Ask the Readers: Do You Trust Product Reviews? (Chance to win $20!)

By Linsey Knerl on 9 March 2010 (Updated 16 March 2010) 79 comments
Photo: Steven Depolo

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  • Comment #40: product reviews - Submitted by Therese on March 9, 2010 - 19:45  I always check out product reviews from multiple sources to get a good overview. I have been pretty happy with them so far, so I think they are mostly reliable.

  • hotshot1084 I read reviews, I'm very cautious of reviews & read them with the mindset of no reviews perfect & contains partial truths #WBAsk

 

How do you know which products are worth buying? Do you ever rely on product reviews for your guidance? With all the blogs and websites offering reviews and opinions on which are the best, how can you know who to trust?

We want your feedback on blogs and bias. Do you think that there is a way to tell if a review is honest? If not, is this something you'd like to see in the future? What would it look like? As part of an upcoming SXSW session on FTC compliance and blogs, Wise Bread will be addressing these issues in an effort to get a better idea of what the online community really wants. We'll be discussing ways to ensure accountability and transparency.

Share your thoughts, either below in the comments or on Twitter, and you could be entered to win one of two Amazon gift cards! And remember, if you're going to be at SXSW, it's not too late to RSVP to our session at: http://www.wisebread.com/trustblog#rsvp. You can meet Wise Bread writers Adam Baker, Thursday Bram, Linsey Knerl, and the Wise Bread founding team!

Don't forget -- you can also win during our specially-scheduled Twitter event.  More details can be found on our Twitter promotion page.

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways — one for random comments, and another one for a random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Friday, March 12th at 11:59 am CST. Winners will be announced after March 12th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter both drawings — once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

Good luck!

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Meredith

Yes! I always check out product reviews before I make a new purchase. My favorite is Amazon. Often there are large numbers of reviews for a given product, which helps me assess how accurate and honest the reviews are.

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Eris

I often check online reviews, but with all things you have to note the source. Amazon itself is one of the largest sources for reviews, but obviously it's prone to people trying to bump products.
Sometimes I just google a brand or item to see if any bloggers have used it, if anyone has posted a complaint, etc.

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Christy

I always check the product reviews, especially for large dollar purchases. I am also a big fan of Amazon because they seem to have the most product reviews. Travelocity is, in my opinion, one of the best for comments/reviews on hotels and travel. I do wish there was more transparancy as I feel you really don't know who is doing the review or where their interest lie. Also sometimes it seems the people who like to complain are more likely to review than those that have anything positive to say.

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Min

I try to get perspectives from a couple different reputable review sites. Then I look at user reviews and look for a common theme or complaint, something the reviewers might have missed in their relatively short time with the product.

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Jared

Depends on the nature of the website. If it is a product review by the staff of the website with no comment section or even a "community" section, then I won't trust them. Although, I tend to trust Gizmodo.com quite often because they never seem to be afraid to lash out on companies for disappointing their consumers.

If there is a website with a solid user-community that contributes to product reviews (i.e. Newegg.com, Amazon.com) then I trust them almost completely.

"Do you think that there is a way to tell if a review is honest?"
-Yes if there are advertisements for that product all over the website or if the website is known to have an affiliation with the company that manufactures the product.-->Don't trust. Also, there are times where the reviewer sounds more like an advertisement and it's obvious it's a person who works for the seller/manufacturer (like in ratemyprofessor.com, you can tell it's a professor rating themselves when they say "just study and do the readings and you'll get an A"--no student ever says that!) The reviewer needs to really expand on how the product affected them after the "first impression" time. At first, everything we buy into is amazing, but after a while we realize the cons of the product and wish we could change things.

"If not, is this something you'd like to see in the future? What would it look like?"
-REVIEWS SHOULD ALWAYS BE UPDATED. Just because you got a hands-on experience for an hour, doesn't mean you will feel the same way the next time you use it (for better or worse). Updates to a review should also include how you customized the product and if it helped at all.

I believe that for an honest review, the reviewer must be in the mindset of "nothing is perfect" and must use it in a casual experience. (When people got to use the iPad, I am sure it felt awesome and looked cool because they never used anything like it so it got good short-handed reviews. But I am also sure that if they took the time to sit down and tried to actually get some work done, they would have hated it)

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Nicholas

I do pay attention to the reviews but normally I will throw out the highest and lowest rated and just look at the ones in the middle since they tend to give more objective reviews (in my opinion). However, regardless of the ratings, if the reviews are lengthy then I give them a chance and read through them because that means to me that the reviewer generally cared enough to sit down and write a decent amount of information about the product.

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Kimberly

I always check out reviews, but I consider the source carefully. Some sites I have come to trust enough that I always give them the benefit of the doubt.

The tone of the review often gives a hint about sincerity. Also, is the person writing the review getting free product after free product and writing glowing reviews? Does a particular review fit in with what other information I can find out about the product or service?

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Sue

And take them with a grain of salt. My most trusted reviews are from bloggers I follow. But even those need to be carefully read.

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Jess

Typically I go with the reviews of a couple of sites. Amazon and Buy.com. Depending on the item I buy, I will also go to newegg or cnet (cnet typically just for cell phones though).
In order to "trust" a review, I always take them with a grain of salt. Reviews that are 1 liners, I immediately ignore. Or if there are only 2 or 3 reviews and they are all super positive and talk about how cool they look or that its “fantastic” and “I am going to tell all my family and friends about this”, then I ignore those as well.
I look for some detail in the review. They mention pros and cons (if any) and attempt to look at it from all angles. It’s hard to know what to trust because there are articles stating people who work for the manufacturers or who works for the company getting reviewed will go and put in positive reviews to boost up their overall score. But then again, can you trust those articles?

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Erin

But now I am skepitcal. I try to read a few from the top, a few from the middle, and a few from the bottom. And I take into consideration how the review is. If the review is just praising or crushing a product without giving reasons why, I move on to the next one.

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Ernest S.

I almost always check the reviews on products before purchasing, especially on sites such as Amazon. However, it does help to look at what others thoughts of the review. A enthusiastic and overly positive review with a low "helpful" rating is always a red flag that the review may not be genuine. Of course, it also depends on the number of reviews.

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Lily

Since I've been introduced to the internet, all I've been doing is following product reviews. Though I try to diversify where the reviews come from so I know it's not a bias review.

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Emily

I always read reviews, but I don't necessarily believe all of them. It's also important to not just look at the "star" ratings. Like on Amazon, a product might have a fair number of low star ratings, but if you actually read the reviews, most of the problems were "user-related" not necessarily product malfunctions. I also check to see the number of reviews. I'm more likely to consider products with 100+ reviews than just one 5 star rating.

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Jen

I check reviews for MOST products I buy! Right down to stupid little $10 toys for my kids.
I remember the time I was gonna buy those fairys that you wind up and let them go, and they fly up.....yeah. I didn't end up buying them. Every single reviewer said they didn't work, they got tangled up, etc....That saved me $14 in heartache!

Even when I'm not shopping on line, I still look the product up and read all reviews.
It does scare me sometimes, that there are "fake" reviews, from people who work for the companies or whatever.
But for EVERY product, there are good reviews and bad ones.
I take into account the bad ones, and often I can spot a "theme" problem with something, that helps me make the decision not to buy.
I hate it when a product hasn't been reviewed yet, or there's only a very few reviews yet. (which goes along with how I've always waited for new stuff to become old news, before I buy it, most of the time!!)

I have left several reviews for products, also. Especially when something is "a lemon". Let's face it...people for the most part, aren't going to LOVE a product, and purposely look it up on the computer, JUST to leave a review, right?
You usually only have something to say when it's a complaint!!
So that's why I place heavy value on negative reviews.
They don't always sway my decision though...sometimes you can tell they're from people who just didn't read the instructions right, or are just stupid! (sorry!) And you can usually tell from their review, if youo're gonna listen to them or not!

If reviews disappeared, I don't know WHAT I would do!

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Kristy

I think it's pretty easy to tell when a review is worth taking seriously: if it's from a source I trust (Wise Bread would fall into this category), if it's coherent (ie, not written like "GAHHH THIS IZ THE WURST THING EVAR DONT BUY IT OR UL DIE"), if it's not written like an advertisement... then I call it credible. When I'm looking at reviews on places like Amazon I only consider them when there are a considerable number - enough so that a consensus emerges.

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NC for me

I always read reviews. Trusting them is another story. I try to find reviews that are both good and bad, ones that give details on what they do and don't like. Sometimes I feel that companies write there own so I like to be sure there is plenty and I can take a little from each reviewer and make my own judgement. I think the "review" is the best thing to happen to consumers since the internet.

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gt0163c

I read online reviews for many things before buying them, especially high ticket items. Like many others, I usually start at Amazon just because of their huge variety and large community.

I often skim a couple of the high rated reviews and then go and read the negative reviews to look for trends in the products. Most people who leave positive reviews gush over the product in general but don't give specifics about what they liked and why. They also tend to downplay things that they didn't like. However, most negative reviews are more specific about what they didn't like or what didn't work. It's also fairly easy to distinguish between issues of personal preference and issues with functionality or products that break easily.

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CentsInTheCity

Usually when I'm planning to buy something I will shop around for the best bargain, which also includes taking into account product reviews. Cheapest is not always best! I usually go to trusted sources. If I'm reading user reviews I will always take into account the specifics of the actual review, the identity of the reviewer, and the number of reviews.

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kate

I dislike product reviews found in blogs, because I think most of them are skewed to the positive. I do read reviews on amazon, though in general i find I need to try things myself

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Lloyd Viente

Do I trust product reviews? Yes & no. It depends on the source, be it a blog or dedicated reviews site. The more reputable it is, the more weight I give the review. But even so, I try to maintain a healthy skepticism. If a review or post seems too rosy, or too harsh, it sets off alarms and I try to look for a more balanced assessment before forming my own decision.

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wchicago

i always look at reviews before buying a new product (like on amazon.com or epinions). as far as reviews by bloggers go - it depends on the blogger :) if i have followed a blogger and seen him or her review a number of products with a range of opinions then i trust the review of the product i am interested in. bloggers who LOVE every product they receive free through the mail may ensure more free products for themselves, but will get their opinions discounted big time. this is sometimes a problem for beauty bloggers, less so it seems for other types of bloggers. my favorite review blogs are those that compare one or more similar products giving the pros and cons of each -so for example, i remember a blog (maybe here?) a year ago or so comparing online budget software like mint, thrive, quicken online, etc. in terms of who their target audience was, what the capabilities were, etc. it was incredibly helpful for choosing an online budgeting source.

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Brian

I typically look at product reviews on anything that I plan to spend over $50 on. If I see a review for something I spend less on, I'll give it a quick skim.

I typically put more trust in reviewers that have been accurate before. Like (some of) my family and (most of) my close friends. CNET.com is also a place that I give an 80% trust rating.

One of the primary ways I use any review is to look at the points they thought were particularly good or bad. I check to see if my impression matches theirs.

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Guest

I do, but only from users who have a long list of reviewed products, or a high user ranking of some sort. Most other reviews are just paid SEM efforts.

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Brian

I do, but only from users who have a long list of reviewed products, or a high user ranking of some sort. Most other reviews are just paid SEM efforts.

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Stephanie

It really depends on who the review is coming from. I tend to trust consumer reports because they seem to be unbiased and I've never been unhappy with a product I've purchased that they recommended. User reviews can be helpful but I have to keep in mind that it's just one person's opinion.

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Tyler

I usually only read product reviews for video games, because with most products I just expect them to work, and I don't usually buy anything that isn't a video game anyways.

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Kim

I disregard anything over the top - I often wonder about the motives. Sites with a lot of advertising make me wonder, also. I have no basis for why, but I just do not trust them. Sites with great and well-managed communities (Amazon, Angies List) are good, especially because they attract such a volume, which makes the average rating more accurate.

I look for repeat problems, such as "screen is too small." I prefer those that discuss weight, durability, utility - i.e. that go into detail about more than the sole problem the user had.

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Em D.

I always check online reviews but I try to check both the highest and the lowest reviewers. If someone can't think of a single negative thing to say about a product, I think it's a bit suspect. In general, I trust the net result of a large number of reviews. If it's a single review on a website I trust it more if there is a story attached ie. how they came to find the product, what other products they've tried. I also look for a clear explanation of how they choose the products they're reviewing. Usually if the product was a freebie and they didn't say anything negative about it, I don't trust the review.

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BRB

I usually only rely on word of mouth and Amazon for reviews. I love that Amazon compiles so many reviews so you can throw out the crazy great and terrible ones and have an idea of how good the product actually is. I've never really trusted blogs for this type of thing because even if they aren't being paid for their opinion they are still getting something for free which skews their viewpoint.

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Sarah

I always check reviews for just about everything! Things I'm buying, restaurants, movies, everything. In fact, I'm hesitant to buy things that don't have many reviews. I generally use the rating/stars/score to narrow my list down, and then I tend to read through reviews individually, paying attention to what specifically is wrong with the product or good about it. For instance, if I wanted to see a movie this weekend, I'd take a look at RottenTomatoes.com and check what the aggregate score was for all the movies currently playing. I'd narrow my list down to any movie with a score above 60%. I'd remove anything from a genre I didn't like. After that, I should only have at most 1 or 2 movies to choose from (if I'm very lucky and there are actually good movies out!), and I can look at them individually and decide what to see. If there's nothing that has a score above 60% in a genre I think is tolerable, I don't see a movie. This system hasn't failed me yet :) I do the same thing for most things.

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Michelle

I have a few trusted websites: Amazon, C-Net, Rottentomatoes.com. I especially like Amazon because I can read the negative reviews. Those really cut down on my impulse buying!

Blogs can be good sources of information as well; the bloggers give a lot more information than what will fit on Amazon, etc., and they usually disclose if they're being paid to review something.

The sites I trust the least are gaming websites. They pretty much always give games a positive spin, and it's hard to tell if I'd enjoy the actual play.

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Pam Munro

If there are reviews - I read them - Always interesting to get some feedback.

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Pam Munro

If there are reviews - I read them - Always interesting to get some feedback.

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Bobbi

I do check online reviews. I also make sure to read the dissatisfied comments also. I find them very valuable to help me make a decision on my purchase. Thanks,

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saudade

I always check reviews for big dollar purchases and for restaurants/services. I won't usually trust just one blogger unless it's someone I follow regularly, but places like Yelp for restaurants and C-Net for tech are really helpful, and one can usually see a general theme on an eatery or product.

There are forums online dedicated to just about anything too, which I've found are a good place to get the inside scoop.

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Lorinda

I always look at online reviews when making large purchases. I like to rely on trusted reviewers like Consumer Reports but I also look at customer reviews. I look at them closely though and make sure they include reasons for why they like or dislike a product. Then I look for trends in those same likes & dislikes so I get an overall review rather then just one or two peoples opinion. So far it hasn't failed me!

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Steven H.

I check out as many sites as I can find online. The more reviews the better, I feel. I search Amazon, yelp, and any other site I can find. I have used consumer reports for large or new purchases(mostly electronics). Recently I purchased four new tires for my car after searching online for about a week. I searched walmart, discount tires, pep boys, and an online auto parts store. Based on reviews Pep Boys won out this time based mostly on reviews and partly due to price.

Guest's picture
Jaci

It depends on how many reviews there are for a product. If a lot of people are saying a this product has a defect then I would believe it to be true. If only one person had a problem I would think that the error was partly to blame on a the user or just dumb luck. For the most part the reviews on products that I buy have been accuate. I don't think there is a fair way to have honest reviews.

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Therese

I always check out product reviews from multiple sources to get a good overview. I have been pretty happy with them so far, so I think they are mostly reliable.

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Shannon

If I want to know more about a product, I'll look at product reviews, but I'll look at a lot of them from many different sites. first I'll type in the product name into a search engine, the more pages or results it gets the better, then I open up many different random sites in many different tabs. At each page I'll read the review, getting rid of tabs that contain the Same or eerily similar reviews. Of the ones left I'll check for comments, (comments alone mean that a lot of people have seen the review and sometimes the comments ask the questions I wanted to ask or give answers not found in the review itself.)I pay attention to those comments that had questions or seemed concerned and cross-reference this with the other reviews I've read, This gives me a good idea as to what the cons of the product might be, if there is a fix for said cons, or if I would be fine with the cons.

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Tyler

The old saying goes, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

From what I've seen, the opposite seems to be true for internetland. People love to complain on the internet, and product reviews are sometimes an outlet for someone's irrational rage.

I personally use reviews to gain more info about the details of a product that might not have been covered in the general product description or specs. I try to ignore the illiterate all-caps fury of a reviewer who is probably never satisfied with anything in their life, and I focus only on what's helpful for giving me a better picture of what the product is like.

I'd say the exception to this would be books, which often have many well-written, insightful reviews. But this exception doesn't apply to movies or music, for which trailers and sound clips are always more reliable than some amateur critic's hateful bile.

Guest's picture

I use product reviews as one more item in my consumer's toolbox. The reviews come from a variety of sites.

My favorite way to research a product is to look for reviews and recommendations from a site that caters to the people selling what I'm shopping for. This is how I ended up not buying a roof with a membrane--I discovered that this type of product has the highest percentage of lawsuits filed by consumers against the manufacturers and installers.

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Mac

It really depends on where the product reviews are located as to whether I trust them. And no matter what, the more product reviews submitted, the more I can trust the "average" review.
The first place I go to for reviews of products is Amazon.com. Most people are generally honest and are not trying to push their own product (books can be an exception). Other products, like iPhone apps, are a bit more tricky. I don't trust the reviews there until there are at least 150+ reviews posted. There are just too many fake reviews by developers trying to game the system.

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cherie

I'm in the 'grain of salt' school - but I ALWAYS look for them and often find them extremely helpful

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Olivia

Product reviews have saved us a thousand deaths. Like the health insurance we didn't get and the meat cutter we didn't purchase. If something seems a "great deal" I'm especially diligent about looking at product reviews. If the write up sounds like ad copy I'm immediately suspect. "Prompt service, lovely ambience and the food was absolutely superb". If there's a common thread in the complaint that's a red flag for me, even if the point is only mentioned by two people. If there's nothing to the contrary I take that negative as fact, such as "runs small" or "fabric doesn't wear well". I recently went contrary to my own better judgement and now am stuck with a pair of flat-footed sneakers. Simply because they looked cool, were inexpensive, mine were shot, and these were in leather. Hopefully, I won't do that again.

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Eric

I definitely rely on product reviews when purchasing, especially for major items. Amazon is a fairly trustworthy source, and professional sources such as Consumer Reports/Search, CNET (for electronics). Shills are usually pretty obvious to spot in the customer reviews.

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Guest

I do rely on reviews, although I read them closely to find reviews from who care about the. Same things I do. A long rant about a feature I don't care about won't sway me either way but a review that discusses a featue I consider important will carry a lot of weight in my decision. I usually read a bunch of reviews to get a sense of common comments and complaints. I almost never make a significant purchase withou checking out reviews.

Guest's picture

I trust them--to a degree.

There could be too many other agendas involved to believe in them lock, stock and barrel.

But I think they can be used at least as a guide.

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DEBBIE

I check out reviews for electronics and exercise DVDs. Usually there are complete opposite reviews so I still have to make my own decisions.

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Christie

Reviews are important, if they are real-life examples of how the product works. I make sure to read the bad reviews and see if the person is just upset that the product never arrived, or if they really had a bad experience with the specific product. You can usually tell if someone is just making up the review, which I have seen before, and doesn't know anything about the product whatsoever. There have been a few things I have decided against purchasing because of bad reviews and was relieved, and a few things I purchased because of good reviews and regretted. All in all, common sense needs to prevail!

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Mikal

I always look for product reviews when I am considering purchasing an item I haven't used before. The source must always be considered, but sometimes it is difficult to tell if the "review" is real or just from the P-R department of the company selling it.
I do like the user reviews on sites like Amazon, but even those must be taken with a grain of salt. And I do believe complainers write more reviews than satisfied customers.
I like the way some sites authenticate that the reviewer actually purchased the product being reviewed, but then, that could be faked too I suppose.
A lot of research and common sense on my part usually sways me one way or the other. A good guarantee never hurts either.

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Connie Corey

I try to check reviews, but as OP said, I am cognizant of the source.

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Mariel Martinez

Depends on what I am going to buy, and what was evaluated during the review

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RebeccaV

I usually can tell if someone is paid or given a product - bloggers who all of a sudden sound like a press release are a good clue - and on sites like Amazon, I tend to be a little more skeptical of the negative reviews. Sometimes they are just a crazy rant, or, I love it when the person admits to not using the product properly or writing a review of something after using it once.

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Cathie

I do read the reviews, paying particular attentin to the characteristics that are most important to me, and discarding that which I feel is irrelevant to me.

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peggy

I really love reading product reviews, though not all websites have the same quality of reviews submitted by users. Epinions does not have as good a library as amazon.com. I like how amazon lets you sort out reviews by # of stars; I tend to read middle-of-the-road rated reviews, too, though it's worth reading the negative ones as well. It's pretty easy to sort out the spammers by brevity and lack of specific content (and, sadly, grammar/spelling). Also, reviews for electronics and equipment tend to be more reliable than, say, cosmetics review, mostly because with cosmetics or beauty products you need to be using the product for a length of time before you can have a realistic opinion (also, not everyone's skin type/genetic makeup are the same).

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kasey

I look for a review on almost any product that is new to me. I have a hard time trusting a lot of reviews, because all the reviews seem positive, and the bloggers are getting free products

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Kelli

...but I always take them with a grain of salt. We all have different opinions. Obviously what is an amazing thing to one person might be utterly worthless to another. So, I really only research product reviews if I'm truly on the fence about something and then I consider the source when perusing them and, ultimately, the reviews are but a small part of what affects my decision.

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Amy

I was just talking about this to my husband. I do read reviews, and I do try to get reviews from different sources, because I think it's the safest way to guard against falling victim to "reviews" that are advertisements in disguise. This is easier to do with appliances, than with something like a sewing machine or overlock machine, in my experience, probably because of the number of consumers looking for each.

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Inness

Product reviews written by consumers are invaluable to my purchasing decisions. In fact, I will hardly ever buy ANYTHING over $5 without first consulting the 'net or friends for reviews. That way I waste less money buying things on impulse because the packaging looks good.

I generally prefer to see several different reviews of the same item before I buy, so I can make a more educated decision. Amazon.com is particularly good for that. If I can only find a few reviews, I judge their accuracy based on the writing tone:

Is it overly harsh or overly bubbly? Probably not trustworthy. Does the author list both pros AND cons? I prefer to hear the potential negative "side effects" as well as the good things (just as with medicine) before I buy, so I know what to expect. On blogs, are there pictures of the product in use? Especially for hair and makeup items, this one is important.

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lisa

I always read reviews before I buy a product - I usually check at amazon rather than other sites. As the wife of a guy who blogs and reviews products for a living, I know that there are ethical bloggers out there who give true reviews. But he doesn't get to keep anything he reviews, so that helps keep him honest, I guess. I have stopped reading blogs on occasion when I feel like they are trying to sell me stuff rather than give honest thoughts.

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LizKB

I always check the product reviews but I take them with a grain of salt. You have to assume that people generally take the time to write a product review more often when they are unhappy or completely over-the-moon for the product. You don't see many middle-of-the-road purely objective reviews. So, I look for common problems with the product that are mentioned in multiple reviews and just try to gauge an overall quality from that.

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cwaltz

I read product reviews. Sometimes I find the information contained in them helpful and other times they aren't. I think product reviews aren't going to be a one size fits all thing. Alot of it is going to depend on the information that you are looking for and whether or not the product reviewer expounds in that area. Sometimes a person's position on a particular product is going to be a matter of taste.

Christine
dazed1821@aol.com

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Guest

It depends. If the review gives enough details explaining why it is good or not, I will believe it

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Linden

I always look at product reviews; if there are a lot, I sample the highest and lowest score ones. I look for substantive complaints---such as the main part is made of plastic and it broke after 3 uses. I pay less attention to user-related complaints----if someone says a product uses a "counter intuitive" method of operation, I ignore that since that may just be a reflection that they are "counter intuitive" consumers.

I read several different blogs pretty regularly and know which ones to trust when it comes to product reviews. Just because someone is paid to review doesn't mean they won't be honest----just the fact that they disclose they are being paid gives me some faith in their trutworthyness.

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AsianGal

I'll check reviews before I buy it but it wouldn't make me buy something just because it was a good review.

I go by the 'one two days' test.
If I want something I visit the place during my free time to have a look at it, walk around and consider other options (i.e. a keyboard).
I'll then leave and come back again in one or two days.

If I still have doubts or the feeling of 'I want to buy it' isn't as strong/isn't there I won't buy it.
99% of the time it works out beautifully. My house would be filled with junk if I didn't follow this rule.

Most importantly most of the time if I buy the product I have no qualms returning it after trying it and finding it to be not what it had advertised.

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Steph

I am skeptical- I trust some random reviews like on Amazon, if there are lot saying one thing but blog reviews are a joke- they're always happy and positive!

Guest's picture

I always tend to check product reviews before any online purchase, but also found them necessary when creating my wedding registry 6 months ago. We had a lot of items to consider at once (vaccum cleaner, toaster oven, etc), and I didn't know one toaster oven to the other. I used amazon and wal-mart for most of my review checks.

Some reviewers are irrational, or they never bothered to read the product description before they bought their item. I threw those reviews out. Of course they'd be unhappy with something if they weren't paying attention to begin with, right?

The most helpful and honest reviews I came across were ones done by people who were fair. They'd talk about their experience and list the pros and cons.

They helped me a lot. :)

Guest's picture
L. Michelle

Most times - yes. I do look carefully to see, though, the number of people who are rating an item. For example, if it's only 10 or 20; I don't think it's very reliable. Also, I'm not sure about Trip Advisor. I wonder if, for example, an owner or friends of the restaurant can create positive reviews??? I do, though, like to see comments about products especially on Amazon.

Thanks for the chance to win a gift card - fun!

Guest's picture
Nancy Bird

I love product reviews. They can be a great tool when researching a product. I value both positive and negative comments.

Guest's picture
Ayush

I've never felt fooled by websites because of two things. One, I always look for loopholes. I read the fine print clearly and this helps a lot. Secondly, I look in a lot of places and get a lot of opinions by doing random searches. Surely too many people can't be wrong. Then, only if I'm truly convinced, I but the item. I've bought shoes, an MP3 player and laptops this way.

Guest's picture

It really depends upon the source. If a review came from yahoo, I am immediately skeptical. I've found good reviews there about a store that many people complained about on several other sites.
I try to find multiple sources and I tend to trust the negative reviews more often than the positive ones.

Guest's picture

I think personal reviews, by their very nature, are biased. Each person has their own reasons for using a product as well as their previous experiences to color their responses. I rarely base a decision on a single review, but look at an overall trend in reviews. And also responses to reviews - I've often seen later reviewers answer complaints from earlier ones, and if those make sense I'll take that into account vs. negative reviews.

Guest's picture

I am interested in ratings on sites like Amazon -- I generally try to skim a few positive and a few negatives when purchasing something new. As for blogs, though, I'm generally skeptical of overly positive reviews. Balanced reviews capture my interest, and negative reviews are good warnings, but anyone that's 100% positive while doing an extensive review... yikes.

Guest's picture
rinter

I'm a mixed bag with comments. Sometimes they help sometimes they don't. For instance, I read such bad reviews about Price is Right show in Vegas. I went and LOVED LOVE LOVED it!

Guest's picture
Guest

I always look at reviews before making a purchase. I try to find as many different reviews as possible to get a better average or the rating. The I read individual comments. If I come across a bad review, I look at how specific the comment is. I find general comments ("this product sucks!") can be ignored. I also look at how many people agree with the comment. If several people make the same complaint, I take it into consideration before buying.

Guest's picture
kimmykatz72

If it is a purchase (or even site) I'm unfamiliar with I will usually do a web search for the product/seller name & reviews, then the p/s & complaints, or something of that nature. I will look for results from reputable sites (Amazon, BizRate, etc.) and maybe a few blogs (as they seem to be the most honest...like here!! lol..). Usually if its something/someone you should stay away from its pretty evident in the beginning. Also, check www.ripoffreport.com!!!

Guest's picture

I should be the routine practice that before buying any thing we first see the similar item in market and ask for its price.