02-12-2019, 09:07 AM
#1
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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I was thinking about this today. We all make reviews of products we like or dislike, but I think sometimes we fail to realize the true power of what we do.

Reviews can make a businessman rich or get his business shut down.

I've tried too many products the last years, I've made reviews for many of them. I live in Greece. I was actually quite known among the Greek vendors (money), they wanted me as a customer, they were doing their best to please me.
At some point, I wrote a review about a product I bought from one of them, I posted the review on a forum and the next time I visited his shop (to give him money), he had already read that review. Guess what. He reacted like a jackass because he thought my review would harm his business. After that horrible and hilarious at the same time experience, he immediately lost me as a customer. I remember that while exiting the shop I wanted to let him know that he just lost me, but I didn't want to spend another minute talking with him. And believe me, I was a very good customer. Some guys just don't have the abilities to run a business. Actually, I told my friends about it and he lost all of us as customers. After that, I don't care if his business closes.
Also, I've stopped visiting any Greek vendor since 2015 and all I do when I want something is ordering from online shops, preferably European to avoid import taxes etc. (they kill us, last time I paid 38 euros on taxes for something that actually cost me $23 and I feel somewhat bad that I don't support some fellow American vendors that I've read they're truly excellent to deal with).

Such reactions/experiences made me slightly change my thinking about making reviews. If my review is going to be bad, I will probably not post anything. I know that negative reviews are as helpful as the positive ones, if not more helpful because they can save you money, but I prefer to let others decide for themselves if a vendor is good, or a product is bad. To be 100% honest, if I have a truly horrible experience, I will let everyone know about it. But, if the behavior of a vendor or the performance of a product is just not to my liking, meaning this is the way a vendor does business or a product performs, adding a negative review or exaggerate about it does not make any sense to me anymore.

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 02-12-2019, 09:38 AM
#2
  • SCOV
  • Senior Member
  • Minnesota
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Good post and question.

Most highly biased positive or negative reviews are obvious.  Reviews are subjective and can be misleading.  Reviewers should be opened minded and selective on reviews.  Reviewers should be knowledgeable.  Some vendors think "worse case" on a single review.  Those reading reviews need to separate fact from fiction and personal preferences.

Most of the posts on TSN are the opinion of the author - in effect a mini review.  I like to read several posts before making a decision.

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 02-12-2019, 12:33 PM
#3
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(02-12-2019, 09:07 AM)nikos.a Wrote: Such reactions/experiences made me slightly change my thinking about making reviews. If my review is going to be bad, I will probably not post anything. I know that negative reviews are as helpful as the positive ones, if not more helpful because they can save you money, but I prefer to let others decide for themselves if a vendor is good, or a product is bad. To be 100% honest, if I have a truly horrible experience, I will let everyone know about it. But, if the behavior of a vendor or the performance of a product is just not to my liking, meaning this is the way a vendor does business or a product performs, adding a negative review or exaggerate about it does not make any sense to me anymore.

You raise interesting questions that relate both the the value of uncurated reviews on-line and the responsibility (or lack thereof) of casual reviewers whose reviews may have a devastating impact on honest businesses.  

I am guilty of being an overly critical (sometimes very positively critical:  “critical” here means analytic, not prone to denigration) whose reviews apparently are fairly widely read, sometimes listed at the top of the “sorted by helpful first” sortings on Amazon.  Ironically, therefore, when I read reviews on Amazon for items that I might buy for myself, I tend to read the one-star reviews first, as they more often influence my buying decisions than the gushing praise of newcomers to the category who have no basis for comparison.  (“I tried washing with soap for the first time today, and the dirt came right off!  Definitely, I’ll buy more!  5 stars!”)  Somewhere north of 99% of the user reviews on TireRack.com, for example, show signs that they were written by pre-pubescent boys who probably never have been behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle, but want to look grown up by commenting on how high performance tires enable them to violate traffic laws.

Other than introducing trained curators to sites that allow reviews, I do not know a solution to the problem that Nikos describes.  Even curators, like referees at sporting contests, can introduce new problems.  I was banned for life from a cooking forum — this is not a joke — for responding to a gushing over-the-top review of a brand of cookware that featured only “clad” construction in all of its offerings— that is, sandwich construction, with a layer of highly heat-conductive metal between outer layers of stainless steel.  The observation for which I was banned was saying that, while clad construction addresses the issues of hot spots at the base of pots, for tall pots in which mostly only liquids are heated, the main effect of having clad construction in the vertical sidewalls is simply to make the pot a radiator to heat the kitchen from the cooktop:  simple physics.  Turns out that the gushingly praised brand was a substantial monetary “contributor” (not publicly disclosed) to the website, which it regarded to be an advertising vehicle; so, while unfavorable comments of other brands were o.k., only compliments of the sponsor’s brand were allowed there.

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 02-13-2019, 04:03 AM
#4
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I tend to read the "bad" reviews first. Yesterday at work I discussed this very topic with a savvy internet restaurant lover. We talked about the Amazon review phenomenon where reviewers are paid. He asked me to Google the restaurants we both loved. He thinks Google reviews are less controlled. The discussion was about a local Mexican restaurant which he loves, Google rated 4.6 out of 5 with 147 reviews. My favorite restaurant a few miles away Google rated 4.4 with 600+ reviews. Lots of discussion ensued on the numbers and what they mean. No pun intended. Did some of these reviews, like some on Yelp, come from friends and family? Or paid reviewers like Amazon? Billy Joel's lyric rings out: "Honesty such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue."

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 02-13-2019, 07:05 AM
#5
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I take one and five star... online reviews with a grain of salt and tend to gravitate towards ones that are balanced and identify specific characteristics of the product and or service to inform myself. When I do "review" anything I try and keep it to observations or preface my comments to indicate that it's a uninformed review which follows

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 02-13-2019, 10:15 AM
#6
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I always think of yelp reviews when I think of reviews, they’re mostly useless to me. I pay attention to reviews from people that I trust and respect their opinion. I’ve too often found that it seemed like the person that wrote a review on a site where the item
Is sold, that the person was still glowing from their new purchase, and the review is too much a reflection of that. Also many bad reviews have more to do with someone’s dissatisfaction with the service over whatever is offered, and in the case of Yelp, just a punishment to the business or just a ‘salty’ customer that ONLY gives out bad reviews.

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 02-14-2019, 12:03 PM
#7
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I Agree! we forget that these people aren't in it for the hobby, they are people trying to put food on their table. I will only review the stuff I like and will not review the stuff I do not like.

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