Article researched and authored by Jim Barber – Editor, BransonWebcast.com
An old advertising adage states, “Word of Mouth is King”, and a recent Global Advertising Survey by the Nielson Company supports that statement. According to their findings, the most trusted form of advertising is recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online. 90 percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.
Read and Write Show Reviews
With the explosion of online blogging and social networking, the ability for anyone to anonymously write and publish a review of a product or service has never been easier.
There are many online services that allow and encourage users to share their thoughts and experiences regarding Branson area attractions, hotels, restaurants, shopping and shows. Popular websites such as Branson.com, 1Branson.com, TripAdvisor.com, Travel.Yahoo.com, Yelp.com, and BransonCritic.com, all provide forums that make it easy for anyone to publicly post ratings and comments.
Can You Trust Online Show Reviews?
On the surface, the ability to determine which Branson hotel, restaurant, show or attraction is best suited for your vacation dollars by reading the positive or negative reviews of others sounds like a good thing. In reality however, consumers need to be aware that the internet leaves open the possibility of concealing your identity. When you read reviews posted on many of these sites, it is difficult if not impossible to really know if they are legitimate or not.
Reputable review sites implement software and registration techniques to help guarantee that users are really who they claim to be. Individual IP addresses are logged and cross checked to determine if multiple accounts are created by the same person. Posting patterns and frequency are logged and some of the sites such as TripAdvisor.com even personally review all submitted posts to help determine authenticity before they are allowed to be displayed publicly. Even with those protective measures in place, fake reviewers are still often able to get their misinformation published for the world to see.
Self Regulation Is The Best Defense
Many review sites become a community to those who frequently use the service, and the legitimate members of the community have no patience or tolerance for fake reviews and will often report suspected offenders to the site owners or reply to those reviews in support of what is right and decent.
Fake reviews have become one of the slimiest marketing practices on the Internet. Some marketers will write anything to promote their business. Oftentimes, they will create multiple fake user name accounts and publish conversations between themselves to either boost the reputation of their business or slam the competition. The marketers who resort to these unsavory methods are often unsuccessful in their business or under capitalized for advertising and find this to be a cheap way to get the word out about their product or service. Some of these scammers are just plain jealous of a competitors success and will write overly negative reviews in hopes of damaging their business.
How To Spot A Potentially Fake Show Review
Beware of any show reviews that exhibit the following qualities:
- All glowing or all scathing are both clues to possible fake reviews.
- A 2 or 3 sentence review that mostly criticizes a show and merely states that it stunk.
- Reviewer isn’t specific about what they didn’t like. Chances are they didn’t see the show.
- Is overly critical of a minor portion of the show but says nothing else specifically.
- Comments are too general or stereotypical, like “canned humor” or “nothing special”.
- Author writes scathing remark about the headline artist and nothing about the show itself.
- Reviewer is overly complimentary and goes into extreme detail about entire concert.
- The reviewer ends an overly critical review with “go see (competitors) show instead.”
- Various user names continually appear in conversation about similar topics.
“The most common, and most obvious, place to start when determining reliability is to weed out reviews that are way off the mean: those that have one star when the rest are positive, or five stars when the others are mixed. That indicates either an unusual incident or a writer with some interest in the hotel, like a rival property or the general manager’s friend. Other hints a review might be fake: The writer mentions a nearby property as superior, has only written about that one hotel and has only visited the site once — on the day of the review. (You can check for other hotels a writer has evaluated by clicking on the reviewer’s name.)”
Nancy Keates – WSJ.com Article: Deconstructing TripAdvisor
Read It, But Don’t Believe It
To sum up, the best way to learn about which shows in Branson are the highest rated is to actually go attend them in person and make up your own mind. If that is not possible, then check out multiple sources of information rather than rely on one review site or another. Search online news articles and blogs for other independent stories about the artist or show. Visit their official website and consider their credits and longevity as a group or venue. If they’ve been around and stable in the same location for awhile, that’s a good indication that they must be doing something right.
Remember, the Internet has tons of great information on virtually everything in existence; but with the good comes the bad. Be alert to online scams such as fake reviews, but continue to participate in and contribute your own factual and quality content to these sites for the benefit of everyone.
We at BransonWebcast.com believe that there are NO bad shows in Branson and will end this post with another old adage… “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
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