I recently saw a segment on the Today Show, with an expert discussing the now-familiar topic ‘How to evaluate online reviews’. Here’s the tagline for the video:
“Sharon Epperson, CNBC’s personal finance correspondent, joins TODAY to help you figure out which online reviews are reliable and unbiased when you’re making decisions about things like booking a hotel or investing in a kitchen appliance.”
With all due respect to Ms. Epperson, who actually provides some pretty good advice, this whole topic is demoralizing. The only reason for having review sites is to help people make decisions about products, services and destinations. Why should people have to work so hard in filtering through reviews that ostensibly have only one purpose in life?
Well, it’s obvious but un-stated that the reason people need to work so hard in using review sites is because so many reviews are unreliable AND biased.
As a result, the user has to spend time and energy trying to figure out what’s fake and what’s real. Here are some of her observations:
- One can get anxious when looking through reviews (she got anxious just preparing for the segment) because there’s so much data to go through to ensure a useful review
- When buying products make sure reviewers are verified purchasers before you rely on the review
- Review the reviewer – look to see where they come from, what they have posted in the past, see whether they have similar interests or taste
- Read at least a dozen reviews – on several different sites – so you can be sure the information is representative
- Look at the language used by the reviewer; maybe they’re being paid to write a review. If similar language is used across different sites, it gives you an indication there may be gaming, so you need to look at multiple sites
Whew, that seems like a lot of work. When you distill all these tips, they come down to one primary issue: trust. If you know you can believe the reviewer is actually trying to help by giving an honest opinion, it virtually removes all the other steps in this list.
So, as usual, we recommend you come to WhoDoYou, where the data is always accurate, and the advice can always be trusted. And as a side benefit, you’ll spend less time trying to figure out what’s real, and more time finding the provider that’s perfect for you.
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