What's up with Amazon's reviews?

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I recently started to notice that most of the reviews in any products on Amazon.com has this sentence in the end "received this at a discount in exchange for my honest opinion", It's very annoying, I'm really pissed. I always read the reviews before I buy, but now I can't tell if those reviews are any good.
Are those reviews are really good, is it just me thinking the other way?
 

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Wonder if fakespot will go by the wayside now too.

yoregano (Oct. 04, 2016 @ 9:26a) |

Companies could still offer free products and discounts to those posting reviews on their own websites, on other store s... (more)

cheznishilia (Oct. 04, 2016 @ 10:41a) |

It doesn't matter.  The fact that you didn't have to pay for it makes it more likely that you will give a good review.  ... (more)

LordB (Oct. 05, 2016 @ 6:36p) |

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I can't speak to the "I received this product..." reviews, but I have been using this to scan reviews: http://fakespot.com/

I sometimes receive free items on Amazon from a seller and they do not require a positive review. Several times I found that the product sucks and that's what my review says. The reviewer does not have any incentive to give higher marks and the seller does not have any way to trace the review back to the person getting the product. So chill, these reviews are as good as any other.

Thanks Pobre for the Fakespot.com.

I belong to a site that allows me to get free or reduced products on Amazon as long as I review them. I issue honest reviews after I have received and tried the products. I also have to put that disclaimer on the review. A lot more people are doing this to get the free products and it takes very little time to do actual reviews as apposed to the amount of product you are getting. My reviews are graded on accuracy and honesty, as well as word count, so some can get a little long. But they are honest reviews and should not be disregarded.

Probably better to have that statement, versus somebody that gets the discount (or for free), but doesn't disclose that.

bookreader54321 said:   I belong to a site that allows me to get free or reduced products on Amazon as long as I review them. I issue honest reviews after I have received and tried the products. I also have to put that disclaimer on the review. A lot more people are doing this to get the free products and it takes very little time to do actual reviews as apposed to the amount of product you are getting. My reviews are graded on accuracy and honesty, as well as word count, so some can get a little long. But they are honest reviews and should not be disregarded.
  would you mind sharing that site ?

anusha123 said:   
bookreader54321 said:   I belong to a site that allows me to get free or reduced products on Amazon as long as I review them. I issue honest reviews after I have received and tried the products. I also have to put that disclaimer on the review. A lot more people are doing this to get the free products and it takes very little time to do actual reviews as apposed to the amount of product you are getting. My reviews are graded on accuracy and honesty, as well as word count, so some can get a little long. But they are honest reviews and should not be disregarded.
  would you mind sharing that site ?

  I think Amazon may eventually take a hardline on paid reviewers. I don't think I would want to risk getting banned.  

kingdoodler said:   
anusha123 said:   
bookreader54321 said:   I belong to a site that allows me to get free or reduced products on Amazon as long as I review them. I issue honest reviews after I have received and tried the products. I also have to put that disclaimer on the review. A lot more people are doing this to get the free products and it takes very little time to do actual reviews as apposed to the amount of product you are getting. My reviews are graded on accuracy and honesty, as well as word count, so some can get a little long. But they are honest reviews and should not be disregarded.
  would you mind sharing that site ?

  I think Amazon may eventually take a hardline on paid reviewers. I don't think I would want to risk getting banned.  


Amazon gives out free products for reviews through their own "Amazon Vine" program. These reviews are labeled "Amazon Vine" in the reviews. Personally, I always take reviews like this with a grain of salt since the reviewer sometimes has little expertise or interest in the product and the reviews often less informative than reviews from people who actually purchase a product for personal use.
 

bookreader54321 said:   I belong to a site that allows me to get free or reduced products on Amazon as long as I review them. I issue honest reviews after I have received and tried the products. I also have to put that disclaimer on the review. A lot more people are doing this to get the free products and it takes very little time to do actual reviews as apposed to the amount of product you are getting. My reviews are graded on accuracy and honesty, as well as word count, so some can get a little long. But they are honest reviews and should not be disregarded.

My guess is that you won't get the chance to review many products if you leave lots of negative reviews. There is a reason that companies are giving away these products for free. They want to see a return on that investment. ie positive reviews!

Therefore, I would think that most of the paid reviews are biased, because the company filters the reviewers based on their tendency to leave positive reviews.
The reviewers themselves may be honest, but it doesn't matter. Reviewers leaving too many negative reviews will simply be cut off from future products.

I would like to see Amazon ban this completly (including their own program).

I don't care how much you claim to be unbiased you are biased if you are getting the item free both because you didn't have to pay for it and the fact that it isn't likely something you will use a bunch or really be able to fully evaluate.

And yea they will just not give you items if you leave too many bad reviews.

Kind of like every company that says they are not on commission.  All them not being on commission means is the company is so cheap they made keeping your (likely minimum wage) job commission.

Good for the people getting free products, but I'd like to see Amazon separate the reviews into compensated and not compensated. Doubt that will happen though.

Just means that guy got it for free and he will rate it positive in order to get more free stuff.

Personally I tend to shy away from Most products where the sellers or manufacturers follow this approach to try and influence prospective customers to purchase their products.

Unfortunately I believe there are many who would fudge to a certain degree on their review of a product if it meant receiving an item for Free or at a Discounted Price....

I don't receive products to review at a discount, but I bought one item twice then the seller offered to provide me with a third if I would post a review.  I was happy to review the product and glad to get a spare.  I wasn't given the product for free or at a discount in exchange for my review, but (and there is no such indicator), but making such an offer to people who have purchased the product more than once must increase the likelihood of good reviews -- why would you buy a second if you were unhappy with the first?

Snagshout ( http://snag.it/uJZns ) has more information of the discount for free item model. You start off with one discounted item and can easily work your way up to five items.
 

I want to sort items by the number of reviews

Gave up on Spamazon years ago. Way too much chatter about fake reviews.

Notice when big corp swallows small company (IMDB, Woot) and they always get worse. Now they're full of Spamazon ads.

I personally slammed a few senior members for posting a AMZ item and not putting free shipping WITH PRIME in the title (not everyone knows this). Then amazingly 5-6 "new members" posted in the same thread with short broken English glowing comments (me use it long time), almost laughable. Maybe 5-10 of these kinds of AZM sales posts, then they stopped. Never knew why but I took some red for calling them out on the process.

Finally, several years ago they started the Amazn Affiliate Program where You Toob users would create a channel, then using a software bot would scrape the most popular Azn items, along with images and wording from descriptions and reviews and create a slide show with the images. No narration, just cheesy music and the item sliding across the screen with glowing text. They would let the bot run and create hundreds of "reviews", then create another channel, rinse and repeat. I used to flag them down as spam, but it just got out of control.

Of course anybody loyal to FW will check Spamazon along with other vendors for the best/cheapest price, and I still buy from them but not often now that they charged tax in my state.

Snagshout
ReviewKick
AMZReviewTrader
AMZOne Review Club

These are just a few... I've been doing some of these for a few years (I've gotten everything from USB cables to high-end cookware to floor lamps)... and give a flat out honest review. I've completely panned numerous products and I still have no problem getting more items for review. So, I can't speak for others but, at least in my case, the review of these discounted products are as honest and accurate as the reviews I give for full priced items.

I've gotten a few free products from one company. I put a similar disclaimer in each item's review.

The company wants to read the review before I publish it. They've made minor suggestions or clarifications and said to publish my review. They did for each review except one, in which I think I only gave it 3 of 5 stars. I did not hear back from them giving any feedback or telling me to publish. They did not tell me not to publish either. I think they might hope that I would forget to publish the 3 star rating if I don't hear back. I didn't forget.

I still am offered review items, some of which I decline because I have no interest in the item.

I try to ensure that 'free' does not influence my review. I tend to write a longer detailed review for the free items than for stuff I buy myself. I figure that my responsibility is to give a thorough review, but an honest one.

I hope every one else does the same.

Amazon Reviews are designed to help sell things.

I had an accurate negative but fully verifiable review rejected by Amazon. I tightened it up to make it "less negative" and it was accepted.

(be for you laugh at insanely expensive toothbrushes - yes you can buy a lifetime supply of tooth brushes for the cost of the silly power ones)

Here is the "unacceptable" review:
1/5 Star
Be prepared 3 warranty repairs in under 2-years - what happens when warranty is over?

Bottom line: The price is excessive for the trouble these toothbrushes will give you;

We had this device now for 1.5 years. In that time we've needed 3-warranty claims.
One toothbrush motor broke in year 1. They replaced it quick but with the wrong device...so we needed to spend more time with their department.
The other toothbrush failed to charge after 1.5 years.

These are used 2-3x a day and they have this many issues? These aren't abused they sit on the counter all day.

They promptly replace items which is nice, BUT who really has the time for this (particularly at this price of item) AND what happens when the warranty is over?

Amazon does separate the reviews. Items that people actually buy you'll see a "verified purchase" right under the title of their review. People who get items for free won't have that.

cagedancingchemist said:   Amazon Reviews are designed to help sell things.

I had an accurate negative but fully verifiable review rejected by Amazon. I tightened it up to make it "less negative" and it was accepted.

(be for you laugh at insanely expensive toothbrushes - yes you can buy a lifetime supply of tooth brushes for the cost of the silly power ones)

Here is the "unacceptable" review:
1/5 Star
Be prepared 3 warranty repairs in under 2-years - what happens when warranty is over?

Bottom line: The price is excessive for the trouble these toothbrushes will give you;

We had this device now for 1.5 years. In that time we've needed 3-warranty claims.
One toothbrush motor broke in year 1. They replaced it quick but with the wrong device...so we needed to spend more time with their department.
The other toothbrush failed to charge after 1.5 years.

These are used 2-3x a day and they have this many issues? These aren't abused they sit on the counter all day.

They promptly replace items which is nice, BUT who really has the time for this (particularly at this price of item) AND what happens when the warranty is over?

I am 95% sure that a couple of months ago I actually saw your slightly-edited version of that review on Amazon
(Was it for a Sonicare item?)

-----
I've had Amazon pull (absolutely honest and considerate) reviews of mine that had earlier been accepted and published by Amazon on some listings, but apparently the manufacturers/sellers didn't like them and complained to Amazon, so my reviews were deleted, and I got no notice that this had happened. 

When a few bad reviews accumulate, sometimes an entire product listing is erased and started again, with same product/seller info but no reviews.

And to make matters worse, on one's own Amazon account, in the list of "product reviews by me" or whatever it's called, those listings will still appear, making it seem like they are still visible on the site, but when you click on them (or when you search for that item when you are not logged into your Amazon account), the actual website's page for that item is gone, or it says "item unavailable", and you realize that Amazon is making you think your review is still "live", but no one else is seeing it, and often the product has been given a new listing and a new lease of life with a blank slate for reviews.

This sort of thing is disheartening and damages the integrity of their site.

----
I've never done a review in exchange for receiving a product for free or at a discount, 
Amazon even asked me to be in the Vine program maybe 12 or 15 years ago -- it was a long time ago! -- and I turned it down (I did think, though, that they might ask me again in the future, but they never have!),
however, I've had several comments made under my reviews on Amazon that "I hope you got a lot of free product for this" or "They should thank you for promoting them so well in your blog" (I don't even have a blog), so I guess a lot of Amazon customers are pretty cynical now about most reviews, whether or not they state "I am making this review in exchange for a free item blah blah".

If my cost basis is zero, I would naturally be happier with any product and therefore leave at least a slightly more positive review. I think that's a big reason these"paid" reviews are flawed. Also, whenever I have seen the "I received this item for free" disclosure, it has always been preceded by a positive review. I suspect that the positives are the norm in this situation.

gangt said:   I recently started to notice that most of the reviews in any products on Amazon. com has this sentence in the end "received this at a discount in exchange for my honest opinion", It's very annoying, I'm really pissed. I always read the reviews before I buy, but now I can't tell if those reviews are any good.
Are those reviews are really good, is it just me thinking the other way?

  
I shop on Amazon a lot and I find these PAID REVIEWS disgusting. If I'm buying something and, yes, I DO read the reviews before I buy something!  If I see these "I received this item for free for my review" I stay FAR FAR AWAY from that product.  Why would I want to BUY something if they are GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE?  It must be pretty bad is my opinion.  

I know that's not probably true, but that's what it looks like. They are doing more harm than good to their product by these fake promotions. 

But it then I come from a small town and word of mouth is the best advertising you can have. And if you you have a poor reputation? Well. Sorry about that. 


 

Having worked on the other side of this issue (the marketer side), I can safely say that these reviews are both real, and misleadingly positive. I worked for a major conglomerate, and we would launch new products by providing thousands to people for free in exchange for a review. You don't ask, or demand, or in any way require a positive review, but regardless of the product, they always averaged between 4.5 and 4.8 stars. Some may truly be unbiased, but as a whole, these are not trustworthy, and marketers know that and use them for that purpose. Anytime you see a product with "received a free product in exchange", immediately discount the overall rating you are seeing, as someone has their thumb on the scale.

Also - those statements are required by the FTC endorsement guidelines. This doesn't mean much to some over seas companies, but US companies have been sued over it. (Cole Haan comes to mind).

I also found these reviews confused.Most with photos or video are positive and without "verified purchase".Does it mean those are all done with paid reviewers?But sometime also some critical reviews without "verified purchase",what does this mean?Still can't get a clear point about it.But I always read the photos which seems to tell true to the item.

I've been a top 1,000 Amazon reviewer for several years. As such, I get 10-20 emails per day from random Amazon sellers offering me a product for either free or highly discounted, in exchange for a review. I only accept the items that I have a genuine need or interest in. I write nearly as many negative reviews as I do positive reviews, since I'm an honest person by nature. I'm an Amazon Vine reviewer as well, and take the same approach to those items. I'm sure not all reviewers have my same values, so buyer beware.

I do a lot of buying on Amazon. The one thing I do not like about the reviews, is that many of them are NOT for the product in the page I'm looking at.
Just yesterday I was shopping all over for a wall mount for my 70 inch tv, I wanted one that would swing a 70 inch tv at least 45+ degrees from the flat wall. Of the 30 or so reviews on the exact item I was interested in, 3/4 or more were for a different product from the same company.

I also noticed that recently on some Kitchen knives we were looking at.

LORENW said:   I do a lot of buying on Amazon. The one thing I do not like about the reviews, is that many of them are NOT for the product in the page I'm looking at.
Just yesterday I was shopping all over for a wall mount for my 70 inch tv, I wanted one that would swing a 70 inch tv at least 45+ degrees from the flat wall. Of the 30 or so reviews on the exact item I was interested in, 3/4 or more were for a different product from the same company.
 

Yes, that has been an annoying situation that I have noticed for some time. 
A lot of the time, it's Amazon's fault, as they collapse more than one item (same brand, different items) into the same listing, even when it doesn't make sense. 
And they don't even have a search feature where you can request just the comments under that umbrella listing that are about the one particular item you are interested in.

sherry7 said:   I've been a top 1,000 Amazon reviewer for several years. As such, I get 10-20 emails per day from random Amazon sellers offering me a product for either free or highly discounted, in exchange for a review.
Me too (top 1000 reviewer for several years), but I have not received any external emails at all -- so I thought, "Hmm, why not?" and then I realized that I don't have an email address publicly listed on Amazon, although they do have the message in my account saying something like "a lot of people have viewed your profile, don't you want to put more information about yourself?" 
Are companies getting your contact details from your publicly-available Amazon reviewer account profile page?  I suppose that is the key.

oppidum said:   
sherry7 said:   I've been a top 1,000 Amazon reviewer for several years. As such, I get 10-20 emails per day from random Amazon sellers offering me a product for either free or highly discounted, in exchange for a review.
Me too (top 1000 reviewer for several years), but I have not received any external emails at all -- so I thought, "Hmm, why not?" and then I realized that I don't have an email address publicly listed on Amazon, although they do have the message in my account saying something like "a lot of people have viewed your profile, don't you want to put more information about yourself?" 
Are companies getting your contact details from your publicly-available Amazon reviewer account profile page?  I suppose that is the key.

  Yes, that is exactly how they get my email address.  I do have a secondary email account for the purpose though.  A lot of the review offers are things I have no interest in, but a lot are definitely worth reviewing.  If you don't want a bunch of offers for very bad e-books, you might want to mention that you don't do review books.

Well, the Vine reviews have been better than before now that Viners receive a 1099 taxable distribution for all their products so the incentive to hoard an item, put up a lame review when they never even used the item, then sell the product on eb*y no longer has the same incentive to do so. 

Coupon club reviewers are the worst bunch, since these are lame products that nobody would buy if it weren't for the, "Omigod, this is the best product of a lifetime.  Turned my life around"  type of garbage. Fortunately, Am@zon is cracking down on these abusers by having their reviews removed and even banned for life.
 

I'm in Amazon's Vine program. I give plenty of one and two-star reviews, and I get absolutely zero flack for it. Because if I did, I wouldn't do any reviews. I'd be a bit more leery of the 'free or at a discount' reviews, though. They definitely get a ton of pressure to give four or five-star reviews (and chances are very good you'd be dropped if you gave less than four stars.) And if you see anyone begging you to give them a positive helpful uptick, please do me a favor and vote them DOWN (nothing is more irritating than beggars!)

duyvnguy said:   Amazon does separate the reviews. Items that people actually buy you'll see a "verified purchase" right under the title of their review. People who get items for free won't have that.
 

  Wanna bet? You get a code to use that can discount the product all the way from 5 percent off to completely FREE. It still shows up as if you bought the item, even if you had a 100 percent discount code.

Pieoli said:   I also found these reviews confused.Most with photos or video are positive and without "verified purchase".Does it mean those are all done with paid reviewers?But sometime also some critical reviews without "verified purchase",what does this mean?Still can't get a clear point about it.But I always read the photos which seems to tell true to the item.
  You can get a discount code that will make an item free or nearly free, and it still shows up as a verified purchase. And by the way, you can get thrown off of Amazon for being a PAID reviewer. Amazon doesn't consider free stuff as part of being 'paid'; they mean if you get money to review an item, whether or not you get the item for free.

I received a letter in the mail offering money to post fake reviews on Amazon.  I wish that I knew how to report these scammers.

Amazon bans incentivized reviews tied to free or discounted products

https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/03/amazon-bans-incentivized-revie...

Skipping 5 Messages...
dionaea said:   ​Crud.  It was nice while it lasted. Sigh.  I'm one of the careful truthful reviewers. I actually use and test the product before writing my review.
  It doesn't matter.  The fact that you didn't have to pay for it makes it more likely that you will give a good review.  There are a number of studies including ones where people actually used the item that have shown this is what happens.

It is about time Amazon got the bad press about this.  Now if only they would fix the old items where this was allowed (namely remove all the BS reviews).



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