Your Favorite Product Reviewers May or Not be Reliable

The internet is used for more things today than ever before. With the number of people who use smartphones and mobile devices on a daily basis, it’s only natural that they’re turning to these devices for answers on the go. Many times, they’re turning to them for recommendations on businesses, products or services. And if online reviews or social media posts shine a negative light on something, chances are they’ll quickly move on to the next one.

Ratings, Bloggers and Reviews Matter

Likes, star ratings, followers … all these things can play a big role in whether or not a company wins a shot at converting that new potential customer or not. Some businesses are more susceptible, such as restaurants and those in the travel industry. In fact, last year one out of sixteen people around the world checked out the popular travel site TripAdvisor. And chances are you you know all about Yelp. In the first three months of 2015 alone, Yelp received over 140 million visits.

Why should restaurants and the travel industry pay even closer attention to their online reputation than some of the other industries? Think about it. If there’s a new phone out you’re considering trying, you can easily go down to Best Buy and they’ll be happy to let you handle it, see how it works so you can decide if it’s for you or not.

But the steak house down the road isn’t going to let you sample their star dishes to see if you’d like to order, are they? Probably not. And you’re hardly going to be able to do a test-stay half way around the world at a soon-to-be vacation spot for you and family. So for these things, people heavily rely on the reviews from other people who have tasted or experienced it.

All Reviews Aren’t Created Equal

Product Reviewers: online shopping reviews 2016. Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay
Can online reviews be trusted? Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

There have been plenty of news stories recently about fake reviews. Even companies paying people money to post fake reviews. An entire industry has even emerged for offering the services of fake reviews, but many of them have been hammered with lawsuits by the likes of Yelp and Amazon. But it doesn’t take a huge legal battle to cast a shadow over a well-known reviewer or review business.

Take a food blogger who has made quite a name for herself – Vahi Hari, or the Food Babe. She has also developed a huge following with her best selling book. There’s no shortage of people turning to her for help in what they should or shouldn’t eat. But some say she and her research are, to put it nicely, simply crazy. Case in point? Yvette d’Entremont from Gawker. A chemist who points out many outrageous flaws in the claims made by Hari.

On the other hand, there some amazing reviewers out there who have proven themselves time and time again. If tech is your thing, then After the Buzz or Brownlee might be of interest. Tech reviews can be found all over the place. But are they just trying to earn an affiliate commission on the newest hottest gadget or phone that’s being released next week? If so, all that hype and excitement just might be a little exaggerated.

After the Buzz waits for that buzz to die down. Then they go back and see if those products are really living up to expectations, like they did here for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Brownlee has very slowly developed a following over the years and has been featured in many publications and interviews, including Business Insider. Called the best technology reviewer on the planet by a former Google VP, it’s kind of hard not to mention this guy when you’re talking about tech reviews.

It doesn’t matter what product or service it is, there are people on the internet talking about it. There are bloggers blogging about it. There are customers posting their ratings on sites like Yelp. They can be of tremendous help in making a decision, but consumers should know that there are plenty of fake and questionable ones too.

Veronica Davis
Veronica Davis is a former Marine, now a mom of two boys who has found a passion for freelance writing. She loves cooking and rarely misses something in the food industry, but she also enjoys writing about business, home and anything interesting.