While still important, we may be seeing the beginning of a change in the importance of dedicated customer review sites, according to a new report by Maritz Research. As customer reviews become even more available across the internet, people’s reliance on and use of dedicated customer review sites may lessen. Also, most marketers and market researchers think visiting customer review sites is part of the “research phase” of the buying cycle. However, it may move much closer to the actual purchase stage as more online retail sites (and some brick and mortar locations like Best Buy) show customer ratings and reviews. This may diminish the importance of dedicated rating sites. What does this mean for marketers and market researchers who want to use review site information? First, we need to think beyond the big dedicated review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Second, when it comes down to it, rating site reviews are read by a fairly small percentage of consumers and the reviews contained there are generated by an even smaller sample of users. We need to keep this in mind when assessing the quality of information presented at these sites. Download the full report at Maritz (PDF 932 KB) Read also "Customer Rating and Reviews Site: An Upcoming Crisis of Confidence?" at Maritz Research (PDF 981 KB), and "Reviews now a major component of Google’s search results for hotels"