Trust in Online Reviews Remains High, Survey Finds

Just 3% said they don't trust online reviews at all

November 10, 2017

In a year marked by distrust of the media, government and other institutions, one source of information continues to be seen as credible: online reviews.

BrightLocal's annual survey on attitudes toward online reviews found that more than eight in 10 internet users said they generally trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations if they meet certain criteria, such as having multiple reviews.

Just 3% said they don't trust online reviews at all, and another 13% said they were generally skeptical.

The widespread trust of online reviews came in spite of the fact that most respondents believed they had read at least one fake review in the past year, while one-quarter believed they had read a lot of fake reviews.

Perhaps counterintuitively, BrightLocal found that many people aren't sure whether they can tell if a review is fake or not. Some 84% conceded they can't always spot a fake review. That did not seem to undermine the general sense of trust in online reviews overall.

The high level of trust stands in stark contrast to other studies detailing low levels of credibility in news organizations, government sources and financial institutions. A Pew Research Center survey found that just 17% of US adults express "a lot" of trust in local news organizations.

On the other hand, Pew also found that less than one-quarter of respondents said they put a lot of trust in family and friends as a source of news and information.