Steven C. Wyer Explains Review and Directory Sites

Q: What is an online review site?

Steven C. Wyer: This is a website that allows consumers to weigh in on service providers, companies, or individuals. Review sites often utilize a visual star rating model coupled with text and/or photos and video.

Q: What type of content do review sites contain?

Steven C. Wyer: Websites like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Reviews provide consumers with basic listing information such as location and a detailed description of the business. Additionally, they serve as a town hall of sorts where current and previous customers can give their opinions and share their experiences with a particular business.

Q: Are there review site specific to certain industries, such as health care?

Steven C. Wyer: There are, actually. Many industries have websites dedicated to helping consumers pick the best provider for their needs. Specifically for physicians, and give patients the opportunity to comment on a physician’s office wait time, his or her bedside manner, and even report on actual treatment experiences.

Q: How are review sites different from directory lists?

Steven C. Wyer: A directory is essentially a searchable pool of data that list service providers in a particular category. They may offer information on a company’s telephone number, website, social media pages, and hours. However, directories are not designed to rate a business based on customer experiences. There are some hybrid sites that offer business listings with a review element. is one example.

Q: Do these sites require the business to actually participate?

Steven C. Wyer: Not necessarily. But, if the option exists, it is always best for a business owner to claim the listing. Many directory and review sites get their business information from public records, which may be outdated or even inaccurate. Typically, once a listing is verified, the business owner is given the opportunity to update the listing with current information.