Harris Study on Web Ratings and Reviews

Search Engine Watch revealed some information about a Yahoo/Harris Interactive study with surprising numbers. The results of their study show that in a study of ratings and reviews of local businesses, a whopping 67 percent of respondents said they would be likely to post a review.

Yahoo seemed to take pride in that information and I’ve seen the number quoted in a number of places that use it to show that user-generated content is real. I’m a huge fan of user-generated content, but I want to set the record straight: 67% of Yahoo local searchers will not post reviews… especially on every business they frequent.

Having worked for a site that has had user reviews for almost a decade, I can tell you that though a large percentage of people use reviews, only a handful actually contribute reviews. In fact, to get just 2% of your monthly unique visitors to contribute reviews would be a decent accomplishment.

This is a good example of how survey results can be misleading. I’m not sure how they asked this question, but wording it differently could yield much different results. Plus, what people say is not often what they do.