Is There Bias in Reviews and Ratings?

Bias In ReviewsBusinesses thrive or wither with their online reputation that is driven by their reviews and ratings.  And because 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendation, business reviews are getting more attention than ever.  That’s why we wondered how consumers perceive reviews.  Are they balanced? Or, is there a bias in these reviews.

Bias Survey 2015A

ReviewInc asked 1,498 U.S. consumers to indicate whether online reviews were balanced, biased to the negative or biased to the positive based on a 7 point scale where the mid-point (“4”) was balanced.   While a significant population believed reviews were balanced, there was clearly a significant population that believed there was bias.  But, was the bias equally balanced between the positive and the negative?  The answer is clearly no.  A higher negative bias exists.   Consumers appear to be aware that there are more negative reviews than positive reviews.  Why?  It’s human nature.  When people are angry and dissatisfied they look to vent.  In the past, they’ll tell their friends, but now there are public forums that provide these angry people a place to satisfy their feelings.  They vent publicly, perhaps to exact revenge on a hapless business trying to eke out a living.

In 2013, ReviewInc conducted a similar survey based on a 3 point scale (negative bias, balanced, and public bias).  While the biases existed, the negative bias was less pronounced compared to the positive bias.

Bias Survey 2015C

We compared that study to this one by grouping the negative bias groups (1 and 2) into one group, the more balanced groups (3,4 and 5) into another group and finally the positive bias groups (6 and 7) into a positive bias group.  It is clearly evident that in 2015, there is a greater feeling from consumers that reviews can be more negatively biased.

Bias Survey 2015D

Like in the 2013 survey, we wondered if there was a gender bias associated with the perception of reviews.  On the whole, there was no gender bias except for the negatively biased perception of reviews.  In that case, males were 50% more likely to suggest a negative bias than females.

Bias Survey 2015B

Your business reputation is an investment. With significantly increasing consumer traffic to popular review sites such as these (and many others), business owners and marketing managers need to take more control of their online reviews.

ReviewInc can help your business get more reviews everywhere and enhance your reputation.  For a no obligation consultation call us at 877-9REVIEW or leave us a note here and we’ll contact you.

 

 

Press Release: “ReviewInc Conducts New Study Shedding Light on ‘Bias’ in Online Reviews”

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New Study on Online Reviews Reveals Significant Gap between Real and Perceived Business Ratings via PR Web July 23, 2013 A new study conducted by review management company, ReviewInc, exposes new insight into the potential “bias” in the ratings businesses … Continue reading