Blog Home

But What Do the Reviews Mean? How to Evaluate Online Reviews

someone on a laptop writing online reviews

Last month on the Mission Place Blog we shared tips for writing effective reviews and invited readers from our apartment community to submit a review. As promised, we are following up that post with a post about how to effectively evaluate reviews, because today nearly everything we purchase, every venue we go to here in Jessup, MD, and every service we sign up for has online reviews. It’s a good idea to know what to look for when you peruse them and pull out what is valuable for your purposes. Read on to learn more!

Why Reviews Are Important

Think of reviews as doing a public service. When you share a review you are helping others make an educated decision about a product, service, or experience. Reviews are also a factor in creating change and making improvements because they bring issues to light — sometimes creating awareness where there was none. Reviews can also help hone persuasive writing, a skill which can be transferred to other arenas.

How to Evaluate Online Reviews

Reviews can range from being flat out ridiculous to being too general to being extremely helpful. The key is in evaluating them in regard to the information you need for your purposes. Follow these tips to more effectively evaluate reviews.

  • Take the extreme reviews (both good and bad) with a grain of salt. Too much of anything isn’t helpful.
  • Look for common themes among multiple reviews. If several people are saying the same thing, it’s more likely to be legitimate. (If there are only a few reviews, don’t weigh them the same way you would for a product, service, or venue that has lots of reviews.)
  • Read the overall tone of the reviews — are they mostly positive or negative?
  • Prioritize the content. Focus on the reviews that are most relative to your top concerns. For example, if you don’t care if there is a specific amenity that isn’t important to you, disregard reviews about that specific amenity.
  • Take reviews that resort to name-calling and hyperbole with a grain of salt — particularly, reviews that resort to vulgarity. These could be a case of sour grapes.

What tips do you have for evaluating apartment (or other types of) reviews? What does a great review have for you? Let us know in the comments so we can better perfect our reviewing processes this month.