Bad reviewers

apple-455436_1920There are bad apples no matter where you go, and there are some pretty unscrupulous reviewers out there that make things worse for everyone involved.   What makes a bad reviewer?  Let me count the ways, literally.

  1. Grabs as many free items as possible with no real discernment, the end goal being only as many freebies as possible and the review is an afterthought, if a review is left at all.  These are greedy people, looking to “game” the system.
  2. Does not take item out of package, does not use item, but somehow is able to leave a review.  Miraculous.
  3. Reviews all items as 5 star, and will say it is the best item ever.
  4. Copy and pastes the same review over multiple items in an effort to save time, or reviews the same item multiple times with different accounts.
  5. Leaves a one sentence (or in some cases a one word) review.
  6. Does not review item, so much as copy and paste the item description from the manufacturer as the review (complete with a 5 star rating, of course.)
  7. Plagiarizes other reviews, word for word.
  8. Reviewer receives cash to review, thereby making them a paid shill.
  9. Writes reviews for items they never even received, for monetary compensation.
  10. Down-votes other product reviews at the request of unscrupulous sellers.

How does this harm the reviewing world in general?  If the average person shopping online runs into these fake reviews they very well may get the impression that all product reviewers who get product for free are of the same ilk.   I have gotten many nasty comments on reviews I have done for free product.  They all sound somewhat the same “Your review is fake” or “You can’t be honest when you get a free product” (some are worded a bit more colorfully than that).  My reviews are thoughtfully written, but these people obviously have formed their opinions based on a few bad apples and then apply that opinion broadly for all reviewers.  Is it fair?  No.   Is that how the world works?  Yes.   It only takes a few crappy reviewers to ruin it for everyone – be it buyer, honest seller or other reviewers.

There is already a large contingent of people crying foul about reviewers receiving free product, and I agree they have a point in a lot of instances.  They feel that some of the products that have massive amounts of glowing reviews from professional reviewers are  corrupting the buyer experience, and making reviews less valuable as a tool of discernment.   Let’s be honest, if I see a product has 100 reviews and all of them are in exchange for free product, and all of them seem to be 5 stars; I get suspicious.  So should everyone.   That isn’t how reality works.   Even the best products would naturally have some bad reviews.

I don’t know what the future will hold, but Amazon (or any other online entity) can’t continue to let poor reviewers keep on reviewing en mass forever without losing the customer’s trust in the review system.  Eventually I believe they will have to crack down on habitually bad reviewers, or sellers that seek out these kinds of reviewers.    I don’t pretend to know how anyone can police it, but my gut says that someday change will have to occur.

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I’m a professional reviewer

prudent reviewerI am a professional reviewer.   I’ve been doing product reviews online since 1998, but I didn’t start “professionally” reviewing until 2008.   A professional reviewer is someone who receives products (or services) from a company for free (or a discounted rate), in exchange for a detailed product review.  There is never any monetary payment involved.

There are probably thousands of product reviewers out there, it’s surprisingly easy to get into, although there are a lot of pitfalls along the way that would be easy to fall into.   Because I have the advantage of being a long standing reviewer who is established, in many ways I am insulated from the problems that befall many new reviewers looking to do this professionally.  One of the main culprits is coupon clubs.

I am constantly learning new things every day to improve my reviews.   For instance, I used to only do written reviews, and now 99.9% of the time I include photos or video.   Little improvements over time is what it’s all about.   I still have a long way to go.  My video editing skills are not where I’d like them to be, but just a year ago I had no video editing skills!  I’m also a newbie to SEO, but I’m trying to incorporate that as well where I can.

I think it’s mainly about trying out new products, and sharing with the potential buyer what they may like and not like about a product.  We all are different in what we are looking for, so if I review with that diversity in mind – I think it helps the reviews be more encompassing and useful to a wider audience.


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