Why Marks Out Of Tenancy Is Better For The Lettings Industry Than Trustpilot
Taking The Trust Out Of Trustpilot
Tom Calver and Andrew Ellson, Consumer Affairs Correspondents from The Times, published an article entitled 'Estate agents and banks ‘gaming’ feedback website Trustpilot'.
Even though it's behind a paywall, so you may not be able to access the entire article, you can probably guess what's coming next.
Over the last few months Detectives Calver and Allson have been analysing reviews left by people like you and I for companies such as Foxtons, Purplebricks and Vanquis bank.
Three Huge Problems With Trustpilot
We're picking out three points from the article which are extremely worrying and undermine the concept of a review platform.
a) 'Trustpilot admits that its technology allows subscribers to filter out bad reviews.'
- It goes on to say 'Subscribers can use the company’s technology to filter the reviews they place on their own website or corporate Facebook pages, allowing customers to read only favourable posts.'
There is no way for anyone to filter out bad reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy.
We built the site to be warts 'n all, giving a voice to tenants so they can make better informed decisions. We have never and will never allow subscribers to filter out bad reviews.
b) 'Many small business owners who aren’t subscribers also complain that Trustpilot is not helpful at removing fake or malicious reviews.'
- Reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy are verified to ensure the person writing the review actually lived in the property. You can read about the ways we prevent and counter fake letting agent reviews here. We also employ two filtering systems to prevent bad words and potentially defamatory content from reaching the live site. In addition, any landlord or letting agent can submit a defamation notification using our process here. We help all users and customers whether they're paying to use the service or not.
c) 'Trustpilot is failing to remove reviews with identical text.'
- When we were building Marks Out Of Tenancy we used other review sites to learn what not to do. Many sites, including Trustpilot allow users to enter minimal text which is not useful to other readers. It takes seconds to leave a review on Trustpilot. In contrast, we ask our users to enter at least 85 characters of text in to their review boxes. By doing so the review content is more useful to everyone.
We're all about the quality, not the quantity.
On top of that, all reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy are read by real humans to ensure they pass our site standards.
Generic vs Specialised
There's multiple soapboxes available for consumers to have their voices heard from, Google Reviews, Facebook, Trustpilot etc. In the lettings industry a few players exist to help consumers make better informed decisions, but with hundreds, even thousands of pounds at stake per transaction, it's no wonder attempts are made to game these platforms.
Case in point, just days after launch, Marks Out Of Tenancy experienced a letting agent trying to cheat the review system.
The key point about Trustpilot, Facebook and Google is that they do not verify each and every tenancy review.
They are generic review platforms, used by companies to market themselves, not to improve renting.
Marks Out Of Tenancy is the opposite. We exist to improve the private rental sector by allowing legitimate users to leave reviews and providing letting agents with tools to help them improve their customer service.
What's Everyone Else Saying?
The relationship between Purplebricks and Trustpilot is documented avidly by PeeBee, flower and Chris Wood on Twitter, and Andrew Butler who set up #TRUSTJACKED in frustration at Trustpilot’s failure to deal with fake reviews. Check out their regular updates.
If you're and everyday user of the internet, does reading about Trustpilot's approach disappoint you?
If you're a tenant reading a review of a letting agent, does it instil feelings of trust and assurance?
If you're a letting agent using Trustpilot to advertise to landlord and tenants - how long until they realise you could be duping them like Foxtons and Purplebricks?
So Why Is Marks Out Of Tenancy Is Better For The Lettings Industry Than Trustpilot?
Marks Out Of Tenancy is a site for tenants to review their renting experiences by rating the landlord, letting agent, the property and the neighbourhood.
All reviews on the site are verified to ensure they actually happened.
We provide consumers with all review data, whether good or bad, whether the agency pays to be a member or not. This creates the truest picture of the experience.
We close the feedback loop. By providing letting agents with statistics and information on a branch-by-branch basis we're able to show our customers where they need to improve.
With tenants, landlords and letting agents, we're actively working to improve the private rental sector, not create a marketing platform which can be gamed by the highest bidder.
What Can You Do?
If you're a tenant, be safe in the knowledge that reviews are real. We don't filter reviews. It's all out in the open.
If you're a letting agent and you're using Trustpilot, your tenants don't trust it either. Leave the dark, come to the light side.
See how we can help you to improve what matters to your customers, not your Trustpilot score.
For extra reading, have a look at all Foxtons reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy.