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Amazon Reviews
Old 10-12-2021, 06:57 PM   #1
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Amazon Reviews

I never put a lot of faith in reviews, but I certainly read them when I'm trying to decide on a product. Unfortunately, I've become aware of a process that gives me additional skepticism. For the last few weeks, I have been getting an email just about every day from Customer Service. In the body of the email they claim that they are from Amazon Customer Service, but it is clearly from the third party vendor and nothing to do with Amazon.

The email contains a like to a review I wrote (three stars) and asks me to remove the review and when I do, they will give me a gift card. The card started at $25 and has gone up to $40. Interesting, since the product was bought for $25 plus tax.

I'm pretty sure this isn't a scam and I believe that I would get a gift card if I did delete the review, but there is always the possibility that it's a total scam and something bag could happen if I go down that path. I felt my review was very fair. It basically pointed out some of the flaws I saw with the product but concluded with saying that for the price, it was what one should expect. There are worse reviews still up - I wonder how much their gift card is up to.

Anyway, just another buyer beware story. I guess the more important thing to review these days is return policy and such in case the product does not live up to expectations. Also, I do tend to focus on "sold by Amazon" so there should be some level of protection dealing directly with the mother ship.

Note - I've also had vendors approach me for reviews wherein if I wrote a positive review, they gave me some merchandise. I didn't feel as bad about that one and in fact did do that because the review was honest and the merchandise was another one of the product. Still, the reviews game runs deep these days. Heads up.
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Old 10-12-2021, 07:45 PM   #2
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While I would never discourage someone giving an honest review, and offering you rewards to change your review is against policy, with good reason, I am aware that some sellers get desperate because of how heavily amazon weights negative reviews. Making a problem product appear good by throwing money at the customer is terrible and should be stopped. But, I understand why some feel they have no choice.

Amazon will push listings to the back of search, or suppress them altogether, or tell sellers they can no longer list a product - if it gets bad reviews. Especially for a new product someone is trying to launch, this can mean they've lost all that investment. Instead of being on page one of search results for the item, it goes to page 7, where no one will ever find it again.

I don't mean a 3* review on a listing with 100s in the 4+ range average, I mean something with just a handful of ratings. And some amazon customers will leave negative reviews for crazy nonsense reasons - probably sometimes trained by the bad-sellers because now customers think if they leave a negative review, the seller will give them a gift card!

Same with return reasons, which is really a shame since amazon has trained everyone to claim "defective" to get a free return. There's no option for "eh, just didn't quite work for me in person" where you don't have to pay to return it. So the customer says Defective, and amazon tells the seller that listing is considered poor and could be suppressed.

And if that review is seller feedback, on the actual seller, it can mean suspension of the shop.

So, particularly this time of year, I'll tend to be a little less...honest as I know how hard it is behind the scenes.

PS, all orders from 10/1 till christmas can be returned thru Jan31, holiday policy, site wide, except for custom or some items specified on the item pages.
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Old 10-12-2021, 09:27 PM   #3
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Most of the time you can sortof tell the difference between a real independent review and one that is fake or motivated by compensation. I judge primarily by content. Reviews are often a defining factor in my purchase decisions, and if the reviews are flakey or non-existent I usually walk away.

What bugs me is the occasional review that I Write, that get rejected by the review 'review' committee. They have mysterious review "standards" that seem to eliminate anything you say that isn't complementary to Amazon. Not always, but often. And although I'm mostly an Amazon fan -- there is also a lot to criticize.
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:23 AM   #4
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My husband likes the Mpow headphones (inexpensive, comfortable). My first Bluetooth transmitter was a TaoTronics. I was surprised at the vendors that were caught trying to buy reviews.

Amazon says it’s permanently banned 600 Chinese brands for review fraud
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Remember when gadget vendors Aukey, Mpow, RavPower, Vava, TaoTronics and Choetech started mysteriously disappearing from Amazon’s online storefront, and it turned out Amazon had intentionally yanked them while vaguely gesturing to the sanctity of its user reviews? Turns out they were just the tip of the iceberg. Amazon has now permanently banned over 600 Chinese brands across 3,000 different seller accounts, the company confirms to The Verge.
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:27 AM   #5
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This "reviewer of reviews" can sometimes be quite helpful.

https://www.fakespot.com
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Old 10-13-2021, 05:49 AM   #6
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I assume there is somewhere on Amazon you can go to report this.
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:27 AM   #7
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Same happened to me: I left an honest 3-star review of a robo-vac - it had some good points but I also listed some flaws in the product. I kept getting emails from the seller saying something like "we're a small manufacturer and reviews are very important to our business" and they offered me a decent refund if I would remove my review. It was an honest review so I left it, and they increased their offer a few times. I did report it to Amazon (but I forget how I did that). The seller I bought it from was just some reseller, they really weren't the manufacturer because the manufacturer is a very large company.
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:28 AM   #8
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Besides that link, above, that checks Amazon reviews, I routinely check the 1 Star reviews. Often, there is a common theme in those 1 Star reviews (e.g., "the plastic tab breaks after just a few uses") that will be enough to dissuade me from buying that product. Bonus in checking those 1 Star reviews is the occasional "I got an offer from the merchant to send me a gift card if I changed this rating."
Gotta take those overall reviews with a grain of salt.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:23 AM   #9
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I bought one thing from a vendor that offered a premium or gift certificate if I left a review (did not specify a good review or not) on a card in the shipment. I left an honest review (was happy with the product so it was good but not influenced by the offer). After I did so, they said they couldn't provide me with the gift certificate but would paypal me $25. I said I don't have paypal, so could I get the premium (vacuum bags for the food vac I bought) and they shipped them and they were received 3 days later.


I've never been asked to take one down that was negative (I'm probably 3-2 ratio good to bad but rarely give 5 stars).


When shopping I only read the negative reviews to let me know what the likely issues will be.... some actually sell me on the product as people don't like the product for reasons I do! You can also find some really crazy people with unrealistic expectations and they can be pretty humorous.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:35 AM   #10
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When looking at reviews, I tend to count out the reviews when the reviewer didn't purchase the item (non-verified purchaser and when they got the product as a freebie to review). Also, if there are a slew of reviews on the same dates close together, that's a clue for possible review stuffing.
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Old 10-13-2021, 09:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Besides that link, above, that checks Amazon reviews, I routinely check the 1 Star reviews. Often, there is a common theme in those 1 Star reviews (e.g., "the plastic tab breaks after just a few uses") that will be enough to dissuade me from buying that product. Bonus in checking those 1 Star reviews is the occasional "I got an offer from the merchant to send me a gift card if I changed this rating."
Gotta take those overall reviews with a grain of salt.
I also look at the 1-star reviews. I hate to regret a purchase so I vet things pretty thoroughly. Those reviews are probably the least "gamed".
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:10 AM   #12
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Yes, the low rated reviews are the most valuable. Looking for product problems as @Montecfo suggests. Often , though, there are reviews by idiots complaining about shipping damage, slow shipping, don't like the color, etc. that have to be weeded out.

I have left maybe 20 reviews and recall having one very negative book rating rejected. Most of my ratings were/are positive and pertain to products that do not have a lot of ratings. If there are hundreds of ratings, I don't bother.

With all the hoo-rah about Amazon kicking those vendors off their system, I think the press tends to overlook the fact that fake reviews really do not reflect on the products at all. A company that fakes reviews might still have a good product, just not good judgment.
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:36 AM   #13
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I find that the best reviews are those in the middle - the four, three and two star reviews. Especially the 3 Stars. Five stars are often nothing more than grade inflation. One star reviews are often silly stuff, like the package arrive damaged, or the toaster got jammed up when my 4 year old cracked an egg into it trying to make Toad-in-a-Hole.
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:02 PM   #14
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One star reviews are often silly stuff, like the package arrive damaged, or the toaster got jammed up when my 4 year old cracked an egg into it trying to make Toad-in-a-Hole.
"After using this pencil I learned that it needs a pencil sharpener to continue to use it. Seller should have informed me of this. One star."
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jerry1 View Post

The email contains a like to a review I wrote (three stars) and asks me to remove the review and when I do, they will give me a gift card. The card started at $25 and has gone up to $40. Interesting, since the product was bought for $25 plus tax.
IIRC, there was an article in the WSJ last summer about this.

Good reviews are gold to these merchants. Which is why they’re willing to pay you to take down even an average review.

My recollection is that it’s a violation of their merchant agreement with Amzn to contact buyers outside of Amzn and to pay for reviews.
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I find that the best reviews are those in the middle - the four, three and two star reviews. Especially the 3 Stars. Five stars are often nothing more than grade inflation. One star reviews are often silly stuff, like the package arrive damaged, or the toaster got jammed up when my 4 year old cracked an egg into it trying to make Toad-in-a-Hole.
Yes but the silly stuff is valuable. If the people who rated the product low did so for silly reasons, it's a good sign.
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Old 10-13-2021, 12:44 PM   #17
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I'll have to start leaving 3-star reviews. I can make some serious cash!

But seriously, I accept that reviews are inflated. If you give an average product a 3-star review, it's like a condemnation. And 5 stars should be reserved for that extremely rare product which just goes so far above and beyond that you can hardly believe it. But in practice, that's what's expected for an acceptable product.

Far more valuable to me are the questions and answers. This is where Amazon is way ahead of eBay, AliExpress and others. Real users answering the kinds of questions I might have, not what the seller wants me to think.

And then there's the entertainment value. Today I got an e-mail about a product I buy, wheat gluten. The question was, "Can I use this in my gluten-free granola bars?"

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, you can. It'll probably make the texture a lot better too!

When I went to post that answer, I found three or four others who had posted similar questions, basically asking whether this bag of gluten was gluten-free.

That should give you a good idea of the average intelligence of Amazon customers. Read the reviews and questions, but with a skeptical eye!
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Old 10-13-2021, 03:30 PM   #18
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Vine reviewers get products for free on Amazon so their reviews are likely to be the most honest, though I think even some of them are getting payola as all their reviews are positive. For big purchases I tend to look at the reviewer's history. If it is a mix of positive and negative reviews, that seems more realistic than the ones who only give out all 5 star reviews.

I also get the feeling some sellers write bad reviews to sabotage their competitors' products. Like some products will have 5,000 good reviews and then one that says it started on fire and burned down my house. It is possible, but I suspect the "on fire" ones are planted by the competition.

If a company has a lot of 5 and 1 star reviews, I suspect the 1 star reviews are the honest ones and the 5 stars are marketing people.
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Old 10-13-2021, 07:14 PM   #19
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A few years ago I was contacted by a seller informing me that I would receive something small of nominal value if I would review the item. I don't remember the details and I don't think there was an overt request to give them a 5-star review, even though they were fishing for a positive review to get their storefront elevated.

While I read reviews and appreciate everyone who takes the time to give honest and detailed feedback, I have mostly stopped answering questions or leaving any reviews after spending 20 minutes to do so a couple of times. Once I realized that I was working for Amazon for free at the detriment of their competitors I stopped.
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Old Yesterday, 05:07 AM   #20
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we used to order from amazon but a couple years ago my wife ordered some ball canning lids and they turned out to be cheap imitations that did not seal and so she eneded up having to toss a bunch of fruit and vegetables from our garden and orchard that she canned.

since then we almost never order from Amazon anymore just because the chance of getting something counterfeit or not as advertised is not worth the risk or hassle. Amazon has many many 3rd party resellers who are out and out criminals and amazon does nothing to police them or root them out. Sad and pathetic that amazon allows this.Integrety is pretty much zero with amazon in my book. I never did put much credence in the reviews most are fake IMO.
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