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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Will You Trust Blogs and Review Sites in 2014?
Do you trust blogger recommendations and online reviews?  Humans have always depended on the word of mouth of trusted friends, neighbors, and co-worker. Now most of us not only listen to people we know personally, but also consider what others tell us online.  According to a study from BlogHer, some 61% of women blog readers say that they have made a purchase based on an online recommendation.  Further, a growing number of consumers  wouldn’t think of making a major purchase like a car, or planning a hotel stay or cruise, without first checking some online reviews.

While online provides a great source of information, like everything else in life we all need to be alert.  It just seems like there is always someone looking to game the system.  According to predictions from Gartner, by 2014 ten to 15 percent of the ratings and reviews we read online will be fake. That is people who have never used the product or service will be providing glowing reviews and recommendations (or perhaps even generating negative comments about the competition), not based on their personal experience with the brand, but solely because they are being paid.  Gartner further suggests that over the next two years at least two Fortune 500 brands will face litigation from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the result of such activities. Once a number of these cases are documented in the media, we wonder about the longer term impact.  Will the public demand even stricter action by the FTC? Will consumers loose trust in all blogs and review sites?  Will some new option be needed to replace blogs and review sites?

Beginning within the next few weeks Customer Experience Partners will start asking bloggers to help us build a part of the solution. will be a site on which Bloggers clearly and openly disclose: 1) their purpose for blogging, 2) any and all “consideration” they are receiving from corporations or organizations, and 3) whether such consideration is having influence on the comments and recommendations they make.  Blog-readers will be able to search for their favorite blogs and see the overall “Trust Level” that has been assigned to the blog and a clear and consistently organized presentation of disclosure. 

Whether as a blogger or a blog-reader, we hope you will make use of
10:10 am edt          Comments

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