Camilla Vasquez, discourse analyst and sociolinguist at the University of South Florida, spoke at the Skift Global Forum October 14.

Vasquez, who blogs about online reviews, authored “The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews” (Bloomsbury, 2014), the first book-length study of online review language. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAScAAAAJGNjMDdlYzM5LWUzZDMtNDk1OC04YzQzLTNiM2ZmMzMxZTMzOQ

Vasquez addressed the topic, “Loudsourcing: The Inside World of Online Reviews.” Here are six things we learned:

  • The word “good” is common in many negative reviews, often more common than the word “bad.” That’s because reviewers who write the most enlightening reviews tend to be objective and point to the good and bad.
  • Contrary to popular wisdom, it might not be the worst thing for a business to not respond to a negative review because there are a wide variety of types of review responses by companies. Some companies totally miss the mark and will even disparage the writer of the original review and that is very counter-productive.
  • The best management responses to negative reviews come from companies that view them not as merely solving a problem but view the written management response as a way to reinforce the brand.
  • Loyal customers often police negative reviews themselves, pointing out if the criticism is warranted or not. Companies, though, should not leave the response to negative reviews solely up to loyal customers.
  • Review writers might represent just 10 percent of a company’s customer base so they are not necessarily typical, but they are highly engaged, tech-savvy and influential.
  • Whether it is TripAdvisor, Yelp or Amazon, reviews skew toward the positive, not negative. All things being equal, there will be more five-star reviews of a hotel than one-star reviews.

Keep track of all the activity at this year’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAS-AAAAJDdhNDBmODBmLTBhZjQtNGIwYi1iYTY3LTYwMjliZmI4Mzk5NA

And thanks to all the sponsors that made Skift Global Forum 2015 possible: Adobe, Amadeus, American Express, Boxever, Big Bus Tours, CendyneOne, Cheapoair, Criteo, Gogo, HelloGbye, Hornblower Cruises, MasterCard, Mindtree, National Geographic, NewsCred, Sabre, SiteMinder, Travel Channel, TurkeyHome, Uber, Underline, Virtuoso, and Yahoo.

Photo Credit: Camilla Vasquez speaking at the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn New York on October 14, 2015. Skift