I’ve always taught my students to get a copy of the product they review, before they recommend anything to others. And to be honest, of course.
While this holds true to info-products (in my opinion), I find it ethically okay to do reviews of more expensive physical products without owning it yourself. You still have to be honest, and you might want to purchase the product later.
If you’re hoping to earn money on Amazon, and you go for the higher priced objects, you’re likely using a reporting review style, reporting what other people say about the product, and writing down pros and cons based on the technical information, you can read about the product.
On Warrior Forum, I’ve seen several people claiming to be making a good living that way. But their income might be threatened.
In a moment, I’ll show you a list of 30 ways consumers use to spot fake online reviews. There are some that I don’t agree with, but does that count? If consumers consider a review fake for using some of these means, then I cannot argue with them.
How Many of the Following “Errors” Are You Committing?
According to this article in Time, there are at least 30 ways to spot fake online reviews, and you’re probably guilty of using more than one of those.
If you’re writing review articles about Amazon products, you’re probably writing about Excellent Gadget-Dingy CC-XYZ10454332 from SUPER-COMPANY, aren’t you?
I mean, how else can you make the search engines understand that you’re writing about this product? No search engine will understand “the nice gadget that Super-Company came out with a couple of months ago. The blue one with square corners and digits on top.”
And even the consumer will not feel absolutely certain about which product you’re reviewing. The CC-XYZ10454332 or the BB-XYZ10454332, since they came out just about the same time, and they both are blue with square corners.
Just a Small Rant about Fake Reviews
A short while ago, I wrote a 1 Star review on Amazon for the game Star Wars The Old Republic.
Frankly, I was furious about having wasted $209 on two copies, shipped to Israel. The game sucked! Bugs, bugs and more bugs, and after a few hours play, boring, boring, boring.
But that’s not what I want to rant about. The thing is that after I’ve posted this review, I got a lot of hate-comments from people calling me a noob, claiming that I’ve probably never played a MMORPG (I’ve been playing daily since 2008), and used all sorts of personal attacks.
After a few comments like that, I stopped following them, but before I left, I wrote that I thought they were paid to write like that. (You can get people on Fiverr to do almost anything for money.)
Another client on Amazon wrote a comment in my thread, saying that he’d noticed that all negative reviews of SWTOR were voted down.
Well, with a buggy, lousy, stinking game like that, they probably need to pay a lot of people to down-vote the negative reviews.
The positive reviews mostly stated “facts” like “best game ever”, “fantastic game”, etc.
What Then? No More Review Writing?
What will you do about this? Stop writing reviews about products you don’t own? Or stop writing the full product name and number, each time you mention the product?
I don’t think there’s an easy solution to this.
Personally, I hope that more consumers open their eyes to this problem of fake reviews. Some are SO obvious that it almost hurts, like: “Is product XYZ a scam? Read my review before you buy.”
But what about taking the journalistic point of view, referring to other people’s honest opinions? Taking time to gain knowledge about what benefits it could mean that a product has “Escalleribated Schmoks”? (I just made that up.) Is that bad?
What do you think?