For online investors, there is seldom more important analysis tool than brokerage firms customer ratings. Our dependency on Internet has sparked debates about the issues of privacy and trust on cyberspace. Luckily, the technology has advanced to an extent where most of us are beginning to accept Internet as a reliable mode of communication. According to Forbes, when people were asked about the most reliable source of primary information, thirty seven percent of the respondents selected Internet over television, newspaper or radio. Such a trend highlights the growing influence of online communications.

Since the advent of World Wide Web in 90s, individual investors have started to invest heavily in stocks, forex and other financial instruments. These online investors utilize cyberspace to gather information that they use in decision making process. For most investors, customer rating of brokers remains the most effective tool to gauge the credentials of financial brokers.

Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of websites where customers can give ratings to the brokers they use. The idea is to allow likeminded investors an opportunity to judge a broker from a customer’s viewpoint. While it is a good idea to trust these ratings, most experts agree that such reviews are prone to fraud and manipulation. For example, a well-known marketing gimmick is to make a website that provides customer ratings for major companies in a specific market segment. Unknown to visitors, the website is created by a company that intends to wrongfully enhance its image. Company representatives will post bogus reviews of their company and delete any negative comments from other reviewers. These phony tactics will seemingly attract potential visitors to thier brand.

In order to prevent people from putting in phony reviews, many reputable websites are developing innovative tools highlighted below:

IP address

IP address of a customer provides useful information on the physical location of the reviewer.


Moderators actively scrutinize every feedback to make sure that the information is not misrepresented.

Technical Information

Analytic tools gather technical information of the reviewer including the type of operating system, browser and cookies.


Most websites give more weigh to customer reviews who have been actively engaged in a website. These involvements can include participation in forums and other community activities.


Some companies go out of their way to ask customers to fax them a proof of their involvement with a certain company.

These are mechanics of trust on Internet. All these measures play an important role in making web-sphere more reliable. Before relying on brokerage firms customer ratings, make sure that the posted reviews are genuine.