We take a number of precautions to ensure that providers can't manipulate their reviews or ratings on the List. Some of our safeguards include:
•No biased reviews: Businesses are not allowed to rate themselves and all members must confirm that they are not affiliated with the company when leaving feedback.
•No anonymous comments: To ensure the integrity of recommendations, we do not allow anonymous reviews. Members provide their contact information when joining so we always know who is submitting feedback.
•Feedback verification: A combination of proprietary technology and good old-fashioned investigative techniques are used to root out potential conflicts of interest, cases of fraud, and attempts to "stuff the ballot box" with positive comments. We check all feedback before posting it and remove any fraudulent comments. Any company engaging in fraudulent behavior is excluded from category searches and a notice is placed on their profile. Additionally, providers can't remove their names from the List, so companies can't hide poor ratings or fraud notices. The strong possibility of public shaming is often enough to convince companies not to try.
•Annual audits: Since 2007, we've turned to BPA Worldwide, an international auditing firm, to help ensure the reliability of our service. This annual audit provides an independent check on our own internal accountability procedures. After conducting recent fieldwork and analysis, BPA auditors found that Angie's List "follows a consistent, documented set of processes to present fairly, in all material respects, the ratings and input of the site's members."