The Dangers Of Product Reviews On Shopping Sites
"A big selling point of the internet is that we can glean the wisdom of the crowds before we see a movie, eat at a restaurant or buy a product. But there are so many ways to cheat online reviews that it’s hard to trust them." (quoted from The New York Times article entitled Amazons Great Purge)
Recently, Amazon has removed several large sellers from in site in what is believed to be the first time the online giant has actively pursued businesses accused of purchasing fake product reviews for items listen on its site. While this is definitely good for the customer, people like you and I, it does however open up a number of questions which may not have occurred to you previously. Not least, can I trust the reviews I see on the Amazon product page? And, if not why not?
The article Amazons Great Purge tells us a lot about how the process of companies purchasing product reviews works due to a recent report, the mindset of Amazon regarding this matter and also how it is that we have come to know about recent incidents. Here is a quote which I find particularly interesting - "a computer security recommendation website recently uncovered a database of Amazon merchants organizing payments in return for about 13 million glowing reviews. That disclosure happened just before the Amazon bans came down."
So it would appear that Amazon only took action as they knew that this information was about to be leaked into the public domain and they dealt with the matter before they could be accused of being complicit or turning a blind eye.
It begs the question though, how many reviews on the site are actually legit? Is this why sometimes you end up with what is clearly a Chinese knock off when the reviews on the site tell you another story? This article from Review42.com titled 'What percentage of Amazon Reviews Are Fake reveals some interesting facts -
61% of electronics reviews are fake
63% of beauty reviews are fake
59% of sneakers reviews are unreliable
64% of supplements reviews cannot be trusted
A quote from their article states -
"Don’t know about you, but those numbers make me uneasy.
How am I supposed to trust anything now?
First, it’s photoshopped bikini pics of models on Instagram.
Now it’s fake Amazon reviews about sneakers?!
The sun being a conspiracy?"
Thanks to review42.com for the information and we highly recommend you read the full article to help protect yourself online.
So, If we can't trust these reviews then who can we trust? Well its pretty difficult to trust anybody online, it seems we can't trust the big companies like Facebook and Google to protect us, the social media giant's simply want to steal our data at every possible opportunity, and the big retailers like Amazon will do whatever it takes so that we purchase on their site even if that means letting sellers use fake reviews and send us Chinese fakes.
For me personally I feel that using smaller, reputable online retailers who you may still have a chance of developing some kind of relationship with at least gives us a small chance of being protected. I know that should this type of thing be revealed about my site - davekingclothing.com that I would be absolutely mortified, embarrassed and determined to fix the problem for the good of my customers, not just to get it out of the media spotlight as quickly as possible so we can go back to turning a blind profit. Amazon may actually be beginning to consume itself due to its size and corporate nature, and personally i yearn for the personal touch again when you could kind of trust the person that was taking your money, to at least be honest about the product, most of the time.
One thing is for sure Mr. Bezos 'Every Dog Has It's Day'