Navigating Online Reviews

The internet is positively stuffed with reviews on any product or service you can imagine. From diapers to five star restaurants, there is no shortage of opinions for you to read up on. Being a modern day consumer means you have to learn to sort through the mass amounts of opinions in order to find out which products and places are worth your money. Here are some tips on how you can do that.

Fake Reviews

The ease in which companies can obtain fake reviews these days is astounding. This is such a significant problem within the online community. An article written by Joe Enoch for nbcnews.com states, “To see how businesses may be purchasing fake reviews, NBC News created a gardening business on Facebook and paid $168 to websites that promised to post positive reviews. Within 24 hours, the business had 999 likes and a few days after that, more than 600 five-star reviews. The reviews came from apparently fake Facebook accounts –- the profiles spread out across the globe. The reviews even include generic descriptions of the work such as “really efficient and a pleasure to deal with” and “very polite, did a wonderful job.” $168 is a small price to pay for an instant positive reputation. Additionally, the fact that consumers can be so easily mislead is a scary thought.

Don’t Indulge Extremes

Extreme reviews include 1 or 5 star experiences. When researching anything, ignore these ratings and the messages that go along with them. Those two ratings are good indicators that there are emotions behind the review. If someone has a negative experience with a product or restaurant, they are more likely going to try and persuade others to feel the same way. On the flip side, there are many companies who give away free product to buy positive feedback. This is the main reason why five star reviews aren’t always reliable. The best way to find accurate information is to read the reviews with 2-4 stars. These are people who may have disliked the product but didn’t have a strong reaction one way or another. Mostly, these reviewers are attempting to give honest feedback without emotion. Remember, everyone has a motive and that motive is not always to be helpful. Take each response with a grain of salt.

A Couple More Things

In order to ensure you’re getting accurate information about the products you’re researching, make sure to check out multiple sites for feedback. For example, if you’re searching for a stroller, read reviews on both Amazon and Target. Also, experts say responses with typos or broken English are probably paid reviews from people out of the country. Keep your eye out for anything that seems out of place.

Navigating the world of online reviews can be overwhelming. Due diligence is required in this modern age of internet shopping. Use these tips to help you sort through and locate the information that will be most helpful to you. Lastly, good luck!