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How much trust do you put in online reviews?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Borla, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Offline

    Borla Very Tilted

    I just read this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/technology/finding-fake-reviews-online.html?hp

    It's not surprising, but it's disappointing how much of a business writing fake reviews has become. I would LOVE to have the chance to try to sift through the fake vs. real reviews as mentioned in the article to see how good I was at detecting fake ones. I find myself often reading through reviews on Yelp! or Amazon and discarding them because the tone or vocabulary of the reviewer makes me think they are trying too hard, or I get a gut feeling that they are the type who is either easily impressed or conversley always nit-picky. Maybe I'm being arrogant, but I think I could sniff out a good portion of the fake reviews. :p And that's why I rarely just look at a product or place and say "Wow, it has 4.5 stars, it must be great!" without reading several reviews in detail first.

    On the other hand, I've really been trying to use Yelp! to review places I visit so that I can give feedback to others, since I appreciate the feedback I read there and use it often. I also figure that it's an additional way to support the businesses that I like.
  2. Offline

    amonkie Administrator

    Location:
    Windy City
    I am big into Yelp, partly because you can look at a poster's ratings and see how many 1,2,3,4, and 5 start ratings they give.

    When I read reviews I look for points of consistency on specifics (Good or bad) across the different reviews. Hearing about characteristics of a specific waiter or staff person by name or appearance, patterns on specific days, etc and also how long ago the place was rated.

    Amazon is a totally different animal though. It's hard to know what someone's expectations were going into a purchase, and whether the expectations were the same as mine.
    Borla likes this.
  3. Offline

    Spiritsoar Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    New York
    To be completely honest, I almost always go to the bad reviews first. I look at them carefully (one bad experience doesn't mean a horrible place), but I've found that consistency in bad reviews shows a lot more than consistency in good reviews.
    Devoid and Borla like this.
  4. Offline

    Borla Very Tilted

    Agreed about checking out the poster's ratings. I especially like it if I can find their reviews on places that I frequent to see how much their opinions align with mine.

    Excellent point, both that one bad experience doesn't mean the place is bad, and that if everyone complains about the same thing it is likely to be true.
  5. Offline

    ratbastid New Member

    There's a little family italian place in my town here that we LOVE. It's small, cozy, a little offbeat.

    The online reviews of it seem to be exactly 50/50 people who love it for all the reasons I love it, and people who hate it.... for all the reasons I love it. Very interesting.
    Ourcrazymodern? likes this.
  6. Offline

    Stan Very Tilted

    Location:
    Colorado
    I tend to look at negative reviews and compare them to my intended use of the product. A lot of times, people whine about things that I couldn't care less about. One of the criticisms on my new bike was that the muffler bolt tended to vibrate loose. Nice to know, I have Loctite, and I know how to use it. If that's the biggest issue with the bike, I'll be happy.
  7. Offline

    Ice|Burn Getting Tilted

    This. Looking for a common problem that a bunch of people share is a excellent warning sing.
  8. Offline

    Devoid New Member

    Yep, same here. If people mark down something because of some stupid shit I don't care about, it won't affect my spending. Also, people just love to bitch.
  9. Offline

    BadNick Getting Tilted

    Location:
    PA's on U SofA
    I see it as similar to "news" now adays aka "show business" in many cases. I get input from multiple sources and many points-of-view before I believe what they say.

    Same with reviews and almost anything online: take what you read with a grain of salt and healthy skepticism and get confirmation from other sources.
  10. Offline

    Ourcrazymodern? still, wondering

    "...the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."
  11. Offline

    Zen Very Tilted

    Location:
    London
    I use the criteria mentioned above. I also google '*product* problem" and "*product* forum"

    I feel I have hit the gold mine when a sister or brother geek does a 10 page thread on a tech forum, complete with process-photos, of how they mended or modded the item I am interested in.
  12. Offline

    Craven Morehead Very Tilted

    I'd trust this one....

    [IMG]
    Tully Mars likes this.
  13. Offline

    Zen Very Tilted

    Location:
    London
    I tried Yelp to see if it picked up my local Indian restaurant, and yes ... the review was uncannily accurate.
    That 'weird chutney' clinched the deal. No one who hasn't been there would have thought to say. It is not even really a chutney, but a micro-chopped concoction of onion and all manner of strange non-meat entities which refuse to sit on a pappadum.

    A different track: 'Insist on precise measurements' - I have just bought two ladies' watches of identical design to the gents' ones I thought I was getting. My mother will be very happy, and I will, henceforth, check for size when reading on-line reviews.
  14. Offline

    Daval Getting Tilted

    I tend to read as many reviews about a place as possible - both bad and good. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. I realize there is a lot of fake reviews out there but I figure if I can get a basic trend for a place then I will have a good idea.
  15. Offline

    wolf Evil Grin

    Location:
    Right Behind You
    I like Yelp for places to go. I also definitely read and contribute to the reviews on Newegg.com and TigerDirect.com for technical products I purchase or about to purchase.
  16. Online

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor

    Location:
    Toronto
    I always keep in mind that social aggregate reviews are probably based mostly on what people like or dislike, rather than any attempt at objective criticism.

    You sometimes get conscious reviewers who have good write-ups with a balanced approach, but they are only useful if you can determine if their judgements are in line with your own. It helps if they can draw comparisons or otherwise indicate they have a benchmark for review.

    I often find aggregate review scores to be disagreeable. A recent example I came across was at Goodreads, where nearly 25,000 ratings gave G. R. R. Martin's Feast for Crows an average of 4.08 out of 5. That's a score of 82%, which I think is ridiculous. The book was a mess. I gave it a score of 2 out of 5.

    I think the issue there is that people are ranking it based on it being a part of a well-loved series. It has characters and references that exist outside of the book itself. It's a part of a whole. However, I looked at it as a book in itself because that's what it is, and I think it failed on a few counts. I nearly didn't finish it. I wasn't going to make excuses for it because it was a part of a puzzle I had been enjoying.
  17. Offline

    Tully Mars Moderator

    Location:
    Yucatan, Mexico
    Sick, twisted... awesome. I love it.

    I've written a ton of Trip Adviser reviews. They started sending me gifts after about 50 or so. First it was some crappy back pack, seriously really poor quality. The more I worte the more swag they sent. The last gift I got from them was a pair of Bose noise cancelling head phones. Then I moved to Mexico and stopped posting reviews for them. I should have kept it up.

    I've written bad reviews and good. Sometimes if you write a bad review the owner will challenge your review. TA gives, or used to give, owners the chance to respond. I wrote a couple bad reviews for a chain of hotels in Oregon and Washington, they did not like it at all. They tried to suggest I worked for their competition. I've never had anyone offer me anything for writing a good review. But I could see how that could be exploited.
  18. Offline

    Ourcrazymodern? still, wondering

    I don't review anything unless I like it. Of course, then I review it obsessively.
  19. Online

    snowy Kick-Ass Kunoichi

    I really like TripAdvisor. I use it regularly to find cheap hotels that are cheap in price but not in quality or service. I'm going to have to start writing reviews, especially after our stay in the EconoLodge in Bend. Highly recommended. 2-star price, but the service was good, the breakfast was decent, the bed was comfortable, and damn, it was clean and quiet despite being right on BUS 97. It's also just a few blocks from downtown, and half the price of a downtown hotel.
  20. Offline

    Xazy Vertical

    I have found fake reviews on Yelp, ones that were obviously posted by a competitor of the company.