It’s like asking a friend what they think about a book, or a restaurant or a city they recently visited. Other people’s opinions are handily provided these days on websites like Yelp, Amazon, and TripAdvisor and are heavily relied on.
“Yeah, pretty much 100% of the time,” says Alex Arendall.
“They matter, I think I pretty much always look at them,” says Doug Fore.
“I look at the reviews on Amazon because they’re normally pretty accurate,” says Krista Fayard.
And even though you don’t really know the people behind these reviews, all the glowing remarks may win you over, prompting you to buy whatever it is online.
But, with anonymity, comes the risk that the review might be fake. Amazon recently started filing lawsuits against websites offering reviews for a price.
Most of the websites being sued have been taken down, but here’s one that’s still up called PaidBookReviews.org.
If you’re a new author, you can pay for different types of reviews, all of them positive. On this site, the minimum is $125 but can go up to over $2,000…but folks are pretty smart and know when they’re being duped.
“If they’re overly glowing, they’re a little bit over the top,” says Fore.
“The first couple that are ranked very high, you can tell that they’ve been paid for,” says Fayard.
If you’re not sure which reviews to trust, here’s a tip from the experts—ratings tend to go from one to five stars. Ignore the reviews that only give one star or five stars. Everyone has a bad day, and those giving five stars may be genuine, but you can never be too sure.
Also, when looking at restaurants or vacation spots, instead of looking at reviews from other vacationers, try to find reviews from folks who live there, as they’ll most likely be very honest.