A 4 Star Revue is a FAIL

Large national brands can withstand poor reviews without much of an effect on sales but 4 Star revues can “kill” small businesses.

Consequently, my approach to giving reviews has changed since I moved to La Grande, Oregon. I see the effect of poor reviews on local businesses and the cuts are harsh from harsh, undeserved reviews.

People in small towns must step up to support local businesses so in my new “review giving approach”, I’ll give a local national brand like McDonald’s three stars and every other restaurant or local business five stars. Google, Yelp, Trip Advisor doesn’t matter, if a local owns the business, it gets a five star rating.

Small towns operate differently and we shouldn’t let Google (or Yelp’s) stupid little high-school rating systems take us down. On the other hand, our local McDonald’s is probably the best one in the US and we’ll sacrifice them with a 3 star rating to make our local ratings legit. (Reviews bear more weight if the reviewer has lots of reviews and the star ratings vary. Someone posting all 5 star reviews or 3 – 1 star reviews are devalued)

A 4 out of 5 Stars rating can crush a local business and everyone in a small town has friends that work there so like it or not Google Maps, I suggest that locals give locals grace so their friends can survive.

You”ll see 4 Star ratings a lot that are given by people that grade harshly.

  • The box was mangled so I’m giving you a 4
  • I’d give it a five if it had xxx feature…
  • The service was slow compared to the fast food mentality that has infected the big cities.

You”ll see 3 Star ratings given by people that are having a hard day.

  • A new low for 3 Star reviews – a local doctor was given 3 stars because he’s so busy and it took 3 months to get an appointment. It’s not his fault because he’s so popular!

2 Star ratings are given by friends of competing businesses.

  • “Well, the food was cold, err the pickle was on top so you get 2 stars. I like it under the burger.

1 Star ratings are given by jerks that hate life.

  • It said BBQ on the sign but I only like barbeque.
  • I ordered one egg fried and one scrambled….you fried the wrong one.

Many people in small communities work several jobs to get by. 3 Star reviews don’t get people to exit the highway to give a business a shot and because of this, home town loyalty bears more weight in rural USA than big city values any day.

Upon moving to La Grande, Oregon I was adopted by some logging truckers and MacGyver’s long lost brother. I revelled at the compassion they had for the waiters and cooks when we went out to eat together. My friends were lavish with their tips, routinely leaving 30% on the table. I asked “MacGyver’s long lost brother” what was going on and he told me that the waiters were friends that were down in their luck and needed the money.

  • A Four Star Review is a FAIL
  • 4 out of 5 star review is a fail
  • Google Business Reviews
  • Yelp Reviews

Original Article Posted: March 2019
Updated Jan 23, 2020


Quora Why do people give four instead of five star ratings, when they have no complaints?

I had a conversation regarding this issue on Tripadvisor. I use the Tripadvisor site for planning vacations and road trips, and I “pay it back” by writing reviews on restaurants, attractions, and hotels upon my return.

When I look at someone’s review I look at their rating history. Tripadvisor uses 1 through 5 stars ratings. If someone has 50 reviews, and 45 of them of 5 stars, I don’t value their review as much as someone who has a more balanced review rating distribution. I made comments to that effect on the Tripadvisor forums. I was jumped on by a few users, how dare I tell them how to vote, how dare I tell them they can’t give every pizza shop a 5 star rating.

Like the other answers here have stated, 5 out of 5 stars means the best of class. By comparison, 4 out of 5 stars means no complaints. There are restaurants, attractions, and hotels that I have no complaints with, and I give them 4 out of 5 stars. But seriously, every Hampton Inn looks the same. What made this one different? If I give it 5 out of 5 stars it did something that was beyond my expectations, it had an exceptional breakfast bar, the staff was super nice, it stood out from the rest. I remember it above and beyond the others in its class.

Same thing with an attraction, 4 out of 5 stars means no complaints. It was really nice, if you are in the area, you need to check this out. But 5 out of 5 stars, that is a must see, it is at the top of the list. The place has something unique about it, the people there really care about what they are doing, they gave me something to remember.

In a perfect world no complaints would mean 3 out of 5 stars, the item that you are rating was pretty much as you expected, no complaints, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think standards have drifted down to where 3 out of 5 stars means not bad, close enough.

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