Social networks dominate the digital sphere and of the billions of web users currently online, 3 billion have registered on one or more of the leading networks including Facebook, Weibo, Twitter, and the like. The platform that such networks have created enables instant communication with friends, colleagues, business partners, and even government agencies, and so word of mouth has, more than ever before, become the basis for reviewing and grading products and services online.

As social creatures capable of developing close, intellectual friendships we tend to rely on recommendations and guidance from our trusted social circle – a notion well studied and capitalized on by social networks that recognize the power such an instinct exerts on consumer behavior. Star rating, a popular feature now commonplace in every eCommerce website and application ‘store’, as well as consumer reviews, consistently outrank any other means of attaching a score to a product or service available online.

The notion that our friends and colleagues know what is best for us, and have attached a star rating to it, is for most web users validation for purchase.