Mom said it best: “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and when it comes to online customer reviews, those are words we should all keep in mind. In this age of information, we are all conditioned to be skeptical of what we read and see on the internet.
We look upon a three-headed dog with the appropriate suspicion and turn down our noses at large cash prizes for our participation in a survey, but we still feign disbelief when we find out that a consumer review that we based our dining or vacationing choice upon is untrue.
According to Time Magazine, anywhere between 10-30% of online customer reviews are fake. And why not? Business owners can hire freelance writers (for next to nothing) to write positive reviews for their services, and just as often, can hire those same writers to write negative reviews for their competitors.
So how can we wade through the false and the fake and find the answers we’re looking for? Try these BBB tips for getting the most out of online reviews:
Skepticism is good. For the foreseeable future, the internet’s reliability isn’t going to change much. While companies like Yelp, Trip Advisor and Amazon work on ways to seek out and remove fake reviews, keep your guard up and use reputable websites like BBB.org to aid in your decision making.
Don’t put all of your faith in what “John S. from Dallas, TX” said. Consider a consumer review to be just a small piece of the puzzle when you are making a purchasing decision. Ask friends and family their opinions, and always check BBB.org for objective and unbiased reports on both Accredited and Non-Accredited Businesses.
You aren’t a fortune teller. Despite what you may tell yourself, for the most part you can’t tell whether a review is true or false. According to research conducted at Cornell University, test subjects had only about 50% accuracy rate when they were tasked with determining whether a review was true or false, making consumers more akin to a Magic 8 Ball than a psychic.
For more information about the BBB or to check out a business or charity, visit our website.