A Guide to Crowdsourced Review Websites
Summer is fast approaching and the time is coming to plan vacations, try new restaurants, and see the summer’s blockbusters in movie theaters. As the season approaches to make more consumer choices, there is no better time to explore the online resources created to help us make those choices better. User review websites are great tools in helping us decide which restaurants and movie theaters to frequent or avoid.
Crowd-sourced reviews have become even broader in their applications, and we can now use peer reviews to pick the right doctor, professor, or computer software. From as seen on TV products to the new appetizer at your local dive bar, user reviews are cropping up all over the online consumer landscape. Let’s look at some of the available peer review tools and their uses.
Yelp is a well-known user review website devoted to restaurants and other businesses. But few people realize they can use food-centric social networks such as Foodspotting to gauge a restaurant’s food quality by their customers’ reviews. Users upload actual pictures of their ordered dishes along with their opinions of the food. Most reviews focus on the entire restaurant while social networks for foodies are based on specific dishes at restaurants.
The people we ask to deliver value for our money are some of the most influential people in our lives. Our professors, our teachers, and our doctors are all people we trust as a result of very important consumer choices. RateMyProfessors is an online collection of college and university instructor profiles searchable by school.
Each profile has a section for students who have taken classes by these instructors to leave thorough reviews of the instructor and their educational experience. Similarly, RateMDs is a service for medical professionals. Unlike RateMyProfessors, RateMDs does require membership fees to access the majority of the site’s review functions.
In addition to helping you find the right professors for your learning style, user reviews can be helpful in other areas of your education all the way down to the notes you use to study. Notehall is an online database of notes students have taken during classes in schools across the country. Students upload, review, buy, and sell notes based on the notes’ quality. Each set of notes has user reviews from other students who have previously bought and used those notes.
The service is 100% legal and professor approved. The notes are not used to get answers for a test but instead to help students better understand the material or catch up on a day of class they may have missed.
Movie reviews can be helpful when going to the theater becomes more and more of an investment of time and money. Fflick was founded to provide a platform for crowd-sourced movie reviews based on users’ twitter feeds. Google has since acquired Fflick.
While the service appears to be temporarily down as a result of the acquisition, Google seems to have bigger plans for the consumer tool. An insider tech blog speculated that the deal “could enable the search giant to incorporate sentiment analysis and social considerations into its content discovery process.” In the meantime, you can find user movie reviews on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon.
Image source: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Technology/Pix/pictures/2007/08/22/iphone460.jpg
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