2 - How much weight do you think people (buyers) put into these reviews?
i've been put off by bad reviews in the past (mainly for webhosts and hotels). but there have to be loads and loads of them for me to pay them any attention.
i think most people realise that reviews tend to be biased towards the bad, because when people are satisfied with a product they have no reason to write about it. but the flipside of that coin is this: if they see a load of amazingly great reviews one after the other then they assume that they are faked. you cant win!
a lot of the bad reviews i see on amazon are actually from people complaining about late delivery, or the fact that the product didnt work with their existing equipment. none of that is the fault of the product, of course, but a casual observer will not notice that, and just see a load of 1-star reviews.