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 real buyers don’t leave reviews.They don’t care, they get their products and move on. If they do leave a review, 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 my client 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. 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 Hindi. 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 FAQ page. So basically she didn’t solve any problem. She repeated what was on Google’s page.

Google ‘ CEO is Indian and naturally all customer support are connected 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.By the way! If you decide to remove your Google My Business Page and have nasty reviews, those will be there although you remove the page.Whether you call them or chat with them, the result is the same, problem will never get resolved. Google My Business agents are rude and lack of problem solving skills.

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. Sometimes Google runs its automated review remover system and it removes even real reviews. So it doesn’t do its job, right.

Another client of mine who runs a photography studio in Norway is upset because of some fake one stars reviews on his Facebook and Google My Business. He has 20- 5 stars from his clients in Norway, then he’s got two 3-stars and a 2-star review on his Facebook from people in Bangladesh and India who have never been to Norway before. On his Google My Business page a woman from East Europe her name sounded like she’s from Romania wrote a fake one star review  in Gibberish English then used Google translater and translated it in Gibberish Norwegian which sounds really funny.

I told my client this is work of his competitor, He probably paid someone in one of those freelance micro blogging sites to leave this review on his page. She has never had any photo-shoots at my client’s studio in Trondheim. She has never been to Norway. How on earth can my client has taken her pictures? They never, ever stepped foot in his photography studio. They never had relatives as customers either. We reported the fake reviews and they never got removed although we provided evidence. He has no way of flagging or reporting these fake reviews to Facebook and Google My Business, and Facebook does not remove them (he has tried) if they are simply “star ratings” without a review.Google my Business’ flag system is phoney. It doesn’t work or Google’s agents don’t care about it. So it’s pretty much a messy situation.

The result is that his studio ranks lower than other studios on 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 are bogus 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 and experts ‘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.