Should we buy the conventional lettuce or the more expensive organic lettuce? Every day we make decisions about how to spend our money. More expensive products sometimes are better or are more durable than cheaper products, but that is not always true. Objective product reviews can help us to understand something about the products and make the best use of our time and money to get good quality products at reasonable prices.
Many years ago, an immigrant from the Soviet Union was surprised to see dozens of brands of coffee in the supermarket and he asked me: "How do you know which one to buy?" This is a problem that we face every day. We have to make choices because we do not have the time or the money to try every product. If brands like "Folgers" or "Maxwell House" popped into your head it is because advertising works.
Manufacturers increase their chances of selling products by promoting their brand names. You are more likely to buy a product with a recognizable brand like "Kleenex" than just generic paper tissues. As a consumer, you can generally save money by buying products that are not promoted by expensive advertising, but you have to be sure that the quality of the product meets your needs.
Consumer reviews are useful because they can point out product deficiencies that may not be evident from advertisements or sales brochures. Reviews are particularly important when buying over the Internet when it is not possible to examine the products personally. Buying the right product means that you will not have to pay a shipping fee or a re-stocking fee for returned items.
As consumers, we need to distinguish between promotional material and reviews based on actual user experiences. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, has endorsement guidelines that require three basic truth-in-advertising principles:
References:The FTC's Revised Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking. FTC's Revised Endorsement Guides