Maritz Research Study Ranks Most Trusted Online Review Sites


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Consumers trust TripAdvisor and Zagat, skeptical of other online reviews

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 18, 2013) – Do you read online reviews before buying a
product, reserving a table at a restaurant or booking a trip? A new study
from Maritz Research shows that while you may not want to believe everything
you read, larger, more established ratings sites such as TripAdvisor and
Zagat are much more likely to be trusted over smaller, newer sites.

The 2013 Online Customer Review Study, which examined 13 high-profile
ratings sites, indicates there’s a lack of trust with the feedback shared
online and lists the sites with the highest trust levels.

Most Trusted Sites

The study found that one in four people believe the information available on
ratings sites is unfair. And while the older, highly visited sites were
generally perceived as more trustworthy, more than a third of visitors were
still cautious of information on these sites.

The TRUST Factor
Percentage who trust the sites

*Low sample size due to low number of ratings site visitors

“Many people we surveyed expressed concern over reviews on customer ratings
sites being biased or even fake,” said David Ensing, vice president of Voice
of the Customer Integration for Maritz Research. “Many site visitors tend to
believe that ratings sites select which reviews are posted, that employees
post fake positive reviews for the companies they work for, and that raters
only share their positive or negative experiences instead of sharing a
balanced opinion.”

For those who felt ratings sites were generally fair, many reported they
still have to separate trustworthy reviews from non-trustworthy ones based
on their own intuition. Specific survey respondents noted that they:
• “Can usually tell when a review is fake – if it is overly positive.”
• “Try to determine if the review is legit or if the writer is out for
• “Read between the lines to see what the reviewer is really saying and
discount reviews that feel unfair.”
• “Try to read a range of reviews. If there are not enough reviews, [they]
don’t take it seriously.”

“Our research indicates that there may be a credibility crisis on the
horizon for online review sites,” said Ensing. “If the lack of confidence in
customer reviews continues, these sites could become obsolete. To address
trust issues, companies and ratings sites should consider more secure and
credible ways to provide customers with reviews that have been verified and
aren’t skewed.”

For more information about the 2013 Online Customer Review Study, including
white papers and blogs on this topic visit

The Maritz Research 2013 Online Customer Review Study surveyed 3,404 people
about the use of 13 dedicated customer review and ratings sites, including
TripAdvisor, Zagat, OpenTable,, Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google+,, Room Key*, Foursquare,, Citysearch, and
DealerRater*. The online panel study was conducted from April 3 to April 24,
2013. Read more about the study at

*Low sample size due to low number of ratings site visitors.

About Maritz Research
As one of the world’s largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research, a
unit of Maritz, helps many of today’s most successful companies improve
performance through a deep understanding of their customers, employees and
channel partners. Founded in 1973, it offers a range of strategic and
tactical solutions concentrating primarily in the automotive, financial
services, hospitality, technology, telecommunications, restaurant, and
retail industries. The company has achieved ISO 20252 registration, the
international symbol of quality. It is a member of CASRO, ESOMAR and MRA.
Check out the Maritz Research blog at
For more information, visit or call 877-4MARITZ.

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Ashley Farley
Standing Partnership
1610 Des Peres Road, Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63131
314.287.6339 direct line
314.469.3512 fax
Web site:

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