Online Review Practices and Misuse
Online reviews and suggestions are a huge part of online retail stores and often times determine what gets sold and what doesn’t. People use the suggestions of others, either expert reviewers, or everyday people, to decide if that product is right for them. These reviews aren’t always genuine though, and often times they come from reviewers with hidden agendas. Shay Davis and Trevor Pinch conducted a study to determine how exactly people do use the review feature offered by many online retail stores. They did this by using software they created themselves to detect when nearly identical reviews were being used for two different products.
What Davis and Pinch found in the study is that people are using the opportunity to post reviews in multiple ways. People post reviews to several items to promote personal agendas, they copy reviews to promote items, they use multiple user names to get support for an item, and they also do it to promote personal identity. The consequence to all these different types of reviewing is a change in the economics of online retail stores.