4 Myths of Online Reviews : DEBUNKED

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1. “Online Reviews Are All Fake Anyway”

While it’s true that there are plenty of fake reviews out there, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate reviews out there too. Often times, you just need to know what to look for when reading online reviews.

For one thing, it is hard to do is fake many reviews.  Generally, when you see a business that has a hundred or more reviews, it is really hard to achieve that many fake reviews on such a large scale. Granted, there are stories of people buying fake reviews, but these reviews often get filtered out, anyway.

Also, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 recent reviews on each review site.

At ReviewInc, we have examined many reviews on Yelp. Based on our findings, here are the factors we have observed that impact recommended or not recommended reviews:

Negative Factors (Filtered or “Not Recommended” Reviews)

New Reviewers – first time Yelpers often have their reviews “not recommended” (i.e. filtered).

– Reviewers with no friends or followers- Reviews that other people ignore (they don’t flag them as interesting, helpful or funny)

– Reviews for the same business from the same IP address- Polarizing Rants or Raves. Here are some examples: “Don’t go here”, “Stay Away”, “Avoid!!!”

– There are reviews that shout (in all caps) and make highly emotional angry claims. The Yelp filter doesn’t appear to like these kind of reviews. Examples: “I HATE THIS PLACE”

– Reviews that use absolutes are also often flagged if there aren’t enough friends or other reviews. Examples: “THEY ARE THE BEST”, “I WOULDN’T GO ANY WHERE ELSE”- Marketing type reviews: “Give Them a Try”, “Ask for the Special”

2. “Five Star Reviews Are The Most Valuable”

This is probably the most commonly lauded myth about online reviews out there. Sure, everyone loves to hear about what they did well. But, people fail to remember that even negative reviews can prove to be valuable, perhaps even more valuable than positive reviews. Why? Because it gives you the opportunity to improve in areas you might not have otherwise considered to be problematic.

We all have those friends who will sing our praises at any given moment, but our true friends will tell us what we need to hear. The same goes for online reviews; the more tough love you receive, the more you are able to improve upon your business and drive some additional traffic through the door than just your usual customer base.

In fact, studies have shown that having no reviews at all can be worse than having negative reviews.

3. “People Don’t Really Read Online Reviews”

We all know that word-of-mouth is one of the most tried-and-true methods for getting recommendations on products and services. However, what many today do not realize is that online reviews are on the rise. In 2013, 79% of consumers admit to trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, up from the 72% reported in 2012.

4. “People Only Make Purchases Based on Product Descriptions and Photos”

Not true. According to a survey conducted by the online video review site EXPO, consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than descriptions given by manufacturers. (eMarketer, February 2010)

In fact, marketers could stand to gain more knowledge on the true importance of online reviews.

What are some other common myths about online reviews? What are your thoughts on them? Let us know in the comments below!