I learned in a recent roundtable discussion with door and window dealers that they don’t like the online service Yelp. They don’t like that you can pay people to write good reviews for your company to get a higher ranking. They don’t like that the competitor down the street can pose as a customer, write a bad review in a matter of seconds and potentially tarnish your reputation. But as I learned the day before this seminar, people do Yelp for help, so don’t write off this service just yet.

Let me share my story, which occurred the day before this dealer session was held at Fenestration Day in Irvine, Calif., on March 19.

First, I am not the savviest person when it comes to apps—I have just enough to get by. But when my 14-year-old daughter kept bugging me for a piercing (the cartilage on her ear), I enlisted the help of social media. My story may just make you think twice about these online review services.

So she had been bugging me for months and I kept saying I would look into it. Literally, every day she asked me if I had. When she asked me the night before I left for Fenestration Day, I said, “No, I haven’t. I’ve been busy planning this event, working, doing laundry, so no, I haven’t researched it yet.” She said okay, off she went and then my guilt kicked into overdrive. So when I was safely at the airport the next day with some time to kill, off I went on my search. First, I started with a Facebook post.

“Ok help needed from Facebook friends. My daughter has been bugging me to get her cartilage on her ear pierced and I can’t put her off anymore. I think I pretty much decided I am going to let her do it so speak now if you have any horror stories to share. So I guess my major question is if anyone has done this or has kids who have done it, do you go to someplace like Icing (at the mall which one friend recommended) or dare I say it do I take her to a tattoo and piercing place. If I go the latter route I would definitely need some solid recommendations. So there you have it. Feedback appreciated.”

The comments flooded in, and I learned that half the people who have done this got infections (I don’t’ even want to know what cauliflower ear is, but apparently my niece had it), and the other half who recommended it said go to a tattoo/piercing establishment. One Facebook friend even told me to go to her brother-in-law in Fredericksburg, Va. So off I went to Yelp to check out this establishment and learned that Jeremiah at Golden Monkey Tattoo is indeed the place to go if we proceed with the piercings. His reviews were stellar.

So, bottom line: My decision was finalized after Yelping for help. So before you discount online review sites, take your business hat off and put your consumer hat on, and you may find yourself with a whole new perspective.

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