To go, or not to go...

To go, or not to go…

While it’s all the rage these days to go to a website called “Google” and search for a new restaurant or plumber, unfortunately you still have just as much risk of finding a dud as you would in the phone book. After a few attempts, most people quickly realizes that just because a business is listed first in the search results does not mean that they actually have the world’s best garlic bread.

Luckily, there are several places that have amassed quite a bit of comments, reviews, and ratings from people who have been in your shoes and decided to share about their experiences with local businesses.

As with any recommendation, the more people that have voiced their opinion, the more accurate they that recommendation should be. Plus, with the power of user contributions, there is no need to ever pay for reviews anymore (you know what I’m talking about big Z), and you can finally break your dependence on the questionable integrity of articles from a certain site that writes reports for consumers!

Here are a few sites that not only have more than enough data, but we also trust implicitly to provide the information needed to make your final decision.

  1. Yelp.com

    1. yelp-logoWhen looking for restaurants or boutique locations, Yelp offers a great experience for finding new places to for you to try. Written by average people as opposed to food editors, you’re likely get a great (oftentimes clever) summary of what to expect. Yelpers, as they are affectionately known, are passionate about providing useful information and about building a community atmosphere. The only concern is that Yelpers have a tendency to be foodies or have unrealistic expectations – so take everything with a grain of salt.
  2. Buzzillions.com

    1. buzzillions_logoBuzzillions specializes in accumulating TONS of reviews from all over the web for individual products. If you’re trying to decide between Digital Cameras or different GPS units, this is the place to go. Plus, in an effort to make sure things are as accurate as possible, they do their best to make sure the reviewers have actually bought the products they are reviewing!
  3. Boorah.com

    1. boorahBoorah uses a brand spankin’ new web technology called the “semantic web.” Basically, it amounts to the Boorah site scouring the entire internet for any morsel of a review that it can find, and then automatically determining if that review is positive or negative. What it results in is a restaurant review site that has literally hundreds of comments for each listing, so you can trust the information that you find. The only downside – Boorah has only formally launched in select cities to this point.
  4. Urbanspoon.com

    1. urbanspoonUrbanspoon may be the simplest and most straightforward of the review sites. No funny business, just straight up votes and food expert reviews. If you’re a little nervous about getting started in the restaurant review world, or you don’t think that you’re cool enough to be on Yelp, then this is a great place to start. Plus, they have some amazing apps for your smartphone!
  5. Epinions.com

    1. epinionsEpinions has been around for quite some time, since the dot-com boom. That means one thing…they’ve had people using is for a LOOOOONG time. It’s longevity gives it a distinct advantage – it has more quality reviews than just about any other source for practically every product that you may be looking for. As they say, its an oldie but a goodie.

Play around and try out some new places that you might have not heard of otherwise…remember variety is the spice of life. Then if you can muster up the courage, sign up for an account and start contributing!