Online reviews, take with several pinches of salt

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We all take time to read customer reviews of a product as they are often a good unbiased opinion on a product or service. New research now suggests that like all information on the Internet we should treat them with caution.

Findings to be published in the Economic Journal show that people writing reviews tend to express exaggerated opinions, veering between extreme praise and extreme criticism to compete for attention. Dr Kawamura from Edinburgh University says his findings indicate that we should discount one star and five star reviews as these do not necessarily represent the real opinions of the reviewers.

While product reviews are still useful perhaps we should be a little more cynical about gushing praise or withering criticism.

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