Amazon Paid/Discounted Reviews


Ian

Administrator
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Messages
19,687
Reaction score
1,365
I use Amazon a lot (too much!) and I've always found them to be excellent, both in terms of pricing and customer service. However, I've noticed a really frustrating trend recently that has put me off buying quite a few items - particularly low value electronics and gadgets.

I bought a solar battery pack a while back to trickle charge things (and it had hundreds of glowing reviews), but when it arrived it was terrible - so bad that I can't understand why it could possibly rate so well. It didn't even charge most modern phones, which would surely be a deal breaker for most people. After sending it back and taking a closer look at the reviews I found out why!

It appears that lots of companies are offering free or discounted products (outside of Amazon) in exchange for an "honest" review - which appears to mean a 5 star in almost all cases, except for some horrendous products. Amazon have their own "Vine" program which does supply a handful of products to reviewers, which I can see problems with, but the influx of externally supplied free/discounted review products has shot up. It appears that there are sites that people apply to simply to get free gadgets (cheap things like solar chargers, LED strips, etc... almost all of them Chinese produced gadgets costing less than £20).

So when someone searches for something like "solar battery pack", they'll see a product with 100+ good reviews - but if you look in detail at the last line of many of the comments, they say something to the effect of "I received this item for free or at a discount in return for an unbiased review". Often the comments seem to demonstrate that they've not used the product properly, commenting more on the packaging or pointless features - perhaps just taking it to review as it's free, rather than something they would use.

Does this put other people off too?
 
Ad

Advertisements

muckshifter

I'm not weird, I'm a limited edition.
Moderator
Joined
Mar 5, 2002
Messages
25,640
Reaction score
1,148
I learnt of this 'practice' some time ago, maybe I should have mentioned it, but it's not typical of AmazingDotCon either.

I tend to stick to off site reviewer/reviews and then I still take them with a pinch of salt.

I can only give you, with the "products" I've bought, an honest opinion. :)
 

Ian

Administrator
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Messages
19,687
Reaction score
1,365
I'm glad it's not just me frustrated by this! I wish Amazon would clamp down on it, as in the end it's going to hurt them more than anyone. I'm amazed it's not against their policy already, as the reviews are clearly not critiques from real users.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Abarbarian

Acruncher
Joined
Sep 30, 2005
Messages
10,869
Reaction score
1,145
I bought a solar battery pack a while back to trickle charge things (and it had hundreds of glowing reviews), but when it arrived it was terrible - so bad that I can't understand why it could possibly rate so well. It didn't even charge most modern phones, which would surely be a deal breaker for most people. After sending it back and taking a closer look at the reviews I found out why!

I bought one of these several years ago and it still works. It is for the car but you should be able to rig it to charge almost anything.

http://www.care4car.com/12-volt-ele...gclid=CJrA0tLhvs4CFQIW0wodRgIINg#.V69ENMVdol1

Only pumps out a small charge though.

The RSP150 will trickle up to 100mA of charge into a vehicle battery using the power of day light.

Paying for reviews is not playing the game but then again some folk would call it progress :cool:
 

Becky

Webmistress
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
7,424
Reaction score
1,510
Saw this last night and was just about to post it when I saw you had beaten me to it! :lol:

The fact that incentivised reviews are biased is not surprising, but it's quite shocking to know the extent of the problem. I was really surprised that over half of reviews are incentivised :mad: Really hope Amazon do something to clamp down on this kind of thing!
 

Ian

Administrator
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Messages
19,687
Reaction score
1,365
Interesting stats there V_R, some the discrepancies are shocking.

I'm annoyed at Amazon for letting these review stand, but equally annoyed that people would apply to receive a product for free (for a fudged review!) where I doubt in many cases they know what it's even for :wall:. When I'm buying something from Amazon, I search the reviews for any sign of this thing and avoid it like the plague.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Urmas

Subarctic Penguin
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Messages
2,405
Reaction score
886
I wonder what Woody Guthrie got from this one — a cuff on the ear?

Songfacts: You can certainly trace his life through his songs. Can you make a distinction between the songs that he would write either on commission or for some specific purpose, and songs that were very personal that really did tell the story of his life?

Anna Canoni (Woody Guthrie's granddaughter, and a director at the Woody Guthrie Foundation): Woody was hired for one month to by the Bonneville Power Administration to write songs promoting the building of the Grand Coulee Dam. He certainly wasn't usually paid for songs. The ladies' auxiliary said, "You write songs about unions, can you write a song for us?" So he wrote this very silly song that says, "The ladies' auxiliary is the best auxiliary," and that's like the extent of it. And that was him writing a song for the ladies' auxiliary.

SOURCE


:lol:
 

V_R

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Moderator
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
13,511
Reaction score
1,829
Interesting stats there V_R, some the discrepancies are shocking.

I'm annoyed at Amazon for letting these review stand, but equally annoyed that people would apply to receive a product for free (for a fudged review!) where I doubt in many cases they know what it's even for :wall:. When I'm buying something from Amazon, I search the reviews for any sign of this thing and avoid it like the plague.

Yeah its ********, shouldn't be allowed. I would like to think Amazon will stop it or try and combat it now its seemingly growing traction. Time will tell.

It'll go the way of Google Play reviews soon if it carries on, they are next to useless now. *Looking at you Clean Master and all the 'battery saver' crapware with 1000000 fake reviews from the far east....*
 

Ian

Administrator
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Messages
19,687
Reaction score
1,365
Amazon have banned them now. Finally.

Good! It's about time they took action!

I wonder how much will still go on in an underhand way? I've bought a few things where a business card has been inserted in to the package, explaining how you can contact them for a discounted product in return for a review.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2010
Messages
5,758
Reaction score
552
Oh yea of little faith :eek: of course it will go on in an underhand way:mad:and I suppose very difficult to police :cry:
 
Ad

Advertisements

Becky

Webmistress
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Messages
7,424
Reaction score
1,510
Glad to hear the practice has been banned! Good point re discounted products though... They could always offer rewards to customers who report them - ie if you receive a business card with the product or email from the company, you would get some kind of reward for reporting it to Amazon. That could work :)
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top