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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review November 21, 2014

A user's guide to user reviews




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ninety percent of consumers say that they read online user reviews before they make buying decisions, and why not? What could be more helpful than the opinion of millions of Americans about the products and services they've tried?

But what sounds great in theory seems a lot less valuable in reality, Consumer Reports warns. That's because the trustworthiness of user reviews is increasingly being called into question.

Good reviews can boost sales and profits; negative ones can do just the opposite. A one-star increase in user ratings on Yelp, for example, can boost revenues by 5 to 9 percent for a restaurant, according to a 2011 Harvard Business Review study. A similar jump on Travelocity and TripAdvisor can push a hotel's room rates up 11 percent, Cornell University researchers say. That gives unscrupulous advertisers, businesses and reviewers all the financial motive they need to game the system. Those fabrications "are the 21st century's version of false advertising," says Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general.

Given that reality, how can you wisely tap this often-useful information? Consumer Reports offers this advice:

Be skeptical. You don't know whether the strangers who write the reviews have actually used the product and are telling the truth or whether they're shills paid $1 to $10 per review, like those uncovered in an investigation last year by Schneiderman's office. It snared 19 companies that pumped out thousands of fake consumer reviews on such websites as Yelp, Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, CitySearch and InsiderPages.com.

  • Don't try to guess which reviews are true. Some well-intentioned consumer advice recommends that you try to be a truth detective and scrutinize reviews for signs of fakery. But when Cornell researchers asked undergraduates to determine which of the 800 user reviews for 20 Chicago hotels were phony and which were real, the students showed no ability to do so. One reason: People suffer from a "truth bias" that leads them to trust what they read -- until they discover evidence to the contrary.

  • Don't rely on reviewer reviews. Publishers of user reviews have come up with a variety of safeguards to prevent bogus write-ups. But Consumer Reports found them to be a mixed bag. When Nitin Jindal and Bing Liu of the University of Illinois in Chicago analyzed 5.8 million user reviews of electronics, books, music and DVDs on Amazon.com, for example, they noticed something unusual. Many of them were from "trusted reviewers" who had written hundreds or thousands of them. The researchers concluded that such an output was "unlikely for an ordinary consumer."

  • Check the criteria. Root around sites with user reviews to find out exactly how the publishers themselves manipulate, filter and use them. OpenTable, for example, says that its reviews must "pass our standards and guidelines for publication." The site also says that the user reviews aim to benefit diners "as well as our restaurant partners." The partners are 31,000 restaurants around the U.S. that pay $190 million in fees for the review and booking services, and get to nominate a "featured review" for placement at the top of OpenTable's ratings and review tab.

  • Look for verified standards. To get eBay's Top Rated Plus seal, which pushes its best merchants to the top of its rankings, sellers must maintain a good track record with known users. They must also have a significant volume of sales and adhere to pro-consumer standards, including a 14-day money-back return policy and same-day or one-business-day shipping.

  • Rely most on objective evaluations. Your best sources of information are those based on scientifically sampled surveys, such as those produced by the nonprofit Consumers' Checkbook, which rates local service companies in seven U.S. metropolitan areas; comparative product testing, such as that done by Consumer Reports; and other objective measures, as you would find with ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

    Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


    Previously:


    6 ways to shop smarter
    Gadgets make healthy meal prep faster and easier
    Secrets to dealing with devastating messes
    Greatest money-saving sites
    Your guide to the new insurance rules
    Car mechanic fiction vs. fact
    Extended warranties are an expensive gamble
    Pick the best mattress
    Find -- and fix -- the cause of your fatigue
    Got joint pain? How to get relief
    Four healthy foods you can overdo
    How to hear a whole lot better
    Interior paints
    Want happy feet? Here's how
    Don't let these ad traps catch you
    Secrets to a better night's sleep
    Where to find last-minute vacation deals
    Costly fees you should never pay
    Should you repair or replace that broken product?
    Why prepaid legal services may not be a bargain
    Secret scores you need to know about
    5 reasons patient portals can lead to better health
    7 ways to save money on a gym membership
    Food fake out
    Four healthy foods you can overdo
    Fat facts and fat fiction
    Surprising ways to cut your drug costs
    Get organized for under $5
    7 money stumbles to avoid
    How to make great choices in technical gadgets
    Cancer screenings you should avoid
    In tests of interior paints, newcomer outperforms big names
    Unscrambling the latest egg advice
    How to buy a coffee maker
    Save big on eyewear
    Car owners prefer independent shops
    How to hear a whole lot better
    Bargaining can reap big bucks
    Surprising ways to cut your drug costs
    Should you report that fender bender?
    Great new sites for saving big
    Better joints without surgery
    6 surprising hazards in your home
    Protect your good name online
    Great car care gifts
    How low car payments can hurt you
    High-fiber cereals can satisfy your taste buds
    What you need to know about prepaid cards
    The only 2 rewards cards you really need
    Can good bacteria fight a growing medical threat?
    11 things every home should have
    Dump your big bank and save
    Beauty products you're probably using the wrong way

    To comment or ask a question, please click here.

    © 2013, CONSUMERS UNION, INC. DIstributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

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