The advent of the internet has brought an age of its own. The internet has enabled us to gain access to the near-entirety of collective human knowledge at the push of keys. We are now able to communicate with people we would have been geographically limited from talking to, and businesses are now much easier to find.
But, with all these new benefits come new dangers. The danger of misinformation spreading, the danger of making contact with unscrupulous elements on the internet, and of course, the danger of being defrauded by shady businesses. Fortunately, these dangers can be avoided by exercising due diligence and by carefully evaluating information, people, and businesses.
The expert opinions of credible people hold so much weight in the digital space where reputation is everything.
Reputation Is Everything
We all understand this, and this is evident in how most people try to project a positive image on social media and in how freelancers and businesses rely on client and customer reviews to help drive an influx of clients and customers. However, there’s just one problem. – 39% of online reviews are unreliable.
This is an alarming statistic considering that the vast majority of online buyers base their purchase decisions on online reviews. This means that a lot of people are being deceived into thinking that a bad product might be good, and that a good product might be bad. Reviews only hold weight when they are written objectively.
Spotting An Unreliable Review
Not all unreliable reviews are fake, some reviews may be written by real customers, but the failure lies in how the review is written and by whom. A few key characteristics of an unreliable review are:
Comments unrelated to the product
Reviews that contain comments that talk about everything except the product (such as delivery time, the temperament of the delivery person, the packaging, etc).
Reviews written by people who don’t have the product
Reviews written by people who do not own the product, or reviews from people who have yet to receive the product are deemed unreliable because they do not have the product experience that prospective buyers look for. Remember that the purpose of a review is so that prospective buyers can look into the product experience of a fellow buyer. No product, no review.
It’s easy for reviewers to claim to have bought a certain product. And even if they do own the product, if the reviewer didn’t purchase their product from the same seller, it’s not going to be a reliable review because the source of the product is different and that means that there could be significant differences in how the product was produced or handled.
Reviews made by a paid reviewer
While sponsored reviews are completely legal, they tend to create a bias in the reviewer. Even when a reviewer claims to be neutral, the origin of the review has already been unduly influenced. Therefore the results of such a review cannot be as reliable as a review from a genuine buyer.
Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. It then follows that we have to be discerning of the reviews that we read online, especially when there are so many unreliable reviews out there. If you truly want an objective review, you might want to take the time to look for authority review sites and to exercise diligence when reading reviews.