01-08-2016, 09:19 PM
#1
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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Some background:   Born, raised, and with all of my formal education in the United States of America, I have lived some years in Japan and have for decades been married to a yamato nadeshiko (flower of old Japan); and culturally I am half-and-half American and Japanese at this point.

The Japanese all are familiar with the idea of a sakura:  an advertising/promotional technique that makes a product or service appear to be very popular.  In general, the Japanese culture equates “famous” or “popular” with “good” or “superior.”  So, if you open a restaurant in Japan, you offer freebies to very attractive young women who have attractive virile companions to wine and dine conspicuously at tables visible from outside your restaurant.  It makes your business seem popular and hip, and brings in new business.  The attractive couple dining in a conspicuous position are sakura.  

The modern Internet equivalent of the Japanese sakura is the commercial business reputation.com, which is well known from promotional mentions on National Public Radio.  With the growing influence of just plain you and me “consumer” reviews on the World Wide Web, savvy opportunists now offer — for a fee — a service to counterbalance negative reviews with offsetting positive reviews; reputation.com is one of those services.  Reputation.com posts multiple positive reviews, from multiple apparently independent “reviewers,” to balance its clients’ bad reviews on various sites.

On the basis of no solid evidence, but merely observing as an outsider remarkable anecdotal postings on shavenook.com, I suspect that some vendors of shaving-related goods and services have been blanket bombing shavenook.com with sakura-type reviews of their products or services.  

I am not going to name names of suspects.  I repeat:  I have no solid evidence, and I do not know how I would document such practices.  But I am curious:  does any other among our cohort harbor the same suspicion?

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 01-08-2016, 09:29 PM
#2
  • chamm
  • Expert on nothing
  • Central Ohio
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That specific site has always struck me as slimy and... not right. However, I associate their services with professionals more like doctors and lawyers. I have a few specific examples which I'll probably dive into a bit later in the thread, but long story short: I think services like these are more geared towards high-end service providers. I don't know with any sort of certainty, but I don't think their services come cheap.

I am a savvy Internet consumer. There are absolutely people out there who are crazy, and would give Jesus Christ a negative review for raising them from the dead. But I think in my many years of Internetting, it is pretty easy to spot those people and immediately tune them out, and I think most other people in my position can do the same. I think companies like reputation.com (et. al.) exist to try to minimize the impact of legitimate complaints, but I also think those companies underestimate the innate human sensitivity to dishonesty.

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 01-09-2016, 01:25 AM
#3
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The act of shilling, as it's often referred to, is not allowed on the Nook and the ModTeam will come down like a ten pound hammer on anyone caught in the act - as evidenced by various bans in the past.

However; the ModTeam cannot be everywhere at once, and we therefore depends on reports from y'all.

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 01-09-2016, 05:26 AM
#4
  • v4257
  • Always chasing the perfect shave
  • Boston, USA
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I enjoyed reading that. I learned a new word and a new concept, although it is immediately recognizable in the online world.

I think online 'Sakura' is an integral part of business for anyone who wants to be successful online today. It's everywhere. With most modern wet shaving commerce being online in the US, it's natural that brands try to master the various aspects of online Sakura

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 01-09-2016, 06:20 AM
#5
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This is very possible & I'm sure has been done & will continue to be done. This will always be hard to prove, but just watch and always follow the money. To combat this, more honest reviews are needed from more members of the community.

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 01-09-2016, 10:27 PM
#6
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Following.


Gesendet von meinem iPad mit Tapatalk

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 01-09-2016, 10:59 PM
#7
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One confirmed case is Douglas Smythe's HTGAM (now renamed Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements), let's not forget. If anyone is worried about shilling just stay off the boards-- consider that in many forums the owners and mods are vendors themselves or are supported by vendor donations. Now, this may not be shilling (as in fake reviews) per se but one would be naive to think there would be no commercial slant. After all web servers cost money.

I would say one tip-- be wary of the niche. Small companies are most guilty of this,  because large companies don't need a niche. If it is a new artisan soap, new razor, or so on, I especially stay away. Those are the most likely to have fake reviews because they need "buzz" to get started. Nobody needs to shill for a Gillette Superspeed or Tabac.

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 01-09-2016, 11:23 PM
#8
  • SRNewb
  • Senior Member
  • No. Va, USA
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Are there that many reviews on TSN to begin with? Blanket bombing? Here on The Nook? That implies a ton of reviews. Perhaps I'm not reading in the right place?
No offense; I just don't see the evidence of this here on The Nook. MHO.
I admit I do not frequent places like the artisan corner, vendor news, b/s/t, etc., so perhaps I have missed them, if that is where they're showing up. But I just don't see that many reviews in the other sections, except in places like the brush reviews section, etc. And I have not seen a great many new reviews in these places. There ARE a ton of new replies to the soap reviews in the soap section. I haven't been through all of them, but new replies to threads and reviews are expected. And opinions, positive or negative, posted to threads about products, are not reviews, surely?
Believe me, I've been all over, posting as much as I can trying to win the Bullgoose ATT giveaway. Don't see it. MHO, YMMV, etc.

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 01-11-2016, 08:14 AM
#9
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I will keep all this in mind for when I get my soap business going.

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 01-11-2016, 08:27 AM
#10
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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If anyone were to start reading posts from day one of any established shaving forum ( good luck) the shades of failed products would wail at us like fallen Greek heroes in Hades. Using some Dog and Pony Show to sell popcorn eventually fails when people get bags of unpopped kernals.

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 01-11-2016, 02:12 PM
#11
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(01-09-2016, 11:23 PM)SRNewb Wrote: Are there that many reviews on TSN to begin with? Blanket bombing? Here on The Nook? That implies a ton of reviews. Perhaps I'm not reading in the right place?
No offense; I just don't see the evidence of this here on The Nook. MHO.
I admit I do not frequent places like the artisan corner, vendor news, b/s/t, etc., so perhaps I have missed them, if that is where they're showing up. But I just don't see that many reviews in the other sections, except in places like the brush reviews section, etc. And I have not seen a great many new reviews in these places. There ARE a ton of new replies to the soap reviews in the soap section. I haven't been through all of them, but new replies to threads and reviews are expected. And opinions, positive or negative, posted to threads about products, are not reviews, surely?
Believe me, I've been all over, posting as much as I can trying to win the Bullgoose ATT giveaway. Don't see it. MHO, YMMV, etc.

That is just semantics.

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 01-11-2016, 03:16 PM
#12
  • DayMan
  • Senior Member
  • Tennessee
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It it would surprise me if this is happening. Everyone has different preferences, so every product will have positive and negative reviews.

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 01-11-2016, 03:18 PM
#13
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
User Info
(01-09-2016, 10:59 PM)fram773 Wrote: One confirmed case is Douglas Smythe's HTGAM (now renamed Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements), let's not forget. If anyone is worried about shilling just stay off the boards-- consider that in many forums the owners and mods are vendors themselves or are supported by vendor donations. Now, this may not be shilling (as in fake reviews) per se but one would be naive to think there would be no commercial slant. After all web servers cost money.

I would say one tip-- be wary of the niche. Small companies are most guilty of this,  because large companies don't need a niche. If it is a new artisan soap, new razor, or so on, I especially stay away. Those are the most likely to have fake reviews because they need "buzz" to get started. Nobody needs to shill for a Gillette Superspeed or Tabac.

While you are entitled to your opinions, they are just that; opinions without factual and objective evidence.

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 01-12-2016, 08:46 AM
#14
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This I really doubt. They are opinions and not fact IMO.

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 01-12-2016, 03:19 PM
#15
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This happens regularly, on any forum. I've been frequenting here and the fragrance forums for some time now. In many cases, people can come across as shills because they are simply passionate for a particular brand or product. For obvious reasons that kind of activity should be allowed without restriction. On the other hand, it is not unheard of that some users can derive special benefits from speaking highly about certain products. This is shady, constitutes shilling, and should not be tolerated.

Not that you are doing this, but my advice would be to avoid accusing people of shilling unless you are absolutely certain that impropriety is going on. Most of the time it is simply impossible to distinguish between a shill and someone who is genuinely passionate about a particular product.

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 01-12-2016, 03:26 PM
#16
  • Mouser
  • Senior Member
  • Forest City, Florida U.S.A.
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(01-09-2016, 01:25 AM)WegianWarrior Wrote: The act of shilling, as it's often referred to, is not allowed on the Nook and the ModTeam will come down like a ten pound hammer on anyone caught in the act - as evidenced by various bans in the past.

However; the ModTeam cannot be everywhere at once, and we therefore depends on reports from y'all.

Right on warrior.

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 01-13-2016, 06:35 AM
#17
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Boy, that Douglas Smythe episode was just too weird to beat the band.  I found it especially heartbreaking because at the time I thought the HTGAM podcast was the best wet shaving podcast out there.  The "wet shaving tips" were a bit much, but I especially enjoyed the interviews of artisans, vendors and other folks involved in the wet shaving community.  I have high hopes that Andrew and Joe's Wet Shaving News podcast will continue to develop in that direction.

But I'm not sure what the OP is talking about in terms of shilling on this forum.  I'm always happy to recommend a product(s) that works for me, and I've been very supportive of several of the artisans here who I think make some absolutely amazing products.  I don't think that's shilling because I have no financial stake in any of them.  I can't remember a post here that I suspected might have some sort of ulterior motive, but maybe I'm just being naive.  My understanding is that the Shave Nook has some sort of connection with Phil at Bullgoose, but I see other vendors mentioned without censorship, which I think is admirable.

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 01-13-2016, 08:05 AM
#18
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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We're still a fairly small (but growing) community, and IMO it doesn't take too long to spot those that may be harboring "alternative" intentions...just my thoughts Smile

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 01-13-2016, 08:32 AM
#19
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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Connection? Phil STARTED this forum when SHAVE MY FACE sadly lost momentum and a few other forums became Orwellian in their banning people for mere opinion. You will observe Phil generously gives advertising to 'competitors'- a few like LEE who have collaborated on some interesting product offerings.
I was accused ( via PM, no intestinal fortitude on my accuser's part to post openly) on SMF of 'SHILLING' for Phil. Well EXCUSE me! I can get enthusiastic over good vendors as much as a package of Polsilvers. The 'problem' is we buy product; religion, car, politician or aftershave and need to
reinforce our ego that it really is 'the cat's meow' by strength of popularity. OMG, can you imagine showing up for lunch with forum members all wearing ALT INNSBRUK- A scent I proudly 'shilled'

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 01-24-2016, 09:41 AM
#20
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You frame your contention quite well and buttress it with savvy worldwide experience. I am now educated with one more word and named concept that I did not know before. Like you, I have no evidence there is or is not shilling going on, but if nothing else keep some healthy skepticism and corroborate other sources. Buyer reviews are an example of one other source. Though some people do not trust those, at least the reviews are filtered by who actually put up money for the product, which would make shilling a little more expensive.

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