The Ugly Truth About Review Websites

Writing a product review of an item is a good way to share useful information with other users. In recent years buyers have become savvier of choosing a product or service online. When they want to buy something, they check review websites about the item and then they make their purchase decision.

I have classified product reviews in three categories:

  • Market place reviews such as Amazon, Yelp and ebay
  • Social media reviews such as: Facebook and Google
  • Affiliate marketing reviews such as: review pages where they compare different products of same genre

Marketplaces such as Amazon‘s reviews are not genuine. The bad reviews come from product owner’s competitors and good reviews are written by product owners’ affiliates.99.9% of buyers don’t leave reviews. If they do, they are unhappy customers and sellers usually take care of their needs and most of the time these bad reviews are removed by the unhappy customer. Because sellers fix their problems.

Generally speaking, these days small businesses have become more aware of the importance of customer service and customer success. So they take care of their customers. The bigger companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft need to do something about their customer service.

The other day I had problem with Google my business. The picture on my client’s business site belonged to another location. Google did not have a picture of that area so they fetched another picture close to that area. So I left them a message to contact me. 10 minutes later I got a call from Google Maps department, the number was an American phone number, but an Indian agent started talking and I could hear the background noise from some sort of call center in India, because I could hear them speaking in Indian language. The female agent took a lot of time to locate the address and gave me the same cliche reply which was on Google my business’s page. So basically she didn’t solve any problem. She repeated what was on Google’s page.

Google ‘ CEO is Indian and naturally he outsources all customer care to call centers in India easy peasy lemon squeezy right? Anyway, my client’s company map picture on Google my business was never removed. Since my client has good reviews, he doesn’t want to delete his Google my business page.

The majority of products with good reviews on Amazon have low quality. This is why I don’t look for product reviews on Amazon anymore. I buy either directly from product’s producer website or on eBay.

Why Amazon doesn’t do anything about fake reviews? They don’t care. People still look for these reviews before buying something.The Kindle book market on Amazon is horrible. I monitored many good books which came really close to becoming the bestseller, but lost their ranking on Amazon. Because of fake one star reviews.

What is wrong with Facebook and Google reviews?  Not all of them are real. In fact 95% are fake. I got a client who runs a photography studio in Norway. He has two 3-star and a 2-star review on his Facebook from people in Asia. They never, ever stepped foot in his photography studio. They never had relatives as customers. They in no way interacted with him. He has no way of flagging or reporting these fake reviews to Facebook, and Facebook does not remove them (he has tried) if they are simply “star ratings” without a review.

The result is that his studio ranks lower than other studios in Facebook’s service search result, it affects his business. Another provider told me that there were over a dozen fake one- and two-star reviews from India and Pakistan for his business  as Facebook cleaned out the fake profiles they eventually disappeared. But many small businesses are still infested with these fake reviews. They are an insult to a business provider.

Why lately affiliate review websites do not work?

They look phony and people lost their trust on these squeeze pages in which they see 5.4.3 stars reviews of similar products.

Why prospects don’t take action?

There are many reasons, some people think it won’t work and search online to find a similar product.  If you offer a product for free, they think the product isn’t worth it. This is why free giveaway is losing its charm these days.

What Should We Do About it?

The best solution? There should be more expert roundups in various niches for products and services. In expert roundups, affiliate marketers and product providers can gather influencers ‘opinions, this way a product will stand out. Because this way a customer understands which product suits his or her needs. Some experts in search engine optimization and online marketing have done SEO roundups on SEO tools, SEO techniques and social media marketing. Based on feedbacks I got, they really worked and increased sales for SEO tool providers.

I believe other product providers in sport, clothing, travel, industrial design and real estate niches should use this method.

 

11 comments

  • Michael E

    I have bought many times items on Amazon based on positive reviews, turned out they weren’t good. So yeah, Amazon reviews are not to be trusted.

  • John APPLEBY

    Google my business works for restaurants and not other businesses. I don’t think having a Google my business makes any differences.It’s like you’re calling to circus monkeys asking science question. They don’t help at all.

  • David Walker

    Facebook customer service sucks. In fact Facebook doesn’t give a damn about their users. Think about it — the “place for friends” has over a billion users, but its actions tell us it doesn’t care about them. So yeah Maria is right about Facebook customer service issues.

    • Maria

      Facebook doesn’t care about customers because they earn their income through Wall Street and selling user data to governments around the world. Facebook doesn’t need users to buy their Pay Per Click Service. Because this is not their soul source of income. Facebook earns millions of dollars on monthly basis from governments. This is why Facebook has become a social media giant. Prior to joining Facebook you sign Facebook’s term of use (TOS) agreement. So Facebook’s lawyers legalized the private date stealing and this way nobody can’t do anything about it. Slick isn’t it? Everybody has already given permission to Facebook to get their private date and hand it over to authorities and 3rd parties. Governments are real Facebook’s clients. This is why Facebook doesn’t invest in spending time and resources on their customer service improvement. Because their real customers’ needs have been taken care of.

  • Tom Strand

    Facebook doesn’t have customer service. They don’t care about their users at all.

  • Arnold Huss

    You provided a great solution, but websites still rely on reviews anyway. However businesses must start implementing a better solution than using Amazon and Yelp reviews. They are fake and unreliable.

  • James Call

    I think influencer marketing and roundups are good for increasing customers’ awareness about a product or service.

  • SALVADOR D

    I totally agree especially this year influencer marketing has become a trend.

  • Frank Brunt

    Yeah I noticed it.