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"I received this product at a discounted price in exchange for my honest review!"

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MadLaughter

Member
Jun 21, 2012
2,957
0
0
San Diego
What the fuck.

So, one of the gifts I got my mom for Christmas was a candle. I bought it off amazon, after looking through a few and glancing at the review average.

Today it shows up, and the wood wick thing is broken and the candle doesn't even fully fill the container the wax or whatever is in. So I go back to look at the reviews, and just about every single one of them has a slight variation of:

"I received this item at a promotional discount in exchange for my honest, unbiased review."

And I mean SLIGHT. Here's the review page:

http://www.amazon.com/Northwood-Can...ortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending&pageNumber=1

Look at the first or last lines of 95% of the reviews. It has 47 reviews, all 5 stars, all within the last month.

Is this a candle cult? A candlespiracy? I googled the phrase, and apparently there is an entire culture of product testers? What? Am I in the truman show?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ProductTesting/comments/3cmup7/what_sentence_do_you_guys_use_to_state_you/
 

Maengun1

Member
Dec 13, 2014
2,293
0
0
I feel like I've been seeing this a lot more on all kinds of random stuff on Amazon lately too. It actually makes me way less likely to buy the thing, because I instantly feel like I'm being scammed somehow.
 

MadLaughter

Member
Jun 21, 2012
2,957
0
0
San Diego
I feel like I've been seeing this a lot more on all kinds of random stuff on Amazon lately too. It actually makes me way less likely to buy the thing, because I instantly feel like I'm being scammed somehow.

Exactly. I mean, I accept that this is my own fault for not looking more closely at the text of reviews and just trusting the stars, but I'm still just baffled.
 

DJ_Lae

Member
Jan 28, 2008
10,729
0
790
AB
Some companies are really bad about padding them in that way - Etekcity and Aukey in particular. Good luck finding a single product of theirs without 50%+ of the reviews from freebies.
 

shamo42

Member
Jun 7, 2004
470
0
1,375
Pro tip: Ignore 5 star reviews on Amazon. Check out the rating distribution of 1 to 4 star reviews.
 
Dec 8, 2008
6,085
0
0
England
People dont bother to go back an leave a review if the product is working, but they sure will leave a 1 star if they cant get it to work. Even if they have not read the manual or use it in a way its not designed for.

So any product launch needs professional reviews so those 1 star people just consider its just them and not all the products.
 

maruchan

Member
Jan 23, 2010
1,409
0
0
These are the new thing in pyramid schemes for get rich types.. They are called private label, they buy in bulk from a supplier usually from China. Then send them of to Amazon, their goal is to get reviews and top of the rankings. So they give away a ton to start of get reviews and rankings.. I don't trust private label.
 

JesseZao

Member
Feb 19, 2009
6,743
0
0
Sellers post these as jobs on Amazon Mechanical Turk. There are no ethics in the Wild West of epinions. I feel like it's against the purpose of the system, but they don't get removed, so idk.
 

pswii60

Member
Jun 28, 2006
15,620
1
0
UK
I'd be wary of some of the 1 star stuff as well, given the propensity of many to post troll reviews all over the place.
Yeah I always look at the 2-4 star reviews as they give you the most interesting information. Same for Trip Advisor.
 

BigDes

Member
Jan 22, 2012
6,742
1
0
You're balls deep in #CandleGate. It's about ethics in home aromatherapy
Are there any women involved in candle making that we can send death threats to? And then cowardly deny that we had anything to do with sending death threats when called on it?
 

jimwhat

Member
Aug 17, 2011
330
0
530
I had a company email me about doing this after buying a conditioner.

I want to know when Amazon started to allow sellers to do this, because in the 5 years that Ive been on the site, it has only recently started. Even stuff bought from Amazon will sometimes lead to an email from the seller/manufacturer. Tried to turn this off in the settings, but I still get them.
 
Jan 12, 2007
61,086
1
0
Toronto, ON. Canada
So I did some extensive research for OP. These are essentially products that are new in the market and may not get a lot of reviews, so what happens is that product makers give away "Discount codes" ranging from 30% to 100% for "Product Testing". You, as a tester, will get the product for (maybe) free, and in return you promise to leave an honest, if not detailed, review on what you liked and disliked about the product. This give the review an "Amazon Verified Purchase" tag, boosting confidence that the reviewer owns the product, albiet being free in a lot of cases.

Stuff like Candles don't generally get glowing (no puns intended) reviews, so they give them away to selective folks for free (or a dollar). What you're seeing is a review made by someone who is Product Testing, and are being up front about the fact that they didn't pay much.

It's the same as how media reviewers receive the media for free, and in return they're expected to provide honest review of the product on their website. Of course, this can be abused but it shouldn't be.

Note that this is different than folks leaving 5 star reviews for products they don't even own, and are paid to do so. Here, instead of paying you, you own the product and comment on it. It makes it look more legit, and a review on Amazon looks better than a review in some forum or other random website for a product that may never get reviewed (or purchased because of having no reviews).
 

Mortemis

Banned
Oct 23, 2013
9,864
0
0
I'd be wary of some of the 1 star stuff as well, given the propensity of many to post troll reviews all over the place.

It's fine, when looking at 1 star reviews I'm more looking for reoccurring problems people have rather than trolls or reviews just saying they hate it.
 

Chichikov

Member
Jul 26, 2006
24,751
0
0
I think as a whole, the model of online costumer reviews as a way to assess quality (be it product, a place of business or a service) had generally failed.
But it's the cheapest and easiest thing for companies to do, so unless there's a strong demand or a distrupting player in the market (it will probably take the latter to be honest) I don't see it change any time soon.

At least it gave us some awesome awesome comedy.
 

SolarMystic

Member
Aug 11, 2014
3,062
0
0
I once bought something that was "amazon fulfillment" and the item was not as described. I returned the product and left a bad review score. The seller contacted me to offer a $20 amazon credit if I removed the review.
 

Darth Karja

Member
Sep 9, 2014
1,520
0
0
Ohio, USA
I once bought something that was "amazon fulfillment" and the item was not as described. I returned the product and left a bad review score. The seller contacted me to offer a $20 amazon credit if I removed the review.
I would remove the review, take the money, and put another review up saying I was paid to remove a bad review.

I wonder how you would get in on this product testing thing.
 

ChrisD

Member
May 5, 2014
7,741
1
0
Why buy a candle if you can't even smell it before hand?

Perhaps it's a scent/brand they know is liked. I bought a White Barn Harvest Gathering candle off of eBay once because a White Barn Harvest Gathering candle is... Well, exactly what it says.

If this was a joke it flew right over my head. ):
 
Dec 8, 2008
6,085
0
0
England
I think as a whole, the model of online costumer reviews as a way to assess quality (be it product, a place of business or a service) had generally failed.
But it's the cheapest and easiest thing for companies to do, so unless there's a strong demand or a distrupting player in the market (it will probably take the latter to be honest) I don't see it change any time soon.

At least it gave us some awesome awesome comedy.

Any kind of crowd sourced review is generally flawed to being only at either end of the review spectrum.
 

juicyfruitas

Member
Apr 21, 2007
957
0
0
People that tag their reviews with a disclaimer like "I received this product in exchange for a fair and honest review" are usually top Amazon reviewers (in the top 5000) or users who have reviewed and posted similar items in the past.

What happens then is that a 3rd party merchant will check that user's profile and if the user has opted to include their email address they will then be solicited to review an item in exchange for a free or heavily discounted item.

Amazon polices this practice fairly stringently and they'll boot out reviewers for not including such a disclaimer or merchants who cajole reviewers (via email) for posting reviews under 5 stars.

Another tag to look out for are reviews from 'Amazon Vine' members. These reviews will have the following disclaimer posted at the top of the review in bolded green: "Vine Customer Review of Free Product." Viners are basically Amazon's cadre of volunteer reviewers that number somewhere between 1000-2000 at any given time. Viners aren't necessarily top 5000 reviewers but for whatever reason (demographic profile, product expertise for certain categories, etc) they were invited by Amazon to join this very select pool that gives each reviewer access to tens of thousands of dollars worth of free merchandise a year (although since July 2015 they are now subject to 1099 taxation on their 'free' merch).
 

Laz-E-Boy

Member
Jul 30, 2010
483
10
780
These are the new thing in pyramid schemes for get rich types.. They are called private label, they buy in bulk from a supplier usually from China. Then send them of to Amazon, their goal is to get reviews and top of the rankings. So they give away a ton to start of get reviews and rankings.. I don't trust private label.

You're missing some key steps but you're not entirely wrong, although I wouldn't call it a pyramid scheme.

And technically, just about every product you buy is private label.
 

ThatGayWolf

Member
Apr 16, 2012
1,112
1
0
I feel like I've been seeing this a lot more on all kinds of random stuff on Amazon lately too. It actually makes me way less likely to buy the thing, because I instantly feel like I'm being scammed somehow.

That's because you are being scammed.
 

rtcn63

Member
Aug 14, 2013
16,347
0
0
I bought a highly-rated desk off amazon and most of the reviews claimed there was no wobble, but even after tightening the nuts til my hands ached, it still had significant wobble. Typing is not fun.
 

Syriel

Member
Sep 21, 2009
9,611
1
905
Another tag to look out for are reviews from 'Amazon Vine' members. These reviews will have the following disclaimer posted at the top of the review in bolded green: "Vine Customer Review of Free Product." Viners are basically Amazon's cadre of volunteer reviewers that number somewhere between 1000-2000 at any given time. Viners aren't necessarily top 5000 reviewers but for whatever reason (demographic profile, product expertise for certain categories, etc) they were invited by Amazon to join this very select pool that gives each reviewer access to tens of thousands of dollars worth of free merchandise a year (although since July 2015 they are now subject to 1099 taxation on their 'free' merch).

For some reason the Amazon Vine review program feels more legit. When I see a Vine review, it looks and reads like Amazon kind of doing its own thing (say how Nintendo Power did when it reviewed games).

The other user reviews where people specifically request freebie product seems more like just a way to get free stuff.
 

Ivan Amiibo

Banned
Mar 14, 2015
4,651
0
0
Some think video games are hammered with viral marketing and shills-- I always get the vibe that home products like this are often way more screwed with shill reviews, especially more obscure things. same with beauty products.
 

Arkeband

Banned
Mar 11, 2015
11,981
0
0
I got a pair of gaming headphones for Christmas -
http://www.amazon.com/Hausbell-G2000-Over-ear-Headphone-Headset/dp/B00Z924M58

They are very not good. My cheapy Logitech headphones have a much clearer and crisp sound, the mic randomly has crazy feedback, but you wouldn't know because practically every review for these things has that 'honest and unbiased review' thing going on. If they're going to astroturf their ratings, why not just leave that part out so we don't know we're getting ripped off?

(I wouldn't have bought these, they were a gift, but the packaging is covered with stereotypical Chinese knockoff type phrasing like one of the features being "A Key Static Wheat!". Yeah.)

They look cool, they're just bad at their primary purpose.
 

Dixon's Jet

Banned
Apr 6, 2015
915
0
0
Bend, Oregon
"This is one of the best candles that I've ever used. Really great candle! I have received this item at a discounted price for my complete and honest review."

lol sure
 
Jan 7, 2007
15,829
0
0
What the fuck.

So, one of the gifts I got my mom for Christmas was a candle. I bought it off amazon, after looking through a few and glancing at the review average.

Today it shows up, and the wood wick thing is broken and the candle doesn't even fully fill the container the wax or whatever is in. So I go back to look at the reviews, and just about every single one of them has a slight variation of:

"I received this item at a promotional discount in exchange for my honest, unbiased review."

And I mean SLIGHT. Here's the review page:

http://www.amazon.com/Northwood-Can...ortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending&pageNumber=1

Look at the first or last lines of 95% of the reviews. It has 47 reviews, all 5 stars, all within the last month.

Is this a candle cult? A candlespiracy? I googled the phrase, and apparently there is an entire culture of product testers? What? Am I in the truman show?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ProductTesting/comments/3cmup7/what_sentence_do_you_guys_use_to_state_you/

I sent back an Inateck HDD enclosure and left a bad review. They contacted me and said they'll send me a free product if I removed the review.

I declined.

I don't trust any of the reviews on that site anymore.
 

Fantastical

Death Prophet
May 3, 2008
20,548
0
0
USA
I've noticed this a lot on Amazon now.

This is off topic, but I also really hate on recipe sites when reviewers give a recipe 5 stars and say "I changed x, y , and z".... you're not rating the recipe!!
 
Sep 1, 2011
30,520
0
0
Alabama
Is this a candle cult? A candlespiracy?

 
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