How to split the good from the bad in online reviews and ratings

Image result for How to split the good from the bad in online reviews and ratingsA lot of consumers, when searching online for something to buy, will take a look at an online review or rating for a product. It seems like a great way to get an unfiltered view on quality but research indicates most online reviews are too simple and may misguide consumers.

According to one United States survey, 78.5% of American consumers looked for information online about a product or service, and 34% had posted an online review. A global Nielsen survey found 70% of consumers trust online product reviews and use them in making decisions.

As a result, the average user rating of products has become a significant factor in driving sales across many product categories and industries. The proliferation of online reviews from many consumers sounds like a positive development for consumer welfare but some research shows otherwise.

User ratings and product quality

Consumers use online user ratings because they assume these provide a good indication of product or service quality. For example, you would expect a laptop with an average rating of four out of five stars to be objectively better than a laptop with an average rating of three out of five stars, 100% of the time.

In order to test this assumption, one researcher team put together an impressive dataset comprising of 344,157 Amazon.com ratings for 1,272 products, in 120 product categories. For each product, they obtained objective quality scores from the website Consumer Reports. They also collected data on prices, brand image measures, and two independent sources of resale values in the market for second hand or used goods.

The researchers found that average user ratings correlated poorly with the scores from Consumer Reports. For example, when the difference in average user rating between pairs of products was larger than one star, the item with the higher user rating was rated more favourably by Consumer Reports only about two-thirds of the time.

In other words, if you were comparing a laptop with an average rating of four out of five stars, with another laptop with an average rating of three out of five stars, the first laptop would only be objectively better 65% (not 100%) of the time. This is a far cry from a sure difference in quality. Moreover, the average user ratings did not predict resale value in the used-product marketplace.

The reasons online ratings don’t reflect the real thing

There are several reasons why average user ratings may not predict objective quality measures. User reviews may include a broader range of criteria than those Consumer Reports does, such as subjective aspects of the use experience (like aesthetics, popularity, emotional benefits).

Many reviews are also based on small samples. As any statistics teacher will tell you, all things being equal, the average user rating should be more informative as sample size increases relative to variability. Indeed, in the online rating study, the correlation between average user rating and Consumer Reports scores was higher when the sample size was large. Unfortunately, average user ratings are often based on small samples and high variability.

Online reviews are based on a biased subset of those who actually purchased the product. In general, reviews are left by those that “brag” or “moan” about their product experience, often resulting in a two mode distribution of ratings.

This is where the average does not give a good indication of the true population average. For example, in one comprehensive dataset for a large private label retailer, the percentage of buyers who left a review was just 1.5%. This means that 98.5% of the people eligible to leave a review chose not to do so.

Many groups also now actively seek to manipulate average ratings. This can be done in the form of fake reviews.

For example, businesses (or their agents) may post fictitious favourable reviews for their own products and/or post fictitious negative reviews for the products of their competitors. According to one study, roughly 16% of restaurant reviews on the website Yelp were suspicious or fake.

Websites like Yelp.com and Amazon.com try to mitigate such ingenuity. For example, one of the Ivanka Trump collection’s shoes has an average rating of four and a half out of five stars despite hundreds of (presumably fake) one-star reviews.

What you can actually tell from online reviews

There is a way to use the information from reviews and ratings despite all of these potential pitfalls. First, look for products with a high average user rating, many reviews, and not a lot of variance in the rating scores. Beware placing too much faith in average ratings that are based on few reviews and with high variance in the ratings.

You can also consider online reviews in light of additional sources that provide objective product evaluations, from technical experts. Sources of this kind of information include Consumer Reports, Choice, Consumers Union, Which? and CNET.

Where possible, you can consider employing technology designed to help you navigate the bias in online reviews. Examples include Fakespot and ReviewMeta. For example, ReviewMeta scans all reviews from a product’s online listing page, and then provides an adjusted average rating. This adjusted rating accounts for all sorts of suspicious activities such as a high proportion of reviews from users with unverified purchases.

So, the next time you’re evaluating products online, feel free to start with the average user rating, but be wary of making your final judgement based only on this cue.

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Google Play to Fight Fake Reviews and Ratings With New Ways to Detect, Filter

Google Play to Fight Fake Reviews and Ratings With New Ways to Detect, Filter

Google Play to Fight Fake Reviews and Ratings With New Ways to Detect, Filter
HIGHLIGHTS
Company says it wants to provide trustworthy experience to users
Asks developers to adhere to Google Play Developer Policy
Google says it can now identify and remove fake feedback in better way
After announcing new ways it was fighting fraud and spam installs on Google Play, the search giant earlier this week revealed that it has also improved the ways through which it identifies and removes fake reviews from Google Play.

“In continuing our efforts to combat spammy behavior, we’ve also improved the ways we identify and remove fake reviews and ratings. With this enhanced capability we are now able to identify and remove more fake reviews and ratings with greater accuracy,” Google said in its blog post.

(Also see: Google Play Gets New Systems to Fight Fraud and Spam Installs)
Google says that in majority cases, no action is required by the developers. However, it reiterates that if they are working with a third-party marketing agency for their app, it would be advisable for them to ensure that they are using legitimate promotion techniques. The California-based company says that developers need to adhere to Google Play Developer Policy.
The company says that the ratings and reviews need to come through genuine users, and that the developers should avoid fake, paid, or incentivised feedback. Google said that the aim to remove the fake reviews and ratings aggressively is to provide users with a trustworthy experience.

Tags: Google Play Fraud Reviews, Google Play, Google Play Spam Installs, Apps, Google, Android

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on-line user ratings no longer excellent indicators of Product quality: observe

Online User Ratings Not Good Indicators of Product Quality: Study

The belief that on-line consumer rankings are desirable signs of product exceptional is essentially anillusion, but many customers rely upon the facts while making purchase choices, a brand new observehas determined.

nearly all outlets provide consumer ratings on their web sites, the researchers said.

For the study, researchers examined consumer rankings for 1,272 merchandise throughout one hundred twenty product classes, including car seats, motorbike helmets, sunblock, air filters, smoke alarms and blood pressure monitors.

The analyses display a completely low correspondence among common user scores of merchandise on an e-trade portal and product rankings based totally on goal assessments discovered in purchaserreviews.

“The likelihood that an item with a higher consumer score performs objectively higher than an object with a decrease person rating is only 57 percent,” said Bart de Langhe, professor on the university of Colorado Boulder in US.

“A correspondence of fifty in line with cent could be random, so user rankings provide very littleperception approximately goal product performance,” de Langhe said.

The take a look at also located that the user ratings do not expect the resale price of used merchandise.

merchandise with better reliability and overall performance retain greater in their value through the years,” said de Langhe.

“If common consumer scores replicate objective excellent, they need to correlate undoubtedly with resale values. The fact that they don’t casts extra doubt at the validity of user scores,” he stated.

Researchers also tested what facts customers rely upon whilst judging the great of merchandise at thee-commerce website.

They determined that clients rely very closely at the common consumer score, which is provided the front and centre.

They try this regardless of whether or not the average score is based on a small or a massive pattern ofconsumers.

that is a mistake. frequently, there are simply now not sufficient rankings for a product or there is too much confrontation amongst reviewers,” stated de Langhe.

“In this case, clients ought to not consider the common very tons, however they do however,” hestated.

The observe was published within the journal of customer research.

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Tags: Apps, E commerce, internet, user rating

on-line person ratings not suitable signs of Product first-class: look at

Online User Ratings Not Good Indicators of Product Quality: Study

The belief that online user rankings are top signs of product great is essentially an illusion, but manyclients rely upon the records at the same time as making buy selections, a brand new observe hasdiscovered.

nearly all shops offer person scores on their web sites, the researchers said.

For the examine, researchers examined consumer ratings for 1,272 products across one hundred twenty product categories, consisting of vehicle seats, motorbike helmets, sunblock, air filters, smoke alarms and blood pressure monitors.

The analyses display a totally low correspondence between average consumer rankings of products on an e-trade portal and product ratings based on goal tests determined in consumer reports.

“The likelihood that an object with a higher user score plays objectively better than an item with a loweruser score is only fifty seven percentage,” said Bart de Langhe, professor at the college of Colorado Boulder in US.

“A correspondence of fifty per cent could be random, so consumer rankings offer very little perceptionapproximately objective product performance,” de Langhe said.

The look at also discovered that the consumer rankings do no longer are expecting the resale value of used merchandise.

products with better reliability and overall performance keep greater in their price over the years,” saidde Langhe.

“If common user ratings reflect objective fine, they must correlate positively with resale values. Thereality that they don’t casts more doubt on the validity of person ratings,” he said.

Researchers additionally tested what information customers depend on when judging the excellent ofmerchandise at the e-trade internet site.

They observed that purchasers depend very closely on the average consumer score, which is offeredthe front and centre.

They do that irrespective of whether the common rating is based on a small or a large sample ofpurchasers.

that is a mistake. oftentimes, there are just now not enough scores for a product or there may be too much disagreement among reviewers,” said de Langhe.

“In this example, clients need to no longer consider the average very much, however they dononetheless,” he stated.

The observe was published within the journal of patron studies.

down load the gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay updated with the brand new tech news, product reviews, and special offers at the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, E trade, internet, consumer rating