While trust in the pro media falls, faith in the views of regular folk keeps growing. In an April survey by PowerReviews, for example, over half of consumers said that they trust user reviews of products, and they are reading more of them.
But the more they read, the more confused they can get. According to users of Rotten Tomatoes, for example, the new movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is either a “Kick Ass, well research, solid story” or “an embarrassment.” It just depends on what review you read. (And the overall average rating of 56 percent doesn’t clarify.)
To remedy the user-review confusion, a new company called Bundle is committing the social-media blasphemy of rejecting what people say. Instead, it looks at what they do–mainly by analyzing credit card data to see how much money people spend, and where. (They also look at government statistics and third-party surveys.) Through a deal with Citibank, Bundle culls anonymous credit card info from 20 million shoppers to analyze spending habits. “So what if five people swear really wildly that this restaurant is lousy, if 95 percent [of the customers] go back,” says the company’s founder, Jaidev Shergill.