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 Online Consumer-Generated Reviews Have Significant Impact on Offline Purchase Behavior

Study Conducted by comScore and The Kelsey Group Reveals that 24 Percent of Online Local Service Review Users Purchase Service


RESTON, Va., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — comScore, Inc. , a leader in measuring the digital world, today announced the results of a new study conducted with The Kelsey Group, a leading research and strategic analysis firm focused on local media and advertising, that examined the impact of consumer-generated reviews on the price consumers were willing to pay for a service delivered offline. The study, based on a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. Internet users in October 2007, revealed that consumers were willing to pay at least 20 percent more for services receiving an “Excellent,” or 5-star, rating than for the same service receiving a “Good,” or 4-star, rating.

The study examined the offline sales impact of online reviews for restaurants, hotels, travel, legal, medical, automotive and home services. Nearly one out of every four Internet users (24 percent) reported using online reviews prior to paying for a service delivered offline. Of those who consulted an online review, 41 percent of restaurant reviewers subsequently visited a restaurant, while 40 percent of hotel reviewers subsequently stayed at a hotel.

    Purchase Behavior Subsequent to Online Review Consultation
    October 12-18, 2007
    Source: comScore, Inc./The Kelsey Group
                                             Percent of Review Viewers
                                               Subsequently Making a
    Service                                  Purchase of Stated Service
    Restaurant                                         41 %
    Hotels                                             40 %
    Travel                                             27 %
    Automotive                                         24 %
    Home                                               19 %
    Medical                                            14 %
    Legal                                               8 %

Online Reviews Very Influential in Offline Purchase Decisions

More than three-quarters of review users in nearly every category reported that the review had a significant influence on their purchase, with hotels ranking the highest (87 percent). Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed who said they made a purchase based on an online review said they found the review to have been accurate. Review users also noted that reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals.

    Online Review Influence on Purchase Decision
    October 12-18, 2007
    Source: comScore, Inc./The Kelsey Group
                                              Percent of Review Users
                                            Identifying Review as Having
                                             a Significant Influence on
    Service                                       their Purchase*
    Restaurant                                          79 %
    Hotels                                              87 %
    Travel                                              84 %
    Automotive                                          78 %
    Home                                                73 %
    Medical                                             76 %
    Legal                                               79 %
     * Based on responses indicating at least 4 on a 5 point scale

Consumers Willing to Pay at Least 20 Percent More for 5-Star Service than 4-Star Service

comScore asked the study participants how much they would be willing to pay for a particular service based on the quality of the service. The results showed that consumers were willing to pay between 20 percent and 99 percent more for an Excellent (5 star) rating than for a Good (4 star rating), depending on the product category.

    Amount Consumers Willing to Spend for 5-Star Service
    October 12-18, 2007
    Source: comScore, Inc./The Kelsey Group
                                             Excellent      Good
    Service (Suggested Average Price)        (5 Stars)    (4 Stars)      Lift
     Restaurant Meal ($20)                    $37.95       $25.44        49 %
     Restaurant Meal ($50)                    $59.93       $41.40        45 %
     Hotel ($100)                            $137.36       $99.73        38 %
     Home ($250)                             $252.15      $209.50        20 %
     Travel ($350)                           $366.72      $299.81        22 %
     Legal ($60)                             $104.36       $52.51        99 %
     Medical ($15)                            $29.67       $23.54        26 %

“These data show the importance of local service review sites in consumers’ purchase process,” said Steve Marshall, research director for The Kelsey Group. “With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it’s vital that local service providers have a positive presence on these review sites.”

“This study underscores the importance of providing not just good, but excellent, service if a business hopes to generate positive consumer reviews which will result in greater sales,” said Brian Jurutka, senior director, comScore Marketing Solutions.

About this study

The comScore study was based on 2,078 survey respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews, conducted from October 12-18, 2007. Consumers were asked about their usage of online reviews and were also asked what price they would be willing to pay for a service given an average service price and an aggregate consumer rating.

About The Kelsey Group

The Kelsey Group is the leading provider of research, data and strategic analysis on directories, small-business advertising, online local media and mobile advertising. Founded in 1986, the company has built a reputation as the premier analyst firm covering the directory publishing community and the emerging local search marketplace, providing advisory services (The Kelsey Report(R) and Interactive Local Media), publishing (Global Yellow Pages(TM)), consulting (more than 400 individual assignments) and conferences (69 events).

About comScore

comScore, Inc. is a global leader in measuring the digital world. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. comScore analysts apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. comScore services are used by more than 700 clients, including global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, BBC, Carat, Cyworld, Deutsche Bank, France Telecom, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Financial Times, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestle, Starcom, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Verizon, ViaMichelin, Merck and Expedia. For more information, please visit http://www.comscore.com.

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