importance has been growing since the start!

It all started out with the comment card. The comment card allowed for customers to leave businesses feedback to help them improve but it wasn’t always effective. Businesses would have to resort to relying on customers recommending them to their friends for more foot traffic.

In the year 1999, we see the creation of online review sites such as Epinions, Deja.com, and Rateitall.com. Within their first year they collectively accumulated over 1,000,000 reviews! That’s a lot of reviews considering online feedback was brand new! Not all things are perfect and there were instances of businesses writing false reviews or teaming up with other businesses to bring down a common competitor. This is when online reviews start to slowly become the new comment card.

Online reviews started to grow and become more mainstream since its conception in 1999. We start to see medical review sites like RateMDS.com pop up and then in 2004, we saw the creation of Yelp. Yelp helped pioneer the online review space that we know today. They allowed for users to leave anonymous reviews about local businesses and later, in 2009, Yelp started to allow businesses to respond to reviews which continued to transform the online feedback world.

In 2010, SureCritic enters the online review scene. Very exciting, we know. SureCritic offered something that other review services didn’t have at the time: verified reviews. Verified reviews help build trust because the reviews are written by an actual customer. Consumers can rest assured knowing that the reviews they’re reading, are honest ones!

By 2019, we have seen a lot more review sites pop up and more services offered. The conversation about fake reviews has become a prevalent topic. Amazon and Yelp have finally included verified reviews to try to stop fake reviews. SureCritic now offers Review Assurance™ and verified vehicle reviews. Google uses business’s reviews to rank them in their search algorithm. Which means, reviews are an important factor to your SEO ranking. The more reviews consistently coming in, the more your SEO will improve and in turn, you will rank higher in searches. People have stopped listening to the brand and have started to listen to their peers and doing their research. The fact is, 84% of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation and businesses cannot afford to ignore that. Owners have gone from being able to shrug off the feedback left on comment cards to having to care and manage customer experiences in online reviews. If it wasn’t for the comment card, we wouldn’t be where we are at today with online reviews.

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