33 Million Americans Use Internet to Rate a Product, Person or Service

33 Million Americans Use Internet to Rate a Product, Person or Service

Twenty-six percent of adult internet (about 33 million people) users in the U.S. have rated a product, service, or person using an online rating system. These systems, also referred to as "reputation systems," are interactive word-of-mouth networks that assist people in making decisions about which users to trust, or to compare their opinions with the opinions expressed by others. Many Web sites utilize some form of this application, including eBay, Amazon, Moviefone and Amihot.

A nationwide phone survey of 1,399 internet users from May 14-June 17 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that 29% of male internet users and 22% of female internet users have rated something online.

"Internet users see these systems as a way to help them figure out what information and people they can trust online," said Paul Hitlin, a Research Associate at the Pew Internet Project. "People also see the internet as a place where they... can recommend a CD, warn about a dishonest salesperson, or even defend their high school history teacher."

Other findings include:

  • 30% of Generation Y internet users (ages 18-27) have posted a rating, compared to 23% of Baby Boomers.
  • 33% of users who live in a household with an income of more that $75,000 have added a rating compared to only 22% of those who live in a household with an income of less than $30,000.
  • College graduates and those who had completed some college used online rating systems more than high school graduates and non-high school graduates by about 10 percentage points.
  • Broadband users rated products online more than dial-up users. - Hispanics did more online rating than blacks by five percentage points.

These findings suggest a continued trend of the growth of the internet as a two-way communication network where users create and share content online, rather than acting as mere content consumers.

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