Do you trust online reviews of books, products, or services you are considering? Well you shouldn’t. That is the takeaway from researchers that recently conducted a scientific study of the psychological factors that affect Online Reviews. Here are some of the key findings from the study:
-Negative Online Reviews More Likely when Given Right Away
-Detailed, Concrete Online Reviews More Likely when Given Right Away
-Positive Online Reviews are more likely in cases where there are large geographical distances between the product/service provider and the reviewer
-Positive Online Reviews are More Likely with the Passage of Time
-Abstract, Generalized Online Reviews are More Likely with the Passage of Time
-Memories of product/service are inconsistent with the perception of the product/service at the actual time of experiencing them
-Cultural differences between the service/product provider and the reviewer affect the review rating and can have a negative effect
The Takeaway: Despite the fact that the majority of consumers (upwards of 90%) report they trust online reviews, the researchers of this recent study state that due to all the psychological factors that affect those reviews, Online Reviews should NOT be taken very seriously.
Observations from a review recipient’s POV
1-The Anonymous Factor: Reviewers who hide behind cartoon avatars and fake identities may feel more freedom to create negative reviews and “shoot from behind a tree”.
2-Negative Reviews for Hire: Product and service providers (or anyone, really) can readily hire people to post Negative Online Reviews of a product or service from their Competition. Reviewers for hire rarely use their true identities for such reviews.
What researchers need to study next: The effect of anonymity on Online Reviews.
Journal Reference: Panagiotis Stamolampros, Nikolaos Korfiatis. Exploring the behavioral drivers of review valence. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 2018;
Study: DOI: 10.1108/IJCHM-04-2017-0239 Overview