online reviews http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12949/all en-US It's a Jungle Out There: Spotting Fake Reviews http://www.wisebread.com/its-a-jungle-out-there-spotting-fake-reviews <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-a-jungle-out-there-spotting-fake-reviews" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/jungle.jpg" alt="Walking through the jungle" title="Walking through the jungle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s an old admonishment, but now, more than ever, you really can&rsquo;t believe everything you read. Exploring the jungle of the web, I&rsquo;ve found a lot of places that look intriguing, but are actually traps for the unwary.</p> <p>No, I&rsquo;m not talking about poisonous <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multi-level-marketing-the-future-or-folly">multi-level marketing</a> come-ons, or religious or political voodoo diatribes. I&rsquo;m talking about reviews touting Amazon products, forum discussions endorsing hotels or restaurants, and even blog posts offering apparently sensible advice &mdash; all written by people who were paid to say it. In fact, what you read may be someone else&rsquo;s words, stolen, rearranged, and used with new meaning to fit the site or circumstance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-spot-work-at-home-job-scams">6 Ways to Spot Work-at-Home Job Scams</a>)</p> <p>I was looking at freelance jobs offered at <a href="http://vworker.com">vWorker</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://www.upwork.com/">Upwork</a>. As I thrashed my way through the sites, chopping away at the underbrush so I could see the treasures, I found all kinds of task-oriented work such as designing logos, building websites, collecting data, transcribing documents, and writing stories. But, like any public market, you may find both jewels and junk.</p> <p>One employer was looking for someone to write 20 &quot;articles&quot; for a shopping website with titles such as &ldquo;I&rsquo;m looked (sic) to buy the best LCD TV.&rdquo; The writer, paradoxically, had to promote a certain model and brand, not ask for advice, and make it appear to be a genuine question from a genuine forum member.</p> <p>So how can you protect yourself?</p> <p>If someone&rsquo;s forum post or comment sounds more like a sales pitch than a question, search for that person's online name, and see if he's infested other places on the web with their poison. Include &quot;scam&quot; in your search, and see what pops up.</p> <p>Whenever you log onto the Internet, imagine yourself as an explorer in an information jungle. Before you is a whole world of exciting places to explore, but many are not what they seem. Take precautions, and it can be a wonderful visit.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-a-jungle-out-there-spotting-fake-reviews">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs online reviews scams warnings Fri, 28 Jan 2011 13:00:07 +0000 Tom Harnish 483561 at http://www.wisebread.com Pros and Cons of Online Customer Product Reviews http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/pros-and-cons-of-online-customer-product-reviews <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/pros-and-cons-of-online-customer-product-reviews-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/pros-and-cons-of-onli...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/pros-and-cons-of-online-customer-product-reviews" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005946391XSmall.jpg" alt="laptop megaphone" title="laptop megaphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making a purchase decision on an e-commerce site can be agonizing for me. I can't detect sturdiness, read the care instructions, or figure out the fit from a digital image. Further complicating my decision-making processes are unusual methods of presentation: One company offers product descriptions that are the same for all items in one category; another gives sizes in terms of clothing but not body measurements.</p> <p>How should a cautious e-shopper like me choose? Sure, I can talk with a customer service representative, which is useful but often time-consuming. Getting insights from fellow shoppers who may have the same needs and concerns as I do is invaluable: enter customer-written product reviews.</p> <p>There are pros and cons to product reviews, not only for shoppers like me but also for e-commerce businesses:</p> <p><strong>PROS</strong></p> <p><em>Drive sales and reduce returns: </em></p> <ul> <li>Give shoppers a feeling of security by reading about others who have purchased and used products that they are considering<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer insight into most appropriate applications of products<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Provide additional resources to customers that can improve the product experience (for example, a reviewer provided installation instructions and pointed to an online product manual not included with the original item), potentially reducing returns<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Improve overall credibility of e-commerce business by allowing contrary opinions on the website<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bring out positive attributes relevant to consumers but possibly not covered in original product descriptions</li> </ul> <p><em>Improve marketing and merchandising:</em></p> <ul> <li>Expand methods of filtering (or sorting) products by ratings<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Provide content for promoting products based on customer ratings<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give merchandising teams insight into aesthetic design and functional features of most significance to customers<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Aid marketing team and copywriters in improving product classifications and descriptions based on common uses and desirable features of products cited by customers</li> </ul> <p><strong>CONS </strong></p> <ul> <li>Give shoppers a skewed impression of a product if there is just one review or rating, especially if the review or rating is not positive<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Allow disgruntled customers to publish vindictive or damaging information<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Increase shoppers' wariness of items with a prominent &quot;be the first to review this product&quot; notation, which may further stall sales of slow-moving products<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Require resources to monitor either individual reviews or the product-review system as a site feature<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Seem irrelevant if a solitary review was posted years ago</li> </ul> <p>By asking customers to submit reviews of recently purchased products (typically, by sending a follow-up email), e-commerce businesses can increase the number of reviews on their sites. Generally, this approach will lead to a more reliable portrayal of product quality and usefulness. These requests can engage customers and convey the site owners' desire to improve the shopping experience.</p> <p>More sophisticated systems have capabilities that can mitigate many of the cons relating to product reviews. Features may include mechanisms for allowing site visitors to rate the helpfulness of customer-generated product reviews; add comments to reviews; and flag inappropriate comments.</p> <p>Shoppers can easily get bogged down by analyzing customer-generated commentary, hesitating to buy an item that seems like a good purchase but doesn't consistently get positively glowing reviews. Tools that can help shoppers sift through this information include summaries of reviews and ratings; prominent displays of &quot;most helpful favorable review&quot; beside &quot;most helpful critical review&quot;; overall score accompanied by ratings in categories such as ease of use, features, quality, features, and value; forms that bring attention to key concerns of shoppers with pros, cons, and best uses along with summaries of reviews, such as those found on <a href="http://www.fetchdog.com/shop">FetchDog</a>'s website.</p> <p>To create context and show the perspectives of contributing reviewers, personal information such as age, gender, and interests relevant to the product might be displayed next the review (for example, a customer creating a review of a certain tent on <a href="http://www.rei.com/">REI</a> or backpack on <a href="http://www.llbean.com/">L.L.Bean</a> might indicate the depth and ruggedness of their experiences). Links to other product reviews may be provided to give a broader picture of individual likes and dislikes (for example, links to book reviews posted by customers on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/">Amazon.com</a>). In addition, contributors may be ranked or given badges to denote credibility.</p> <p>Other cool features include the capability to upload photos and videos to accompany reviews, and the opportunity to share reviews on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Digg.</p> <p>If your e-commerce business isn't ready for customer-generated product reviews, consider these alternatives to helping customers make good but quick purchasing decisions:</p> <ul> <li>Customer testimonials and simple return policy to give shoppers a feeling of security<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Detailed product descriptions that indicate best applications of products, convey unique features, and basic or premium value<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hand-picked product offering of best items rather than multiple SKUs</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/pros-and-cons-of-online-customer-product-reviews">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center online reviews small business Sat, 28 Aug 2010 23:20:06 +0000 Julie Rains 176256 at http://www.wisebread.com