Websites and the Power of Online Reviews

Submitted Feb 20, 2017

In the rapidly advancing age of technology, everything from business to human interaction seems to be moving online. With well over a billion users on Facebook alone and massive B2B websites cropping up everywhere, it is unsurprising that everyone from large corporations to entrepreneurial individuals are seeking out their fortunes on the internet. In this short analysis, I will be examining the power of reviews, online interactions, and the ability to create an income using all of the above.

Trust and the Power of the Review

In one of his many interviews, Alibaba founder Jack Ma discussed how his concept for Alibaba would have failed if he had not built trust between first time users of his site and vendors (full interview below). He explained that without trust, no business could be conducted. Looking at the internet through the lens of this principle, it becomes clear just how powerful customer interaction is. Yelp for example gets millions of visitors each day, all of whom are prospective customers wanting to see what previous customers have said about a particular business. Similarly, Google has cornered their share of the market with Google My Business, which gives businesses a sort of online landing page that past customers can leave comments and reviews on. Reviews are so important in fact, that a study estimates that well over 80% of internet consumers trust reviews left by others. This is not a relatively new concept, but looking at the scale of this principle is astounding. Individuals have created entire sites around product reviews, which work based on the idea that users searching for product + review are further along in the buying process and are therefore more likely to make a purchase. Places like this espresso site are great examples of this, where the intent of the entire site is to direct users to Amazon products. Speaking of Amazon, the power of the review certainly did not go unnoticed to vendors on that platform, and a year or two ago Amazon had to take drastic action to curb the mass distribution of fake reviews and subsequent loss of consumer trust in their site and vendors.

After examining such a small sample of the internet and seeing the prevalence of this simple concept that Jack Ma mentioned, it is clear that the digital age has truly begun to change the way the world of business operates. It has opened doors for many, and is seen by some to be a new gold rush frontier to be explored and cultivated.

Jack Ma Interview