Finding out what others have to say can help you buy anything from a car to a meal out. And with more than 150m posts on TripAdvisor, it’s clear we love user reviews. Do you love or loathe user reviews?
When I was growing up I remember getting really excited when the holiday brochure dropped through the letterbox and landed on the doormat. This signalled that the summer was on its way. Mum and dad would trawl through the brochures to find and book a holiday cottage for us somewhere in Devon, Dorset or Cornwall.
But, nowadays, it seems almost inconceivable that we’d choose a holiday based on glossy pictures alone.
Reviewing user reviews
Instead, fast forward a few years and the search for a holiday begins online. Last year when I went away with my grilfriends to Portugal, our first port of call when searching for a destination was TripAdvior. And it worked a treat. We found a charming and very cheap villa in rural Portugal. Had it not been for the hundreds of shining reviews we’d probably never have discovered this place, and we certainly wouldn’t have been brave enough to try it out.
And it’s not just travel recommendations. User reviews exist on almost every retailer website. It’s rare that I buy something without checking the user reviews (and checking in with the Which? experts) first. There might be contradictory reviews sitting cheek by jowl, but reading over a few posts can provide a pretty coherent picture and help you make your purchasing decision.
Why user reviews are important to Which?
We really value user reviews here at Which?. We encourage all members to give us their opinions on the products and services we test. Your experiences can reveal problems that develop over time that are impossible to spot when testing for a few days or even weeks in the test lab.
And, in some cases, your reviews help bring about change. For example, earlier this year you told us that you were suffering issues with the Tesco Hudl. We asked Tesco to do something about it and the supermarket giant has now released a fix.
It’s clear that user review sites do a great job at opening up a dialogue between consumers, retailers and manufacturers, ultimately leading to better products on the shelves.
Well that’s my take on user reviews sites. Now it’s over to you; I want to know what you think of them. Do you trust the reviews? Have you got any tips for using them? And have you penned any reviews yourself?