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yelp #1In this day and age, it seems as if we live and breathe the advice of others.  From suggestions on where to eat, cool places to hang out or even vacations to take, we all head right to those Reviews to help point us in the right direction.  As a small business owner, I do appreciate reviews, positive or negative, as it’s the honest feedback that makes better.    But here’s the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly,  on those sites we all have seem to become accustomed to living by.   The Good:  Review sites are definitely helpful in introducing us to new places–especially if we’re new to a neighborhood or looking for a specific food type, review sites can be a great starting point to help find us what we’re looking for.  The Bad: Very often unscrupulous business owners pay other companies to write  positive reviews on their sites and post bogus, negative reviews on their competitors sites.  Not very good for karma.    The Ugly:  Unless a business is paying for advertising, these seemingly honest sites will often hide their positive reviews.   And then, as part of their sales pitch, offer to remove unfavorable reviews in exchange for paid advertising.  Kind of ruins the whole point of this review concept, right?    My advice…let’s stop using review sites all-together and explore our world organically.  Try a new restaurant, stumble into that local bar, take a vacation to an unknown place and let’s be the judge for ourself.   If we don’t experience the good with the bad, then how can we truly ever learn to appreciate all the things we enjoy?