Perhaps one of the greatest innovations of modern times is the review site.
Gone are the days when you had to cautiously venture into a restaurant, unsure of whether the meal would be a delight or a dud.
Banished to yesteryear are the feelings of nervous anticipation as you pull up to the hotel you booked, unsure whether you’ll be walking into the Ritz or The Shining.
Today, we can easily pull up reviews for everything, from restaurants to hotels to professors to contractors. With a few taps, you can see ratings and read what people like you have to say before making important decisions such as where to stay on vacation or which bakery to visit for Instagrammable cupcakes.
A recent study confirmed what most of us already know—online reviews help people make better, more-informed decisions. The Journal of Medical Internet Research found online review sites have a huge impact on how people choose their doctor.
“Ratings of health care providers are growing in importance and popularity, affecting both the revenue and the reputation of medical providers,” the study said, pointing to a recent example of nursing homes. After online nursing home reviews were released, “the market share of 1-star facilities decreased by 8%, whereas the market share of 5-star facilities increased by more than 6%.”
Researchers concluded that “Individuals perceive nonclinical ratings provided by commercial websites as important as clinical ratings provided by government websites when choosing a primary care physician.”
Stuck in the Past
Despite this wealth of information we have at our fingertips today, many states are still operating in the past. Around the country, countless workers like cosmetologists, hair braiders and even florists have to get government permission to do their jobs.
Occupational licenses exist supposedly to keep customers safe. Aspiring workers have to complete hours or even years of expensive classes or training, take exams and pay fees to get a license.
So what is occupational licensing good at? Driving up prices, killing jobs and holding back aspiring workers from pursuing their dreams.
In today’s world, most occupational licenses are unnecessary. We don’t need a government stamp of approval telling us whether a barber has passed muster. In just a few minutes we can go online, read the reviews of people whose hair he has already cut and make the decision for ourselves.
If you agree occupational licensing is outdated, tell your lawmakers it’s time to fix this broken system.