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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Guy
    • By MSE Guy 26th Aug 11, 4:07 PM
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    MSE Guy
    0 WOW
    Guest Comment: Beware dodgy online product reviews
    • #1
    • 26th Aug 11, 4:07 PM
    0 WOW
    Guest Comment: Beware dodgy online product reviews 26th Aug 11 at 4:07 PM
    This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

    "Many of us use online reviews to judge products but one digital marketing expert says they are open to abuse. ..."

Page 1
    • rogerblack
    • By rogerblack 29th Aug 11, 12:43 PM
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    rogerblack
    • #2
    • 29th Aug 11, 12:43 PM
    One thing to watch out for.
    • #2
    • 29th Aug 11, 12:43 PM
    A lot of suspicious reviews read exactly like they've been made from the information put out by the makers.
    A kettle - for example:
    • 3 kW.
    • Capacity 1.5 litres.
    • Concealed element.
    • Rapid boil.
    • Boil dry protection - automatically switches off when the kettle is empty.
    • Removable, washable limescale filter.
    • Water gauge.
    • Illuminated power indicator.
    • Easy fill and easy pour.
    • 360 degree base.

    You might get a review along the lines of "I got this kettle a week ago, and it's great, it holds 1.5l, which is a lot of cups of tea, and boils rapidly. The indicator means you can easily see it's boiling"

    This contains no information that's not in the product description, and while not certain to be false, is a risk. People writing fake reviews generally only have the product/box description, they can't touch the product.

    Something like "Boils fast, though is quite noisy to start, switch a bit fiddly, but a good kettle. The water gauge is easy to see, but the power light is hard to see in sunlight" is less likely to be fake.
    • Old Wrinkly
    • By Old Wrinkly 29th Aug 11, 3:20 PM
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    Old Wrinkly
    • #3
    • 29th Aug 11, 3:20 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Aug 11, 3:20 PM
    From the article :
    "Don't believe everything you read"

    Hmmm ...
    • Joe_Bloggs
    • By Joe_Bloggs 29th Aug 11, 5:26 PM
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    Joe_Bloggs
    • #4
    • 29th Aug 11, 5:26 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Aug 11, 5:26 PM
    Especially if it was written by David Manning.
    J_B.
  • purplelotus
    • #5
    • 29th Aug 11, 9:54 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Aug 11, 9:54 PM
    I'd recommend always reading the bad reviews first, I've bought a few things on Amazon after reading the bad reviews - e.g (pure coincidence) a kettle again, the worst review it had says it was heavy when full of water. And there were plenty of good reviews I didn't bother reading. Still a good kettle 3 years later, even if it is heavy when full of water
    Give blood. Use a mooncup.
    But ensure the two are not connected!
    • shaggydoo
    • By shaggydoo 30th Aug 11, 8:38 AM
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    shaggydoo
    • #6
    • 30th Aug 11, 8:38 AM
    • #6
    • 30th Aug 11, 8:38 AM
    You might get a review along the lines of "I got this kettle a week ago, and it's great, it holds 1.5l, which is a lot of cups of tea, and boils rapidly. The indicator means you can easily see it's boiling"
    Originally posted by rogerblack
    That does seem to be the sort of thing that people want however. I've found that if I don't state the obvious in my reviews on Amazon I get negative feedback. People seem to rate highly a good description of the product followed by an opinion (in my experience).
    What do we do when we fall? We get up, dust ourselves off and start walking in the right direction again. Perhaps when we fall, it is easy to forget there are people along the way who help us stand and walk with us as we get back on track.
    • RuthnJasper
    • By RuthnJasper 30th Aug 11, 10:05 AM
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    RuthnJasper
    • #7
    • 30th Aug 11, 10:05 AM
    • #7
    • 30th Aug 11, 10:05 AM
    Private Eye magazine has occasionally flagged up this sort of thing in their Literary Section - whereby authors have posted glowing reviews of their own books using several different user IDs or, alternatively, rival authors/editors/publishers have trashed the book for their own reasons.

    It's a pretty rotten thing to do, for the sake of a few quid extra profit (one assumes).
    • ianfabris
    • By ianfabris 30th Aug 11, 11:36 AM
    • 84 Posts
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    ianfabris
    • #8
    • 30th Aug 11, 11:36 AM
    • #8
    • 30th Aug 11, 11:36 AM
    Also applies to reviews of 3rd Party suppliers. I neg'd one who sent me a fake DVD, the response back was remove the comment and I'll refund you in full .... just because a supplier looks good in a few dozen or even a few hundred reviews, it doesn't necessarily mean they are all genuine reviews.

    The higher the feedback level the harder it is to fake as the sellers are likely to be busier selling stuff than manipulating their ratings.
  • ukoap
    • #9
    • 30th Aug 11, 11:22 PM
    Tripadvisor reviews
    • #9
    • 30th Aug 11, 11:22 PM
    I have used Tripadvisor for a long time and I have always tried to be honest and helpful in my reviews. Recently I went on holiday to a hotel which had received excellent reviews, these sadly turned out to be far too glowing. The experience we had at the hotel was not the same one that the other reviewers seem to have had previously. I realised that most of the reviews were done by people who had not submitted reviews for other hotels, so, from now on, I am going to take reviews by people who have only done a small number of other reviews with a pinch of salt. On the plus side, there were some good reviews after my visit and I can only hope that the hotel took the problems we had experienced on board and improved on our experiences. There were also a number of poor reviews at about the same time as our stay, so, maybe the hotel was having a difficult time. I think the key is to remember, as in all situations, if something seems too good to be true, then it is!
    • interstellaflyer
    • By interstellaflyer 31st Aug 11, 7:00 AM
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    interstellaflyer
    Holiday reviews are usually the ones that need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt, some of the complaints really show up the reveiwers lack of intelgence, they complain about the 'Germans' being ingnorant, why is it that any non brit tourist has to be German? In fact most are not German and these people want to take a good long look at their own behaviour before blaming 'the bloody Germans'. Another complaint that made me laugh 'Could not get a full english breakfast' err, this is Tunisia we are talking about, they are Muslims they don't do pig, also complaints about fish, seaweed and jellyfish in the sea, err yes all signs of a healthy marine environment. The biggest thing that these people can't get into their pea sized brain is that the star rating on these type of hotels relates to facilities not necesarily luxury.
    • pixwix
    • By pixwix 31st Aug 11, 10:43 AM
    • 120 Posts
    • 188 Thanks
    pixwix
    Not a surprise...
    While this sort of thing can be a nuisance, I'm only surprised than anyone is actually surprised. I'd have thought this behaviour was inevitable, if inexcusable. Not to mention the fact that even if a review is honest, that doesn't mean it's at all sensible ("I haven't even used my ... yet - but it's cool!")

    The real danger lies (as the OP suggests) in the increasing skill of many dud revues as opposed to the vast majority which are often pathetically transparent. On one review site recently, I read half a dozen 'independent' reviews of a builder who had clearly cut and pasted the identical review across several user names! It's really much the same as every other kind of scam - the half of the population who readily twig the scams can't understand the half who never seem to. Up to now, anyway - this development moves the goalposts.

    And not just reviews - I take the Amazon and eBay feedback systems with a pinch of salt too. I've seen hugely unsatisfactory traders sporting almost perfect feedback - often via a simplistic display which not enough buyers ever bother to go beyond. But I've also seen a guy selling literally 100s of those dud plastic cameras we all avoid at 'one-day auctions' - at 20 a go - and he still had 100% feedback! For me, a 95% eBay rating for someone with a dozen transactions is fine. A 99.9% rating for someone with 5000 transactions isn't. A 100% raiting for 5000 sales must surely be impossible.

    There are other dangers - for the reviewer too. Read about this nasty business (no suprise given the firm involved) - http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2011/08/22/117337/distress-for-disabled-after-legal-threat-shuts-web-forum.htm

    At street markets - more years ago than I care to remember - we used to watch as shills (who the vendor would claim never to have seen in his life) called from the crowd about their experience as highly satisfied customers. Nobody was fooled for a moment - in fact that kind of street theatre was half the reason we were there!
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 31st Aug 11, 10:49 AM
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    • 60,786 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I agree with the comments about holiday reviews.

    You can sometimes tell if they're not genuine (especially Indian Ocean/Far East) by the content of the review (phrases/words used
    etc).

    I do tend to take note of how many reviews AND how many forum posts a reviewer has done.

    I also read the whole of the review - I read one review of a hotel in Goa that we were considering and one guy had given it 2/10.
    On reading the review, the only thing he said about the hotel itself was that the staff were friendly and kept the room clean.
    However, it soon became obvious that he'd hated every minute of his holiday in Candolim:
    the red dust, the taxi drivers, the beach sellers, the food, the beggars, the airport.....

    When I do a review, I do try to be objective rather than subjective and don't expect to pay peanuts for a package holiday to a 2 or 3 * hotel in Goa and then moan abouit the lack of chandeliers in Reception, bell boys in posh uniforms and 24 hour room service.
  • SuzzyH
    EVen genuine reviews can be pretty unhelpful. Some of the tripadvisor reviews are ridiculous, such as the ones which complain about the weather as if the hotel could do anything about that.

    Most pointless are Amazon reviews in which people say they haven't actually used the product yet, but give it 5 stars because it 'looks nice'!
    • Spiggle
    • By Spiggle 31st Aug 11, 1:00 PM
    • 1,751 Posts
    • 14,202 Thanks
    Spiggle
    Surely you have to use some sensible judgement when reading reviews taking a good sample of positive and negative postings to make up your own mind on a product purchase.

    I do however take issue with the following example in the original article:

    "Even products that haven't been released yet have reviews. ..."

    Amazon has a programme which specifically garners reviews of products not yet available for sale and to which I belong. Therefore, they have reviews available for when the product is released and to encourage advance sales before publication/release. So, the fact something has not yet been released does not always mean the reviews are fake.

    And while I don't do reviews for money there are many MSE SAHMs who use these sites to up their income and a lot of threads on this forum can be found recommending this if you have the time and inclination. MSE are you arguing with your own advice and forumites?!?!?

    All the best,
    Spigs
    Mortgage Free October 2013
  • Plushchris
    Try looking at reviews for Utility Warehouse, any positive reviews will be written by one of their "Independent" distributors...
    Missing Tesco R&R since Feb '07 & now a "Tesco veteran" apparently!
    • mnbvcxz
    • By mnbvcxz 31st Aug 11, 1:12 PM
    • 195 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    mnbvcxz
    Bit harsh to single out torchwood. I mean its been on tv so they are reviewing how good the tv show was, which is essentially what the dvd will be. Same with movies, people understand they are reviewing the movie even if the dvd is not out for several months. Its a bit confused but essentially makes sense.
  • savvyandcanny
    Trip Advisor reviews
    Also in reverse some people write bad hotel/B&B reviews because they have disagreed with the Manager not becuse they are objective. Best to read ALL reviews and take an overall opinion.
  • savvyandcanny
    I agree with the comments about holiday reviews.

    You can sometimes tell if they're not genuine (especially Indian Ocean/Far East) by the content of the review (phrases/words used
    etc).

    I do tend to take note of how many reviews AND how many forum posts a reviewer has done.

    I also read the whole of the review - I read one review of a hotel in Goa that we were considering and one guy had given it 2/10.
    On reading the review, the only thing he said about the hotel itself was that the staff were friendly and kept the room clean.
    However, it soon became obvious that he'd hated every minute of his holiday in Candolim:
    the red dust, the taxi drivers, the beach sellers, the food, the beggars, the airport.....

    When I do a review, I do try to be objective rather than subjective and don't expect to pay peanuts for a package holiday to a 2 or 3 * hotel in Goa and then moan abouit the lack of chandeliers in Reception, bell boys in posh uniforms and 24 hour room service.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Exactly an intelligent synopsis.
    • Percy1983
    • By Percy1983 31st Aug 11, 11:02 PM
    • 4,990 Posts
    • 7,824 Thanks
    Percy1983
    I do laugh when I seen the complaints on trip advisor about no english breakfast, I know they are the same people who then go and sit in an english pub and watch eastenders.

    As it is I read reviews for a camcorder, as it is its a HD camcorder using the AVCHD format to which I already owned one, one review rants on about how it takes hours to transfer to his computer and then hours to put on an external drive as his computer hard drive isn't big enough but the files won't play from the external hard drive as its not fast enough and he can't convert them to DVD.

    As it is I now own said camcorder (Bought from CEX), If I fill a 16GB SD card (2 hours footage) it takes a a few minutes to copy to my PC and from there I can watch instantly or burn to DVD/Blu-ray easily or even sync many cameras and do a multi camera edit.

    The short of it is he was using an old useless PC and didn't have a clue. what he was doing (not a good mix when dealing with HD footage).
    Have my first business premises (+4th business) 01/11/2017
    Quit day job to run 3 businesses 08/02/2017
    Started third business 25/06/2016
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    Officially the owner of my own business since 13/01/2012
    • ayayay
    • By ayayay 1st Sep 11, 6:41 AM
    • 93 Posts
    • 71 Thanks
    ayayay
    It should be pointed out that it is illegal for a business owner to post a review pretending to be a customer under the Unfair Commmercial Practices Act. Depending upon the seriousness Trading Standards may be interested.
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