Why Rate and Review Products Online?

By Alex Zorach

The web abounds with rating sites for virtually everything, from beverages like wine, beer, coffee, and tea, to restaurants, to all sorts of businesses, teachers and professors, books, consumer electronics, clothing, and even more items. Most commercial websites feature some sort of rating or feedback system for their products. You can even rate churches!

Why participate in these websites? Is it a waste of time?

One might think that the primary purpose of writing reviews and rating things on rating websites is to share opinions with the world, or perhaps to send feedback to the companies selling the products. While these are valid purposes, I personally believe that there is a much more compelling reason to use these websites:

Rating products and writing reviews helps you to develop and keep track of your own opinions. To some degree it doesn't even matter whether or not you share your opinions with others. The simple act of writing something down helps you learn about whether or not that product was a reasonable purchase, and guides your own decisions with respect to future purchases. Rating and reviewing products can help you to make wiser purchasing decisions. Also, writing reviews helps develop your writing skills, which will help you in many areas of life--especially for users of the internet.

Actually rating and reviewing products helps you more than just reading reviews:

There is limited value in reading other people's reviews; people have such diverse tastes that, except for the most extreme cases, you can often learn very little by just glancing over numerical ratings or skimming product reviews. Whether you're buying a car, books, or finding a place to get a bite to eat in an unfamiliar city, it's never wise to blindly trust the rating or review of a stranger or even a handful of strangers.

On the other hand, when you start writing reviews and rating things yourself, your ability to gather information from other reviews increases. Once you've written a few reviews, you know how to read other people's reviews...and you know how to quickly identify people who are looking for the same sorts of qualities that you are. You thus greatly enhance your ability to sort through the information in order to make wise purchases and effective choices.

Try participating in those review sites that you are currently just browsing. You may be surprised what happens once you get over the initial hurdle of writing your first reviews!

Alex Zorach
Article by Alex Zorach
Alex Zorach has an M.A. in statistics from Yale University, and is the creator and administrator of a website for tea ratings and reviews. Do you drink tea? Or want to learn more about tea? Read and write http://RateTea.net, a site where anyone can rate and review teas.

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