Finding genuine product reviews is tricky, especially when it comes to internet marketing products! Partly because many of them are developed by virtually unknown individuals, it's harder to trust a product when you've never heard about the creator before. Another thing is sustainability. Business-maker products tend to be short-lived due to the ever-changing marketing trends, so the reviews outdate quickly too.
And most of all, you find a lot of 'reviews' by affiliates that are not really reviews but advertisements. You find a lot because business products pay higher commission rates comparing to general merchandise products. So affiliates promote their life out of them in all sorts of ways. It's hard to spot genuine, unbiased reviews.
'All Good' Is No Good
I'm not a scam-buster. I much prefer to write about good stuff and want my visitors to try it out. Picking up bad stuff to scream out 'scam!' is not really my thing. Although I can be stroppy sometimes... Also if I think a product is good, I'd rather go straight to the point in the beginning and say "this is good".
But that's not how product review websites work, sadly and pretty ridiculously at times.
For SEO purpose, we're supposed to drag on for like, 2,000 words because short review blogs won't rank in Google very well. Some lengthy product reviews are by all means, useful for those who are seriously considering a purchase. Looked into from every point of view, by all means.
On the other hand you see some reviewers deliberately find a few niggle bits to make a fuss with, things like;
- 14-day trial period is not long enough.
- Upselling is deceiving.
- $49 may be a lot to pay if you are on a budget (yeah, scandalous!)
Even if the reviewers simply love a product and genuinely want to recommend it, they still add 'cons' to make their review more credible. People always react to negative news more than positive news. Users don't trust 'all good' reviews.
Clearly Not Tested
Product 'reviews' that are not tested by the contributor often suck.
One type is pretty short posts written by affiliates, appeared to be written by themselves but actually 'copied & rephrased' descriptions from the product website. I think I've done that a few times - in my defence - that's when a product owner approaches me personally, asking me to promote on their behalf but refuses to offer me a free trial. With little information I can't speculate the quality of the product so I leave my verdict unclear. That's a crap review. I'm not proud.
But as an affiliate they're only rewarded a commission upon sales, so whenever I see a short introduction of a product in the name of 'review' with a big fat CTA button... Okay I hear you, good luck!
The other type is written by raging scambusters. They slam down every fishy product based on the way it sells, or the product owner's previous background. They save newbies from wasting money. But you know, not everyone is a scammer. And these scambusters' intention is often elsewhere - they win you over by saving you from purchasing wrong products first, then they lure you into their affiliate product ("My #1 Recommendation!"). If you see a Wealthy Affiliate banner somewhere in their site, yep, that's their plan.
Talking about Wealthy Affiliate... It's a web hosting & niche marketing training community. I first heard about it from an e-commerce and drop shipping review site. I was running a drop shipping business and looking for a new tool. I found that site, it had a comparison chart, a drop-shipping tool on one side, Wealthy Affiliate (WA) on the other. Comparing the usability, pricing, help & support and so on...
The reviewer rated my tool 6/10, against WA 10/10. So I took his advice and joined Wealthy Affiliate believing it was a drop shipping company (despite of the obvious name!) I can't remember who the author of the review was, but why on earth was he comparing two different online businesses against each other!? It's like comparing a gas cooker with a microwave oven.
Anyway it turned out great for me - I enjoy making making money as an affiliate much more than from a drop shipping business now. But that review was an absolute misleading crap!
Star Ratings - Misleading
(reviewed 2468 times)
(reviewed 7 times)
(reviewed 1 times)
This one, I'm sure you'll agree. The greater the number of reviewers is, the more trustworthy a star rating is ("1" in the table above). And you often see some 5-star ratings on Amazon or Apple and other app stores with all-short, low quality feedbacks by small number of people ("2" above). They're obviously rated by the developer's own staff or friends. It's a stealth marketing method, that's cheating and it can't be trusted.
Star ratings can mislead users instantly, yet they're authoritative. Users look at them as seals of approval. They don't check the credibility. And when rated by just one reviewer - you never know how biased it can be (my star ratings included). I've never seen any reviewers who explain exactly how they reached the decision either (myself included!)
Affiliates always provide 90% rating (4 out of 5) or over, so you need to read between the lines to see whether they're genuinely recommending the product or just selling it.
Internet Marketing Product Reviews Checkpoints
Not every 'review' online genuinely does its job (help users find the right product) in a straightforward manner. So inevitably as a user, you should check at least 2-3 reviews and decide which ones are trustworthy. Here's a summary of checkpoints;
- If the author (reviewer) doesn't mention any 'cons' - is there an indication that he/she actually tried the product?
- Does the review have the author's personal view points, or is it merely an introduction?
- What other products has the author reviewed? Is he/she a 'scambuster', pushy affiliate, or being truthfully helpful?
- If the product is compared with another product - do they both really offer similar features? e.g. Not network marketing vs email marketing?
- Star ratings - rated by how many people, and based on what?