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Online reviewers which ones do you think are paid to review?

Now, I know that CNET is unbiased in their reviews, that's why I go to them for finding out about products that I'm interested in. But has anyone seen any sites where its obvious that everything they review is "great" or "Gold Award"? And the products they review seem to come from just 4 or 5 companies?

Here is a site that screams bias(IMHO): hardwarebistro.com. Take a look at their list of items that they review, several products, one after the other from the same companies. And everyone gets some sort of award, either Gold Award or Value Award. Not a single review out of the 143 reviews on their site is a bad one. Now, they do have a few "Cons" on some of the items, but nothing is complete junk. Even CNET has reviews where they basically tell you, don't buy this.

But anyway, does anyone else have any review sites they find suspicious? Does anyone else think CNET needs to do a story on these sites?

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Comments
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Just my personal opinion

....... but I believe the less mentioning>less coverage>less free publicity results in lowering traffic to sites that might not be as "fair-minded" as others. And it must be kept in mind that "fairness" can be in the eye of the beholder or to a bad experience with the retailer that is actually a rare happening.

As I understand it, there are well respected sites that are given products to review, even high ticket ones like automobiles. IMO, a good reviewer is the strength of the site by which he is employed, and he is the cornerstone of their reputation. As with other business concerns, those with good reputations survive.

There has been plenty of broadband spent on warnings and offering tips on how to avoid iffy sites. Not all read those nor those on over-the counter medicines or safety ones on electrical equipment.

Frankly, I am opposed to having what might be "biased" businesses identified by name here. Why? Because your review is your opinion. There are "user reviews" and "user comments" on a lot of sites. I suspect they are as reliable and reflective of the other business practices of the site.

It is good to see that you have found the reviews by CNet valuable!


Angeline

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Hmmm

Hence why I stated in my humble opinion about that site. If no one actually speaks out on these sites by name, they will continue. Not only do I advocate naming these sites, I say we name the companies as well. As for the excuse that other industries do it, is that really an excuse?

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but is the site the one responsible

Are they putting in the reviews themselves, or just failing to prune out the obvious fake reviews? Run a search on "fake reviews" and you'll realize they are everywhere. There's been a recent case in NY state where it's attorney general went after one company for posting fake reviews favoring them at various places.

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It does happen all the time

A company will post fake reviews praising its own products, and/or post fake negative reviews on competitors' web sites. It's not right but it does happen. I'm sure at least some of the other negative reviews are from people with a more general chip on their shoulder (e.g. someone who thinks Microsoft is Evil Incarnate is not likely to praise an MS product and may go out of their way to trash something they haven't even used).

When I'm going over product reviews, I always go to the negative ones first to see if they "smell right."

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And there are always

..... the ones in user reviews who say how lousy the product is in whatever regard, but have not bought it. Sad

Angeline

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Not excuses

..... but reasons. There is a wide difference.

James made the distinction between reviewers sanctioned by the sites (as with CNet) and "user reviews" better than I did. (Some sites use "Comments" as an option. ) And he explained why it is not possible to monitor the "user reviews" to the standard you advocate.

Angeline

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google their reviews

Grab a line, google it, see if it pops up at more than 2-3 places in reviews. If so, it's a company shill or paid reviewer whose job is to spam legitimate sites with sham reviews. If you don't get a hit on that line in a review, google another line. Some change a line here or there, but don't rewrite the whole thing for each site.

You can do it too if interested.
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=paid+reviews

Some places are really bad about it too. Here's one person who did something about it. Basically, if it sounds like someone's spreading on the sauce a bit thick, suspect a paid reviewer.
http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/2009/07/09/delonghis-strange-brew-tracking-down-fake-amazon-raves/tab/article/


This happens at all the sites that take product reviews. Can you imagine how many people they'd need to check every review given to see it if was multiplied at numerous sites across the internet? There are also basher reviews. They are paid to go out and bash the competitor's product at review sites. Want to have some fun? Find the low rating reviews, google a line or phrase from it, see how many other times you can find the exact or almost exact same review at other sites.

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Solution?

Here's an idea, why not have review sites post a promise, a graphic seal perhaps, that they do not accept money or merchandise for their reviews. I know that it might not have any real power, but it would show support for dealing with these shady sites. As for a previous poster saying that tons of "broadband" had been used talking about this, and hence, we should stop talking about it, is the wrong thing to do.

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