How Dependent Are We on Review Websites?

review sites

Today the World Wide Web is full of websites that turn up in Yahoo and Google results, but when you search the site all you see is ‘how good they are’. They have obviously gone to great lengths to make sure their onsite marketing is projects how good their product or service is, the value their product offers, and how their service/product is better than their competitor. Yet, how do we know that what they say on their website is true?

There are of course several ways we can gauge a service, product, or even a website that is there for informational purposes. This could be a review of a local shop, an e-commerce website selling smartphones, tablets, as well as other technology. Sites that sell memberships for service, online casino websites that are becoming very popular, land-based gambling establishments, restaurants, application downloads, hotels, and just about any other product that you can think of.

All these sites need endorsements to prove that they are trustworthy. For example, one of the most ambiguous industries online today is the mobile and desktop casino industry. How can we know these casinos are trustworthy? After all, they are online virtual games that could easily be configured to say the house edge in favor of the casino or even set up the games, so people rarely win.

What makes the latest smartphone seller online better than your local store where if something goes wrong you can simply go into the shop and get the problem rectified. At the end of the day, these online websites need to show that they are trustworthy and add value to you making the purchase online.

Social Media is One Way to Tell

Nearly every great website has social media – or at least those that are not afraid to hide. If there are no social media connections where people can leave a comment, then surely the company are either:

  1. Not up with the times (let’s face it social media is also great for marketing so why ignore using social media?)
  2. Hiding the truth (the company may not want people commenting on their products because they know that what the company has to offer is not a good product/service.

Even one of the world’s greatest and most popular websites created one heck of an informative report that basically tells you how important Facebook is to build a brand – the Forbes report described this as – “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”.

For example, you might see the latest and greatest smartwatch on sale. It does everything the Fitbit can do and more. What’s more, it is half the price. Yet, the company has no Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Even comments on their blog posts are turned off. For the savvy online purchaser, this spells trouble. Surely they must be hiding something and these companies are not building a community so they can bring their customers closer together and discuss how happy they are with their new watch!

In the end, social media is there to help businesses

There is no good excuse for a ‘good and trustworthy’ to ignore social media as a potential sales channel or PR platform. It is after all one of the most used Social Media platforms in the world, so why ignore the potential exposure you could get from this network? Take for example this website that reviews casinos and uses a Facebook page that has 20,000 followers at the time of this writing. The people behind this website must be doing something right.

Review Websites Can Justify Not Having Social Media

Even though social media is very important, some websites can still get away with not having a social page because there are so many review websites out there. Many of these review websites are purely there to make a commission, so the first question is this – how do we trust them? If they want people to buy into the product/services being reviewed, then surely, they are going to give these sites a gleaming review.

How can you find a trustworthy review website?

There are a few tricks and a little research you can do to make sure you are not being duped into giving an affiliate and a rouge seller your money.

  • Check the site has social media followers – people can say if they were satisfied with the suggestions being made by that website. For example – This online real money gaming site has a Facebook page has 17,091 followers which is an endorsement in itself within arguably one of the most difficult industries to trust.
  • Check for Facebook reviews – once again let’s refer back to an industry where people find information difficult to trust. Askgamblers Facebook review page has loads of positive comments. This means this site (purely there to review casinos and give information) must be giving people honest reviews because there is not one bad review.
  • Check to see if public comments are enabled – the review website should allow people to leave their own comments directly on the website. Many websites disable comments, which is a sign that they have a lot to hide. Why would you not allow your readers to comment unless your business is afraid that the bad reviews will outweigh the good ones?
  • Check to see if there is a rating system – review websites that allow site visitors to rate the product service using a star system. This is usually a 1 to a 5-star rating. It means every product or service has had its chance to be reviewed, but then the actual rating of service has been left to the customers that use the site. They can freely leave their opinion and star rating so you can gauge which of the products is the highest rated by public opinion.
  • Research for accuracy – this is probably the most arduous task of all because there are so many of us out there that are impulsive buyers. Generally, you will need to know your product well, ask other people’s opinion, and see if the above-suggested areas of research such as ratings and comments are consistent across the many different review sites. 

Aside from the above points, you also want to make sure you visit a website that is well organized. There is nothing worse than finding a review website and then spending hours trying to figure out what all the information is about. Sites with FAQs are always helpful. The review websites that are able to preempt almost 90% of your questions are obviously very well informed and experienced within their industry.

What about brand new websites?

Differentiation is the key to creating a successful brand-new website. We actually recently came across one that seems to have just hit the market in Malaysia, and it also looks to be targeting other countries across Southeast Asia.

Some people find brand new websites difficult to trust. This is very understandable because the site will no doubt be lacking in reviews, star ratings, and so on. For example, we came across a brand-new website called c9betwin that has been floating around our office for a while. This is because we are all avid mobile gamers, we review a lot of gaming websites both social and betting sites, and we are interested to see what this new site has to offer. However, right now (at the time of this writing), there is no telling how reliable this website is.

One thing we can tell is that it is trying to give people all the information possible, and it comes with an excellent casino strategy and news blog. There is also a live chat. However, there is currently no Facebook as we can see but it does have a Twitter page and several options to get in touch with a support team via live chat and other chat apps.

Now the website is new, so the best we can do is bookmark is and wait to see what prevails. What we do like about it, is the fact that it targets the Malaysia and Singapore casino players and instead of doing what all the other websites are doing, which by all accounts is a poorly put together site with some odd use of language, the site appears to be there to help people and not sell an app via a poorly put together website.

It also looks like it is one of the first in the industry to give people information in a market where gambling is effectively illegal, but yet, no matter what these Southeast Asian governments have tried to do or are trying to do to stop these sites prevailing, it seems this is an industry that will continue to prevail in a geographic location, that let’s be honest, has a population that loves to have a flutter on games of chance.

Review Websites and Social Media are the Best Way to Get Value!

Essentially what we hope you took away from reading this article is the fact that review websites are an excellent way to find out the truth about a product. Yes, company websites have their own review systems on their website. They even have excellent content. However – but they obviously hired a marketing expert to write this content who is no going to tell you about the negatives. Therefore, you need more than just their sales pitch to convince you that you are going to get value for your money.

Consequently, social media is always going to be extremely important. Review sites are next on your agenda because this is where you are going to get the lion’s share of your most valuable insights about the products/services you are researching. That social media needs to be both on the company website you plan to make the purchase from as well as the review websites you are using to gather information.

Make sure you also do your due diligence when it comes to checking how much of a say ‘real users’ have on any of these websites. There should be a rating system that is public, so you know that other people approve of or endorse this product.  Finally, when it comes to a new website, do not dismiss them, keep an eye on them and see how the site develops as in the beginning there are always going to be teething problems. Try to see why the site is different from the alternatives trying to offer the same information, and how it develops to become better and more informative.

If you can follow the advice we have given you here, then you reduce the chances of making a bad purchase decision that may have seemed like a great one at the time!

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