Screenshot of Tripadvisor website

London - Sites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp are now the go-to destinations for customers who want to cut through advertising waffle and discover what products and services are really like.

Yet, according to research, a fifth of Americans have left online reviews for items they’ve never bought or even used.

This figure is even higher (32 percent) among parents with children under 18. The most popular reason why online shoppers questioned did this was simply because “they felt like it”.

More than 22 percent admitted they left a negative review as they didn’t like the idea of the product, while 19 percent said the product received a bad review as they didn’t like the company who made it.

One in 10 respondents admitted to posting spoof reviews for comedy effect. This is thought to be a result of a series of funny online reviews having gone viral recently. The findings come from a YouGov Omnibus study of 1 193 US online shoppers between January 18 and 20.

This study also found that a quarter of online shoppers “always” check reviews before making a buying decision. Among those who look at reviews, 86 percent said they read positive and negative reviews, 11 percent said they read only positive reviews, and 3 percent admitted to concentrating on just negative ones.

The theory that people are more likely to complain than compliment companies was not the case in this latest research, though.

More than half (54 percent) said they had left a positive review, with only 21 percent admitting to leaving a negative rating. The rest of the reviews were a mixture.

A Virginia court recently ordered review site Yelp to hand over the identities of seven anonymous reviewers who had left negative reviews for a local carpet-cleaning service. The business reported that none of the reviewers had ever used the store, meaning the reviews were fake. – Daily Mail



The most popular site for online reviews was Amazon at 42 percent.

This was followed by Google and Yahoo at 14 percent and 13 percent respectively.

Yelp came fourth with 10 percent, and TripAdvisor was fifth with 8 percent.

Movie site Rotten Tomatoes received 2 percent, while Air BnB and Seamless both featured in 1 percent of the reviews.

“Other websites” were quoted as the final 8 percent.