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Critics vs. consumers: Who do you trust?

Critics vs. consumers: Who do you trust?

iModerate

Jan 22, 2015

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The old saying “everyone’s a critic” is so fitting in the context of today’s online review/comment/social media-driven world that it’s hard to remember a time when the only way to learn about new products was through advertising, published critics, or word-of-mouth from trusted friends and family.

While it may be tempting to point to trends like famous chefs speaking out against amateur review sites such as Yelp, or big media companies like the Popular Science and the Chicago Sun-Times doing away with comments sections as evidence that we’ve become oversaturated with input from the common consumer, the backlash shows just how much we rely on crowd-sourced reviews and product feedback. But where does this leave the much-maligned professional critic—the person who is trained, experienced, and usually paid to evaluate and tell us what products to buy or not buy?

There is something to be said for the value of having a reputable, established source of information like a critic or blogger to give you the low-down on a potential purchase, but on the flipside, there is also great value in unbiased, honest, and relatable consumer reviews. Both sources do the job in different ways, so we want to know: when it comes down to it, who do you trust more? And does it vary depending on what you are buying?

Take our poll below, leave comments with your thoughts, and check back in a couple of weeks for the results.

When shopping for an item in the following industries, do you trust a critic or consumer review more?

  • B2B_Researcher

    Great question that I have gotten a couple of times as B2B researcher. I would like to know what others think, as well, but it seems to me that the “critic” or expert represents a niche of the market. They are “a focus group of one”. But they are also an influencer, for what it’s worth. Consumers, or “amateurs” are the actual decision makers so their opinion is more important.

The results we received from the iModerate one-on-one, in-depth conversations were much more enlightening than what we typically garner from open-ended verbatim responses. The live moderator offers us the ability and flexibility to probe deeper on certain points, enabling us to get stronger, less vague information. That unique capability has proved extremely valuable to us, and has made this IM-based platform an integral part of our research toolbox.

Colleen Hepner, VP, C&R Research