Consumer Feedback Online

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Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Barefootgirl » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:38 pm

I've long used the reviews on Amazon and seller feedback on eBay to assist with buying decisions.

I've been informed this morning by others that Amazon is increasingly deleting negative reviews, particularly those where the buyer claims the items are counterfeit...apparently, this happens in the higher end health and beauty item categories.

I've never had an issue with receiving counterfeit items, but I would hate to think that Amazon would not allow people to post such information for the benefit of others, particularly since i think the review section of that site indirectly generates quite a bit of business for them.

Do you have any concerns about websites blocking, editing, deleting positive or negative feedback? experienced this yourself?

BFG
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby KyleAAA » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:47 pm

I would be inclined to disbelieve the reports unless I saw hard data. Big websites are always accused of doing things they don't do.

I'm not particularly concerned about a site the size of Amazon, no. It's really not economical for Amazon to manually police all these negative reviews in the first place. What would they get out of it? Definitely not increased revenue.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby ejvyas » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:06 pm

Many sites block comments and reviews. I have not encountered such an issue with Amazon/eBay unless someone reports the user/comment

Amazon had problem of fake reviews back in 2012. I read in early 2013 that they are working to fix that. I am not sure if that is reflecting now as deleted reviews now.

I rely on Amazon reviews as well but dont believe all of them as you can find many forums where buyers have auctions for writing positive reviews. eBay for sure is flooded with +ve reviews. Some sellers will bug me for a month if I dont rate them or rate them -ve.
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Postby pinecrest » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:32 pm

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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Minot » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:19 pm

pinecrest wrote:
ejvyas wrote: Some sellers will bug me for a month if I dont rate them or rate them -ve.


I'm curious if you note any correlation between writing reviews and getting spammed by telemarketers. My mother buys a lot of stuff on Amazon (and is starting on Ebay) and feels compelled to write reviews. I have mixed feelings on this since I know the sellers have a legitimate need for feedback, but it seems increasingly that anytime feedback is provided to anyone in the commercial world, we end up having our personal information sold (since we are obviously active consumers) and end up on telemarketing and junk mail lists.
The only reviews I've posted online are for AirBnB places I've stayed (3 so far). I haven't noticed any increase in spam.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:16 pm

Having recently received a counterfeit item from Amazon, I checked its reviews just now. It has a large number of negative reviews due to the number of counterfeits on the market. The review I used to determine it was counterfeit (it had a link to a photo album showing the real item and the counterfeit item) is still present, as are many other notes about it being counterfeit.

On the other hand, I have a bluetooth headset that has died an early death. I thought I recalled there being reviews describing a similar early death that I can no longer find on Amazon, but I also checked other review sites, so maybe I read the reviews somewhere else. I have to wonder if some claims of deleted negative reviews might stem from people not recalling exactly which website they read the negative review on.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby frugaltype » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:03 am

I've written negative reviews of products on amazon and the reviews have been published. I guess I wouldn't notice if they'd later been deleted. I don't buy "higher end health and beauty items," though.

I watch out for two things on amazon reviews. One is fake positive reviews and the other is that amazon lumps together reviews for similar products of the same manufacturer without giving any indication it's done so. That only became clear to me when I noticed the reviews were talking about different things, and it wasn't just one or two clueless people reviewing the wrong product.

For example, all HP flash thumb drive reviews seem to be lumped together, even though I have found that the 32 GB thumbs are reliable and the 64GB thumbs almost immediately break.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby nisiprius » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:23 am

I believe it's a case-by-case thing. I've submitted fairly negative Amazon reader reviews (not under my Bogleheads screen name), including some with one star, that are all still up.

Online reviews are what they are. Between the astroturfing, the malcontents seeking to hurt someone, and the intervention of the sites that publish them, they have to be interpreted carefully. I look for specific factual details rather than overall ratings. Five stars, one star, loved it, hated it--phooey. "I found that I kept accidentally turning the device off because they put the power switch just where you would naturally rest your thumb"--I pay attention.

There have been cases on Amazon where people sort of piled in and, as it were, demonstrated against some aspect of the product--some video game that had particularly objectionable DRM, where thousands of people gave it one-star reviews, not because of the quality of the game itself, but because of the publisher's conduct. And I think there have been some cases of that sort of "letter-writing campaign" negative reviews where Amazon has stepped in to wipe the slate clean.

I will admit to being sluttish in my Amazon reader reviews, because I want people to read my words, and for reasons that aren't perfectly clear to me, low-number-of-star reviews tend to get fewer "helpful" votes which has the combined effect of making them less visible and lowering my reviewer score.

Apple is notorious for removing criticism of Apple products from its discussion boards. I've seen this happen myself so I know that's not rumor.

As of 2013, I'm pretty sure online forums are private property, not places where the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech applies.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Anon1234 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:40 am

Amazon deleted my negative review. I was the only one who reviewed it. Here is link to the product. No reviews as of today.
http://www.amazon.com/Brainymats-Counti ... y+placemat

Here is a picture of the review confirmation email from amazon.

Image

Update: I resubmitted a version of my old review at 11:40AM eastern time, let's see if they approve it.
Update 2: They accepted the review.
Last edited by Anon1234 on Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:43 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby protagonist » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:15 am

Barefootgirl wrote:I've long used the reviews on Amazon and seller feedback on eBay to assist with buying decisions.

I've been informed this morning by others that Amazon is increasingly deleting negative reviews, particularly those where the buyer claims the items are counterfeit...apparently, this happens in the higher end health and beauty item categories.

I've never had an issue with receiving counterfeit items, but I would hate to think that Amazon would not allow people to post such information for the benefit of others, particularly since i think the review section of that site indirectly generates quite a bit of business for them.

Do you have any concerns about websites blocking, editing, deleting positive or negative feedback? experienced this yourself?

BFG


I haven't read this, but it seems relevant: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Review-Buy-Pa ... B00DCVXHVI

This doesn't specifically address the feedback issue, but does address corporate filtering of information the public believes to be "free" : http://dontbubble.us/
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby frugaltype » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:53 pm

Anon1234 wrote:Amazon deleted my negative review. I was the only one who reviewed it. Here is link to the product. No reviews as of today.
http://www.amazon.com/Brainymats-Counti ... y+placemat

Here is a picture of the review confirmation email from amazon.

Image

Update: I resubmitted a version of my old review at 11:40AM eastern time, let's see if they approve it.


Did you close your account in the interval? That deletes all your reviews.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Toons » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:55 pm

No :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Sam I Am » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:52 pm

Message deleted.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Anon1234 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:47 am

frugaltype wrote:
Did you close your account in the interval? That deletes all your reviews.


No, I didn't close my account.

Is it possible the seller closed their account, or started selling the same item as a "different product?" I know retailers play tricks with model numbers for pricing purposes. Maybe they do it to reset reviews too.
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I hope not

Postby davebarnes » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:51 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:Amazon is increasingly deleting negative reviews
I love the 1-star reviews.
For example - http://www.amazon.com/Hutzler-571-Banan ... ewpoints=0
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby livesoft » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:03 pm

Of course, some reviews are classics like those of the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Mountain-Thre ... ewpoints=1
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby EternalOptimist » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:11 pm

This type of feedback tends to attract those who love or hate products. I would take the reviews with a grain of salt and not necessarily representative of all buyers.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Ged » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:55 pm

I certainly agree that there is a good deal of spamming and trolling in the Amazon reviews. There is also a great deal of concern about astroturfing. The Vines program is also very suspicious to me - participants get free merchandise for writing reviews. The Vines reviews generally seem low quality and 'gushing' without fail.

I haven't seen my bad reviews being deleted. I have seen cases where reviews of mine have disappeared due to product shuffling.

I did one review way back when (1997) that became dissociated from my user name somehow. It's listed under "A Customer" now. I tried once to reclaim it without success. Someday I'm going to try again....
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby frugaltype » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:41 pm

EternalOptimist wrote:This type of feedback tends to attract those who love or hate products. I would take the reviews with a grain of salt and not necessarily representative of all buyers.


Some reviews are very useful. For example, some reviewers take the time to go over product features in detail. Or if you like genre fiction, comparisons to other books or authors are useful.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby HurdyGurdy » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:39 pm

Negative reviews are needed. We wish our niece would have read the reviews of the infamous slice-o-matic (http://www.amazon.com/As-Seen-On-TV-sli ... seen+on+tv) before giving it to us.
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby Barefootgirl » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:32 am

I just had an interesting experience on Amazon. Bought an old used book at a good price. Never received it. Contacted the seller, who agreed to refund right away (not ship or reship)...then I noticed that in the month since I bought this book, the price had gone up 400%, which leads me to believe that my seller relisted the item later at the higher price.

Tricky.

BFG

PS - protagonist - THANK YOU! for the VERY interesting links... I say Duck Duck Go! The idea of filtering takes me back to old Cold War movies in my grade school classroom about the dangers of capitalism, oops I meant communism, LOL
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Re: Consumer Feedback Online

Postby protagonist » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:22 am

Barefootgirl wrote:
PS - protagonist - THANK YOU! for the VERY interesting links... I say Duck Duck Go! The idea of filtering takes me back to old Cold War movies in my grade school classroom about the dangers of capitalism, oops I meant communism, LOL


Keep the change, BFG.....

A couple of personal observations about Google searches:
- Up to about a year ago, if you were shopping for something you could get good, accurate comparison pricing from multiple sources (yahoo, google, nextag, etc) on the first page (if not the top) of google searches. Now the big hits are always Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and a few others that I suspect pay Google for this....it is very difficult to find honest comparative pricing in any prominent google link anymore. You can do better with duckduckgo, but even so, many of the big players in comparative pricing are much more selective, probably based on paid advertising or some such thing.
- After reading that thing about filtering, I've definitely noticed that when I do a search on google on, say, a political issue, mostly all that comes up is preaching to the choir. Up until reading that, I guess I just assumed that everybody must agree with me, so why is the world not a better place?

Regarding Amazon/cnet etc reviews...... I think the bigger problem with sifting out true information is not as much what is screened or filtered (though that is a problem), but reviews that are paid for, or possibly flooded by the company producing the product or a competitor. I use the reviews as a rough guide, especially if there are TONS of reviews....and for that they are still helpful- I think if you go to a major city, for example, and eat at one of the restaurants or stay at a hotel that is in the top 1% on tripadvisor, most likely you will get at least a decent room or meal. I more rely on metareviewer sites when possible like consumersearch.com, imdb.com or rottentomatoes,com than on amazon, cnet, etc. And I rarely believe reviews in magazines (like pcworld for example)...even if honest they are usually based on first opinions of a product and first opinions are nearly worthless. Plus reviews of popular items like cellphones, laptops, etc. seem so similar across the board by websites that I wonder how many are just plagiarizing other online reviews without ever even testing the product. I don't know how wikipedia manages to stay as objective as they seem to usually be.
If anybody has more or better ideas about how to sift out truth, please share them.
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