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Filtering out biased customer reviews

One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you're considering trying, whether it's a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.
This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?

The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. However, RatePoint begs to differ. It wants to play referee, giving consumers more clarity into a business' reputation and protecting the business from unwarranted blights on its credibility.

To screen out false praise engineered by merchants or their allies, RatePoint has algorithms that watch for suspicious e-mail addresses or usage patterns - like someone in Virginia praising a neighborhood hardware store in California. RatePoint also lets merchants decide which positive reviews to show. This is designed to prevent people from sneaking vicious put-downs into a three-, four- or five-star review.

Read the full article here.

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