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Close to Half of US Consumers Don’t Trust Reviews with Bad Spelling or Grammar

A research study conducted by Battery Ventures revealed that if you can’t spell, you can’t be trusted. At least when it comes to online reviews.

The study – made in conjunction with Kelton Global and reported recently in Wall Street Journal’s Venture Capital Dispatch – revealed that 45 percent of US consumers were not likely to trust opinions and online reviews written with poor grammar or bad spelling. Meanwhile, 33 percent said that they wouldn’t trust online reviews written anonymously.

The results of the study are based on the responses of over 1,000 nationally representative survey takers across adults in the US, who also confirmed that, despite the increasing popularity and impact of review aggregators like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Foursquare, online shoppers still consider recommendations from family members and friends as the ones that matter the most.

In fact, 34 percent responded that they trusted opinions, reviews, and recommendations from family the most; 21 percent said they would trust their friends; and 19 percent admitted that reviews from news sites and sources (both traditional – print and TV – and online) are also trustworthy.

However, reviews and recommendations (in the form of tweets or commercials) given by celebrities, bloggers, business contacts, and strangers won’t exactly convince shoppers to try out a product or service. Celebrity affiliation, in fact, does not build trust: less than 5 percent considered celebrity opinions the most trustworthy, while 30 percent considered these the least trustworthy.

Battery, a firm that invests in technology and innovation, has made 22 investments into the e-commerce and retail sectors over the past 24 months, with the majority of companies funded in the seed and early stages. “Armed with this survey data, we feel confident that we can help entrepreneurs pick the right tools to address each of these market opportunities,” said Battery Ventures General Partner Brian O’Malley.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Laney Pitt

    Celebrities are paid to recommend – you can’t really trust them.
    If people should believe comments with bad grammar and spelling its actually good question. We know people get paid to write fake reviews. Such jobs are outsourced to non-English speaking countries for most. But on the other hand not native English speakers are traveling too and have same desire to write reviews.
    Best way is to cross check establishment you are going to.

  2. Fields of Clover

    The most reliable source is word-of-mouth, because you can’t pay every person who enters your store/restaurant to spread the word. MLM business are built on this method because employers brag they relatives and friends trying to recruit them and sell some goods, of course.