I am Elle, the founder of The Hairy Potato.
My story began, with a quest.
A quest to find a dress.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it wasn’t.
Skimming the internet I realized how unsure I was of online stores that weren’t Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon, but they’re not the only game in town and specialty isn’t really their thang.
As I researched online dress shops, I realized there was a world out there that felt unknown – like a gamble.
How was I to be sure that this company was reputable? That I would get what I really wanted? That they wouldn’t sell my credit card info? That the site was any good at all?
I spent hours weighing my decision to buy a dress online from Azazie – which ultimately turned out to be a game-changer. When I received my amazing dress I realized that there are great companies online if you know where to look.
But finding these gems is the challenge.
I had thought to myself, “I wish there was a site that recommended the best online sites to me”. And while there are some sites that do this, they are often pubbing companies that aren’t highly rated overall – probably because the commissions are strong with them. Yes, that was a bad Star Wars* reference (*total NERD alert).
And that’s when it occurred to me that if unbiased website review recommendations weren’t easily found, I could change that. Cause building a site is super easy…. HA, Ha, ha, HAH!
So here we are.
You might be thinking, “can’t I just Google what I’m looking for?” Yes, you can. But, that’s an algorithm. You may be missing out on something really great that was buried on page 8, or 80, because great businesses don’t necessarily show up on page 1 every time.
What about Review sites? If the reviews are genuine and not manipulated for someone’s gain they are useful. But that’s not always the case, unfortunately. And it’s getting harder to discern legitimate from manufactured ones good or bad. The struggle is real.
Since starting to build this site I ask people how many sites they typically visit and while the answers vary some, on average people have about 10 sites they regularly go to and are pretty loyal to those sites because they trust them and know what to expect.
I’m determined to change that.
Let’s expand our horizons, there’s a whole virtual world out there.
My goal, my mission is – to help people try new things.
So What’s With the Weird Name?
If you haven’t noticed by now, we do things a bit different and think that’s okay.
The name of our site comes from the nickname of our potato shaped dog, Colby.
We chose it partially because we thought it was cute, and partially because www.thebestwebsitesonline.com seemed a bit long and was too obvious.
In hindsight, maybe we should have thought a bit more about the name because Hairy Potato can sometimes return some questionable results (see Hairy Mom ranking reference above) – sorry about that.
Bookmark us so you don’t wander off into dangerous Not Safe For Work (NSFW) territory.
- We pride ourselves on being unique snowflakes, just like everyone else!
- We especially like companies that go against the “normal” grain to set themselves apart from the herd.
- We’re skeptical optimists – an oxymoron if ever there was one.
- We ferret out positive reviews and recommendations from sources far and wide.
- We’re banking on you liking what we like, cause if you’ve liked what we’ve said so far, we like, might be like-minded.
How We Find Our Information
There’s no secret to our methods and we’re not offering anything you can’t do yourself.
In fact, you already do it everyday.
More than anything else, it’s just time-consuming to compile the best or the right choices for you.
We go to forums like Quora, Reddit, Mix, etc., search through Google, and then get some ideas about what sites people seem to like the most in different categories.
We go to the site and evaluate it ourselves for content and quality, understand their mission statement and what the company cares about.
Our criteria for what makes a great site:
- A FANTASTIC Customer Experience MUST BE #1 in the company’s priorities- This includes great customer service as well as hassle free trials or return policies.
- Value – This is probably universally understood, but it could mean a cheap low-priced product or an expensive but quality item. Bottom line, are you getting your money’s worth?
- Selection – Bigger selection might get our preference, or it could be that the company just focuses on one item but has perfected that item.
- Convenience – How easy the site is to make a transaction or to navigate and find what you need. This could include delivery/shipping times and fees as well.
After assessing the site, we read each review we can find to try and discern if reviews seem real or fake.
I find the fake ones usually have one of the following eyebrow raisers:
- All positive reviews, no negatives – come on, even with a perfect product there has to be something someone doesn’t like about it.
- Using people’s names in the review, repeatedly – When I see these I get suspicious. These usually go like this: “Sara was the best help.”, “Joseph really made it easy”. How many people will credit the name of someone when they used on an online site? I’m sure some are valid, but too many of these in a row screams fake.
- Many positive review extremes mixed in with many low reviews – Sometimes the negative reviews will even say something like, “all the positive reviews here must be fake because this was the worst experience of my life”. Not that those people couldn’t have had a one off experience, but if there’s something like that it’s a red flag to dig a little deeper.
Why We Show What We Do
We don’t want to waste your time. There might be tons of great sites we don’t know about yet that we’d be happy to consider adding, but we are really looking for the BEST things to tell you about. This means we aren’t going to bother showing you some mediocre company that hasn’t proven they have longevity. In the end, it could hurt you as a consumer if the company goes out of business or changes their customer-centricity to save a buck.
Hawaiians can keep their Spam
We hate spam, whether in email or in a can. We will not eat it with green eggs and ham. You get the idea.
But we would love to stay in touch if you’re open to it. Be open to it, please please please!
To monetize our site we use banner ads and Affiliate Links.
Affiliate links tie our site to other pages with an affiliate ID. This means if you decide to purchase after following one of our links we might make a small commission on it at no cost to you.
Being an affiliate does not mean we give preferential treatment to those companies, we also list companies which we have no affiliate connection to.
Bottom line, our goal is to add value to your online experiences.
We will only contact you with your consent, via our Contact Form or Newsletter (on the Contact Tab).
Thank you for visiting and… stay hairy, my friends.
Ways to Keep in Touch:
Please contact us with questions or comments using the form below and we will try to respond as soon as we are able to.
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Recommend a Site
We will evaluate the Website or Product you recommend* after you submit the form below. Based on if it meets our standards for “High Quality”, meaning there are a lot of additional reviews on more than one site confirming happy purchasers, we may post your recommendation on our site. Please be patient with us as we try to get to each and every recommendation in a timely manner.
Thank you for contributing to our knowledge base!
*No offensive or pornographic recommendations will be considered or tolerated, and submission of these will result in your IP getting blocked from our site.
How do we rule out fake reviews?
It’s impossible for a computer or a human to know with any certainty that reviews are fake. However, there are some tell-tale signs of suspicious review activity. A real review typically has pros and cons; when have you ever purchased or used anything that didn’t have at least one aspect that was lacking or could use improvement? Most legitimate reviews will go into some level of detail on why the item is good and bad. When we see something that has 100 short comments like “Excellent!” or “Great purchase” that could be real, but most likely isn’t. There are also patterns – when companies manufacture reviews, they typically all sound the same or have the same broken English. We’ve actually seen a site with many duplicated reviews where full paragraphs were copied and pasted verbatim but from different reviewers. We also try to run some analysis through sites like FakeSpot which will give an assessment on if the reviews seem authentic or not based on machine algorithms. However, these can be very hit or miss as well. For us, it comes down to getting a good feel for the reputation of a company or product and hopefully knowing someone who has had a real experience we can draw on. Of course, each experience will vary as well and companies and products change in quality or reputation day by day. But, so will our recommendations.
What do we mean by “the Best” and “High Quality”?
We believe the term “the Best” is a personal interpretation, one person’s best may be another person’s idea of the worst, so what we do is search for products with average scores higher than most and present the different target segments that might apply, i.e., “Best Email for Affiliate Marketers”. When we say “High Quality” and if a product or website is on our site, we have determined that it meets our defined standards for overall consumer happiness in that genre. This means we have assessed that the site or item has a score of 4 stars or higher* on multiple trusted websites. We also read through both the negative and positive reviews to understand what the majority of people like and dislike the most. Will we nail it accurately 100% of the time, probably not… but hopefully we can save you some time with a good starting point and a little information on what you might be interested in purchasing to boot.
Why was my comment or review removed?
We aim to keep our site’s integrity pure and have a pretty keen eye for junk data. While we are definitely interested in our visitor’s opinions, the “squeaky wheels” tend to be people who are looking for a venue to complain/troll, are sabotaging a reputation intentionally (paid or not), are incoherent in their complaints, haven’t actually even used the item ever, or have not bothered to do any of the legwork to try to get reparations from the company itself. Unfortunately for these grumpy monkeys, we have a fairly high bar for standards and will not accept these as “legitimate” reviews.
We ask that all comments and reviews adhere to the following:
- Be Respectful– No offensive language towards companies, other posters, products, or us (really anything) will be tolerated. We actually love profanity ourselves, but think of the children. All those children (and nuns), looking for great products and deals who don’t want to have to read your profanities. We have blacklisted the “dirty words” from our site anyways, so chances are you weren’t able to enter it, but if we moderate your comment and find swearing or other spam, we will remove the comment/review.
- You MUST have purchased or had an actual experience with the product or website to review it – This shouldn’t have to be said, but do not review a product or site you have never interacted with. While doing research to find reputable travel companies, there were numerous 1-star posts from people who shared sentiments like “I’m glad I never tried this place because of all the bad reviews”. Please refrain from adding your review unless you have firsthand experiences to share.
- Allow the company to make it right first– Before broadcasting hatred and disappointment to the world, allow the company to make reparations to you. Human and system errors happen to even the best of us, so it is unfair to expect perfection or that there will never be a one-off problem with a company or product known for being reputable. We ask that you allow a company the opportunity to restore credibility before completely writing them off, if the situation affords it. A lot of companies will go out of their way to fix a bad experience and we believe this to be a sign of that company’s strength, not failure.
- Write legibly and coherently – This is probably the most challenging request in the list, but we need you to write clearly. Reviews where the writer has misspelled most of the words and it doesn’t make sense are not helpful. It might be safe to assume the same lack of communication that prevented a coherent review has probably created some of the problem that formed the complaint in the first place. While we will try to attempt to correct minor grammatical errors, we have to be able to trust the reviewer and understand what they are trying to convey, to ensure that it has merit.
- No promotions or solicitations are allowed– All spam, advertisements and self-promotion will be removed immediately.Thank you for abiding to our standards, we hope that this will keep our website enjoyable and useful for all visitors.