Do We Need an Online Lie Detector?

Beware of “personal testimonies” on the Internet

“I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty value-sufficient for me. If all website owners and bloggers made such good content material available, the net will be a lot more helpful.”

That is the sort of message from which you might take comfort, but it also shows how people depend increasingly on the internet – perhaps sometimes when they shouldn’t. People selling goods and services look to online reviews as essential sales tools and integral elements of marketing campaigns as consumers turn to online services to shop around for a gadget, book into a hotel or a restaurant or to deal in shares.

Yet it doesn’t take long for newcomers to some websites to notice that everything they hit upon is supposedly just perfect for them: any gadget is a gem that must be had, every hotel seems better than the Ritz, every restaurant serves table-slamming good dishes, and every new stock tip is a market beater. Yet online shoppers often lack reliable tools to gauge untried or new goods and, lacking them, have to depend on reviews.

So how can we trust some of the overhyped product postings that have become commonplace in the online review system? Well, help appears to be on the way (Read the entire column here and there).

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