Use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website. Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website. Stores frequently have user ratings, which can help you understand a store’s reputation based on the reports of people who actually shop there.
We consider a large number of positive user reviews as evidence of positive reputation. Many other kinds of websites have reputations as well. For example, you might find that a newspaper (with an associated website) has won journalistic awards. Prestigious awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize award, or a history of high quality original reporting are strong evidence of positive reputation. When a high level of authoritativeness or expertise is needed, the reputation of a website should be judged on what expert opinions have to say.
Recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies, are strong evidence of very positive reputation. Reputation research is necessary for all websites you encounter. Do not just assume websites you personally use have a good reputation. Please do research! You might be surprised at what you find.
Sources of Reputation Information
Look for information written by a person, not statistics or other machine-compiled information. News articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations can all be sources of reputation information. Look for independent, credible sources of information. Sometimes, you will find information about a website that is not related to its reputation. For example, pages like Alexa have information about Internet traffic to the website, but do not provide evidence of positive or negative reputation. You can ignore this information since it’s not helpful for Page Quality rating.
Customer Reviews of Stores/Businesses
Customer reviews can be helpful for assessing the reputation of a store or business. However, you should interpret these reviews with care, particularly if there are only a few. Be skeptical of both positive and negative user reviews. Anyone can write them, including the creator of the website or someone the store or business hires for this purpose. See here for a New York Times article on fake reviews and here for a Guardian article on fake reviews. When interpreting customer reviews, try to find as many as possible.
Any store or website can get a few negative reviews. This is completely normal and expected. Large stores and companies have thousands of reviews and most receive some negative ones. It is also important to read the reviews because the content of the reviews matter, not just the number. Credible, convincing reports of fraud and financial wrongdoing is evidence of extremely negative reputation. A single encounter with a rude clerk or the delayed receipt of a single package should not be considered negative reputation information. Please use your judgment.