Published on July 29th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan


Playing The Review Game When Buying Tech From Amazon

Getting tech products noticed on Amazon isn’t easy. It takes a lot of effort by the retailer, as well as sacrificing a big chunk of profits to the online giant. Yet, the rewards are obvious. Get your tech product on the first page of results and it can mean increased sales figures.

But what if those products aren’t as good as they say they are? How do reviews influence the Amazon system and why do they result in disappointment for the customer, who can end up with a product that isn’t exactly what it says it is?

Source: Pixabay

What is a fake review and why is it important?

A fake review is exactly what you expect it to be. It’s a review of a product, be it PC speakers, wireless headphones or any other gadget or anything else, really, which includes glowing praise that isn’t honest and usually doesn’t come from genuine customers either. They are often reviews which have been posted by either the company itself or someone they have paid to write them. These reviews include praise for the product, the price and the function of it, and nearly always have five stars attached.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. When Amazon first went up, retailers offered big discounts to consumers, encouraging them to write positive reviews. But while fake reviews have always been part of our subconscious shopping experience, it’s actually quite a serious issue. Amazon encourages everyone to set up their one-click purchasing options, meaning faster purchasing and less time to look more thoroughly at what we are buying, where it is from, and how well it has performed for other customers.

The more positive reviews a product receives, the higher up the results list it appears on Amazon, so getting good reviews is obviously important for retailers. However, for regular customers on Amazon, at one time or another, a feeling of disappointment or even being cheated arrives when finding that a product isn’t what they thought it was, or were lead to believe by reviews. Every new GPS watch that doesn’t power up or Bluetooth speaker that fails to connect adds to the list of victories for fake online reviews and loss of trust for consumers.

Source: Pixabay

Taking a lead from the gaming industry

So how can customers be sure that what they are buying and the reviews they read are legitimate and fair? Often, on face value they cannot. Yet, there are ways to be more informed. The online gaming industry has often been the first to adopt new technology, well before the retail industry followed suit en masse.

For instance, its acceptance of new forms of secure, online payments has meant it was one of the first industries to allow payment by Bitcoin. “iGaming” and casino sites are almost exclusively reviewed by third parties. Some of the best and most independent reviews for consumers can be found on sites like Canada Casino, who monitor and provide recommendations and reviews for what’s on offer on the best Canadian casinos. Turning to an expert for a detailed review and comparison is much easier than having to read multiple reviews on Amazon or even the App Store and trying to spot the real reviews from the fake ones to make a judgement on whether to buy or not.

How to review the reviews

The success of companies like TripAdvisor shows that customers nearly always try to spend time reading reviews before they commit to a product or service. Amazon’s “Verified Purchaser” scheme aims to ensure that only those who have bought the product can leave a “verified” review, but even that has been open to exploitation through free product testing and gift cards. And reviews get even cloudier when reports like this from the Wall Street Journal appear suggesting that Amazon itself might be deleting negative reviews.

Source: Pixabay

However, there are some review sites that analyze the data and confirm how reliable Amazon reviews actually are. A popular one is Fakespot, which uses algorithms looking at the repetition of wording, the date and frequency reviews were posted as well as reviewer patterns to find how legitimate these reviews appear to be. It was set up in 2014 by an Amazon customer who was unhappy with a highly rated yet poor quality product he had been sold.

Whether we like it or not, it’s important to establish whether a new or cheap tech product is worthy, and it’s about time most of us understood that Amazon isn’t an independent review site. It remains for customers to be vigilant by looking closely over the reviews left by other customers, referring to independent, third-party review sites where possible, and doing their due diligence before they click that purchase button.

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About the Author

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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