Press Release

Good News Travels Faster Than Bad News Online

Praise for Brands Rises

However 60% of British consumers have kept their money in their pockets after reading negative comments online


London, 25 November, 2009 – People are increasingly sharing their experiences through social media and their purchasing decisions are heavily affected by the views of others, a new survey commissioned by business information experts LexisNexis has revealed. In the last year 60% of the survey’s 1002 respondents have chosen not to buy a product or service as a direct result of reading comments online.

Just over half (50.4%) of the respondents said that if they were unhappy with a product, service or brand they would share their views online while 57% of respondents say that they are more likely to now share negative feedback than they were last year. This highlights the continued growth in importance of interaction online.  In particular men are increasingly likely to be vocal online critics, with 60% saying they are more likely to share bad brand experiences compared to last year. 54% of women say that they are more likely to share their concerns.

Good news travels fast
The research also shows that good news spreads faster online than bad, with 62% of respondents sharing their views online if they are delighted by a product, service or brand (66% men and 58% women).  Yet again 57% of respondents said that this year they were more likely to be sharing comments online than they were last year.  The research also highlights that women are more inclined to share positive news (58%) than negative feedback (45%). 

Why aren’t you listening to me?
Some 67% of respondents who have shared negative feedback online have not had a response from the company they complained about. Bob De Laney, Director of News & Business at LexisNexis UK, added: “This represents a massive missed opportunity for companies and brands to engage with unhappy customers.  67% of complainants have been ignored, leaving them to act as influential detractors online, potentially having a negative impact on other purchasers' behaviour.  Regular and comprehensive monitoring of online sites and social media would enable companies to pick these comments up and proactively act on them.  Obviously some of these comments are likely to have been on private pages, Facebook for example, but this is still indicative of a potential opportunity for smart organisations to turn detractors into promoters.”

Who do you trust?
The majority of people questioned are more likely to believe a positive comment about a product, service or brand by a third party endorser online than content on a company’s own website (70%).  Men seem to be even more cynical than women when it comes to this with over 5% more men agreeing with this statement. Bob De Laney commented: “It is clear that even if brands have their own online venues where customers can express views it is vital to  track conversations and engage with people in the places where they choose to discuss products and services.”

Trust and personal connections are still major factors for consumers, with the majority of respondents trusting recommendations from people they know (both online and offline) before making a purchase.

The five most important sources of information are:
1. Recommendations from people I know (online and offline)
2. Articles in printed media
3. Articles in online media
4. A product or company’s own website
5. Recommendations online from people I don’t know.

Views on trust vary significantly between the genders with 90% of women highlighting the significance of recommendations from people they know (both online and offline) compared to 81% of men when choosing what to buy. Women are more influenced than men by adverts in printed media when making a purchase decision (21.5% women vs. 18.1% men) whilst men are more influenced by adverts online (20.2% of men vs. 13.4% of women citing this as a top influencer). 

Silver surfers’ (respondents over 55) are more likely to rely on recommendations from people they know, and articles in printed media, than the younger generation.  The majority of 16-34 year olds rate recommendations from people they know (both online and offline) as most influential, with articles in online media and recommendations from strangers online as the second and third most influential respectively.

Bob De Laney comments: “This generational shift is interesting, but it is clear that brands cannot afford to take their eye off traditional print media if they wish to have a complete understanding of how their customers see their business. United monitoring and evaluation of online and print media reputation is clearly desirable.” 

Listening to strangers - the generation gap
38% of respondents feel that recommendations from strangers are an important source of purchasing information.  This is particularly true for those aged 16 to 34 - who feel this information is more important than the opinions carried in print media when they are deciding what to buy.
Bob De Laney added: “The fact that more than 1 in 3 respondents trust recommendations from strangers, particularly amongst 16 to 34 year olds, shows the importance for brands and companies to engage their customers online and ensure they are getting the right information.  Considering that by 2010 Generation Y will outnumber the baby boomer generation, they are a very influential group to engage with now as they have grown up with the web and 96% of them have already joined a social network.”

It’s good to talk
Almost 60% of the 1002 respondents believe that even in the online age, organisations still make it too difficult to make complaints. Bob De Laney said: “Businesses know how important it is to listen to customers but clearly customers don’t think enough is being done, so they are choosing to use other avenues to express their concerns and get satisfaction.  Businesses need to realise the importance of monitoring the online environment in order to pick up on these concerns in the first place and then proactively address them.”

46% of respondents use the internet for more than 15 hours a week at home, this concentration is particularly high for 16-34 year olds (55%). Bob De Laney said: “People say that the internet is reducing personal contact whereas in fact the reverse is true. The internet is now a social activity for many people, it is about connectivity – people are basing purchasing decisions on information and opinions from their extended networks but they still add more weight to the opinions of people they have a direct personal connection with.

“Businesses need to realise the potential for monitoring real time consumer experience. With the increasing adoption of internet enabled mobile devices people are updating and sharing their views anytime, anywhere  -  80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices*. Real time monitoring means real time improvement is possible, fine tuning campaigns and nipping problems in the bud – before they become crises.”

The complete survey findings will be explored in depth at the Online Information 2009 conference and exhibition where the LexisNexis team are making a series of presentations.



1. The full survey results are available on request from: or call Sophie Gray on 0207 309 1015.
2. The survey was conducted via Lightspeed Research online between 5th – 10th November 2009. A total of 1002 responses were received from a representative sample of respondents across the country.
3. Spokespeople are available for media interviews.

Additional Information:
1. *80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices – people update their status anytime, anywhere enabling real time customer experiences to be shared. (Socialnomics August 2009)

About LexisNexis
LexisNexis® is a leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions designed specifically for professionals in the legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting and academic markets. LexisNexis originally pioneered online information with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. A member of Reed Elsevier [NYSE: ENL; NYSE: RUK], LexisNexis serves customers in more than 100 countries with 18,000 employees worldwide.

In the UK, LexisNexis online services include LexisNexis Butterworths - named Online Product of the Year at the Legal Technology Awards - and Nexis® the single most powerful global news & business information service. The company has over 1,000 employees in the UK.

Press Contact Information: 

Mandy Blanks
PR Manager
LexisNexis UK
T: 0207 400 2874
M: 07833 482 699