Dec 09

The Wisdom of Crowds Like Me

As more people create more online content; from status updates to reviews, mentioning brands and businesses; identity and trust are increasing in importance.

When faced with hundreds of comments about a restaurant, or thousands of reviews on a product you might buy, who the content was created by becomes much more important. Should you trust these people’s opinions? Currently, sites like Amazon and Yelp get around this by leveraging the “Wisdom of Crowds“. They aggregate reviews and present you with the number:

Amazon have evolved this format to present the “most helpful” reviews:

Yet, we don’t know much about the people doing the reviewing. In the Yelp example, what if the 749 people giving a 5 star review are not like me at all? And what if the 303 people giving a 3 star review are really like me? We can view the reviewers profile and previous reviews to determine a base level of trust, but the most important question is not whether they are trustworthy, it’s whether they value the things you value. 1000 aggregated reviews from a completely different demographic may be much less useful than 10 reviews from the same demographic as yourself.

The next evolution in online reviews will be the “Wisdom of Crowds Like Me”: