Is It Possible To Trust Reviews When You Buy Online?
We all shop online, and we all want to get a good deal – so it’s only right to check the reviews of a product we’re interested in.
You may come across you will sometimes find a statement which goes something along the lines of:
“I was provided with this product at a reduced price (or sometimes free) in return for my honest review.”
Many of these reviews tend to be 4 or 5 stars. And that can give some pause.
So what’s the truth here? Perhaps companies only issue their best products for these sponsored reviews, meaning that the reviews are overwhelmingly positive?
Or: the reviewers want to continue being given the opportunity to review products. If you’re a company, would you keep sending products to someone who is consistently giving you bad reviews? The answer is probably no; in fact, it could be considered poor business acumen to do so.
As a blogger who does reviews on this blog and on other platforms, my goal is to provide a fair review of the products and services that I received. I try to share the good, the areas for improvement and how I or my family plan on incorporating the product into our daily life.
You may see the occasional anomalous “sponsored review” acknowledgment that is a poor review, but this is all down to the integrity of the reviewer. Most sites will let you check and see the reviewing history of the person in question. So when you see a sponsored post, go and look for other items they have reviewed. Is there a natural variance, with some items being scored poorly while others do well? Or is the feedback overwhelmingly positive? If it’s the latter, then it might be best to discount that reviewer’s opinion.
What Can You Do?
Cut the individual out of it.
This might seem bizarre. After all, isn’t the whole point of a review to get someone else’s opinion? Someone who has experienced the product or service?
Ideally, yes, of course. But you don’t know the circumstances of the person who is reviewing. Perhaps they are in the process of paying down debt, so they are more mindful of whether something is “value for money”. Perhaps they have a negative experience with the company on a personal level (a recent employee, or knowing someone who was) and they are seeking to tarnish their online reputation. Or even just the fact we remember the bad experiences over the good, distorting our sense of proportion.
There are plenty of places to find consumers choice reviews that cut out the rogue; anyone-can-post attitude found direct on sites. Don’t trust the reviews you find at the bottom of a product page for both good and bad reasons. Come outside of the host site and do a direct search for the item you intend to buy – it will show a far more objective and trustworthy point of view.
Bear in mind the law is on your side here. Even if you make a choice to buy based off what you eventually see as a false review, you still have the right to return items for a refund. Don’t be shy about using it; if a product is not to your satisfaction, send it back ASAP.