If you own a business, someone somewhere is talking about you. If you've visited a business, you're talking to someone about it or leaving an online review. If you plan to use a business, then you're listening to friends & reading online reviews.
Regardless of which category you fall into, reviews will effect how or who you do business with. For a searcher you should be interested in review sites that your friends use or that have lots of reviews so you have high confidence the rating a business has. For a business it's a little more difficult, all review sites and ratings are important and encouraging your customers to leave truthful reviews on all sites will help you build trust with your next potential customers.
So where should you start? You can start by visiting each of the sites listed below to check and see what consumers and customers are saying.
Google Places allows business owners and customers alike to view and review businesses around the world. As Google is one of the most prominent search engines, Google Places is where a lot of people choose to leave reviews. Creating a page under Google Places can help customers find you, but can also allow customers to post reviews of your business. To search for your businesses reviews, just Google your business and see what comes up.
While Yahoo! Local is not a review site, per se, it has recently added reviews to its search function. If you visit the Yahoo! Local page and type in the name of your business and the address of your business, you can see what customers and/or clients have been saying. You can read all your businesses reviews as well as see how your customers are ranking your business within the Yahoo! Local star rating system. Head to the Yahoo! Local page to see if you've been reviewed.
The YellowPages online is a trusted source in finding good business reviews. Much like many other review sites, the YellowPages online allows customers to review and rate your business with comments (sharing their experiences) and stars (rating your business on a scale of one to five). Visit the YellowPages and search the name of your business to find out what experiences people are sharing about your business.
If your business intersects with the travel industry, you should check Tripadvisor for reviews. Tripadvisor offers customers the ability to rate and review hotels, restaurants, flights and things to do all across the globe. Check Tripadvisor to see if you've been reviewed and what your customers are saying about their experiences with your brand.
Yelp is one of the most popular review sites, in part because it does nothing but give reviews. They have a large community of opinionated users rating almost every type of business out there. If you're not on Yelp, many people won't even know your business exists.
Move over, Craig: Angie has a list, too, and it's where customers can find the best help for service-related tasks and jobs. There is a membership fee, but it might be worth joining to see what Angie's got to say about your business.
Some people think of CitySearch as the place to go to find the best happy hour or the best Mexican restaurant, but they do have reviews for a wide range of businesses, so be sure to check if your business is reviewed here.
Got a restaurant? Make sure to see who's dishing about you on Urban Spoon. They consolidate restaurant reviews and user reviews into one website that allows customers to find places to get the best food in town.