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To not buy Amazon products with reviews from people who received the product free or at a substantial discount in response for their "honest" review?

(25 Posts)
KingofnightvisionKingofinsight Thu 15-Sep-16 13:51:40

Lately on Amazon it seems like the majority of positive reviews are written by people who "received the product for free or at a substantial discount in return for their honest review." In fact it's almost a given that this is the case when a product has a good number, but not hundreds, of 4+ star reviews.

AIBU to make a point to not buy these items? It's not an absolute rule because sometimes there isn't a good alternative, but in general I don't believe that a review can possibly be unbiased if it is written by someone who received a free/heavily discounted product and has a vested interest in receiving additional free/highly discounted products in the future. Even more than that, I don't want to give any positive sales outcome to companies who do this. I know it's not technically dishonest but it just feels dodgy. It's very easy to miss the disclaimer at the bottom of a review, and now I have to read every review instead of relying on a general idea based on the average review and number of reviews.

bruffin Thu 15-Sep-16 14:06:54

I was sent a free kitchen item to try by a well known company on the condition i write a review on Amazon and their website. Nobody told me it had to be a "good review" and I wrote an honest review on the pros and cons. Similar reviews i have seen seem pretty honest ie they are not all positive, so i dont really see it as dodgy.

KittyKrap Thu 15-Sep-16 14:07:20

I am replying to your post in a fair manner due to having received it on my MN app...

It's bollocks I really REALLY hate it and refuse to buy the product however amazing it is/isn't angry

ChocolateFuzz Thu 15-Sep-16 14:27:02

There's nothing devious about it, companies send people products, people test them out and then make a review. As long as it's disclosed properly there's nothing wrong with it, it's just a way to get word out. I would kind of understand your feelings if the people were paid to review the product as there is no way to eliminate bias in that situation but as I said, as long as it's disclosed there's nothing wrong with it, boycotting companies that do this is ridiculous.

BettyOBarley Thu 15-Sep-16 14:30:00

I had this recently on Amazon, only two reviews, Chinese product and both were sent the product for free! It put me off but no one else sold this sort of thing...Anyway I went for it and it's actually a good product but I know what you mean!

LurkingHusband Thu 15-Sep-16 14:31:59

Amazon reviews are one of the better sources, I think.

Certainly they have happily posted reviews I've bothered to make - good and bad. Unlike some sites which feel the need to "review" your review, and - surprise surprise - not publish any negative ones.

Anyway, if the only review for a product is a single glowing subsidised review, surely common sense takes over ?

The system must work fairly well. There are many products I have not bought based on Amazon reviews.

keely79 Thu 15-Sep-16 14:35:07

I've been on the other side of this - providing those reviews. They're not monitored before I post them and the disclaimer is required to ensure they're not misleading. I am always honest in my reviews and try to review as though I'd paid the listed price. I think it's a fair way for a company to get a new product out there

Balletgirlmum Thu 15-Sep-16 14:38:32

Half of them are probably mumsnetters from the Xmas thread

I got last year's chalk pens. There were no catches & you review the product as you saw fit.

Kenduskeag Thu 15-Sep-16 14:39:03

I am one of those reviewers.

There's nothing in the scheme - it's called Amazon Vine, you can google for more info or read some FAQs here:

- that states you have to leave positive reviews. Instead, we are encouraged to review openly and honestly. I've left good reviews, middling reviews, and poor ones. I've had good items and some not so good ones. I'm always honest. It is not at all the case that you would be removed from the program for negative reviews. The idea is that it's, well, honest - people recommending things genuinely 'down the grapevine'. Item selection has nothing to do with your reviewing history.

If anything it's one of the more honest review platforms out there, given that there's no pressure at all to lie. Bloggers? 'Sponsored posts'? Those aren't reviews, they're adverts. Your favourite authors and their little quips on the front of novels? Bought and paid for.

Gudgyx Thu 15-Sep-16 14:40:16

Amazon have their own reviews department, called AMZ reviews.

I've reviewed a load of things for them, for free and heavily reduced. They never say anywhere that you have to give a good review, as long as it is honest.

I have given bad, good and neutral reviews. Just honest ones like they have asked for. I know I like seeing the reviews for things and knowing a 'real' person has tried them before I spend a lot on something.

The reviews aren't checked by the seller or Amazon before posting, so what you are seeing is what the reviewer has posted, they haven't been doctored in any way.

Gudgyx Thu 15-Sep-16 14:41:50

Just saw someone say about Vine, amazon must have a few different reviewing platforms! off to check out Vine

KingofnightvisionKingofinsight Thu 15-Sep-16 20:58:53

I know it's not dishonest and I said that in my post. It just doesn't sit right with me.

Muddlingalongalone Thu 15-Sep-16 21:05:45

Suppliers pay amazon for vine & provide the free products.
Contrast with which? who have to buy the product they are reviewing at a market rate, not allowed freebies.
Make of that what you will

ShelaghTurner Thu 15-Sep-16 21:08:14

I'm a Vine reviewer too and have given some appalling reviews for items. There is absolutely no obligation to leave a good review at all. I review everything honestly as if I'd bought it.

FitbitAddict Thu 15-Sep-16 21:10:14

I've done this for an author I like who is mostly self-published. He has given me and many other fans a free pre-release Kindle copy of his latest book in return for a review posted on the day of publication. We also had to add the line about having received the free book etc.

Maybe book reviews are more subjective - I really enjoyed the book and I wrote an honest unbiased review. Not everyone would like it but they can choose to read it or not. Most of the reviews will be positive because they are written by readers who particularly like this author. The author says that reviews are worth their weight in gold so it's hugely to his advantage to give some books away to fans.

Snowflakes1122 Thu 15-Sep-16 21:29:46

Yanbu. This annoys me!

Shouldn't be allowed.

Of course someone with a freebie are going to have a more positive view of the product. They also want more freebies in future, hence the good reviews.

ShelaghTurner Thu 15-Sep-16 21:38:58

Yeah. Did you actually read what myself and the other vine reviewer wrote?

Rumpelstiltskin143 Thu 15-Sep-16 21:50:19

No they didn't because they couldn't be bothered to RTFT!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 15-Sep-16 21:56:18

It's a myth that people always write more positive reviews if the product is free. I have heard it argued that the more you have personally invested in something the more you tend to convince yourself it was worth it. There is a website where writers pay to have their books available for free download by reviewers, and I looked into it and discovered quite a few writers saying it was absolutely not worth it because they got worse average ratings than from people who had actually bought the book, because people were more likely to give it a go without making sure beforehand it was really the sort of book they liked.
Obviously if the reviewer is a friend or relative it's a different kettle of fish.

Coulddowithanap Thu 15-Sep-16 22:05:37

I review products on Amazon and I always give my honest opinion even if the product is rubbish. I don't see the point in lying and saying something is good when it's not.

ShelaghTurner Thu 15-Sep-16 22:25:10

I use Amazon a lot (or I did before my prime ran out!) and I rely a lot on the reviews. Would make no sense at all to write misleading ones as I benefit from reviews as much as anyone.

And it ain't so glamorous either. In the olden days I used to get cameras. Now I get offered pencil sharpeners and gaffa tape! You're really jealous now aren't you? grin

TaterTots Thu 15-Sep-16 22:28:10

My friend does Amazon Vine and you're encouraged to be completely honest. It's Amazon who invite people to become reviewers, not manufacturers - therefore no worries around 'if I say my Kenwood kettle was crap I'll never get anything else from them'.

TheSnowFairy Thu 15-Sep-16 22:41:39

In the interest of leaving an honest comment I have RTFT.

I'd still rather have feedback from people who have sought out a product and purchased it.

Those whose reviews are pretty much all made up of freebie reviewers put me right off.

bruffin Thu 15-Sep-16 23:03:40

The freeby i reviewed was a beand new product not teleased on the market yet,there would have been no other or few other reviews for a while.

SaggyNaggy Thu 15-Sep-16 23:10:08

I hate to break it to you op but every business, whether they're selling stuff or providing a service, will do the same thing.

That coffee shop on trip advisor that has 65 5star ratings?
A good chunk of them will be friends of the owners / family of the staff etc etc.

There was a bistro in my home town, tons of 5 out of 5 reviews on Facebook, endless pictures of people having a great time. A closer look reveals that 90% of those reviews and photos come from old school friends of the owner and his staff.

The only review you can trust is your own. grin

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