Don’t trust online reviews! A fifth are left by people who have NEVER tried the product

MailOnlineCredits: Mail Online
By: Victoria Woollaston

* More than a fifth of Americans have reviewed a product they’ve never used
* This rises to almost a third of parents with children under 18
* The majority (32%) claimed they did so simply because ‘they felt like it’
* While 22% admitted they just didn’t like the idea of the product

Sites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp are now the go-to destinations for customers who want to cut through advertising waffle and discover what products and services are really like. Yet, according to research that is sure to panic business owners across the world, a fifth of Americans have left online reviews for items they’ve never bought or even used. This figure is even higher (32 per cent) among parents with children under 18 and the most popular reason why online shoppers questioned did this was simply because ‘they felt like it.’

More than 22 per cent admitted they left a negative review because they didn’t like the idea of the product, while 19 per cent said the product received a bad review because they didn’t like the company who made it.

One in ten respondents admitted to posting spoof reviews for comedy effect. This is thought to be a result of a series funny online reviews, for products including Veet and sugar-free Gummi Bears, having gone viral recently.

The findings come from a YouGov Omnibus study of 1,193 American online shoppers between 18 and 20 January this year. This study also found that a quarter of online shoppers ‘always’ check reviews before making a buying decision. Among those who look at reviews, 86 per cent said they read both positive and negative reviews, 11 per cent said they only read positive reviews, and three per cent admitted to concentrating on just the negative ones. The theory that people are more likely to complain than compliment companies was not the case in this latest research, though.

More than half (54 per cent) said they have left a positive review, with only 21 per cent admitting to leaving a negative rating. The rest of the reviews were a mixture. The most popular site for online reviews was be Amazon, at 42 per cent, followed by Google and Yahoo on 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

Review site Yelp was recently ordered by a Virginia court to hand over the identities of seven anonymous reviewers who had left negative reviews for a local carpet cleaning service. The business reported that none of the reviewers have ever used the store, meaning the reviews were fake.

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