Research released today by interactive media consultancy, Conchango and trends predictor, The Future Laboratory, reveals that users are turning back to the experts due to the surge of untrustworthy user-generated content (UGC) flooding the web. The survey of 1,000 consumers in the UK showed that, while one in five people now contribute to, or create a blog, most people do not trust the content of their peers. When asked which sources of information they trusted, less than 1% cited UGC such as blogs and forum postings.

The research shows that whilst UGC is still incredibly popular, people are viewing much of it with a healthy dose of cynicism.

The desire for ‘Expert-generated content’ can be seen through the information sources users cited as trustworthy. The BBC remains the UK’s most reliable source of information, with 58% of people having faith in Auntie to provide accurate news. Even commercial television channels, such as Sky and ITV, are considered trust-worthy by 15% of the public. Wikipedia – one of the most popular reference sites on the web – is only trusted by 2% of the people surveyed, and recently had to remove swathes of content found to be written by prejudiced individuals.

While 62% of people use the internet to access news, the research found that users gravitate to established publishers above anyone else. Mike Altendorf, CEO of Conchango says: “User-generated content has dominated the discussion of media in recent times. While we are seeing a backlash, there is still a place for it in moderation. It is important for media owners and brands to establish how they will keep viewers and readers involved without compromising their own reputations. UGC has its place in the form of feedback and dedicated forums, however users want to be sure that their ‘news’ is coming from someone that has done their due-diligence and knows their topic.”

Tom Savigar, Trends Director of The Future Laboratory says: “Consumers are realising that UGC is helpful and relevant, especially in times of crisis or for finding out consumer information; but for news and entertainment they are turning back to the work of professionals. Web 2.0 brought the feeling that anyone can do anything online, but thousands of blogs remain unread and thousands of YouTube videos remain unwatched. Some established blogs will remain powerful, but these blogs are more like websites in terms of useful info and are usually the work of journalists or people with access to insider information.”

Note to the editor

The findings are taken from the New Media Landscapes survey conducted by The Future Laboratory on behalf of Conchango. One thousand consumers took part in the research in May 2007. The full report can be obtained by contacting HTUConchangoTeam@fireflycomms.comUTH.

About Conchango

Conchango was established in 1991 to deliver business and consumer solutions through the effective and innovative use of technology. Conchango helps organisations look at new ways to improve the way they interact with customers and suppliers, through the use of customer-centred techniques. Clients also look to Conchango to support them in future technology investment decisions and build enterprise applications across a variety of media and technology platforms.

Conchango’s skillset and approach is an integrated one that puts the skills of consumer knowledge, brand understanding alongside deep technology development and systems integration skills.

The results are applications, websites, intranets, kiosks and mobile applications that are useful, usable, robust and accessible, first time out.

Conchango’s approach is to focus on initiatives that deliver the greatest tangible improvement for their clients’ businesses. This is achieved by adopting the Scrum approach to agile programming, whereby development teams deliver bite-sized chunks of complex projects in 30-day “sprints”.

Conchango has worked hard to integrate the disciplines of user-centred design (UCD) and Agile development methodologies that have traditionally not blended well. Having worked in both these approaches for several years now, Conchango has a mature model that enables agile projects to leverage the best of UCD and branding.

Conchango won the Information Management Award and received the Microsoft Certified Partner Award for best business intelligence solutions. Conchango has also won awards for Best Websites for Virgin Atlantic and

Conchango’s main market areas are Retail, Financial Services and Media. Customers include: Boots, Bristol & West, Capital One, Chevron, Financial Times, HMV, Lloyd’s, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Mobile. Its strategic partners include Microsoft, BEA, Fast and Ab Initio.

Headquartered in the UK, Conchango has offices in London, Surrey, India and New York.

Published on: 12:00AM on 7th July 2007