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Whole Lotta Evaluatin Goin On

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Slides from March 16, 2011 RLACE (http://rlace.info) program. Presented by Steven Jablonski.

We all know where to find evaluations of products in Consumer Reports and other sources. Product reviews, however, are only part of an ever-expanding world of reviews, ratings, rankings, and evaluations, both professional and amateur, scattered over scores of websites and print products. In this program, Steven Jablonski of the Skokie Public Library will survey the best resources for finding evaluations of businesses, service providers and professionals, organizations, nonprofits, and more. We will explore where these evaluations come from and how reputable they are. These days, if something can be evaluated, it probably is. Here’s where you can find these evaluations.

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Whole Lotta Evaluatin Goin On

  1. 1. WHOLE LOTTA EVALUATIN’ GOIN’ ON!<br />Finding Evaluations of Services and More<br />Steven Jablonski<br />Skokie Public Library<br />
  2. 2. Today’s Agenda<br />General Considerations<br />Evaluations Mega Sources<br />Where to Find Specific Evaluations<br />
  3. 3. What is Evaluated?<br />Products<br />Retailers<br />Services<br />Individual Professionals<br />
  4. 4. Types of Evaluations<br />Reviews<br />Ratings<br />Rankings<br />Registries of Problems/Complaints Only<br />
  5. 5. How Are Evaluations Made?<br />Lab Testing<br />Professional Evaluator Reviews<br />Peer Reviews<br />Mass Consumer Surveys<br />Individual Consumer Reviews<br />Data Crunching<br />
  6. 6. How Do Evaluation Sources Compare?<br />For profit or nonprofit<br />Selective or comprehensive in scope<br />Local or just national businesses evaluated<br />Static or interactive display of results<br />Whether or not affordability is considered<br />
  7. 7. Grains of Salt<br />Personal recommendations are usually best<br />No evaluations are completely foolproof<br />Evaluations reduce, not eliminate, risk<br />Multiple evaluations are best -- look for patterns and trends<br />Patrons often want highly detailed information that’s just not available<br />The professional discipline process can’t be relied on <br />
  8. 8. Where to Complain?<br />The Consumer Action Handbook and www.consumeraction.gov<br />Best source for how and where to file a complaint<br />Illinois Attorney General’s File a Complaint http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/filecomplaint.html<br />Illinois Division of Professional Regulation www.idfpr.com/dpr<br />
  9. 9. Evaluations Mega Sources<br />
  10. 10. Angie’s List<br />Subscription Database (www.angieslist.com)<br />Monthly or annual subscription fees <br />For Chicago, $7.42 per month plus $10 sign-up fee<br />Members review and rate local services and healthcare providers in hundreds of categories<br />
  11. 11. Better Business Bureau<br />Free website www.bbb.org<br />Accredits, rates, and lists complaints against businesses and charities<br />Does not rank businesses against each other<br />Accepts and forwards consumer complaints to businesses<br />
  12. 12. Consumer Reports<br />Magazine and subscription database<br />Mostly product reviews with some exceptions:<br />Cell Phone Service<br />Credit Cards<br />Hotels<br />Insurance (Health and Auto)<br />Restaurants<br />Stores<br />Tax Preparers<br />Telecom Providers<br />
  13. 13. Consumer Reports Health<br />Subscription Database with content from Consumer Reports and Consumer Reports on Health<br />Mostly product reviews with some exceptions:<br />Hospitals <br />Health Insurance/Healthcare Plans<br />
  14. 14. Consumers’ Checkbook<br />Magazine and subscription database<br />Specializes in evaluations of local services including:<br />Medical<br />Home <br />Automotive<br />Retail<br />Database includes ratings of many services not in print version<br />
  15. 15. Consumers’ Checkbook<br />Evaluations based on consumer surveys, filed complaints, and Checkbook’s own price surveys<br />Won’t include businesses unless rated by at least 10 consumers<br />
  16. 16. ConsumerSearch.com<br />Free website www.consumersearch.com<br />Mostly product reviews with some exceptions:<br />Cellphone service<br />Insurance (Auto, Homeowners, Life, and Pet)<br />Long Distance Phone Service<br />Online Banking and Brokers<br />Tax Preparers<br />Websites (Dating, Jobs, Personal Finance, and Travel)<br />
  17. 17. Illinois Division of Professional Regulation<br />Free website www.idfpr.com/dpr<br />Provides license and disciplinary information for individuals in many fields including:<br />Accountancy<br />Health/Medical<br />Real Estate<br />Roofing<br />
  18. 18. Illinois Division of Professional Regulation<br />Unlicensed professions in Illinois include general contractors, plumbers, and electricians<br />Movers are licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission www.icc.illinois.gov<br />Consumers can file a complaint on website<br />
  19. 19. JD Power & Associates<br />Free website www.jdpower.com<br />Surveys consumer satisfaction and rates products and companies <br />Services evaluated include:<br />Finance<br />Healthcare<br />Insurance<br />Telecom<br />Travel<br />
  20. 20. Yelp<br />Free Website www.yelp.com<br />Largest and most popular website for reviews by consumers<br />Major focus on restaurants & bars, stores, beauty & fitness, and nightlife<br />Reviews overwhelmingly positive<br />Insiderpages (www.insiderpages.com) similar but not as big<br />
  21. 21. Finding Specific Evaluations<br />
  22. 22. Banks & Credit Unions<br />Bankrate.com’s Safe & Sound Ratings www.bankrate.com/rates/safe-sound/bank-ratings-search.aspx <br />Weiss Ratings (Banks Only) www.thestreet.com/bank-safety<br />Bauer Financial Ratings www.bauerfinancial.com/banksandcredit.htm<br />
  23. 23. Brokers & Financial Advisers<br />Only license and complaints/disciplinary information available<br />For brokers, http://brokercheck.finra.org<br />For financial advisers, www.adviserinfo.sec.gov<br />
  24. 24. Charities<br />Better Business Bureau Charities www.bbb.org or www.give.org<br />Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org<br />5,000 major charities<br />Guidestarwww.guidestar.org<br />1.8 Million non-profit organizations<br />Free registration required to see additional data<br />
  25. 25. Doctors (“Best”)<br />Castle Connelly Guides<br />America’s Best Doctors, Chicago magazine, and www.castleconnelly.com<br />Peer ratings on 25,000 top doctors <br />Free profiles of 5,000 doctors on website <br />Consumers’ Checkbook<br />Consumers’ Guide to Top Doctors and subscription database<br />Peer ratings of 23,000 top doctors<br />
  26. 26. Doctors (General)<br />HealthGradeswww.healthgrades.com<br />Patient ratings plus disciplinary, malpractice, and other backgroundinformation<br />ABMS Certification Matters www.certificationmatters.org<br />Information on certification in 24 specialties <br />IDFPR www.idfpr.com<br />License and disciplinary status only of Illinois doctors<br />
  27. 27. Hospitals (General)<br />HHS Hospital Compare www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov<br />Government data behind other hospital ratings<br />ConsumerReportsHealth.org Hospital Ratings<br />Slightly more user-friendly government data <br />Consumers’ Checkbook Hospitals<br />Government data plus physician survey<br />
  28. 28. Hospitals (Speciality) <br />U.S. News Best Hospitals http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals<br />Search for best hospitals by medical condition<br />HealthGrades<br />HealthGradesGuide to America's Hospitals and Doctors and www.healthgrades.com<br />Search for best hospitals by medical procedure or award<br />
  29. 29. Insurance (Customer Service)<br />Consumer Reports (Auto and Health)<br />Consumers’ Checkbook (Auto and Homeowners)<br />Consumersearch.com (Auto, Homeowners, Life, and Pet)<br />JDPower.com (Auto, Health, and Home)<br />
  30. 30. Insurance (Financial Strength)<br />A.M. Best (Life, Health, and Property)<br />Best’s Insurance Reports, Life-Health and Best’s Insurance Reports, Property-Casualty and subscription database<br />Weiss Ratings (All Types)<br />TheStreet.com Ratings’ Consumer Guides and www.thestreet.com/insurers<br />
  31. 31. Lawyers<br />Martindale www.martindale.com<br />Select peer ratings of top lawyers<br />Avvowww.avvo.com<br />Proprietary “Avvo” and client ratings<br />Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission www.iardc.org<br />License and disciplinary status only<br />
  32. 32. Nursing Homes<br />Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare www.medicare.gov/NHCompare<br />Government data behind other nursing home ratings<br />U.S. News Best Nursing Homes http://health.usnews.com/senior-housing<br />Provides enhanced searching for Medicare’s Nursing Homes Reports<br />
  33. 33. Schools (K-12)<br />School Report Cards (Public Elementary and High Schools) <br />Illinois Interactive Report Cards http://iirc.niu.edu<br />US News Best Schools www.usnews.com/education<br />Rates select high schools<br />Rate My Teachers www.ratemyteachers.com<br />Students rate teachers<br />
  34. 34. Schools (College & Beyond)<br />US News Best Schools<br />Best Colleges and www.usnews.com/education<br />Rates and ranks colleges and graduate schools<br />College and University Rankings www.library.illinois.edu/edx/rankings<br />Collection of links to dozens of college and graduate school rankings<br />
  35. 35. Schools (College & Beyond)<br />Princeton Review’s College Rankings<br />The Best 373 Colleges and www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings.aspx<br />Students rate schools<br />Free registration required<br />Rate My Professor www.ratemyprofessors.com<br />Students rate professors <br />

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