May 24, 2007, 12:00 AM

Word of mouth meets seeing is believing for product reviews

More than one in three Internet shoppers would find customer-generated product research more useful if it were accompanied by video-based product reviews, a new study shows.

A new study shows more than one in three Internet shoppers would find customer-generated product research more useful if it were accompanied by video-based product reviews.

Socratic Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based research firm, found that when compared with word-of-mouth -- respondents’ number one preferred method of researching products and services -- 36% found Videopinions reviews more influential. The study was commissioned by ExpoTV, a video-based product review business that makes Videopinions, and has compiled about 60,000 customer product review videos.

Consumers have indicated a preference for customer-generated product reviews on e-retailer web sites. Many now prefer them in video format. The Socratic study shows that seven out of 10 consumers surveyed said they found Videopinions reviews an easy source of information, ExpoTV says.

“The point of the Socratic research findings isn’t that Videopinions reviews will replace trusted tools currently available to consumers,” says Bill Hildebolt, ExpoTV president. “Rather, it confirms both the very real appetite consumers have for product information and the incredible impact that a rich media interaction with other consumers can have on the research experience. We witness this daily through ExpoTV’s content syndication with Smarter.com and Buy.com.” Buy.com, No. 38 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is a web-only retailer that sells computer hardware and software, electronics, games, movies and books, among other products.

The Socratic Technologies study asked 300 respondents with broadband web connections to select their preferred product research technique. Respondents were then shown a Videopinions product review.

ExpoTV’s product reviews cover consumer electronics, entertainment, kitchen and travel products. Its video reviews are distributed through a range of digital sources including Yahoo Video, AOL Video, Google Video and YouTube, and are available to digital cable television subscribers via Comcast, Time Warner and Charter.

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