The Future of Online Business Review Sites

  What’s the deal with online business review sites? Sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, and Angie’s List have long been regarded as important places for businesses to manage their online image, but recently, there has been a bit of a kerfuffle involving their trustworthiness. Studies conducted a few months ago by the likes of Maritz Research and Consumer Reports document both consumer and business perceptions of the most popular online business review sites, as well as the way in which they affect purchasing decisions. The unfortunate results of these studies? While businesses almost universally lament the unfair practices of the review sites, most customers still trust them and use them to choose which businesses to patronize, and which to avoid. Consumer Trust It seems strange in today’s world of social media-driven everything, where friends are constantly connected and sharing their experiences on a regular basis, that the words of complete strangers would still hold so much sway over an individual’s purchasing decisions. But according to a Maritz Research study, 75% of online business review site users feel that the information presented there is generally fair. 60%, however, add a caveat – they only pay attention to the actual comments left…

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