Protecting Consumers From Dishonest Reviews

Reviews are nothing but objective remarks about something that another person has rated favorably or unfavorably. Reviews are useful for finding out which are the best products or services in the market; but the reviews also have the potential to mislead people. For instance, a very favorable review can be based on over-hyped hype and by the inclusion of many positive words which make the review look like a glowing recommendation. Reviews are widely available on almost all products and services, though the various companies make it their business to market only their own products or services and suppress the ratings of other competitors.

Reviews are an inevitable tool for customers in today’s era. A review is an unbiased assessment of a product, service, or business such as a video game, music album, movie; a specific piece of software like a computer, house appliance, or car; or soft wares like games, music, and movies. These reviews may be written by customers who have actually bought the product or have studied about the same in depth. Reviews provide consumers with an unbiased insight about how well a particular product performs or provides its users with the services that it boasts of.

Many consumers use reviews as part of the process of purchasing decisions. Some use reviews to find out whether a particular brand of soda performs better than the rest; some read reviews to find out whether certain brands can make their DVR’s work better and others read reviews to know which cleaning supplies work best for their homes. Some consumers use reviews when making hotel reservations and when they are looking for pet sitting services. More often than not, the use of reviews in the social media has led to successful purchases because consumers want to know what other consumers think before they make the purchase. But there are downsides too.

For instance, in buying a used vehicle, a buyer may rely on a review only to realize later that the vehicle he is buying has been involved in an accident. A reviewer who has only bought and had a positive experience may give a negative review when he has not experienced any problems. The buyer may not want to disclose commercial relationships with the person who wrote the review. The buyer may not want to disclose relationships he may have with the writer because the writer may give a negative review based on those relationships. This may create a conflict of interest between the buyer and the writer. The buyer will not get the best value for his money and the writer will not get paid for his reviews.

Consumers have mixed feelings about the use of online reviews. They feel it is an ineffective way of providing feedback because many of the consumers do not understand what it takes to write an effective review. Online reviews may not be effective because they are not targeted. The target market for a company may have different requirements as compared to a general audience. Online reviews may not be effective because the demographic of the population that they are targeting may not be interested in the products or services that are being presented by a business.