Saturday, April 7, 2007

Consumers turn to online ratings and reviews, as sites respond to concerns

Consumers turn to online ratings and reviews, as sites respond to concerns

As online ratings become more important to the success of products and services, critics charge that online rating systems are unfair. To address criticisms, operators of more than a dozen rating and review websites have banded together into a new organization, the Rating and Review Professional Association. The new group will educate businesses, consumers and the press about the online review business, and encourage best practices among its members.

Sunnyvale, CA (PRWEB) February 28, 2008

Recent studies have shown that a majority of consumers turn to online ratings and reviews when making purchase decisions, and even when selecting local services or travel destinations. The studies show that consumers make choices based on online ratings, and will pay more for a higher-rated product or service.

As online ratings become more important to the success of products and services, critics charge that online rating systems are unfair and can be influenced by a small number of biased people. The European Union has even passed legislation prohibiting businesses from posting false reviews of their products.

To address criticisms, operators of more than a dozen rating and review websites have banded together into an organization, the Rating and Review Professional Association. The new group will educate businesses, consumers and the press about the online review business, and encourage best practices among its members. Individual member sites currently employ a variety of means to combat unfair reviews, including automated spam filtering, human moderators, or reviewer reputation systems. The sites stress, however, that they provide a public forum where individuals can share opinions, positive or negative.

The operators of the sites enjoy clear legal protection in the United States, through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1996, which holds that sites are not liable for third-party content. Elsewhere in the world protections rely on courtroom precedents.

The charter members of the Rating and Review Professional Association offer online reviews and ratings of a wide range of destinations, products, and services.

Rating and Review Professional Association - Charter Members:

ApartmentRatings. com
ApartmentRatings. com is one of the largest and most popular communities of apartment renters in the United States, features more than 600,000 reviews and ratings of apartments nationwide, and offers renters valuable resources, including rent trend graphs, safety information, and maps for more than 55,000 apartments.
ApartmentRatings. com (http://www. ApartmentRatings. com)

ConsumerConnection. com
ConsumerConnection. com is a free website dedicated to helping you make smart decisions about which local businesses you can use based on detailed feedback from other consumers who have had experience with those businesses. We provide in-depth feedback consisting of surveys as well as comments by people who have experience with that business. You can Win $100 gift certificates from Amazon for reviewing businesses.
ConsumerConnection. com (http://www. consumerconnection. com)

RateMDs. com
RateMDs. com allows patients to rate and read about their doctors and dentists, throughout the United States and Canada.
RateMDs. com (http://www. RateMDs. com)

Ratingz Inc
The Ratingz Network is the place where you can read and post anonymous, independent ratings and reviews of places and services in your community and across the United States and Canada. The Ratingz Network has a wide range of rating sites - visit Ratingz. net for a complete list.
Ratingz. net (http://www. ratingz. net)

RedPearl. com
RedPearl was established to empower the online shopping community by providing in-depth website information in a unique and powerful way. Using tabulated ratings and rankings of websites in dozens of categories, shoppers can quickly and easily find a website that meets their criteria.

RedPearl relies on the shoppers themselves to share their wisdom via member website reviews. By relating their online experiences with others, members determine which sites rank well and are worthy of online shoppers' consideration.
RedPearl. com (http://www. redpearl. com)

Resource Team Ltd
ReviewCentre. com was launched in 1999 by company founder Paul Nadin and is operated by Resource Team Ltd. The website has evolved into the biggest consumer review website in the UK and receives in excess of 10 million page displays per month. Review Centre aims to provide the very best independent consumer written review content on the Internet and is rapidly expanding to achieve the company's future goals and interests.
ReviewCentre. com (http://www. reviewcentre. com)

For Additional Information

For more information about the Rating and Review Professional Association and the impact of online consumer ratings and reviews, e-mail info@rarpa. org or visit the organization's website at:
RARPA. org (http://www. rarpa. org)

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