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Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

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Clitheroekid
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Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648073

Postby Clitheroekid » February 20th, 2024, 2:16 pm

A long, but (at least to me) very interesting article about how `independent' reviews are being manipulated by the big media publishers. It's all rather depressing - https://housefresh.com/david-vs-digital ... onic_email

Lanark
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648150

Postby Lanark » February 20th, 2024, 6:14 pm

There are really two problems here: the terrible decline of search result quality and the fact there are very few places left that even do honest reviews.

Years ago I went through a phase of writing reviews on Amazon, but once I realised they were taking some of my reviews and moving them over to listings for completely different products, I went through and deleted the lot - whats the point?

The feedback system on ebay is equally broken: 100% positive feedback now means nothing.
Trustpilot is "pay us for a clean listing"
Many of the other professional review sites work on the basis of send us free stuff/buy our advertising and we will write a glowing review.
Social media is full of paid shills.

For a while you could get around this by searching Reddit, but even that is going down the pan now.

ask.metafilter.com is a good source, but google hardly index them any more so it can be hard to find anything.

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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648155

Postby Infrasonic » February 20th, 2024, 6:33 pm

I watch YT review channels that make a statement at the front of the review whether they are being paid for reviews, got the equipment for free or have paid for the gear themselves and whether they let the OEM review the content before posting.

There are reviewers out there that do all the above and will state it each time. That seems fair enough.

I avoid channels that do only paid reviews with OEM interference.

Clitheroekid
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648194

Postby Clitheroekid » February 20th, 2024, 10:02 pm

Infrasonic wrote:I watch YT review channels that make a statement at the front of the review whether they are being paid for reviews, got the equipment for free or have paid for the gear themselves and whether they let the OEM review the content before posting.

There are reviewers out there that do all the above and will state it each time. That seems fair enough.

I avoid channels that do only paid reviews with OEM interference.

The problem is that there are probably also reviewers out there that do all the above and will not state it each or any time. So how can one tell whether a review is honest and independent?

I must admit that I'm heavily influenced by reviews, as there is really no other easy way to assess the quality of what's on sale, but the revelations in this article have shaken my confidence, particularly as some of the most corrupt reviews seem to emanate from the big name sites that I would have trusted most.

I'll probably still use them, as there's no alternative, but I do wish there was some sort of filter or marker that would enable me to identify the dodgy ones.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648263

Postby UncleEbenezer » February 21st, 2024, 10:27 am

I thought tripadvisor useful in its very early days. Still serves some purpose: specific comments can be useful, for example to identify and avoid hotels with bedroom windows that can't be opened.

Recently heard an article on t'wireless, on a theme I've heard a couple of times. Use of lawyers to prevent bad reviews.

In this case it was some posh clinic. Person's treatment had gone wrong, clinic had turned its back, person had left a review saying so. Clinic's lawyers had written take it down or else, and had even more-or-less explicitly pointed out that a legal battle would bankrupt the reviewer long before it ever reached court.

Oh, and I've written one or two reviews in my time. Most glowing was I think when I'd just moved to this house, and got a lock changed: the locksmith not only arrived within one minute of the appointed time and did the job cheerfully and well, he earned a fifth star by going above and beyond, adjusting the door to be a perfect fit and close smoothly rather than have to be pushed.

CliffEdge
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648298

Postby CliffEdge » February 21st, 2024, 1:21 pm

Obviously limited in scope but the only reviews I trust are on Which?

Infrasonic
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648300

Postby Infrasonic » February 21st, 2024, 1:25 pm

Clitheroekid wrote:
Infrasonic wrote:I watch YT review channels that make a statement at the front of the review whether they are being paid for reviews, got the equipment for free or have paid for the gear themselves and whether they let the OEM review the content before posting.

There are reviewers out there that do all the above and will state it each time. That seems fair enough.

I avoid channels that do only paid reviews with OEM interference.


The problem is that there are probably also reviewers out there that do all the above and will not state it each or any time. So how can one tell whether a review is honest and independent?...


Don't read articles or watch videos from YT channels that don't state their particular policy upfont for every article/video?

Obviously they could also lie but there's been a few YT channels caught doing that and they have destroyed their reputation and lost subscribers. They also risk getting their channels suspended and/or demonetized. Plenty of Instagram 'influencers' have been fined by the US authorities for not stating that they are paid endorsers of products up front.

Amazon have been caught removing customer reviews that state goods are fake - USB thumb drives et al.(See my GRC validrive thread)

Caveat emptor has never been more applicable...

gryffron
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648315

Postby gryffron » February 21st, 2024, 2:08 pm

CliffEdge wrote:Obviously limited in scope but the only reviews I trust are on Which?

I joined for a while. But it really irked me that all their reports were "leaked" to the press a few days before paying subscribers received them. So why bother?

Gryff

torata
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648455

Postby torata » February 21st, 2024, 10:43 pm

Clitheroekid wrote:A long, but (at least to me) very interesting article about how `independent' reviews are being manipulated by the big media publishers. It's all rather depressing - https://housefresh.com/david-vs-digital ... onic_email



Very interesting indeed. I know that I would click on some of the domains mentioned because I had trusted them from years back.

It's the back end of the 'enshittification' of the internet, as outlined in a fabulous article in the FT, accessible via an archive site: https://archive.md/ARIcW

But I suspect that it's always been similar. I remember going to a talk in Japan many years ago given by advertising agency McCann that pointed out that roughly only 3% of the content of the top consumer print magazines in the country (for a range of demographics) was actual editorial or original content. The other 97% was advertorial, dressed up as content, or direct adverts.

torata

stockton
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648699

Postby stockton » February 23rd, 2024, 9:06 am

To my mind the most annoying feature of search engines is that one cannot easily eliminate websites which you do not wish to see because the - sign does not work.
If I search for "hotel edinburgh-london" I am trying to avoid all the websites that list hotels in London but it never really works. Or have I misunderstood the - sign ?

Wuffle
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648702

Postby Wuffle » February 23rd, 2024, 9:24 am

Work out what WPP used to be worth and then look at what Google and Facebook are worth. Of course it's bent.

W.

ReformedCharacter
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#648703

Postby ReformedCharacter » February 23rd, 2024, 9:26 am

stockton wrote:To my mind the most annoying feature of search engines is that one cannot easily eliminate websites which you do not wish to see because the - sign does not work.
If I search for "hotel edinburgh-london" I am trying to avoid all the websites that list hotels in London but it never really works. Or have I misunderstood the - sign ?

If you are using Google to search you need a space before the minus sign.

RC

stevensfo
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649308

Postby stevensfo » February 26th, 2024, 10:52 am

Lanark wrote:There are really two problems here: the terrible decline of search result quality and the fact there are very few places left that even do honest reviews.

Years ago I went through a phase of writing reviews on Amazon, but once I realised they were taking some of my reviews and moving them over to listings for completely different products, I went through and deleted the lot - whats the point?

The feedback system on ebay is equally broken: 100% positive feedback now means nothing.
Trustpilot is "pay us for a clean listing"
Many of the other professional review sites work on the basis of send us free stuff/buy our advertising and we will write a glowing review.
Social media is full of paid shills.

For a while you could get around this by searching Reddit, but even that is going down the pan now.

ask.metafilter.com is a good source, but google hardly index them any more so it can be hard to find anything.



Years ago I went through a phase of writing reviews on Amazon, but once I realised they were taking some of my reviews and moving them over to listings for completely different products,



I never heard of this, though it's worrying! I rarely leave reviews on Amazon. When I read them, I always continue and read those underneath from all the other countries. Germans are pretty strict about their reviews and I appreciate those with 3-4 stars, since I know they're probably genuine, and very often the criticism is over something a bit silly. One product got a 1-star rating from an Italian because the instructions were only in English, French and German. I tend to avoid the reviews from USA! Though the reviews for electric stunguns are great fun. :lol:

So I assume that they're using your review for a very similar product? One for a lawnmower would sound a bit silly if used for a Barbie doll. ;)


Steve

kempiejon
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649310

Postby kempiejon » February 26th, 2024, 10:59 am

I read a review on a DIY shed for a pickaxe handle.

Ah it's still there
Unlike a popular high street DIY stores pick handle... This one did not break on the first, second or third swing. In fact, it's still going and allowing to continue my zombie slaying rampage. Used it with both pick and mattock heads alternatively, one for de-braining and one for digging holes to sleep in when moving from safe zone to safe zone. Swing is a bit slow due to weight, recommend for one on one encounters only. Hoards are better delbt with by using the rough neck hand axe.

Lanark
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649339

Postby Lanark » February 26th, 2024, 12:52 pm

stevensfo wrote:So I assume that they're using your review for a very similar product? One for a lawnmower would sound a bit silly if used for a Barbie doll. ;)

There are two kinds of moves that I have seen happen, one where you review something like a "Braun 100 Kettle" and amazon move the review to be against the newer "Braun 200 Kettle" assuming they are going to be the same, even though thats often not the case.

The second is where a third party seller gets control of a listing for something like a lawnmower and switches it to be selling a Barbie doll, in practise they tend to pick vaguely similar items so that the switcharoo of the reviews and ratings is not immediately obvious.
That is how you get so many counterfeit items with 5 star reviews.

If I was still doing amazon reviews I would always include the full name of the item being reviewed now.

Lanark
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649341

Postby Lanark » February 26th, 2024, 12:54 pm

Also on the topic of Amazon bashing, if you try going back through your purchase history - there are loads of high quality items I have bought there in the past (5 or 10 years ago) but when you search for them now, the original listing is dead and all you can find in the similar items is chinese junk.

Amazon truly have jumped the shark.

stevensfo
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649350

Postby stevensfo » February 26th, 2024, 1:42 pm

Lanark wrote:Also on the topic of Amazon bashing, if you try going back through your purchase history - there are loads of high quality items I have bought there in the past (5 or 10 years ago) but when you search for them now, the original listing is dead and all you can find in the similar items is chinese junk.

Amazon truly have jumped the shark.


Amazon truly have jumped the shark.

:?

Jumped the shark??? WTF does that mean?

Steve

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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#649551

Postby servodude » February 27th, 2024, 2:51 am

stevensfo wrote:
Lanark wrote:Also on the topic of Amazon bashing, if you try going back through your purchase history - there are loads of high quality items I have bought there in the past (5 or 10 years ago) but when you search for them now, the original listing is dead and all you can find in the similar items is chinese junk.

Amazon truly have jumped the shark.


Amazon truly have jumped the shark.

:?

Jumped the shark??? WTF does that mean?

Steve


It refers to an episode on Happy Days which is considered to be the point where its decline became undeniable
and literally describes the part of the plot that involves the Fonz and some waterskis

Clitheroekid
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#664342

Postby Clitheroekid » May 14th, 2024, 10:36 pm

I received the following helpful email today:

Hello,

I hope this message finds you in good health.

You've expressed an interest in enhancing your online reputation with high-quality 5-star reviews on your Facebook page.

We can post more new and high-quality 5-star reviews on your Facebook page.

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Silver plan: 15 Facebook reviews and 5 free Google Reviews for $99
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All our reviewers will be from your city/state ensuring authenticity and authority of the reviews.

Please select the plan and we will write high-quality review content. Following that, I will share the reviews with you for your approval. We will only post approved reviews on your FB page.

I eagerly await your response.

Best regards,

Jay Shaw


I don't actually have a FB page, so I won't be availing myself of their generous offer, but a visit to their website in India was a depressing experience - https://www.reviewfy.co/

As I've said before, it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish truth from fiction.

Dicky99
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Re: Can you really trust `independent' reviews?

#664377

Postby Dicky99 » May 15th, 2024, 8:23 am

British Gas failed to show for a boiler service for me yesterday. Usual thing, sat indoors for 6 hours waiting after which I was advised the BG Engineer logged it as owner not home :evil:

So looking for a local Gas Engineer and one has 280 Google reviews 279 of which are 5 star. I can't help being suspicious that these are purchased reviews.
The great majority of the names are Asian sounding names whereas I would have expected 280 reviews for a local company to at least somewhat reflect the local demographic.
Of those reviewers that have multiple reviews they seem to be very disparate UK locations and in the case of one of the reviewers, who has contributed 9 reviews, 5 were posted within the last day and all were contributed in the last week.
I'm also surprised and impressed how often reviewers know the name of the awesome person who served them pizza or changed the tyre on their car.

I may be wrong but in this case I've decided against this company because the reviews just don't pass the sniff test.


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