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IA conducted a ‘Best of the Internet’ survey and found two thirds of Americans check online reviews almost every time they buy online or visit a business, and they trust those reviews to give an accurate impression. The survey also found that overwhelming majorities of sharing economy customers say user reviews make them feel more safe when using these services.

The results focused on Americans’ relationship with online reviews and how they shape our online experiences – from researching products to finding a new place to eat. Findings indicate that online user reviews of products sold online are widely used and trusted, and have become an integral part of how we live our lives. These services that people love are all enabled by intermediary liability protections and Section 230.

Section 230 is the law that enables the modern internet to operate. It specifies that all online platforms have the right to moderate, delete, or remove illegal or unsavory content from their platforms, and says these platforms aren’t considered publishers of user-generated content.

Key Findings From The Survey Include:

Online Shopping:

  • 67% say they consult online reviews either “every time” or “most of the time” before visiting a business or making a purchase online.
  • 65% rate their trust of online reviews to give an accurate impression of a product or location as a 7 or above on a 10-point scale.
  • 81% say they have not bought a product they were interested in because of poor reviews, and 79% say they bought a product they were unsure about because of good reviews.
  • 62% say they’d be less likely or purchase a product online if it had no reviews.

Sharing Economy:

  • 40% or more of respondents say that they would not use home services, ridesharing, or short-term rentals if user reviews were not available.
  • 71% say user reviews make them feel more safe when booking a handyman or cleaner online.
  • 74% say user reviews make them feel more safe when using a ridesharing services.
  • 82% say user reviews make them feel more safe when booking a short-term rental online.

The Best Of The Internet survey was conducted via online interviews through SurveyMonkey from May 21-22. The survey included interviews with 2451 American Adults. Topline results are available here.

To read a one-page summary of the survey click here.