How Online Reviews Changed Everything
Throughout much of the past century, we have been eager to trust the opinions of critics to help us make choices.
Film and book reviews have existed since the dawn of the media, while the mass culture revolution of the 20th century was driven by a booming secondary market for reviews of everything from cars to holiday hotspots to TV shows. In the past couple of decades, the rise of the online review has ushered in the latest revolution in how we make our daily consumption selections. Here are some of the ways that online reviews have truly changed our lifestyles.
Critics, move over
Once upon a time, we deferred to specialists for all the information we needed about the products and services we use. The role of the professional critic was a prominent, well-compensated one, with a handful of people often shaping opinions and preferences for entire industries. That is no longer the case. Today, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can make a review, and more of us prefer to trust the opinions of our fellow shoppers than the opinion of a bona fide critic. If you’re considering a new restaurant, do you look for a magazine review or do you check their Google rating first?
The rating economy
Speaking of Google ratings, it is difficult to overstate how central these types of rankings have become to the consumer economy. We already know that 90% of people will consult online reviews before making a purchase of any kind. We also know that diners are four times more likely to pick a restaurant with a Google rating of 4.0 or higher. These aggregations of review averages have become central to every facet of consumer life, leading to a new economy in which business owners and creators will prioritise getting up their Google rating before anything else.
Another important impact of online reviews is how important they have been in segmenting the market and allowing every type of consumer to find the exact service for them. For example, consider the extensive review categories available at Casino Smash, an expert iGaming platform. We can see that all of their reviews recommending online casino sites are subdivided into myriad categories, including the best sites for free slots spins, the best live baccarat sites, and the best welcome bonuses. This is one example of how the vast online review economy now allows anyone to find the perfect product or service that matches their tastes exactly.
Finally, let’s not forget the role that smartphones have to play here. No longer do you have to pick up a newspaper to read a review of the latest restaurant in town or the newest Hollywood release. Now, you can check our reviews of a venue or store as you are literally walking past it. The vast majority of people now consult online reviews outside a store before heading in, a development that has likely changed how we navigate public spaces forever.
Online reviews have changed everything, and they are here to stay. Whether they have changed our lifestyles for the better is hard to say, but they have certainly given us unparalleled access to the information needed to make informed and empowered decisions.