Reviews Don’t Tell The Full Story

I don’t buy ANYTHING unless I can read some reviews about it, and I’m sure I’m not alone. What did we ever do without reviews? Well, I’ll be your way back machine here for a moment and remind you that we USED TO just have a magazine called Consumer Reports, and this magazine would help test products and give unbiased opinions of the most popular products on the market at the time. This was how we would know if the product was worth the money or not.

Now, all you have to do is go to Amazon and see what people are saying about whatever you are holding in your hand. Most items you can buy from websites you can buy on Amazon, and Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world. Millions of users are constantly providing reviews on all items so that you know exactly what you are getting… or do you?

There was a time when those reviews could be trusted, but unfortunately, now I just don’t think they are nearly as reliable as they used to be… for two main reasons among many others.

The first major reason is that there is an entire business surrounding fake reviews. Companies can now pay other companies to pay people to leave reviews for their product and they can even get the “verified purchaser” mark by actually buying the item. Actually preventing fake reviews is very difficult because it is very difficult to draw the line as to what is fake and what is real. How is Amazon supposed to determine if a review is fake or real if they have no idea if the user buying has had any interaction with the brand prior to purchasing the product? The moment Amazon starts to police that heavily is when the entire system breaks down because reviews are meant to be impartial and meant to be from people who are not urged to make them.

But let’s set aside the messy business of real or fake reviews. Some reviews are real but still untrustworthy. How many products have you seen online with a full five stars or a full 10 out of 10. Probably 0 right? Of course, nothing is perfect and someone is going to find an issue with anything and everything, but the real trouble happens when people rate an item poorly not for the quality of the item but the service Amazon provides. That might be confusing, let me give you an example…

Let’s say for example you wanted to buy a premium cell phone case on Amazon from a trusted and well-reviewed website like this. When you order the item from the website of the company directly, they get to control their delivery and their customer service throughout the process. If it was purchased on Amazon however, they don’t get to do that, and people will review an item poorly if they receive it late, if it was messed up in the shipping process, or for a host of other reasons that are not entirely related to the product quality. There’s no way to help customers understand to not do that, so inevitably due to Amazon’s customer service or shipping the product is rated lower and now sells less items.

Don’t just take the word of the reviews. Really do your research! Read the specifications, educate yourself on what you are buying, and take some chances every now and then. With greater risk comes great reward. You might even discover a product you never would have even given a second glance!