Never before consumers have had access to so many tools to exert our right to choose as at this very moment. Nowadays we possess ways to learn things that up to a generation ago would have been unthinkable. What was once called “the information highway” has become both a super route with uncountable lanes where we can find more information than we are capable of processing and a tool which allows us to be aware of everything that happens in our world. One of the sectors benefitted from internet’s unsurmountable capacity to keep us informed is the is the consumer sector.
Even if we don’t realize, everybody is consuming something at all times, and possess information about it is of capital importance not only in the quantity, but in the quality of what we know. But how can we be sure of the reliability of what we know about what we want to purchase?
As with the majority of situations, our most trusted source is pour first circle of family and friends, who usually have preferences very like ours; listening to mouth to mouth recommendations is still the most trusted source of information. If people we know has good thing to say about a product, we will acquire it more confidently.
Out of this first circle of information, we find ourselves in more recently charted territory. The “mouth to mouth” becomes the “forum to forum” or, even more recently, the “wall to wall”. Knowing our cousin’s opinion about a restaurant I would like to visit might not be enough anymore; now we can know my cousin’s cousin opinion, or his girlfriend’s, his buddies’ and, now that we are on it, the opinion of all the people who has visited this now famous (for being good or bad, expensive or reasonable, clean or mmm…) restaurant.
Thus, internet has become our second but most ample source of information about what and what not to buy. That’s why it has become so important for us to learn to know web sites as we have learned to know people in order to make deals with them: we know which one is trustworthy, which one has more “credibility capital”, which one we’d better stay clear from and with which one we can work with the lesser risk. As happens with people, sites that have made an effort for being reliable to us gain and keep our confidence.