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Are Online Reviews Worth Anything? Are We Wasting Our Time?

In light of the situation with GameStop stock – where Robinhood decided to restrict purchases of several “meme stocks”, such as $GME, $AMC, $BB and many others – they were bombarded with a slew of negative online reviews about their platform. Rightfully so, since they violated their customers’ trust and the user agreement of their platform when they decided to act as a financial advisor and restrict people from buying stocks. All of these negative reviews left Robinhood, the formerly popular investment app that allows casual investors to dip their toe into the stock market, with a one-star rating.

End of story, right? Wrong.

Google and Apple came to their “rescue.” Showing a true alliance between Wall Street and Big Tech, they removed over 100,000 negative reviews from their app stores to boost Robinhood back up to a four-star rating. This begs the question: Does your review mean anything anymore?

Do reviews mean anything?

Ever since you were able to leave online reviews of a business, there have been people loading the deck. Whether it’s a friend calling in a favor or your favorite restaurant bribing you with a coupon, business owners have been clamoring over a good online footprint for decades. The situation around Robinhood is just an egregious example of what people have been doing for years. 

It’s not new. Ask Yelp and Amazon.

Yelp, the most widely-known review app, has been censoring people for years now. If you don’t consistently leave reviews on the app, they will remove all negative reviews so that you don’t squash the credibility of a business. There have been several stories of Amazon paying people to leave fake positive reviews to boost the sales of its own products over third-party sellers. 

There needs to be a way to right this system.

We are taught that you cannot believe everything you read online, and this is a perfect example of that. There is no incentive for businesses to show integrity. They are being rewarded with higher sales for lying.

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