From a plumber to a GP

The Best Thing Ever online forum now has more than 29,000 members. Sara-Jayne King interviews owner Janene Nates.

© Viktoria Korobova / 123rf.com

Do you use online reviews to find a product or service provider you need?

And how reliable are these recommendations?

Over the weekend breakfast, Sara-Jayne King talks to Janene Nates, who started a local online forum Best thing ever about five years ago.

The Best Thing Ever Facebook group now has more than 29,000 members.

I have the person who put my blinds up there and my gardener … Probably the most important person I found is the man who delivered my daughter!

Sara-Jayne King, host of the weekend breakfast

Nantes says she started the group “on a whim,” with posts about her painter and other things people may be interested in.

The Capetonian also wants to help worthy smaller businesses thrive.

The main concept was also to help the smaller businesses that couldn’t afford these massive marketing costs get the exposure they deserved for their excellent work.

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

The advertising costs are huge and I wanted them to get the recognition and grow. It just grew exponentially from there.

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

Members are primarily based, but not limited to, Cape Town.

There are also the expats all over the world who come on holiday, people who live abroad with holiday homes here.

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

The rules members must follow include that you have used the service you recommended yourself.

Nates says she checks every message.

Selling is not allowed. It needs to be tried, tested, and recommended, so it can’t just be a family member or a friend … who hasn’t actually used the services … or someone you’ve just heard is good.

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

You should be able to tell me in feedback that the costs were good, that it was time consuming, that the communication was good …

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

I spend a lot of time sending private messages to members behind the scenes to make sure they actually used the service provider. If not, I will delete the message.

Janene Nates, Best Thing Ever Facebook Page

It also removes any comments that amount to defamation of character, but allows the person to contact the member who recommended the service in question via direct message.

Best thing ever also launches its own website.

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