The tech publication WIRED has conducted an in-depth analysis of Purplebricks’ reviews on the Trustpilot site and suggests the agency may be ‘gaming the system’.
Purplebricks vehemently denies the suggestion.
Meanwhile Trustpilot says it is investigating the way the agency reviews are gathered, as a result of the article.
In a lengthy story WIRED gives the long-known background of Purplebricks’ reliance on reviews and testimonials for promotion, and touches upon the rest of the estate agency industry’s scepticism about the validity of some reviews.
It then goes on to make some interesting observations worth quoting at length.
“At the time of writing, Purplebricks UK has racked up over 69,000 reviews on Trustpilot, the most popular review website for companies and services in the UK. An impressive 89 per cent of those achieve the top rung of Trustpilot’s five-point rating system: excellent. Seven per cent are great, one per cent average, one per cent poor and three per cent bad – that’s more than 66,000 positive reviews.
“Compared to its rival online agents, Purplebricks’ Trustpilot reputation is sparkling. Rightmove has 173 reviews on Trustpilot (36 per cent excellent, 36 per cent bad), Zoopla has 159 (18 per cent excellent, 72 per cent bad), Emoov has 2,157 reviews (83 per cent excellent, six per cent bad). Yopa, the most popular provider of this bunch, has 7,881 (88 per cent excellent, four per cent bad).
“On other online reviews websites, Purplebricks’ reputation is less glowing. On AllAgents, it has an average rating of 1.3 out of five from 238 reviews. On reviews.co.uk it’s rated 1.6 out of five from 165 reviews. In December 2016, the firm stopped allowing people to directly leave ratings on its Facebook page.
“WIRED asked KwikChex, a website that tackles online distortion, to analyse Purplebricks’ reviews on Trustpilot. KwikChex’s investigation has found evidence that Purplebricks is most likely gaming the system.”
WIRED also carries a detailed response from Purplebricks, as follows:
“A Purplebricks spokesperson refuted the allegation that the company tries to skew its online feedback in favour of positive reviews. ‘Everyone selling with us has the opportunity to leave an honest review of their experience. We do not pick and choose which customers should leave a review – and we do not seek to get reviews removed’ they say.”
WIRED says that until last week, Purplebricks’ profile on Trustpilot stated that it had no evidence that the company collected reviews. “After we submitted some of the evidence from this article to Trustpilot, the review site changed Purplebricks’ designation to ‘regularly asking for reviews – whether good or bad’” says WIRED.
The Purplebricks spokesperson continues:
“In keeping with Trustpilot’s best practice policy, we ask everyone selling with us to leave a review of their experience with Purplebricks at the Sold Subject to Contract (SSTC) stage via a customer email ... Lettings customers are asked for feedback at the ‘Move In’ stage also via email. We work closely with Trustpilot to ensure our policies and practices are market leading, fair and transparent.”
A Trustpilot spokesman is also quoted in the article, saying: “Our compliance team is currently undertaking a full investigation into the invitation methods being utilised by Purplebricks. We have previously sent a legal letter to the business requesting further explanation around some of their invitation practices and a meeting is scheduled to take place next month. Should it be deemed that the company is in breach of our guidelines action will be taken.”
Estate Agent Today has asked Purplebricks if it has any additional comments to make.
You can read the full article here.