By Chris Dato • November 10, 2014
Here at promocodes.com, we take very seriously our goal of bringing you the best bargains and secrets to save. Given that deals that seem too good to be true are just par for the course, I cannot overstate the value of a reliable review site. When it comes to being a truly savvy shopper, finding reliable information on products and services is just as important as pouncing on a good deal when you get the chance. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the review sites that we feel are doing a particularly good job of providing valuable, unbiased information on everything from entertainment to employment.
When speaking about sources for customer reviews, Yelp is likely the first one that pops into your head and with good reason. The name has basically become synonymous with leaving an online review, much in the same way ‘googling’ has come to replace ‘looking up’ in many of our vocabularies. The impact that Yelp can have on the standing of a company is unmatched by any other third party review, especially in the case of small businesses. What is great about Yelp is the fact that it has reviews for almost anything you can think of. While most people associate the site with restaurant reviews, that is no longer even the largest category. As of 2011, the most heavily populated category of business review has actually been shopping. What is refreshing about Yelp is their continued commitment to trustworthy reviews, as they discourage establishments from coercing good reviews out of customers. They opt for quality over quantity in their reviews, stating “We don’t believe that our customers necessarily want to be seen as a promotional vehicle.”
One uniquely useful site that we have grown to love is Activity Hero. Activity Hero was created in order to make it easier to find safe, developmentally enriching activities for parents to get their children involved in. The self-described “two and a half moms” who founded of the company did so in response to the real issues they faced finding quality entertainment for their children. As soon as you visit the Activity Hero site, you are automatically directed to reviews for things to do in your area. The site features reviews by site staff, as well as user submitted reviews. Activities are divided into categories, with very helpful and comprehensive reviews tailored to mothers. In addition to reviews, the website also offers suggestions for things to do in your area, as well as deals and discounts. Activity Hero is an invaluable resource to parent who want to make sure their child gets the most out of their free time.
A small batch craft beer is the perfect accessory for that handle bar mustache you are rocking for Movember. Unfortunately, with so many options to choose from, it is easy to get lost amongst the myriad of moonshines and microbrews. Luckily, the only things hipsters love more than small batch brews is giving their opinion of them. Thus, we get Beer Advocate. Beer Advocate has all the information you could possibly need for finding a beer that is right for you. The site has a top 250 beers list and surprisingly insightful reviews of microbrews from all over, which feature pertinent stats about the beverage such as its ABV, style, brewery, and even the type of glass out of which it was consumed. Don’t panic if you already feel in over your head, Beer Advocate also features a Beer 101 section with articles on everything you need to sound like a real ‘brewdie.’ That is like a foodie, but with microbrews. (I just made it up, but help me make it a thing!) Also, if you are not familiar with the refreshingly altruistic roots of The Movember Foundation, check out this article on a great organization.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received regarding interviews is to approach them from the point of view of a customer. Realize that the company should be making itself as appealing to you as you are doing for it. This is the philosophy behind Glass Door, which is helping flip the dynamics of interviews on its ear. The website features reviews of companies by past and present employees. These reviews are comprehensive, and include the pros and cons of working for the company, advice for management, approval rating of the company and its CEO, and even a synopsis of the interview experience. The authenticity of getting information directly from employees gives Glass Door a uniquely insightful edge, and can give you that same advantage at your next interview.
One of the most trusted names in online reviews is TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is the largest travel site according to comScore Media Metrix, featuring over 190 million reviews from 45 countries worldwide. These reviews cover over 4.4 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. With so many reviews from around the world, TripAdvisor has the ability to bring you a uniquely local experience no matter how far from home you are. After all, there would be no bigger crime than to travel all the way to Italy just to end up eating at a Pizza Hut. One of our own staffers relied on TripAdvisor this summer to find authentic local eateries as she traveled through Europe. One of these restaurants was Pane & Toscana, a delightfully tiny establishment that might have been looked over if it weren’t for its glimmering reviews on TripAdvisor. The page ranks the hole-in-the-wall as the #11 eatery out of nearly 2000 in Florence, and displays its 2014 Certificate of Excellence as well as a price guide and description, as well as glowing comments like, “I'm still thinking about the wild boar, spiced pecorino and blueberry jam sandwich over a week after getting home! “ The travel site’s global reach make it vital resource not only for travelers, but savvy shoppers and ever business professionals trying to tracks industry trends.
With the overwhelming plethora of online reviews, the key is to find which reviews fit your specific criteria. And when you find a site you like, be sure to contribute your own reviews to keep the cycle working.
Chris Dato A Southern California kid born and raised, Chris is happiest with sunglasses on his face and sand under his back. Although a self-proclaimed master money saver, he prefers the term 'responsibly frugal' to 'cheap.'