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Take a service where you can buy places/tickets to do an activity, like enjoying a tour, or seeing a show, eating at a restaurant, whatever you want. As is common, the service asks users to leave a review after the activity, which is then displayed on the page about that activity, for future users.

Users can buy those places for several people at once, which means the other people involved will somehow “benefit” from the service without actually using it.

Does it make sense for that service to allow (or ask for) as many user reviews, as there were people involved in the transaction? (Maybe the service has a way to contact the other persons, or else it can just provide the buying user with a series of token allowing for a fixed number of reviews.)

There are services where reviews are open to anyone without having to prove you actually “used” the product, including services essentially reviews-oriented (TripAdvisor / Yelp / Google Places...), and services that do sell said products (Amazon...); but the other services usually only allow the buyer to leave one review, no matter how many people were involved and could give an opinion (Airbnb...). What is the rationale behind each of those two choices? What would make you prefer one or the other, and why not try something in-between?

  • I guess it mainly deals with the trust you want your users to have in the reviews they read... but I didn't mention it to leave the question open to any explanation. – Socce Jan 26 '15 at 16:50
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Allowing reviews from everyone involved sounds sensible at first but I can see some risk that it would be unfair to the service provider and misleading to potential customers.

A service provider might, for example, get 12 negative reviews from a group of people because of 1 negative event that they shared. Having that many separate negative reviews, without making it clear to the reader that they are all describing one isolated issue, would be rather misleading. It blows the complaint out of proportion. That could perhaps be solved by designing the reviews interface to make the relationship clear, but it sounds a little complicated and unnecessary.

The simplest solution is for the main customer and organiser of the group to post a single review, based on the group's experiences. That way, potential customers have an accurate and proportionate account of what one group of customers experienced on one occasion. Perhaps there could be a mechanism that allows the rest of the group to submit their own reviews to the organiser to collate and summarise instead.

  • I don't think people have to worry too much about an isolated event. If you notice people's reviews where isolated incidents could take place, people take note of it. What makes it memorable is how the business handles that situation. – Majo0od Jan 26 '15 at 18:46
  • @Majo0od Take for example a group of friends staying in a holiday home. One of their rooms has dirty bedding on one of the beds. None of the other beds are dirty but everyone hears about their friend's dirty bed, and that's something they remember and mention when writing their review. "My friend's bed had dirty bedding", an anecdote innocently repeated by each of the friends. – Matt Obee Jan 26 '15 at 18:55

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