There are a plethora of consumer review websites out there but do they actually add value to our decision-making process and should we even trust a consumer review compared to an independent review.

In 2018 consumers use the following media to make purchasing decisions:

  1. Social media
  2. User reviews
  3. Online Ads
  4. Expert reviews, word of mouth, and official brand websites

Research shows 90% of people trust reviews or recommendations from their friends and, astonishingly, 89% of people trust recommendations from COMPLETE STRANGERS online!

I believe that consumers have it all wrong going to social media and reading user reviews for one fundamental reason. It’s a fact that the majority of people who do write reviews do so only when they have a complaint, let’s face it you’re not writing a review when you are happy or have a positive inclination towards a product or service.

This causes a natural bias in the review process and is exactly why you will see more negative reviews than positive reviews on a wide range of consumer review websites including  productreview.com.au. This, however, snowballs with the brand then commissioning paid positive reviews to outweigh the negative reviews.

If you want proof then I suggest you check out services like AirTasker and Fiverr where people are constantly posting job offers paying anywhere between $5 and $50 to write a positive review.

It is worth mentioning that  AirTasker and Fiverr clearly state in their terms and conditions that they do not allow paid review jobs on their sites, but they do slip through and very regularly at that.

Consumers need to consider that one person’s experience is not always going to be the same as what another person may experience.

Once you take into consideration that people are more likely to write a review when they have a complaint, that paid positive reviews are a real thing, disgruntled ex-employees are likely to write negatives reviews and competition do write fake reviews, you can then truly start to question the validity of consumer review websites.

The fact is that consumer review websites add zero value to your decision-making process and should be treated as nothing more than entertainment value.

So who can you trust? I believe that independent review sites such as Choice and ProdReview.com.au are closer to the truth.

Independent review sites often explain the basis of the review, why they compared various models of product and more to help rule out bias from occurring in the review process.

Independent reviews are also far more in-depth and articulate than a consumer review that might simply say something like “Avoid like the plague – an absolute nightmare to deal with!” and never provide the circumstances and further details to make an educated decision.