Negative Reviews – or Why We Aren’t Very Good at Spotting Value

Reviewing is so important to the modern business that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to refer to each four or five-star review as a commodity. After all, just a handful of negative comments at the right time can bring a company’s carefully stacked business cards tumbling down. There’s a good reason why every store that provides a product or service badgers its customers for reviews by email. They’re important. 

Source: Pexels

Humans are a strange and fickle bunch though. As a species, we’re not really one for saying nice things to stores we like and enjoy buying things from, and in-depth reviews generally come from a small (1.5%) number of people who like writing reviews. Of the rest of us, we’re two to three times more likely to communicate with a business when we’re annoyed about something. This means that, through sheer numbers, negative reviews tend to wield all the power.

Unfortunately, anything less than halfway on the scale of satisfaction tends to provoke an emotional – usually angry – response. Writing on this topic on Lifehacker, the article notes that negative reviews are inherently subjective and, therefore, almost meaningless for gauging the quality of an item. This is unfortunate, as it can mean that legitimate grievances are buried beneath reviews that are simply trying to provoke a reaction from a business.

The Good Grace of Customers

There is an upside to all this though. Through necessity, professional review sites like Which? have helped provide something of a yardstick for customer opinion, which means that a lot of negative reviews can be safely ignored. This practice is now common across just about every industry that pins its livelihood on the good grace of customers. The iGaming niche serves as a good example, simply due to how crowded the marketplace is for casinos and other gaming sites.

Source: Pexels

The website BonusFinder compares promotions and terms and conditions at various casinos and provides a review score out of five for each one. For example, this WynnBet casino reviewed by Riku of Bonusfinder notes that its live dealer offering stands out above its competitors but that it has a fairly high minimum deposit of $20. As many people who visit this type of site tend to be newcomers to the casino industry, reviews like this can help consumers make sense of the more chaotic user opinions online.

The Conversation magazine website highlights the troubling number of negative, fake reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Amazon in statistics – 16%, 33%, and up to 50%, respectively. However, the problem with this kind of content isn’t so much that it exists but that we have a terrible time identifying it. The same source suggests that part of the reason for this is that humans sometimes struggle to tell truth from lies. It’s a biological problem, in other words.

It’s difficult to know how to solve this evolving problem, as anywhere that users can write something about anything, they will. The onus is on media giants like Facebook and Google to restrict the spread of fake reviews but audiences grow with each passing day. For now, it may just be simpler (and nicer) to take only the positives from the online shopping experience.


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