Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trust and blogs

I have previously mentioned that consumers 'trust others like themselves' and the recent report from Forrester researchers Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff backs this up:

However, what both this research from Forrester and the Edelman Trust Barometer also shows, is that people don't really trust bloggers.

Jeremiah has commented on this research, but I'm also going to give my view on this.

1. These terms are not mutually exclusive

I don't know enough about how these figures are put together, but I do know that it is possible for a person to be in two categories at once. E.g.
  • An expert and a participant on a consumer information site
  • An aquantance who blogs about using the product

I think these categories would be better as weighting for different amounts of influence and by combining them you could get a better measure of the impact of an opinion about a product or brand.

2. There are missing assessment criteria
Whist the categorisation of the research conveys a lot, there are some information gaps, such as:

  • Transparency:
    Is there anything in the blog that would cause the consumer to believe it was from anyone other than who it was supposed to be? (see my previous posting on Fake blogs)
  • Sentiment:
    Are people more likely to trust a blog that has a generally positive outlook towards the brand or company rather than one that is slating it?
  • Demographic information:
    Are the Google generation more likely to trust a review by a blogger than the MTV generation?

I'd also be curious to know if there is any blog information on which of our friends opinion we trust the most and which particular market sector and products attract a greater trust. On top of this, I'd be interested to know if a multi-contributor blog was trusted more or less.

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