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(ABC Local)   Ric Romero investigates online customer ratings sites, as there may be compensated endorsements masking themselves as positive reviews or else company employees reviewing their products   (abclocal.go.com) divider line 37
    More: Obvious, Ric Romero  
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2151 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Sep 2013 at 1:05 AM (44 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



37 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-09-23 01:08:53 AM
This practice is more commonly known as "Angie's List."
 
2013-09-23 01:14:02 AM
You laugh, but If it wasn't for Ric, I'd never had known how to program a VCR.
 
2013-09-23 01:19:44 AM
This advertisement brought to you by the Better Business Bureau.

/saw right through that thinly-veiled attempt at marketing.
 
2013-09-23 01:21:11 AM
Ric ripped the lid off this one. In fact, New York state saw his story coming a year ago and started investigating this practice in anticipation. You go, Ric!
 
2013-09-23 01:26:25 AM

JAGUART: You laugh, but If it wasn't for Ric, I'd never had known how to program a VCR.


I shall laugh, thank you.
 
2013-09-23 01:36:41 AM
Is it sad that when I went to the actual article, I was shocked that it was actually written by Ric Romero?
 
2013-09-23 01:39:44 AM
Also, now that I RTFA,

Another free service that's worth checking in the Los Angeles area is the Better Business Bureau.

Because the BBB only serves the LA area?
 
2013-09-23 01:46:59 AM
had not fully appreciated the "ric romero" lede till now
and article still not up to date
no reference to removing bad reviews for cash
 
2013-09-23 01:50:01 AM

JAGUART: You laugh, but If it wasn't for Ric, I'd never had known how to program a VCR.


You call one of your grandkids?
 
2013-09-23 01:55:55 AM
The clit is where I did a peanut safari..
Some newscaster led the way

Not sure witch  one
Cause those are on hallowween
 
2013-09-23 01:57:53 AM
FTFA: Hiring the right plumber, painter or handyman can be hit or miss. There are several online rating services that offer to help.

No one does this kind of reporting better than Ric Romero. It does my heart good to see that he hasn't lost his touch.
 
2013-09-23 02:09:18 AM

grumpfuff: Is it sad that when I went to the actual article, I was shocked that it was actually written by Ric Romero?


I dunno, but I can't remember a Ric Romero headline that -didn't- link to an Ric Romero article. That said, now some farker can go pull a headline from yesterday to make me look like an ass.
 
2013-09-23 02:17:16 AM
I really liked him in the original Batman series though. The laugh! OH the laugh!
 
2013-09-23 02:27:34 AM

jtown: JAGUART: You laugh, but If it wasn't for Ric, I'd never had known how to program my VCR.

You call one of your grandkids?


Silly Ric Romero obvious joke not obvious enough.
 
2013-09-23 02:32:59 AM

StatelyGreekAutomaton: grumpfuff: Is it sad that when I went to the actual article, I was shocked that it was actually written by Ric Romero?

I dunno, but I can't remember a Ric Romero headline that -didn't- link to an Ric Romero article. That said, now some farker can go pull a headline from yesterday to make me look like an ass.


Sometimes headlines say something about the "Rick Romero School of Journalism" when the article's premise is obvious, but I have seen headlines that used Rick's name in vain. The good news is that you can guess pretty accurately because he reports for ABC. Oddly enough the source badge on the Fark page says "ABC 13" but the linked article is ABC 7.
 
2013-09-23 02:38:43 AM

grumpfuff: Also, now that I RTFA,

Another free service that's worth checking in the Los Angeles area is the Better Business Bureau.

Because the BBB only serves the LA area?


Much like the truman show, that's where ric romero's world ..just kindof stops.
 
2013-09-23 02:39:30 AM

jtown: JAGUART: You laugh, but If it wasn't for Ric, I'd never had known how to program a VCR.

You call one of your grandkids?


"Mom, it's not even plugged in."
 
2013-09-23 02:44:36 AM
 
2013-09-23 03:40:24 AM
BBB is significantly worse than Angie's.  At least Angie's isn't brazen enough to hit you up for $600 a year in order for you to ever rise above a "C"
 
2013-09-23 03:41:34 AM
Sooooooooooooooo,

In the common interest of internet parlaying folk,

I offer you this:  www.rrewind.com.
 
2013-09-23 03:52:01 AM
At least I know the link is legitimate because it appears on Fark, The World's Best News Aggregator Site Ever. Would Read Again. +1
 
2013-09-23 04:03:12 AM

bindlestiff2600: had not fully appreciated the "ric romero" lede till now
and article still not up to date
no reference to removing bad reviews for cash Yelp


FTFY
 
2013-09-23 06:41:30 AM

grumpfuff: Also, now that I RTFA,

Another free service that's worth checking in the Los Angeles area is the Better Business Bureau.

Because the BBB only serves the LA area?


maybe that's the only honest one. their reputation elsewhere isn't stellar.
 
2013-09-23 06:43:49 AM

Aquadyne: BBB is significantly worse than Angie's.  At least Angie's isn't brazen enough to hit you up for $600 a year in order for you to ever rise above a "C"


Plus, my experiences dealing with the BBB gave me the impression that the people in charge of your rankings often have no idea how you do business if it's not something simple like "retail store" or "mechanic". Any amount of complexity can baffle them.

YMMV, of course, depending in the individual BBB employee.
 
2013-09-23 08:00:19 AM
Worked for Angie's List for several years. I can share that in my time there, they worked everyday to make the ratings useful. They monitized ad space, and allowing companies with positive reviews who wanted to trumpet that fact. But advertisers who got enough bad reviews to bring their ratings down lost the ability to advertise. They paid people to hunt for self rating companies. I still pay for a subscription because I believe they are credible.
 
2013-09-23 08:10:07 AM

shabu: Worked for Angie's List for several years. I can share that in my time there, they worked everyday to make the ratings useful. They monitized ad space, and allowing companies with positive reviews who wanted to trumpet that fact. But advertisers who got enough bad reviews to bring their ratings down lost the ability to advertise. They paid people to hunt for self rating companies. I still pay for a subscription because I believe they are credible.


Angie, is that you?
 
2013-09-23 08:23:34 AM
I had a batshiat crazy former employee write a scathing review of my book. Amazon refuses to take it down. So there it sits, the single one star review.
 
2013-09-23 08:51:46 AM

Fark Me To Tears: FTFA: Hiring the right plumber, painter or handyman can be hit or miss. There are several online rating services that offer to help.

No one does this kind of reporting better than Ric Romero. It does my heart good to see that he hasn't lost his touch.


He's the idiot man-child version of John Stossel.
 
2013-09-23 08:57:49 AM

grumpfuff: Is it sad that when I went to the actual article, I was shocked that it was actually written by Ric Romero?


No, I laughed too.
 
2013-09-23 10:18:38 AM
Meh, the internet is not useful for evaluating a company or product, because anybody with enough money can fark the ratings good or bad. Let's face it once the internet became a big money maker the geeks lost control and now it is just another corporate marketing and sales vehicle.
 
2013-09-23 10:40:31 AM

Slaves2Darkness: Meh, the internet is not useful for evaluating a company or product, because anybody with enough money can fark the ratings good or bad. Let's face it once the internet became a big money maker the geeks lost control and now it is just another corporate marketing and sales vehicle.


I told this story a couple weeks ago in a similar thread, so I'll just keep it short.

MIL remodeled her bathroom this summer. She has bad athritis so we kind of encouraged her to get one of those walk in tubs. Let me tell you, those things are damned expensive. We figured if she was going to lay out that kind of cash, finding a well made and highly regarded model was a good idea. It is almost impossible to find a "review" that isn't a front for a manufacturer or installer.

The only worthwhile stuff I found was on bloggy type sites and they were more focused on the concept and experiences with a walk-in.
 
2013-09-23 10:47:10 AM

shabu: Worked for Angie's List for several years. I can share that in my time there, they worked everyday to make the ratings useful. They monitized ad space, and allowing companies with positive reviews who wanted to trumpet that fact. But advertisers who got enough bad reviews to bring their ratings down lost the ability to advertise. They paid people to hunt for self rating companies. I still pay for a subscription because I believe they are credible.


Bwahahahah!

I signed up. I unchecked the every button agreeing to any marketing/newsletter contact at all. I made a new email alias with angie in the name to give them (takes 10 sec).

I started getting commercial advertising to that email address before I was done paying!

-after- paying, Angies list would not log me in. Oh no, I had to 'complete' the process. The first form for that required that I turn over personal contact information, including my daytime phone number (a.k.a. my work phone! WTF!). It required that I agree to the terms of service, and provided a broken link.

I found I could click past that form and at least see my account page. There was a preference form listing several forms of email advertising delivery. All were checked. Given the incoming email, it seemed Angies had already given my email address to 3rd party marketers. What better welcome to new users - giving my email address out to spammers.

I emailed asking for a link to the terms of service, and demanding either a way to log in without providing my employers phone number or a full refund.

I checked the website, and found no way for a potential customer to see the user agreement or even know that there are additional conditions imposed after payment.

I read the agreement days later when I received a response with the link. I see why they hide it.
You agree they can auto renew your account, and may do so for a service level they pick. (I googled that, and found many reports from folks who were renewed at the most expensive level)
You may only cancel during a limited time period. (google shows many whose cancelations just didn't seem to work - oops! Try again next year...)
If you cancel your credit card to stop them, you agree they can use a 3rd party service to locate any other card or bank account you have and charge it. (Whoa! If Angies charges you after you cancel the account - only their opinion matters and they can take your money if they can find it.)
You agree to pay them damages if your contact information isn't kept up to date, and to pay their legal fees if that happens. i.e. if they sell your email address and telephone number to marketers and you change them, you owe them damages if you don't turn the new ones over. Fark me. What is this service for again?

So um yeah, how friendly is Angie's list again? Those are *not* normal terms of service. I'd never agree to those terms, and would never have signed up if I could read them in advance. They never allowed me to log in. I can't even 'cancel' the service without agreeing. WTF?

I paid with Paypal, and filed a dispute with them and Paypal reversed the charge. Based on that agreement, I have to keep checking my cards and bank statement to make sure they don't try drafting money from there.
 
2013-09-23 11:28:49 AM
Did he mention the Doucheyness of yelp reviewers?
 
2013-09-23 12:32:33 PM

spamalope: shabu: Worked for Angie's List for several years. I can share that in my time there, they worked everyday to make the ratings useful. They monitized ad space, and allowing companies with positive reviews who wanted to trumpet that fact. But advertisers who got enough bad reviews to bring their ratings down lost the ability to advertise. They paid people to hunt for self rating companies. I still pay for a subscription because I believe they are credible.

Bwahahahah!

I signed up. I unchecked the every button agreeing to any marketing/newsletter contact at all. I made a new email alias with angie in the name to give them (takes 10 sec).

I started getting commercial advertising to that email address before I was done paying!

-after- paying, Angies list would not log me in. Oh no, I had to 'complete' the process. The first form for that required that I turn over personal contact information, including my daytime phone number (a.k.a. my work phone! WTF!). It required that I agree to the terms of service, and provided a broken link.

I found I could click past that form and at least see my account page. There was a preference form listing several forms of email advertising delivery. All were checked. Given the incoming email, it seemed Angies had already given my email address to 3rd party marketers. What better welcome to new users - giving my email address out to spammers.

I emailed asking for a link to the terms of service, and demanding either a way to log in without providing my employers phone number or a full refund.

I checked the website, and found no way for a potential customer to see the user agreement or even know that there are additional conditions imposed after payment.

I read the agreement days later when I received a response with the link. I see why they hide it.
You agree they can auto renew your account, and may do so for a service level they pick. (I googled that, and found many reports from folks who were renewed at the most expensive level)
Y ...


Thaty sucks. I haven't had the issue with renewal, but thought my info had been given out to 3rd parties by them. Hasn't been too bad, but I'm not a fan. I can't speak to every way they may use your contact info, but since you are responsible for the feedback you give, it is important to them that you could be reached.

Again, I don't work for them, haven't in years, but when I was there, I sat in meetings  were credibility was chosen over profit potential. And the best way to use the list is to identify service provider behavior that drives you up the wall or must be avoided for whatever reason, and then pick the people who don't get dinged for that behavior. A contractor who does everything right, but is slow to return calls or is flexible on appointment times will drive Mr. Punctual to distraction and a bad experience.
 
2013-09-23 01:26:00 PM
I really don't get the attraction of Angie's List. If I need to hire someone, I email a social DL at work and ask for recommendations. For people who don't have a large enough workplace, there is almost certainly a Facebook group for your local town/city where you could ask. Why would anyone pay for this kind of service?
 
2013-09-23 01:36:45 PM

Curious: grumpfuff: Also, now that I RTFA,

Another free service that's worth checking in the Los Angeles area is the Better Business Bureau.

Because the BBB only serves the LA area?

maybe that's the only honest one. their reputation elsewhere isn't stellar.


The "BBB of the Southland", which covered LA, was expelled from the national BBB in March of this year because they were so crooked. There is a new "BBA LA" but I don't know if they've been around long enough to have a track record.
 
2013-09-23 03:38:30 PM

Unauthorized Bratwurst: The "BBB of the Southland", which covered LA, was expelled from the national BBB in March of this year because they were so crooked. There is a new "BBA LA" but I don't know if they've been around long enough to have a track record.


thanks for this news. it brought a big smile.
 
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