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Finding Better Product Recommendations Online

 
According to the latest BlogHer and iVillage market study, social sites are now a frequent destination for three-quarters of U.S. Internet users. eMarketer reports that the study found similar rates of usage among men and women, as weekly social media users reached 73 percent of the total online population.

Survey respondent's top daily activities were watching television online, but Facebook was the next most common media destination visited every day. Among those respondents, social media games were as popular as reading print newspapers.

Among BlogHer Network users only, usage was significantly higher. For example, 77 percent read blogs every day and 35 percent used Twitter daily.

Online destinations become more important when social-savvy users are looking for information about a potential purchase. However, search engines are still the starting point for information about most products and services.

Moreover, independent blogs, user-generated content and social networks are now more likely to be used frequently for purchase advice than traditional big-media sources -- such as print magazines, broadcast television and newspapers.

Among all U.S. Internet users, about one-fifth said blogs and social networks were a good place to find out about new products or services.

One-quarter liked to visit social networks for advice and recommendations -- more than one-third considered social networks a good media destination for general information.

"The days of relying on one source for information are over," said Jodi Kahn, executive vice president of iVillage, in a statement. "Online peer-to-peer advice on message boards has increasingly become one of the most valuable sources for product recommendations."

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