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One survey, by Opinion Research, shows that “61% of respondents said they had checked online reviews, blogs and other online customer feedback before buying a new product or service,” and a similar 2008 study commissioned by PowerReviews showed that “nearly half of U.S. consumers who shopped online four or more times per year and spent at least $500 said they needed four to seven customer reviews before making a purchase decision.” So persuasive are the opinions of others that while many of us are well aware that roughly 25% of these reviews are fakes written by friends, company staffers, marketers, and so forth, we purposely overlook this. We’d rather not think about that. And, frankly, we don’t seem to care. As the Times of London points out, we are born to believe, in part, because a collective belief helps us to bond with others. In short, we want to trust in these messages, even when we may also be deeply skeptical.

From Thou Shalt Covet What Thy Neighbor Covets, by Martin Lindstrom. 
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