Thursday, May 10, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's more important than ever to do your research before spending your hard-earned dollars.
That's why many of us turn to online reviews before buying a product or visiting a new restaurant. But how can you be sure the reviews are from real people?
In one Internet marketing study, more than half of online reviews for a sampling of businesses in Google Places directory appeared to be made up. Now, this is illegal, but it still happens, so be on your guard when reading online reviews. This means being leery of anonymous postings that appear to be edited.
You want to look for companies that have multiple reviews, so you get a wide opinion base. Also make sure you know the website where you're getting your reviews.
"How are the reviews compiled? How do companies get on the site?" said Angie Hicks of Angie's List. "These are all important questions for consumers."
Remember to check other places besides the Internet before making a decision, like consulting with family members and friends. Trust your instincts.
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission announced plans to develop guidelines in an attempt to crack down on fake consumer reviews.