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Can We Really Trust Customer Reviews?

Updated on September 22, 2011

I may be naive, gullible, or just plain stupid! I used to always read customer reviews about products I was considering buying. I put a lot of faith in these reviews. Some would sound a little less than intelligent and I would ignore those, but if they seemed to come from someone with half a brain, I payed attention. It was only recently that I found out there are companies that will pay you to write reviews for products. That came as quite a shock to me. I'm not talking about being paid to post an ad on your blog or even guest blogs they will compensate you for. I mean being paid to say a product is great when you have never used it. Or sometimes saying a product is terrible to ruin the competition's credibility.

As I said, I am too trusting, naive, or just clueless in this new age of technology. What really made me completely mistrust reviews is an acquaintance of mine. He has written several books and I was checking them out on Amazon. When I got to the reviews, I realized that about half of them were written by him, with a different name for each one. I happened to know he used these nicknames on other sights, so that's how I knew they were his. He gave himself glowing reviews and 5 stars, thereby giving his overall star ranking 5's on most of his books. Most people reading these would not know this and think his books were very popular and well worth buying.

Now I know we all have ways of promoting ourselves and our blogs, sites or articles and that's fine. Is it just me or is this just plain wrong to do it the way he is? I haven't been into blogging and starting websites for long, so maybe I have no idea. Maybe I'm not promoting myself the way I should be, but for me there has to be some degree of honesty and integrity to it. It angers me because there are so many scams out there and they affect all of us in one way or another. They are the proverbial bad seeds that hurt the honest folks!

After this experience I don't even bother reading reviews anymore. How can I possibly believe them? I wanted to write about this in case there are others who haven't a clue about some of these deceitful practices. The next time you read reviews, take them with a grain of salt. I'm not really that stupid that I think everyone is honest and upfront. Believe me, I know how much people lie or cheat, but how low can some people go? How do you feel about this? Do you do whatever it takes or do you have a moral or ethical line you won't cross?


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    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 6 years ago from the South

      Thanks Seeker! I'm glad I'm not the only one who used to believe these ratings...haha. I don't feel so naive now. I'm not sure how "legal" what he's doing is. It's a shame companies (like Amazon) don't have a way of catching this sort of thing. Thanks for the voted up!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Hi CatGypsy,

      This is an excellent hub and well done for bringing this into the limelight. I must be gullible as well, because I do tend to, if not read the reviews, then at least look at how many stars/points have been awarded to items before I buy them. This tends to be, funnily enough, as you mentioned in your hub, books. I would also go with the reviews that sounded intelligent rather than too gushy or half-witted.

      If this guy that you know has done this, then that is a serious form of cheating. Even fraud?

      Many thanks for sharing this excellent hub - maybe you could do a follow up if you get more information from other hubbers? It would be interesting to see how many people do read reviews and buy on their ratings.

      Voted up!!