Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Why online retailers needs to change their review policy

It is no secret that I am someone who loves reviews and reviewing. I‘ve already written a couple of review centric posts on my blog:

Six Reasons Why Reviewing Is Good

Six Differences between a Bad Review and a Troll Attack

On each one I have made clear that I feel that reviews should solve one purpose. To give honest, critical feedback on the experiences of the product as it was intended to be used.

Last year Amazon decided to delete hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews written by other known authors. Very little explanation was given though some sources claimed they had financial connections to the books they reviewed.

Interestingly a few of mine had disappeared and I will admit that I do have a financial connection to the books I reviewed – I am part of the Amazon affiliate program.

In contrast to a lot of people who review, I take it very seriously and am proud of what I publish. My reviews give an overview of my experiences with the product from their intended use. For example a recent one, that is not part of the affiliate system and amazingly has stayed thus far.

But there are many reviews out there that aren’t giving constructive feedback. Take some of the reviews on Fifty Shades of Grey. It didn’t take me long to find these five star reviews on Amazon.

And even one star reviews have some poor reviews among them.

I don’t agree with either set of reviews and I think Amazon and other retailers need to consider what they publish on their sites. It took me just two pages to find three usable examples of poor five star reviews. I could have used others if they weren’t so long that they wouldn’t fit on the web browser in one shot. Yet it took ten pages to find those two one star reviews. That suggests that these fake reviews are artificially inflating the overall score of the book. How many other products out there have fake reviews? Read this blog post as a clue on the subject.

Amazon would have you believe that they deleted the fake reviews last year, but they were rather inconsistent. I have just shown you five reviews that seem to go against the principles of reviewing and could post many more. Why are these posts that are not honestly talking about the book be included?

If it is this attitude to reviews; is there any value to them?

I seems online retailers have very little control which reviews are posted online. Which is why troll attacks can and do happen.

Online retailers should stop and consider whether in the long term reviews need to be better regulated so that their value is not demolished by rogue commentators.

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