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August 22, 2014
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January 29, 2014

Online Review Scandal: 21% of Americans Who Left Online Reviews, Commented on Products They Hadn't Bought, Used or Tried, New YouGov Study Finds

According to recent YouGov research, nearly a fifth (21%) of Americans who have reviewed a product or service claim that they have reviewed a product or service they had never bought, used, or even tried. Men who leave reviews (23%) are more likely to leave reviews of untried products than women (17%).  Parents are particularly guilty of creating false reviews—32% of parents of children under 18 who have left reviews claim to have done so for something they had not bought or used.

Among Americans who left a review for a product or service they have never bought, used or tried:

  • 32% stated that they did so because they "just felt like it."
  • 22% stated they did not like the idea of the product.
  • 19% stated they left a review because they did not like the manufacturer or service.

The majority of Americans surveyed have left some kind of online review with only 39% claiming that they have never left a review on a website. Meanwhile, over 4 out of 10 Americans (42%) have left a review on Amazon.

Out of those Americans who have ever left a review on a website or mobile app, 57% have left a mixed review, while 54% have left a good review and only 21% have left a bad review. For Americans who have left a bad review the motivations are mixed:

  • 88% want to warn other people of the product/service
  • 21% are hoping for a refund or help of some kind from the company implicated
  • 23% think venting their frustration will leave them feeling less angry

Out of Americans who have never left a bad review for a product or a service, over a third (36%) claim that they have never done so because they have never had a bad enough experience. Meanwhile 15% said they have never left a negative review because they do not like talking badly of things.

Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans (79%) at least sometimes check reviews before purchasing a product or service. Furthermore, 26% of Americans claim to always check reviews before purchasing a product or service.

Recently a Virginia judged ruled that the popular review site Yelp had to come forward with the identities of seven anonymous reviewers who had left negative reviews on the Yelp page of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Services in Alexandria, Virginia. The owners of the store claimed these unhappy reviewers had never been customers of the stores, and had therefore written false reviews.

Find out more here.

Total sample size was 1193 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 20th January 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

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