Online Rating Services Aren't Always Trustworthy

from the be-careful dept

Last month we posted an article about camera merchants who bait and switch online trying to force consumers to buy accessories if they want the camera they ordered to be “in stock”. Now here’s a long article from Inc. about the various online rating services that people use before they make a decision to trust an online retailer. Turns out that maybe you shouldn’t trust them. The article uses an example of a “recommended” camera merchant that pulled the bait-and-switch. The problem, here, is incentives (again). The online rating services make money by recommending merchants – so they’re really not all that objective. Definitely worth thinking about next time you go buy a camera. The funniest one is the fact that Gomez only rates stores based on user experience of the shopping side. They don’t take into account fulfillment at all. So, if a scam artist makes a beautiful site, they can get a high Gomez rating – even if they never ship a single product and just steal credit card numbers. Sure, it’s tough to rate fulfillment – but anyone looking at a Gomez rating is going to think that at least some element of “will I actually get this product” has been included in the ranking. The article also includes a bunch of quotes from frequent Techdirt contributor Dan Miller.

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