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Food Reviewer Uncut!

Some people eat to live, some live to eat, John Newton eats for a living. In his thought-provoking book for the dire foodies amongst us, he explores horrifies us with stories of his worst food experiences and reminds us why food is one of the joys of life.

Here is a small taste of his book …

“Since writing this piece, there have been some dramatic changes in the area of reviewing: online consumer or ‘punter’ review sites; the rise and rise of blogging; and Twitter.

Sites where customers review restaurants (like Dishola in America and Eatability in Australia) have been around since the last years of the 20th century. However, they were treated, by publications like the one of which I was co-editor, Sydney Eats, with a certain amount of disdain. They were open to all sorts of subterfuge and dishonesty, we said, the guy across the road could send in bad reviews from all of his friends, and that would skew the balance. And why would you pay any attention to an anonymous and dubiously credentialed reviewer?

Then came the blogs, much the same – anyone with a computer could start a blog, there was no training, no editing and no quality control. And finally, the total anarchy of Twitter, short stabs into cyberspace, emanating from the famous, the witless and the clueless alike.

But according to Trendwatching.com, ‘reviewing is the new advertising’ – mainly because ‘6 billion consumers are now online, and the majority of them have been online for years. They’re skilled bargain seekers and “best of the best” hunters, they’re avid online networkers, and they’re opinionated reviewers and advisors.’

Trendwatching.com goes on to say that ‘businesses have to understand and accept that consumers’ decision making processes, which ultimately come down to whether they will buy from you or from someone else, have truly shifted to a new, powerful peer-to-peer arena.’ This is backed up by – among others – a Nielsen survey that shows that 70 per cent of respondents trust online consumer opinions.

And what of the guy over the road posting bad reviews to muddy the waters? Well, in a related piece on Nowism (consumer desire for instant gratification), Trendwatching.com comments: ‘As more people are reviewing and contributing, the sheer mass of opinions will lead to a real-time stream of information, findable and viewable to all. In addition, online access and device convergence will allow more on-the-spot reviews. Twitter is the much-deserved poster child for real-time reviews: it has established itself as the real-time snapshot of what people are thinking/feeling/experiencing and yes, reviewing, around the world.’ And that sheer volume will balance out the malicious reviews.”

Grazing by John Newton ($29.95, New Holland Publishers) is out now.

 
 

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