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A huge number of websites now offer reviews, written by both professionals and ordinary folk, on everything you can imagine. You yourself may even have contributed a review of something you love, hate, or are indifferent towards at some point. But what does the MakeUseOf readership think about online reviews Funny Amazon Reviews: 6 Items That Feature Hilarious User Feedback Funny Amazon Reviews: 6 Items That Feature Hilarious User Feedback Niche products on the Internet are often the subject of ridicule, especially on big retail websites like Amazon where user feedback is encouraged. Often these "reviews" make for a hilarious read, as communities around the... Read More ?

This was the subject of last week’s We Ask You discussion, the results of which are presented below for your reading pleasure.

Opinions About Opinions

We asked, Do You Value Online Reviews? We had a great response to the question, with dozens of you considering us worthy of a little time and attention, for which we are always extremely grateful. The more of you who take part each the week, the more chance we have of learning something from the exercise.

This week we discovered your views on Internet reviews, which are everywhere online but not always to the benefit of consumers and businesses. The most important point to take away from the conversation was that online reviews can be extremely useful, but only when common sense is applied. Because opinion 3 Signs Your Political Viewpoints Are Completely Accurate [Opinion] 3 Signs Your Political Viewpoints Are Completely Accurate [Opinion] It's the holidays, and that means meeting with friends and family – and politics might come up. Are you wondering if your political viewpoints are correct? Read More .

It seems most of you do use online reviews, though the methodology varies from person to person. Some people only read the positive reviews, others only the negative. Some people filter out poor-scoring products and services, while others read the actual comments made to ensure these reviews are legitimate.


Other things to bear in mind when reading online reviews is that they’re all based (at least in part) on someone’s own personal tastes. Hardware reviews are less likely to be affected by this than books, movies, or restaurants, but that bias is always there and should always be kept in the back of your mind. Especially when reading reviews on Yelp Search For the Best & Worst Local Businesses With Yelp Search For the Best & Worst Local Businesses With Yelp Read More .

Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Catherine, Boxed, and Bumboclot. Comment Of The Week goes to Amelia DeField, who won with this comment Do You Value Online Reviews? [We Ask You] Do You Value Online Reviews? [We Ask You] Have you ever written an online review? If so, what persuaded you to take the time to post it online for others to read? Read More :

I recently purchased $40 in books on Amazon. In order to narrow down my list of books ($120 being my entire wishlist), I relied on the reviews.
I read reviews before purchasing books, eating out, buying clothes, and most importantly before buying technology. It helps me to save time by learning from other people’s experiences.
I like to read a handful of the 5 star reviews, 3 star reviews and 0-1 star reviews. It really helps to allow you to form a well rounded option.
I have written many online reviews. I like to share my opinions and experiences with people. I like to think of the Internet as my expanded circle of friends. I would tell my friends about my latest gizmo or dining experience. Why shouldn’t I post that online?
I think that reviews should always have a name attached to them. It allows for there to be less fraudulent reviews by competitors and it allows for the business owner to actually be able to resolve the situation.
I have learned to always check online reviews before making any type of purchase. Any time that I made a impulse buy without checking reviews beforehand, I regretted it! (i.e. the printer from hell)

We chose this comment because it gives a good insight into one person’s use of online reviews and how they have actually helped them make purchasing decisions. The suggestion that reviews should always have a real name attached to them rather than be anonymous is a good one, though one that is unlikely to ever be enforced. Sadly.

We Ask You is a weekly column in which you have your say about a particular subject. We ask you a question each week, with the results compiled and compressed into a follow-up article the following week. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

  1. Shawn
    January 22, 2014 at 5:12 am

    I only read the bad reviews!! I take them with a grain of salt, but the goo d reviews don't tell me what to look for.
    I also weigh the percentages. If they are less than 5 to 1 (good to Bad) I stay away. I feel like the review system is warped, so I almost dismiss the good ones.
    I also look for informative ones: I bought an RC Heli with mixed reviews, but I paid close attention to the more informative comments. I made a good purchase great by following their instructions.

  2. Jo-anne P
    January 22, 2014 at 4:48 am

    I write reviews on a number of items, food, software, books, electronics.. you know all of it. I post using my name and post on many sites. I rely on reviews to make my own purchases on things like hardware and software. I do not base my purchases on book reviews as this is such a personal area. What may be wonderful to one person can be horrible to me. I look to the reviews of these more personal items for basics like story continuity, errors etc the rest is up to me. This is a good article and I appreciate that you took the time to write it.

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