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Why should we trust your reviews?

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Why should we trust your reviews?

Good question, my reviews are as good as the next website's right? Well maybe you need to know a few things about how reviews work before you make that judgment call. Most websites that review products do this for one reason, to get you to their website, traffic is the key to making any money on the internet and advertisers are looking to spend some money on well visited sites in the hopes a visitor will end up being interested in one of their products advertised on the website. Other than asking for donations or charging a fee for you to access the information the only method of making any money is through advertisers. Now the problem is that websites need reviews to get the traffic and they need a source to get the products to review so many sites pop-up with a few positive reviews hoping to attract visitors and a manufacturer willing to provide products to review. This becomes a 'Win' Win' situation the websites gets products to review and the manufacturer gets the positive reviews which in turn draws more visitors to the website which increases the revenue from advertisements shown on the website. That explains why they publish a review over 20 pages long with barely a blurb on each page, they are making sure you see as many advertisements as possible. Don't even get me started on these darn 'ad-words', on most sites I can't move my mouse without triggering an 'ad-word' pop-up!

Are there any catch's when a manufacturer sends a product for review?
The answer depends on what you consider a catch to be, below is a letter I got from one manufacturer

Dear Sir/madam,
How are you? This is (rep name) from (Company X). For the last few years, your site has been posting news and reviews for (Company X), we really do appreciate that.
I am wondering whether your site is interested in reviewing (Company X) products.

* Review Procedure:
- We send samples at editors' request or based on our new product launching plan.
- Editor may have this product reviewed within 1 month.
- After 1 month, this sample is requested to be sent back to us (delivery is paid by us).
- We will do some promotion (like sample give-away) after 4 excellent reviews (with awards) from editors. The price range of the promotion product would be around 300 dollars.

I replied with the following answer:

Thanks for the offer but I choose to only review products I purchase this keeps my reviews honest and I have no reason to write 'Good' reviews other than the product being worthy of such a review. I was surprised to see this line "We will do some promotion (like sample give-away) after 4 excellent reviews (with awards) from editors". It basically encourages editors to 'skew' results in order to get some kind of compensation I dare ask would would happen if I wrote a bad review!

I think my reply sums up the issue, reviewers are offered rewards for 'Good' reviews and I'm fairly certain a bad review would end the relationship with (Company X) so what do you do? Well you either do a simple review where you mention all the details of the product without digging very far into the possible problems or shortcomings or you focus on the positive points while glazing over the negative ones. The other single biggest issue is that since these reviewers don't actually use the product reviewed (in the sense they use it for the review only) they can't tell anyone if it's worthwhile. In my review of the Canon 8400F scanner I offer evidence of the slide scanning capability by showing scans of slides from 1961 (which was the reason I purchased the product). Most reviewers have the product for a month (along with whatever else they are reviewing) and must make a review based on this limited experience and they have no reason to purchase the product so how can they relate to a true end-user.

I will admit some other sites such as PC Magazine at least run a set of baseline tests on all products that will determine how good a product is based on it's technical evaluation but that isn't enough to decide if the product is worth purchasing.

What about those user opinion sites they must be a good source of information?
Not really because of two big issues, the first being that the site contains either extremely negative or positive reviews. When a user is pissed at a product they search out sites to vent their opinion as they don't want anyone to purchase the piece of crap and many point to problems with customer service. The extremely positive reviews are written by users who feel they need to make up for the negative reviews about the product because they feel the product is fine or is being unfairly rated as negative by other users.

The other nasty secret is that many manufacturers employ individuals to look for these sites with the sole purpose of providing an extremely positive review, and these users will write numerous reviews under various names. End result is that a positive review may not be real person but a well placed review by one of these 'insiders'!

Why my reviews are honest
I have no reason to write anything other than the truth about a product based on my experience with the product, I don't accept products to review and I only review products I have owned and purchased.
I base my review on my actual usage of the particular product. Since I only purchase items I plan to actually use you get my version of what I like and dislike about a product. If you wish to see one of my negative reviews have a read about the Zalman Theatre 5.1 Headphones!

So as I mention in my Mission statement
biline.ca is not affiliated with any retail businesses online or otherwise, any mention of businesses or services are due to the relevance of the article you are reading, I may endorse a product or service from time to time but only within the direct relation to the scope of the article you are reading. I have purchased all the items that are reviewed for my personal use and my reviews are based on my experiences with the product. I attempt to provide readers with as much information as possible in all my articles to allow readers to make informed decisions before they spend on a product or service. I firmly believe on full disclosure and if Microsoft was to provide me a laptop with Vista installed to review the newest operating system (and told me to keep the laptop) this information would be indicated up front and the product would probably still get a bad review (fine at least a fair review). As the actual user of the products and services I review, my opinions are based on what I consider to be important features or options, I may overlook items that others consider to be a issue. The only revenue generated through this website is the links provided by Google and I have no control over who or what is shown. That being said I also do not necessarily endorse the vender nor can I vouch for the product.



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