Online Reviews - Where Should You Really Look?

Jacques du Rand 2021-08-27

Online reviews can be a little contrived. Many places incentivise their customers to review them by offering some kind of reward in return. So how do you know you're getting a true reflection of the service to be expected, and which platforms might be more trustworthy than others?

When Do People Actually Review?

How often do you actually review places, services or products?

Typically we find that true reviews usually sit in one of two groups: when you've had a heartfelt great experience, or when you've had the absolute worst.

This makes looking at Google reviews extra interesting as knowing this you will clearly start seeing a large divide in reviews and be able to tell the better options from the perhaps not so great ones. If the divide is to be true, when looking at Google reviews specifically you'll see a split - many 5 stars, but also many 2 or even 1 star reviews for the same place. As long as it leans more towards the higher end you should be okay. If it leans towards the lower end or, sitting very evidently on the average line, you should probably know you're to expect average service.

Review Platforms Mostly Used

We've had very few native South African based review platforms, besides Hello Peter. The platforms we mostly rely on are very much internationally based platforms, with Google being the exception to the rule as it serves local content.

There are definitely very specific review platforms we would turn to depending on what it is we're trying to either review, or read up on.

General Reviews


Google Reviews

Google is very much one of the best platforms that one can turn to for general type reviews. Whether you're looking for restaurants, service providers or even product reviews, Google has them at the ready. You don't even have to go further than your Google search result page, which makes it super convenient too.

Trustworthy? Thumbs up.

We give Google a thumbs-up and say it is definitely trustworthy. Although service providers etc can request clients to go and review them in Google, you will mostly find that these reviews are more trustworthy because companies can not manipulate or delete reviews provided! So what you‘re seeing really did come straight from the reviewer.

Service & Customer Reviews


Hello Peter Reviews

Hello Peter is South Africa's very first, and formal, review platform. It is where everyone went to (mostly) complain about customer service received from companies in South Africa.

Trustworthy? Thumb-sideways

Unfortunately you'll find very few good reviews for anyone here as it morphed into more of a complaints platform over the years. The business model for Hello Peter is such that customers can review for free, but to rebut, companies need to pay for the privilege. No company wanted their name tainted, so what used to happen is that the moment customers weren't happy they would complain on Hello Peter just to force a response from the Company.

Another unfortunate development was when other review platforms, like Google, started to emerge and Hello Peter became a little less relevant. Companies started not to care too much about being held hostage to rebut any negative press, as Google reviews were becoming more and more prominent.

Hello Peter is still around, and still mostly used by people as a last resort to get a response from companies. But perhaps that in itself is also a sign of whether to use that company or not, as it might just show you the type of customer experience you're in for, should you work with them, if they have many complaints on Hello Peter.


Trust Pilot Reviews

Trustpilot is an American based review platform that aims to capture reviews and provide an overall star-rating to companies. Similar to Hello Peter, but they were just able to fulfil the vision where Hello Peter fell short.

Trustworthy? Thumbs up

They remained open and free to both customers and businesses alike. There is a paid for version for businesses that allows them to use and display the reviews and star-ratings on their own website etc. they also have gone one step further to protect and promote trust through their transparency report - which ensures that people can't manipulate their system.

It's a great platform and we've started seeing more companies from South Africa use them, however it is not very prevalent.


Yelp Reviews

Yelp was the place people would go before Google reviews. It is very popular in the USA, but also used globally. It is mostly used to review restaurants and is really great when travelling as you would get good honest feedback especially when looking for something worthwhile to spend your South African Rands on in a city you don't know. It sadly never really picked up any traction in South Africa, but that is possibly because they don't service this territory.

Trustworthy? Thumbs up

Really great especially for restaurants when travelling and, like TripAdvisor, they let you post photos of your experience. So it really helps to see the quality of food when travelling and trying to decide on where to go for a meal.

Product Reviews


Amazon Reviews

For product reviews there is no place better to look than on Amazon. They've been going so long, and have almost every product imaginable on that site, you're bound to get enough feedback to help you make a decision, or compare products.

Trustworthy? Thumbs up

Definitely, as you're getting feedback from the actual people that have bought the product. Many other ecommerce sites that sell products, or specific ranges of products, actually leverage the Amazon reviews on their own site to help people make more informed decisions.

It's also super convenient as they are all displayed with every product you look at.


TakeAlot Reviews

Our own homegrown Amazon want-to-be. Takealot ironically used to be one of those ecommerce stores who, in the early days, actually did display the Amazon reviews for products it sold. It has been nice to see this South African platform grow over the years, and do away with the Amazon reviews to offer their own.

Trustworthy? Thumbs up

Now that they do offer their own reviews, it is a great place to get a sense of products as the reviews are from other local South Africans. The only downside is that they don't always have reviews for all products.

For the most part, when it comes to reviews, Google is certainly by far the most prevalent and widely used platform we have today.

At Fibre Tiger we help you compare fibre and internet service providers to help you make a more informed decision. We also happen to have a 5-star customer service record on Google.

Google Reviews