CityGrid Media now owns CitySearch.com, InsiderPages.com, MerchantCircle.com and a variety of other local search sites including ServiceMagic.com.  I recently signed up on CitySearch.com to update a company profile for one of my clients only to find that the website listed for the company was a link to the company profile on ServiceMagic.com.  The number listed was an 800 number that is used to track calls for Service Magic.

I would have liked to list the company independently and list the regular phone number and website, but I guess there is nothing wrong with Service Magic using its website partners to generate leads for their customers.  Its worth noting however that they charge their customers per sales lead.

What stood out to me was one very recent review from a supposed customer.

“Complete work as agreeded apon in the time agreed apon. Pricing was good.” -Neighbor in Royersford PA

CitySearch profiles import reviews from Service Magic.  On CitySearch anyone can sign up to write a review but it appears that this feature is not available on Service Magic.  The review above could potentially be from an actual customer but it appears that it was fabricated.  If a customer is going to take the time to write a review it is usually a lot more descriptive.

How are Service Magic Reviews collected? Do they contact the customer after the work is completed and ask or might they have some person or computer automatically generating reviews for paying customers?  I looked randomly at 10 other companies on Service Magic and consistently found short, non descriptive reviews by a “Neighbor from a nearby town.”  I glanced a about 50 other companies and could not find one that was rated less than 4/5 stars.

I usually used Google Maps or Yelp to read reviews because I often find negative feedback, or detailed positive feedback.  I would never use a site where there are only good non detailed reviews because that completely defeats the purpose of having reviews.

I hope CityGrid Media will get more bad publicity for giving fabricated reviews to their paying customers.  I found a lot of blog posts and comments on this topic but nothing from a large credible website.  Did anyone else find anything about fake Service Magic reviews?

Posted In: Uncategorized

9 thoughts on “Service Magic and CitySearch working together…fake reviews?

  1. Angela Doss

    Hello-

    My name is Angela Doss and I am a customer service representative for ServiceMagic. CitySearch and ServiceMagic are owned by the same parenting company, IAC, however ServiceMagic operates separately from them. All of the ratings you see on ServiceMagic.com are from consumers who were matched with one of our Service Professionals via a ServiceMagic request, who chose to provide feedback about their experience through our closed-loop ratings process. We allow consumers to submit ratings from 1-5 stars, and encourage their honest feedback. There is variance across our network; however you will not see many ServiceMagic pros with multiple terrible ratings, simply because we do not allow them to stay in the network.

    If you have any further questions or concerns please contact me at adoss@ServiceMagic.com or (303) 963-8125.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Angela thank you for contributing, it must be a fun job defending Service Magic all across the internet. I wish you could elaborate on the “closed loop” ratings process. If Service Magic reps are contacting consumers after the job is completed and then posting their comments as “Neighbor from Neighboring town” I think is an unfair advantage for Service Magic contractors on CitySearch.

      I wouldn’t say that ServiceMagic operates separately from CitySearch if ServiceMagic goes on to the company profile on CitySearch and points the phone number to their ServiceMagic tracking phone, the website links to the company profile on ServiceMagic, and CitySearch imports reviews from ServiceMagic. They are very much working together.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Citysearch definitely appears to be paying *someone* for fake reviews. If it’s not them who is paying, they are looking the other way. For example, take a look at this user: http://my.citysearch.com/members/public/profile/SalsaDancing. He’s reviewed 10 car dealerships in the past month, all with 5 stars.

    At Burien Toyota “I took my Corolla in because”; at Hoehn Honda “”I purchased a Honda Ridgeline in 2007”, at Mataga Buick-Pontiac “and service for my Escalade”; at University Mazda “I love bringing my car to University Volkswagen” (that’s not a typo — wrote Volkswagen”.

    My all time favorite is his review of Burien Chevrolet: “Be conversational: Write as if relaying your experience to a good friend. Be thorough: Mention your favorite products or services offered by this business, such as menu items, home delivery or spa treatments. Be local: Identify the neighborhood where the business is located and mention nearby”

    Looks like some instructions to someone paid to write reviews to me, no?

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hey Anonymous, Thanks for your comment. Glad you were able to track down an example of someone who reviewed 10 car dealerships in a month. It will be hard for CitySearch to build a loyal base of users if they don’t provide objective reviews on there site.

      Reply
  3. mike

    i am a contractor who has been with service magic for over 2 years now and i can tell you every one of my 39 leads to date are 100% genuine….
    i work very hard for a 5 star rating…..
    Service Magic has there own rating department..
    thanks Mike …..R.I. Remodeling

    Reply
  4. Lorette

    I know that someone I hired was leaving positive reviews for himself using clients’ names. One lady left a message for him on merchantcircle’s page for Handy Husband Contractors, Annapolis, MD, stating “I am (name), please remove the review. I did not write it!” She (I assume it was her…maybe there are more ladies he’s created reviews for?) had a review posted on the site earlier stating that she didn’t write the review and then explained what really happened during her experience with the handyman. I have now talked to other people who hired this man based upon the positive reviews on places like ServiceMagic (he has an astounding 22 4 and 5 star reviews) but who had to hire other people to finish the job, tried to pay him even when the work was poor but he never collected payment and then tried to sue them, etc.

    Reply
  5. Savannah Golom

    Had left a negative review on citysearch and it was removed.violated their tos blabla..i do agree they don’t allow bad reviews…one of the reps there was even spamming my blogs (I have over 100) and then complained when i called it spam! Yes i would stay away from reviews from citysearch and use yelp or tripadviser

    Reply
  6. Sully Walls

    YES, Citysearch only see for $ $ $ $ $—If you paid them, they will also remove the bad reviews. If you don’t they will post bad reviews in your profile….There is a salon in Astoria, Queens of name Patricia, they are posting bad reviews to all their competitors. Citysearch lets them do it. If a customer post a bad review about them they will remove it very fast.

    Reply

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