Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trusting Feedback And Reviews

In the age of the internet, we are depending on what other people say about products we purchase online. In the early days of eBay, reading the feedback of a seller, before you made a purchase was a must. Same for a seller when selling a high ticket item. Checking the feedback of the bidders gave them an idea of what to expect. My, how things have changed!

Instead of moving ahead in the feedback system, I have found it is moving backwards. Now I never go by the feedback before buying from a seller. I study their listings and see if it looks like they gave me enough information in the listing, and if it looks like they care about their business. Then I take my chance. Or I look at the feedback they have given both sellers and buyers. I never go by the negative or neutral feedback, because it usually is from a new buyer.  Or an overseas buyer who cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to them. Even when they are aware of the hold up in customs, or they did not choose for a faster method of shipping because of the cost. The feedback system is not to be trusted in my opinion.

Now eBay has the the star system. I receive 5 stars on shipping because I ship for free. So the buyer has no choice there. They ding me every time on communication? How can that be? I send them an email thanking them for their purchase, another one for thanking them for their quick payment (even if it was not a quick payment!), then I send them another email with the Delivery Confirmation number when I ship it. I try to act friendly to them and more personal in my messages. What more can I do to get 5 stars in communication? Maybe I need to call them on the phone?

I take photos of everything I sell myself. I never use stock photos. Included in my listing is a description of every little crease, rip or mark on the books or whatever I am selling. I never get 5 stars for item as described either. What do these buyers want? I am in the dark over this. Especially since they give me positive feedback every time.

Amazon is another place I have found that reviews are totally worthless. I used to use the reviews to make my choices. Not anymore! The people who do the reviews are doing it now in a mean way, trying to hurt authors, sellers, manufacturers, musicians, etc. One recent review of a book on prepping is a good example. The reviewer did  one star reviews on every prepping book there was available. I could not see that they were verified purchases from Amazon. He copy and pasted all his reviews on each one. Another suspicious thing is that the book he liked, had 6 five star reviews that was all written in the same manner that his was. What makes me think the author is the reviewer, is because what was written about his book in the sale area, is almost the same as the reviewer's review.

If a product or book has a lot of good reviews, they may be rigged or if they have bad reviews a troll has affected the reviews. So what is the sense of using them to make a purchase? They are useless. My husband left a good review of the wind turbine he bought for our system. Someone accused him of working for the manufacturer because he left a good review! They left it as comment on his review.

I no longer read the reviews on Amazon or the feedback on eBay. They are all jokes, sadly they have ruined many seller's reputations for no reason. I know I will never encourage anyone to leave bad feedback or reviews. If possible, contact the seller or author and tell them your concerns with their methods or products. Give them  a chance to make it right first. Maybe they don't have any idea what your issue with their product is. How can they fix it, if they don't know?

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole


Ada said...

I've been noticing the change in the tenor of online reviews in the past year or so too. It makes me sad to think that people are so self serving. It's a shame since online reviews really should be helpful, not vindictive!!

Cynthia Meents said...

On Amazon, I often read the responses to the bad reviews. People who do like a product will point out unreasonable ideas in the reviewer's statements. I agree though that it's hard to tell which reviews are honest anymore.