Spotting Fake Reviews on Amazon
July 8, 2016 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Fakespot uses an algorithm to spot fake product reviews on Amazon. To use it just paste in your Amazon product listing link. Watch it in action. Here are the products with the worst fake reviews. A search engine for the best products with the most authentic reviews. posted by storybored (74 comments total) 94 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well i feel chuffed, the first product in the first category of the best products is one of my favorite products. I'm a product ace!
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


"This is a surprisingly comfortable bondage suit."

Metafilter: A surprisingly comfortable bondage suit.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2016 [22 favorites]


I'm not sure I had any prior preconception of the expected comfort level of a bondage suit.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:44 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


"This is a surprisingly comfortable bondage suit."

That may, in fact, be a negative review.
posted by briank at 8:47 AM on July 8, 2016 [128 favorites]


How handy. Thanks very much.
posted by bearwife at 8:50 AM on July 8, 2016




Well this got an A, sooo
posted by clorox at 8:53 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'd love to see this at work in iOS App Store. There are so many crap apps that, inexplicably, garner pages of "OMGBESTAPPEVAR" reviews in there.

Online reviews, on balance, are pretty uniformly useless, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd love to see this at work in iOS App Store.

Head on over to Projects for one option.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:03 AM on July 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really feel like the fake/paid for reviews on Amazon are much worse than they used to be, particularly for electronics. I was looking at a listing the other day for what was clearly a fake MicroSD card and there were like 150 five star reviews.
posted by selfnoise at 9:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Oh hey, and the MicroSD card in the top ten on their "most fake" list is probably even the one I was looking at. Good to know I'm not crazy.
posted by selfnoise at 9:06 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow. Just yesterday I was shopping for a mandoline and the fake reviews/product exchange for reviews were through the roof. I just used this and it confirmed my suspicions and helped me find a better mandoline. Hooray!

It does seem like it's gotten much, much worse.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


What do you mean by fake MicroSD card? Genuinely curious, I don't buy electronics on Amazon often but many listing seem scammy. A mislabeled product?
posted by stoneandstar at 9:07 AM on July 8, 2016


MicroSD cards are frequently intentionally mislabeled. Which do you think yields a better profit margin: selling genuine 128gb Class U3 cards for a fair price, or selling 32gb Class 4 cards, labeling them as 128gb Class U3, selling them at too-good-to-be-true prices, and then just refunding the occasional complainer? If too many people get wise and you start getting flack from Amazon, you just start up a new account doing the same thing under a different name. You can offset the problem of being a brand new vendor by generating a couple hundred fake 5-star reviews, which will be enough to fool those who want to be fooled into thinking that you must be legit.

It's an evergreen business model.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:15 AM on July 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


Oh, and if you really want to go the extra mile you can play games with the file system so that the card reports itself to the user at its advertised capacity rather than its actual capacity. It'll work for a while until the user tries to write data to the non-existent parts of the file system, at which time it will break. Oh well, whaddaya gonna do?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:17 AM on July 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by radicalawyer at 9:25 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


i love this thread i have been to other websites discussing this same topic but this is the best
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:31 AM on July 8, 2016 [47 favorites]


Well this got an A, sooo

I need to stop clicking links on my work computer.
posted by phunniemee at 9:33 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, clorox's link goes to some kind of sex toy. I'm at work too, so I clicked away before I really figured out what specific kind of sex toy it was.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:36 AM on July 8, 2016


Interesting but this tool seems broken, it is reporting that all e-meter reviews are fake.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:50 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whoops, sorry! Should have said it was a little risque. It's an insane combo pack of a vibrator and a pet bed in the shape of a teacup.
posted by clorox at 10:09 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've had so many reviews I've written downgraded or deleted as fake that I no longer bother. Not that it doesn't stop me from reading other people's reviews.

Speaking of fake MicroSD cards, can you ever be sure what you're really getting?
posted by lagomorphius at 10:11 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Where can I sign up to get fake reviews for my novels?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:17 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, I found the answer to my question. As an obscure author, this service is very tempting.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:21 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see this adapted for Facebook and Twitter threads.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:21 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's an insane combo pack of a vibrator and a pet bed in the shape of a teacup.

Shoot—a feller could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


> It's an insane combo pack of a vibrator and a pet bed in the shape of a teacup.

Those...were for a friend.
posted by mosk at 10:32 AM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Didn't George Michael develop Fakespot several years ago but it actually turned out to be an app that provides fake dog barks?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm not surprised that Amazon et al are opposed to fake reviews but won't the public exposure of a service like this help the fakers get better?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:41 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Companies in the Philippines were paying people to do good review
posted by Faith Connors at 10:51 AM on July 8, 2016


I'm not surprised that Amazon et al are opposed to fake reviews but won't the public exposure of a service like this help the fakers get better?

Well, fake reviews sell more stuff and exposing just how common fake reviews would seriously tarnish their brand.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:56 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The: " if you really want to go the extra mile you can play games with the file system so that the card reports itself to the user at its advertised capacity rather than its actual capacity. "

I got burned by this by a card I bought at a brick and mortar store while on vacation. Lost 95% of my vacation photos. Lesson learned: always fully fill a new card (IE: copy the card's capacity of photos from your computer to the card) and then test the files to make sure the card actually has that much storage.
posted by Mitheral at 11:04 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


ugh yes thank god, I was trying to buy a new can opener the other day and there are like 25 models with five stars and the reviews are all "I received this product in exchange for totally ruining the world's ability to accurately assess how good this can opener is"
posted by en forme de poire at 11:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [21 favorites]


Didn't George Michael develop Fakespot several years ago but it actually turned out to be an app that provides fake dog barks?

You're thinking of George Maharis.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:09 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


This post was well-timed. I was looking at an item on Amazon and was having a hard time deciding. Would use this product again. It matches my drapes perfectly.
posted by terrapin at 11:15 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


terrapin received this post at a discount in exchange for an honest and unbiased comment
posted by en forme de poire at 11:18 AM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


(if you liked how I repeated that line twice in two comments, you'll love reading all the reviews for this fucking can-opener)
posted by en forme de poire at 11:19 AM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


selling 32gb Class 4 cards, labeling them as 128gb Class U3, selling them at too-good-to-be-true prices

This is a timely reminder, because I just bought a 128gb microSD card for an oddly low price from a 3rd party Amazon seller. Sounds like a full capacity write test is in store for this weekend.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Same here looking for bike lights. Though it seems having five-star reviews with lots of pictures is a dead giveaway.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:24 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I don't understand is the mindset behind the people who write "honest and unbiased reviews" in exchange for free products. The stuff they're reviewing is generally just miscellaneous plasticky crap of low to middling quality, the kind of thing that you might need at some point but hope not to have to think very much about, and which at some point will probably get slightly-but-not-totally broken and then clutter up your house for a few years before you finally have the heart to chuck it in the trash.

Who wants more of that kind of thing in their life than they absolutely need? Who wants six different versions of a generic low-end can opener with handles that will probably get loose after a few turns through the washing machine, or three different sets of bluetooth earbuds that will probably stop pairing properly after a month or so? I mean, I understand that sometimes you can't avoid buying that kind of disposable consumer bullshit because that's the world we live in and who has time to exhaustively research every fucking kitchen gadget need, let alone get in the car and drive to a store that may or may not have a decent-looking one at a reasonable price that you can actually put your hands on and evaluate, but why go out of your way to accumulate such future-garbage?

Is it some kind of twisted hobby? Like, I know, I'll spend hours every day misleading people on the internet in exchange for meaningless crap that I don't even need? Does that fill some kind of hole in people's lives? Don't answer that last question, please.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:32 AM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]



Who wants more of that kind of thing in their life than they absolutely need? Who wants six different versions of a generic low-end can opener with handles that will probably get loose after a few turns through the washing machine, or three different sets of bluetooth earbuds that will probably stop pairing properly after a month or so?


People who run flea market stalls on the side?
posted by dilettante at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2016


128gb microSD card for an oddly low price from a 3rd party Amazon seller.


....and upon further review, the picture of the card shows the word "crad" printed on the card, not "card".
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:41 AM on July 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


What I don't understand is the mindset behind the people who write "honest and unbiased reviews" in exchange for free products.


It is odd, though a company I really like - Anker - sends out endless opportunities to "beta test" their products in exchange for reviews. I suppose for a seller it is a way to get seen in the vast Amazon market - I at least tend to look at items with some critical mass of reviews - and for customers, well who doesn't like free stuff and a request for an opinion.
posted by rtimmel at 11:42 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


My wife used a service to get stuff for generally a dollar or free in exchange for reviews. You go through the list and apply for things you want and the company approves it, then you get an Amazon discount code. She only ever applied for things she thought she could use, but generally she procrastinated on the reviews and then spent way too much time making videos and writing so she gave up on it. Mostly she just enjoyed getting lots of packages all the time. Yay capitalism?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:46 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's an interesting model, Mr. Encyclopedia. I didn't realize people could sign up to review specific things. What happens if you get a thing, it turns out to be garbage, and then you really do give an honest and unbiased review where you say that Thing X is a piece of crap that hurt your feelings and gave your dog alopecia? Does your account then get blacklisted and you're not allowed to have free stuff anymore, or what?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:00 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Those...were for a friend.

"Man's best friend" has so many meanings in this context.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:04 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I really would love it if the tool would also try to predict what the "actual" rating should be by downweighting the reviews by how fake they look. (The stars are the proportion of fake reviews and not that, right?) Some of the companies reselling these products may have participated in this kind of shady BS -- I'm guessing the business model is to buy 500 or so from Alibaba or wherever, and then lightly brand them? -- but it's still possible the product is actually reasonably ok.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:21 PM on July 8, 2016


Indeed, en forme de poire! I bought my mother a ceramic bread knife last Christmas that had hundreds of glowing obviously-fake reviews, and it's nice looking and does a fine job and she loves it. A lot of this stuff is the kind of solved-problem product that can be made well almost as cheaply as it can be made badly (with higher prices for higher-end versions justified mainly by brand cachet) and there's no reason it has to be garbage just because the reviews are meaningless. Review-scumming is an antisocial business model, but the products themselves aren't always crap.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:30 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell the goal for most of the things up for review on this service was to generate positive feedback by getting people to post their reviews to social media. The fact those reviews might be garbage is secondary to getting a better search placement. Still, I don't doubt if your reviews are, ahem, a bit TOO honest you might be less likely to be approved by companies in the future.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:13 PM on July 8, 2016


What I don't understand is the mindset behind the people who write "honest and unbiased reviews" in exchange for free products.

I bought a $20 bottle of electrolyte pills a month ago. A week later the seller asked for the "honest and unbiased" review in exchange for a free bottle. I didn't do it but $20 (in the form of something I will use) in exchange for 5 minutes was pretty close to my threshold.

Amusingly I initially saw the product on a facebook group for people who do low carb diets (where electrolytes are often a problem) in the form of a fake ad ("hey anyone ever try these?") which was quickly deleted by the moderators. Heck it was probably posted by a member of the public through the same sort of offer.
posted by MillMan at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2016


Not too long ago, I let my guard down for just about thirty seconds, or however long it takes to order a $10 can opener on Amazon, and only after I received my terrible, barely functional can opener did I notice that all the five star reviews were compensated with free or discounted products, and I was madder about that than I probably should have been.

Was that all they got? Like, people actually sold out their trusted reviewer status or whatever in exchange for a crappy can opener? I mean, seriously, it's a really bad can opener. It's actually hard to use.

That site caught it, though, and gave it an F rating.

Highly recommended! (I was provided access to the Fakespot website at no cost in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)
posted by ernielundquist at 2:02 PM on July 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


MicroSD cards are frequently intentionally mislabeled.

It's even worse than that. They're intentionally misconfigured so they show up as the false larger size when you load them into a computer. If you try to write data to them, especially if it's more than the actual capacity, you will lose data.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:29 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is it some kind of twisted hobby?

Basically, yes. (I do it.) Once your reviewer ranking is above ca. 5,000, if you have an email listed on your Amazon profile, you start getting deluged with emails offering you all kinds of weird shit. The hard-core "rank strivers" say yes to everything and do hours a day of reviewing (or fake-reviewing) cheap plastic junk mostly just to propel them up the reviewer rankings; the rest of us pick and choose which stuff we actually want enough to bother writing a review about. You can get stuff of moderate value, not just dollar-store plastic things, and if you're poor it can be pretty handy not to have to buy extra USB cables or Bluetooth earbuds or whatever. (Don't forget also that people often resell stuff after they review it.) But past the free-product disclosure there's really no incentive to think hard or be critical about the reviewing apart from your own conscience and sense of responsibility, so as you notice most of the reviews are terrible.

This kind of thing is a little different from the truly fake reviews the post is about, though, in that it's allowed by Amazon's rules if you disclose it and you're supposed to be free to slam the product. You do get email complaints from the manufacturers if you give them low ratings — I've had emails begging me to delete even four-star reviews, people are weird — but at least theoretically you can get them booted from Amazon for trying to influence a review of their product, so mostly they're kind of circumspect about it.
posted by RogerB at 2:57 PM on July 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


....and upon further review, the picture of the card shows the word "crad" printed on the card, not "card".

Well what else am I expected to use in my cramea??
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:16 PM on July 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


Well what else am I expected to use in my cramea??

Flim.
posted by The Bellman at 3:33 PM on July 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


Unfortunately my cramea is digtial.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:36 PM on July 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


What happens if you get a thing, it turns out to be garbage, and then you really do give an honest and unbiased review […] Does your account then get blacklisted and you're not allowed to have free stuff anymore, or what?

Just to expand a little on this since I've given bad reviews to free stuff a bunch of times, and people seem curious: if anything happens at all, it's typically that the manufacturer of that specific thing will send you several emails in a tone that's some combination of aggression, panic, and apology as rendered through Chinese machine translation software, trying to badger you into deleting the review. If you then respond "hey, this violates Amazon's rules" they go quiet immediately. Their practical ability to retaliate is super-minimal; at worst maybe they could get your email removed from the mailing list or wherever they bought it from, but there are still a million others where that one came from so there's no reason to care. Basically the people who do a five-star and two-generic-sentence "it was great!!" routine on every piece of junk they review are doing it either out of pure laziness or because they're being paid for fake reviews, but it can be hard to tell which.
posted by RogerB at 3:40 PM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


....and upon further review, the picture of the card shows the word "crad" printed on the card, not "card".

Really, it's best to stick with recognizable brands, like Sorny, Magnetbox and Panaphonic.
posted by 445supermag at 4:38 PM on July 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


The free product in exchange for reviews thing is so frustrating. I was trying to buy a camping lantern -- similar to the first one listed in the "fake reviews" section -- what a headache. I will go out of my way at this point to avoid products that have "I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion..." reviews. Amazon really needs to do something about this. Have a checkbox that indicates that you received the product for free or a discount in exchange for a review, then allow the ability to view ratings and average rating with those reviews filtered out.

One interesting thing is that now when you hover over an average star rating it says "Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings using a machine learned model instead of a raw data average..." I don't remember that from earlier, is it new?
posted by phoenixy at 5:55 PM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


As for crad....

The year I moved to RI, I had to fill out an official document labeled "Tax From." A+++, would file again.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:05 PM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was surprised not to see a bunch of self-help books there. Upon graduating college I was offered payment to write fake amazon reviews for a couple of them. Self-help books are full of 'em. There are also a bunch of self-help gurus and life coaches that give 5 star reviews to other author's books in the hopes that they can network and receive the same treatment from them... but at least these guys usually say who they are in their reviews.
posted by olivetree at 6:49 PM on July 8, 2016


I'm on one of the sites you can sign up for discounts on items in exchange for review. A lot of the items are tiny plastic crap, but using the site has worked out well for me because I get an item at cheaper than list in exchange for a detailed write-up. Then again, I only apply for items I actually want, would buy anyway, and I use it for several weeks before posting a review. I've gotten a lot of "helpful" votes on my reviews.

I've mostly been happy with my items - I review both items that I buy full-price and discounted in detail. I've gotten a few duds, but I give duds a poor rating and have spent way less on the duds than I saved via discounts.
posted by bookdragoness at 7:57 PM on July 8, 2016


It should be pretty obvious by now that my Metafilter comments are fake. They typically appear within a few days of each other, often use similar language, and there are just enough negative comments mixed in to give a sense of faux-authenticity. Perhaps I'll pop up soon under another user name to repeat the process!
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:30 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of the top medical books listed is Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy, a book with a stuffed smiling raccoon on the cover. Methinks it needs some tweaking.
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:37 AM on July 9, 2016


> It should be pretty obvious by now that my Metafilter comments are fake

One thing that's difficult in figuring out what counts as a "fake" mefi comment is that a significant fraction of the "participants" here are really implementations of different machine learning algorithms. And I'm a chatbot developed and maintained as a hobby by a CS grad student at a minor regional school.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:00 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Actually... I'm looking through the infodumpster reports right now, and as far as I can tell The Whelk is the only one of the top favorites-getters who's actually human.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:04 AM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes

...human.
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


This tool creates its own distortions, for example some products seem to sometimes cause problems with the analysis process. Algorithms are not objective :)
posted by ethansr at 9:05 AM on July 9, 2016


Since bad can-opener purchases have been mentioned here: if you want a good can opener, go for the old style long handle Swing-A-Way. Also, their products on Amazon get an A rating by Fakespot.
posted by eye of newt at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is odd, though a company I really like - Anker - sends out endless opportunities to "beta test" their products in exchange for reviews. I suppose for a seller it is a way to get seen in the vast Amazon market - I at least tend to look at items with some critical mass of reviews - and for customers, well who doesn't like free stuff and a request for an opinion.

This is pretty much it. I sell products of my own brand on amazon and the received wisdom a couple of years ago based on testing some experts had done was that you NEEDED to have a certain mass of reviews to get noticed and get you to the magic 25 sales per day that makes launching a product worth while. This doubly so if they were selling health related stuff (which I don't) like fish oil or protein powders or dubious diet pills - look how many reviews those types of things have. That's why all those reviewer groups on facebook and auto emails asking your opinion and VIP Clubs like Anker's sprang up - people very, very rarely leave reviews unless they're chasing a spot on the reviewer league table. That thinking seems to have changed and now most sellers I know want quality rather than quantity of reviews.

I really would love it if the tool would also try to predict what the "actual" rating should be by downweighting the reviews by how fake they look.

Amazon changed their algorithm a short while back to try to do this - if an item was gained for a buck or free as most of the in-exchange-for-review items are, the review is no longer tagged as "verified" and has less (no?) weight on the star average although you can still see it. They're also mass deleting some reviewers' accounts and seem to use age and upvotes in weighting reviews too.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2016


I'm amused by products that have three or four 5-star ratings with "Works great" and "Really good product", three reviews of "pure garbage" and "don't waste your money", and one review with "DON'T BUY THIS!! I GOT AN ELECTRIC SHOCK WHEN I PLUGGED IT IN!!"
posted by double block and bleed at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2016


Maybe "amused" isn't the right word. Maybe "reaffirmed in my belief that some people will do anything to screw other people out of their money" is more accurate.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:17 PM on July 10, 2016


I have thoughts about review sites!

my experiences

For context, I've been doing the reviews thing through ReviewKick, which works like Mr.Encyclopedia described above. I think it's kind of fun. I started because someone gave me an Amazon gift card (for participating in an A/B test of a vegan documentary) and I typically use Amazon less than once a year. I used my old .edu email address to sign up for the free student trial and I have an automatic reminder set for me to cancel my account before they start charging me. It's only worth bothering if you have the free shipping, and my kitten loves the boxes, but it's sort of like a neverending Christmas and seriously, who wants that? So I'm glad I have a definite end date.

One of the first things I ever got was so awesome! But then later after I initially posted my rave review I noticed that the stitching was kind of shoddy compared to the quality of the rest of the product. So I contacted the company whose product I was reviewing as per the instructions before I updated my review to check to see if this was standard, and they expressed something between concern and a shrug, so I updated my review and then Amazon updated it back to the original higher rating. Which was really weird, so now I don't expect to be able to update the number of stars in my review.

I have a moral opposition to buying what I qualify as unnecessary new things and an extremely low income, so it has been fun to have an excuse be acquiring new things when normally I would make, make do, or acquire used. Because I post comprehensively honest reviews -- like the time I got a silk thing and explained in my comment how it was as delightful as advertised, but also mentioned that I wouldn't have bought it otherwise because, well, silk worms are boiled alive or stabbed to death for their silk -- I feel like I'm providing a service to anyone who actually reads my comment, and I feel a little more okay about acquiring the things new. It also helps that I participate in a Buy Nothing Project community, so I always have somewhere to hand off my rejects.

I could be mistaken, but I would expect that reviewers for the most part aren't working full time and/or are living on a low income.

on vendors

I went and looked at their marketing to vendors, and vendors can see your Amazon ranking in addition to your profile link on the reviews site that I use. Part of the reason I personally feel like I can post actual honest reviews is that I'm assuming not all vendors (when deciding whether or not to choose me) bother to look at my imperfect starring history. I also do my best not to choose things to review that I don't expect to like, because I DO write honest reviews and I'd rather write about things I enjoyed or that worked well for me.

The main reason vendors request these reviews seem to me to be as follows
- they're a one-person business or other new business trying to get eyeballs
- they're rebranding
- they only have one review and it's bad
- the product has a typo, incorrect grammar, is an unpopular color, or is imperfect in some other way and by selling it cheap or free through a review site, they can get reviews for it. Seconds seem to be pretty common.
- bargain shoppers are actually the target market

It's entertaining to watch induced demand in action. For some reason there are a million versions of watermelon cutter available for $0 and a review. Me and my partner entertained ourselves for a couple of minutes once by imagining ordering all the watermelon cutters and making a blog post review somewhere in which we did a detailed comparison review of them all. And a knife.
posted by aniola at 4:55 PM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


For MONTHS I have been engaged in passive-aggressive email combat with a prominent Amazon tech seller about a negative review I left about a a gadget I bought from them that has a flawed design that caused it break. After I left the review, the tech company immediately contacted me to send me a replacement: GREAT! The replacement gadget has not changed design in any way and has the same flaw that will eventually cause it to break despite multiple reviews pointing out the flaw: NOT GREAT. The tech company has decided that it's cheaper to send replacements to all the complainers than to improve the product.

Every few months (every time a new flunkie spots my review on Amazon, I guess) this cycle happens:
- Tech Company customer service l emails me with elaborate courtesy asking me to please update or even better remove that pesky negative review that so badly hurts their business and their feelings :(
- I reply that I am waiting to see if the gadget fails in the same timespan in the same way as gadget #1 before I update my review
- Tech Co replies with a carefully worded suggestion that since Tech Co was kind enough to send me a replacement gadget, changing my review would do so much to improve their business and feeeeeelings :( :( :(
- I reply with a link to Amazon's seller terms of service that forbids trading products for positive reviews
- Silence from Tech Co until a new email flunkie is hired and the cycle begins again.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:01 PM on July 13, 2016


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