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Online review paradox

Internet has become an inseparable part of people’s daily life and plays a critical part in determining people’s decision making. Internet is the first place come to mind for many people to search for information and advice when they experience new things. Think about buying a new product, going to a new restaurant, or finding a hotel to stay for vacation, most people tend to search for them and read the online reviews to make their own decision. Without the opportunity to actually see the product being offered or have true onsite experience, the judgement of product quality and whether it is the one expected from consumer largely rely on the product review posted by other consumers. Theses reviews generate huge impact on the purchasing decision that consumer will make, thus it is directly related to the potential business opportunity of the businesses. With the highly profit related nature and easy manipulation method, the truthfulness of online review became a question mark.

To the best interest of businesses, manipulation of online review could help them result in higher slot during online search and gain potential consumers. For this reason, many business or online retailers are known to pay for ‘positive’ review. You might receive an email or flyer come with your product after purchasing saying ‘Receive a 5 dollar gift card for your 5 star review!’, retailers offer benefits to consumer for their positive review, so it is very likely that consumers will write a positive review that might not truly reflect their thought of the product but just for the 5 dollar reward. The positive review from these consumers should not be trusted, but the reality is it’s hard for people to evaluate the truthfulness of review while doing a quick search like looking for a restaurant. It is also know that some company requires their employee to write positive review for their products. Study have shown that more than 88% of consumers trust to online review and make their purchasing decision based upon it without knowing that the review they read may be fake.

If there is a question mark on the positive review, what about the negative one. It turns out that not only positive reviews are being manipulated, many negative reviews are also fake and should not be trusted. Many business was shown to create negative review for their competitors, so they can boost their winning chance on selling their products. There also exist a fairly open market of review writing. Some people become professional review writer and earn money for each review they wrote, without actually experience or see the product.

Some fake reviews could be identified under careful evaluation. Such as the amount of detail included, time posted or the word used. But it is hard to spot all fake review since they were wrote in exact way as real review. Under this huge uncertainty associate with online review, people should really not make their purchasing decision based entirely on the review. However, without opportunity to actually see the product, there is no other way consumer can evaluate the product other than reading reviews. Maybe this is one aspect that shopping in real market winner the e commerce market,  you know what you are buying.

88% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Positive Online Reviews—Or Negative Ones, For That Matter

As many study have shown,

9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Trust Online Reviews


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October 2016