Why should modern publishers encourage online user reviews?
With the growing availability of expert reviews, youtube vlogs etc., the publishers are having to reposition themselves in the online news space. Many of the publishers, especially the new ones, have benefited from a shift in the way many consumers obtain and process information. In the past, users typically were largely dependent on information provided by a website about itself in the form of communication or marketing. Today, thanks primarily to user-generated reviews and people’s tendency to consult on social media, users have other options. And they want to express these views. The wealth of peer-to-peer information and the unprecedented availability of expert opinions makes a user intelligent. Publishers have a need to encourage this, not only to keep the users engaged but also to obtain rich user-created content, which might be just the edge factor for competing in the tight digital news market.
How much do reviews matter?
The review is the very critical response of the users consuming your content. They may not always be positive in nature, but they definitely show how important are they to the users who are writing them. It also acts as a word of mouth for your website. This is one of the reasons why more and more publishers are providing options for online polls and review ratings. Another hidden gem out of these reviews is the possibility of revenue. This is original and rich content and can possibly contain instream ads. In recent US elections, almost all media houses were hosting online polls from users. New York times took a special cognizance of user tweets and reviews and constantly made it a topic of discussion and writing.
How to ensure rigorous consumer participation and taking heed from their contribution?
Consumers use the richness and options of online reviews to express their views on matters they consider critical. This is an untapped source of information and the only outlet for users to express. Therefore, at every step, there must a possibility for users to express , vote, rate, and comment. These votes must be used to direct the further course of online journalism, debates etc. This is the best way to engage with users who are the ultimate customers of publishing websites.