November 26, 2010

You Can Like Whatever You Like

I'm thinking about purchasing my mom an e-reader for Christmas. From what I've heard, the Nook and the Kindle are the top two choices. They're both small, handy devices, have cute names, and I assume will let her download more books and newspaper articles than she'll ever read. Evidently I don't know that much about these products, so I decided to do some online research. I'm not alone, 58 percent of my fellow adult American consumers research products they are considering purchasing online.

I consider myself a master googler, so it's no problem locating favorable reviews for both the Kindle and the Nook. In an effort to evaluate the gadgets, I make a list of considerations: price point, content availability, and accessories. It's easy to find reviews that favor one over the other, and evaluate the two based on everything from content to ease of grip (one has a rubber back the other is metal). Many of these articles include recommendations of various lengths; from a thumbs up, to a detailed 5-page analysis.

This online community of consumers and fellow prospective purchasers has been growing steadily since the dawn of the Internet. In 2010, 24 percent of Americans posted a review online, and 70 percent of Americans trusted the reviews their fellow consumers had penned.

Seventy percent is a lot of trust, especially when you consider the countless ways someone can review your brand. Websites based solely on consumer reviews have gained popularity in recent years; take Yelp, and Angie's List. Yelp recently received its 11 millionth review, and Angie's list boasts over 600,000 subscribers. There is even Consumersearch, which compiles reviews about everything from diet pills to cat food.  And don't forget Facebook with over 500 million active users posting links to their walls and statuses. When a brand's popularity can be gauged by its "likes" on Facebook, how can a company ensure that it receives a favorable review? From the brands we use to the sports we play offline, what we publicly 'like'? online defines us.  For now, one of the easiest ways to gain a favorable 'review'? online is to get a consumer to 'like'? your product or brand. And in the words of T.I. you can like whatever you like (on Facebook at least).

This brings me back to the decision at hand; Kindle or Nook? A couple of reviews would be great!

Topics: Blog, angie's list, Cassie Shaine, consumersearch, nook, retail, Shopping, yelp, consumer reviews, kindle

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