Articles & Discussions · Book Reviews

Should amazon reviewers have morals? New book released…I would like some honest opinions, please do comment…

I was recently contacted by an amazon US reviewer, using a pseudonym, to review her new book ‘How to Get Free Products to Review on Amazon: An Endless Stream of Free and Heavily-Discounted Household Items!’ on amazon UK.    The book is basically a guide on how to get free or discounted items to review from sellers on amazon by simply writing reviews and raising you ranking enough to get lots of offers of free items to review. 

I felt extremely uncomfortable, morally, with this book but wondered if I was the only one feeling like this.  As an amazon UK reviewer who has become classed as a top 500 reviewer I do indeed get offered items from companies and individuals for free or discount and in return I do review the items.  I keep some items I have received and give away others but I have never sold any and crucially I have never reviewed for the purpose of getting free stuff.  I didn’t even realise I would receive offers of items to review when I started reviewing on amazon and if all the offers stopped tomorrow I would still review because it has been a part of my recovery from my depression and anxiety.

I do wonder however how others feel about this.  Do amazon reviews matter to you and if they did would you care about the type of reviewer giving those reviews?  Would it matter to you if they reviewed for the sake of getting more free items or does morality and ethics in reviewing matter?  Am I too moral about my own reviewing?  I would appreciate any comments abut this so please get involved.

My review of the book as it appeared on amazon UK today is below and can also be read here:

This book is all about how to get offers from companies to review their items for free or a heavy discount. The book itself is informative (although completely written for the American market) and does outline lots of basic information you would need in order to make your profile look good, raise your ranking and ultimately get offered items to review. Unfortunately it is the tone with which this book is written that I find uncomfortable. Perhaps to help you understand what I mean I’ll give an example of my reasons for reviewing…And I’m going to share something a bit personal which until recently I wasn’t so comfortable sharing…

I started reviewing things on amazon after going through a traumatic event that left me in a complete depression. I had lost a lot including some of my health and one day started writing reviews when just browsing amazon and seeing that some of the product descriptions on many things I owned weren’t accurate or were missing pieces of information. I found reviewing not only fun but I loved the feeling I was helping people and at no cost to my self other than my time, which kept my mind off of other things too.
I continued to review things and have done so for just over a year now, for no other reason than it makes me happy because I feel I am helping people, and for me that is reward enough. As my own ranking climbed I did start to receive offers to review things which I have taken as something to be thankful for but also I have taken everything I’ve been offered seriously and have reviewed as if I had bought the item and have always thought from the customer’s perspective.
Bottom line – I review because I enjoy helping others, anything else is a happy bonus.

This book however suggests reviewing on amazon should be done TO get things for free or at a discount. It sets a whole tone that I am uncomfortable with. Although the author does delve into how to write a good product review, what to include and does mention that negative reviews are sometimes necessary, this is glossed over very quickly.
The author suggests things like the disclaimer (the part where I say I got this for free or discount in return for a review) should be at the end of a review and I quote ‘It doesn’t need to be highlighted in any way’. I know that plenty of customers including myself find this alone an annoyance and suggests that getting the items for free or discount should almost be hidden.

In another chapter the author states that she likes to keep all her review items in one corner of her living room only ‘lightly’ using them until the day she has to review them. This means that she barely uses a product before reviewing it and then customers are supposed to trust a review when somebody has only used a product once. I again find this sort of reviewing uncomfortable as for me I want to trust that a reviewer has really tested a product over a longer period, checking out any bad flaws that can arise, before finally writing a review.

The book at the end has an extremely long list of reviewing clubs you can join. This list is geared again for the American market and is pretty useless for those living in the UK.

Although all the contents of this book is generally correct, and a person could start following the tips in this book and could raise their ranking and get items to review, I do feel that it invites a new breed of reviewer, one that doesn’t care about anything more than the gain of products. Even the way the book is marketed with that front cover all make the concept sound so simple. And while the idea of reviewing is easy and yes anybody can do it, I would like to read reviews from those people who started reviewing for the love not because they insisted on getting free stuff.

While I like to believe that most amazon reviewers are genuinely nice people who take the time to review something because they enjoy it and want to help others, I do know that there are some unpleasant individuals who do exploit this system and do write reviews for the sole purpose of getting more items, with little regard to the amazon customers who read their reviews. With this book I can see that rather than reducing it, it will increase the number of these ‘selfish’ reviewers and it is for this reason that I give this book a low rating.
I do know that my review will be disliked by many but I hope you will appreciate the moral perspective as an amazon customer 🙂.

In the last hour I have just noticed that this book listing has been pulled from amazon UK and US.  Was I too moral?  Or are my concerns correct? Please comment 🙂

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Should amazon reviewers have morals? New book released…I would like some honest opinions, please do comment…

    1. I do know that amazon has recently had issues with some reviewers being paid for their reviews. I wouldn’t feel comfortable being paid to review something. How can a person be seen as unbiased if they are paid for their review by the company asking for it?

      Thank you so much for commenting :). I really didn’t know that reviews can be bought for that little money.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. To be honest could the book be helpful to anyone who really wants to dive into the world of product testing and reviewing? I like that you are honest about what you do and you are absolutely right in feeling uncomfortable with the review about this book. Don’t worry if you say some things that the author of the book don’t like, since it’s about the product and the degree to which it will be of help!! Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only recently heard about Amazon reviewers receiving free stuff because they review a lot. I’m not sure how I feel about it. If they provide an honest review, I’m okay with that. It’s when they give only positive reviews for things that are not truly worthy that bothers me.

    Personally, I’m one of the offenders who doesn’t review. If I check my ‘Review Item” page, I see dozens of things I’ve bought but not reviewed. I suppose I should review them. There’s books, CDs, DVDs, Lego toys, clipper blades…wow, lots of things.

    The other side of the coin is, I don’t trust all reviews. I’ve seen one-star reviews given not because a book was uninteresting but because the buyer downloaded it by accident or because they didn’t receive it in a timely manner or the box was damaged or…so many reasons that had nothing to do with the story.

    So for our part, we have to take all reviews with a grain of salt. What I love you might hate. It is only an opinion. Sometimes they sway me, and sometimes they are completely ignored.

    It is a good topic for discussion and by talking about it, it makes others aware that this is happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. Indeed I have seen some silly reviews that are 1 star because a seller was late in sending it, and others that are 5 stars and say ‘don’t know gave it to a friend’.
      I wouldn’t worry about the review list you see on amazon, only review something if you feel you’d like to :).

      As for me I enjoy reviewing and am honest with my own opinion on something. I always try to write as if I had bought the product myself and I just wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a high rating for a bad item. I’ve actually angered some sellers by refusing to change a low star rating, but I’d rather upset them than have it on my conscience that I’ve misled someone.
      I think your idea of taking reviews with a grain of salt is the best idea. They are personal opinions after all and it would be a boring world if we all liked and disliked the same things.
      Thank again for your comment, I appreciate you taking the time :).

      Like

  3. Hi Meerkat, I love your name! To the question, “should I be concerned about ethics?”, yes! Good on you, it seems like it is a rare quality in our days… so be sure to keep it : ) I had (and still have) the same trouble, being always very concerned about ethical issues and other philosophical implications, and as a matter of fact, I couldn’t handle this mental pressure any more and any job has become a kind of hell, to me. I am actually treated for depression and severe anxiety as well: I still remember my employer telling me that I “should not implicate myself so much, because a job is just a job”. Still, it doesn’t sounds right to me. My activity, whatever the job is, was meant (in my view) to be a just representation of Who I am, so it was impossible for me not to “implicate” myself (emotionally and spiritually) in whatever it is that I was doing, whether a job or anything else. On the other hand, the market place, today, is all about selling things that no one really “needs” anyway, people are more interested in the experience of buying than in the “goodness” of the product: if they really wanted quality, they would buy local, hand made and green. So, when it comes to the specific sector of marketing, there is no rules any more. Besides, Amazon gives you a product “for free”, but still, it does it in exchange of a valuable human made review, which would cost them quite a couple of hundred of dollars each, if they had to actually pay someone doing it… and doing it with ethics and quality. So, in end, I do understand that some people just see there an interesting niche to get free products: it’s just a fair game… in hell : ) Hope that can help. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment :). Indeed amazon is all about selling and honestly it does sometimes seem as though that is what is important. There’s not many reviewers out there like that but I know of some who ‘play the system’, voting their own reviews up while other’s down, to earn themselves a higher ranking (to get more products) and amazon lets them do this because their reviews are good for business.

      I hope you are doing well with your depression and anxiety, as well as anyone can with those conditions, lol, I know a lot of people just don’t understand the effect having mental health issues has on a person. And I also agree with you about ‘implicating’ yourself in whatever you do. I cannot do something, even reviewing, without putting my whole self into the ‘job’. 🙂
      Thanks again for commenting, I really appreciate the input 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All the pleasure was for me! You find pleasure in reviewing and I find pleasure in commenting : ) Besides, I was thinking… as you like writing reviews while being ethical and as it seems that you enjoy reading: why not using your skills in contributing to a platform like GoodReads? It’s a community of people loving sharing their thoughts as they review books! All the “classics”, or say, the greatest books ever written, are copyright free today and downloadable in their e-book version: so you can read and review as much as you want, (and learn a lot at the same time), isn’t that great! I think you would like this kind of community-place… just think about it, here is the website: https://www.goodreads.com

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Actually I’ve recently joined goodreads! 🙂 I’m still quite new there though and not sure about all the extras but getting used to it. Are you on goodreads yourself? If so we could be friends? I’m still not sure what being friends does other than give me information on what others are doing on goodreads. I’m not even sure a message service is on goodreads, lol- that’s how new I still am. My goodreads profile is accessible from my about page, not sure what the address is right now.

        As for classics, I do love classics. I’ve only read a few classics but I’ve made a mission of reading them :). Something about reading the classics, some people find it daunting, I find it exciting.

        Thank you again for your reply, it’s so nice to speak to such nice people here on wordpress :).

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s