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A quarter of consumers think the information presented on online rating sites is unfair: 16% say it is overly negative and 9% say it is overly positive, according to (pdf) a recent report by Maritz Research.

The remaining 75% of survey respondents say the information presented is generally fair. However, even those respondents say readers need to separate trustworthy reviews from untrustworthy ones.

Below, additional key findings from the report (pdf), which was based on an online panel of 3,404 people who answered questions about their use of sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable.

Trends by Gender and Age

  • 60% of survey respondents say they pay more attention to customer comments than to numerical or star ratings.
  • 11% pay more attention to numerical ratings and 29% pay attention to both equally.
  • Men are more skeptical of rating site information, with 73% saying they think the information is generally a fair representation of customers' experiences, compared with 78% of women who say so.
  • Younger users of rating sites are also significantly more skeptical of the information presented on rating sites than older users.

Trustworthiness of Specific Sites

  • For specific review sites, the percentage of respondents who say they trust most or all the information ranged from 36% to 59%.
  • Larger and more established sites are perceived as more trustworthy than newer and smaller sites.

About the research: The report was based on data from an online panel of 3,404 people who answered questions about their use of popular review sites.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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