There’s nothing us Brits like better than sharing our experiences about products and brands. Whether it’s a moan with friends about how the latest shampoo on the market has turned your hair all frizzy, or posting pictures on Facebook of the awesome hotel where you stayed on a weekend away, there are more opportunities than ever for us to tell people what we are thinking. There are numerous websites allowing you to share opinions on products as diverse as clothing, service from a local mechanic or horse health supplements. But can these websites be trusted?
Not just your average Joe?
The main criticism aimed at review websites is that they only feature the extremes of people’s experiences and there is a lot of truth in that statement. A customer who has had an average meal at a restaurant where everything was OK but not outstanding and there were no complaints or issues is very unlikely to rush home and immediately upload their review. On the flip side, customers who have received top notch service and excellent food, or have had to complain about several aspects of the meal will be desperate to share their experiences with others. It is often very difficult to drill down through the reviews to try to get to the truth.
Most of the main websites have software in place which will try to stop people posting false reviews, but this is not always the case. On many sites, there is nothing stopping the manufacturer of the horse health supplements or the owner of the restaurant logging onto the site and raving about how great their product is. Most sites also give the owners of companies the right of reply, and reading through these comments can give the customer a better idea about what the real truth is. There are of course some people who spend their times going from site to site posting defamatory or untrue comments about all sorts of products and services, but these sorts of reviews can often be easily disregarded.
Using Sites Effectively
Review websites can be very useful, but can also be very confusing if you do not start off with a clear idea of what you are looking for. As an example, if you type in “reviews Florida villas” you are likely to turn up several thousands of pages of information to wade through, a lot of which will be completely irrelevant. If you can be far more focused with your searching, for example with “reviews Italian restaurants Edinburgh” the results will be more relevant. When you are looking for product reviews, try to have in mind a couple of brands in which you may be interested, and then compare the reviews for those brands rather than trawling through thousands of reviews for each and every brand in that product group.
Some market sectors, such as accommodation and restaurants, have many websites dedicated to reviews and other sectors have very few reviews. It is also easy to get bogged down in reviews and lose the ability to made decisions based on gut feeling or other ideas about the brands and products.
- Image courtesy of Paul Robinson.
At the Equine Warehouse you can find a wide range of hourse products such as horse health supplements.