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Product Reviews

Include the bad with the good?



8:38 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What does everyone think?
I know stores that offer bad reviews with the good ones, but can one bad review stop a product from moving off the shelf? However, nothing but great reviews for a product sound too good to be true.


9:28 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Don't be afraid to let bad reviews stand along with the good.

Helping people avoid products that are unsuitable for their needs can lead to fewer product returns and less time consumed by customer service problems.


11:08 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It really depends.. if you have a product that gets consistent bad reviews, drop it from your line.

If its legitimate reviews of a product that shows the reviewer did his/her homework but is still negative - keep it.

If its "sucks" or "meh" or something else pointless just delete 'em


11:25 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It depends who is doing the reviewing. There's beginning to be a growing awareness amongst the public about fake reviews, posted by manufacturers or employees posing as customers, talking up the products and trashing the opposition.

So whilst having nothing but good reviews makes it look like you're trying too hard to sell something, having a mix of bad and good reviews does not necessarily lead to greater trust. Some people try to get round this by only deciding to trust consensus opinions on products that have a lot of reviews, although I've come across cases where there are lots and lots of obviously fake reviews.

What you should look for is a review that goes into depth about a product's features, rather than just praising or damning it. Who will like it, how does it work, pros and cons, etc. Just filter out the reviews that look as though they were written by impulsive children or over-enthusiastic PR people.

Also, recognise that a lot of people take user-contributed reviews with a pinch of salt.


3:52 pm on Dec 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Also, recognise that a lot of people take user-contributed reviews with a pinch of salt.

I suspect that in the case of product reviews there would need to be some middle to lower range 'votes' for people to actually trust the reviews in the first place. That is, getting the user to trust the reviews on your site before they trust the individual product review


3:11 pm on Jan 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It is good to see a mix of reviews about a product. It helps to show that the reviews aren't fake. We can't all like a product equally the same.


6:35 pm on Jan 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

if the review is informational and a value to the consumer, then use it. IE: "widget a was great as a centerpiece on my dining room table, but not in the kitchen" --- the best reviews are the ones that have personal information. keeps the consumer informed and suggests the best use. then the right customer will trust the product and purchase.

however, an unrelated negative review, due to an isolated issue like "i was not happy because i didn't receive my free - gift wrapping" is not a relavent informative review. that customer just filled in the gift-wrap form incorrectly and is most likely an idiot


4:56 pm on Jan 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I came across these stats from Revoo. They are a third-party provider of product review functionality, but their figures make perfect sense and I've no reason to doubt them.

- Positive reviews double the sales of a product among customers who read them
- Negative reviews halve the sales of a product among customers who read them
- Overall, adding reviews leads to a 1.9x increase in sales from customers who read them

There appear to be several reasons why the overall effect is so positive:

1) The presence of reviews increases consumer confidence and makes them more likely to buy
2) The overwhelming majority of reviews tend to be positive, with only a few negative and almost no neutral ones.
3) A negative review doesn't stop people buying from the site - it only stops them buying that particular product. They just find a similar product with a more positive review and buy that instead. This is called 'purchase substitution'.

Hope this helps


5:15 pm on Jan 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with hellraiser here.
If a review it going to be negative, let it be informative and useful.

I think it also depends on what you are selling.
I know for certain items, it has helped reading negative reviews mixed in with mostly positive reviews(I ended up still buying the product).

As for what we sell,a wide selection is something 'pin' ourselves on, so we cannot afford to post too many negative reviews on too many things.


11:40 pm on Jan 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have a client that does product reviews on secondary site and drives sales to his main site.
This works very well for him.


6:16 pm on Jan 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sometimes a negative product review can be tied in with an upsell :)


10:25 pm on Jan 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Is the same also true for hotel reviews?


12:46 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

brucet: be aware that you just provided a review! :-)


9:40 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I was just talking to a client about this.

Everybody in the world is willing to take bad reviews at face value. But we never believe good reviews. Haing a few bad review "proves" that the good reviews are real.


9:44 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There you go, fake a bad review of the product while extolling the site, to "prove" the good reviews are real. Then you can fake the good reviews even more and upsell on the "bad" one.


I never trust reviews and assume them all to be sock puppets. But the stats are amazing on how much diff it makes.


10:20 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I run a review site. Bad + Good = Purchase.

If a consumer has to go elsewhere to read the bad because you only run the good reviews, then you have just lost a sale.


11:16 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You need to mix in both types of reviews, but the quality of the review is what will dictate whether or not it turns the opinion of the buyer.

We have a general rule for allowed reviews, and they have to answer the who, what, where, when, why and how questions. If they don't meet these simple arguments then the review is not accepted.

It's possible for a product to have all positive reviews, without any of them being shills, just as much as it's possible for a product to have all negative reviews without it being anti-shills. However, just remember, a person with a negative experience with something is MUCH more likely to write about it then some one who was satisfied with an experience. So as always, take what you read with a grain of salt, and maybe visit a brick and mortar shop if it's a big enough purchase.

I just did this recently with a GPS receiver as reviews were all over the place. I went to a shop where I knew the employees were well versed with them and ended up taking the employee's advice after he outlined all the pluses and minuses of the 3 I was looking at.



12:08 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It's a lot more nuanced than just having "good" and "bad" reviews. Ideally, BOTH types of reviews will contain information that helps potential buyers decide whether this product is a good fit for them.

Besides, would you really want to remove bad reviews just so that your customers can unknowingly buy products with major deficiencies or incompatibilities? Not only is that dubious ethics, it would probably come back to haunt you in a variety of ways.


1:57 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I definately believe the bad reviews should be included along with the good. As others have said the "bad" reviews may help me decide if there is a feature missing thats important to me. Personally when the bad reviews are too few and far between or simply not present, my trust level drops, for the site/store at least.

Keep in mind that some people will visit more than 1 site, and read reviews, the site that allows comments, good and bad will, I feel, win in the end.


5:29 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My site just has my own book reviews, so there's only one review ever for visitors to read. Most of my reviews are positive, but even the very negative ones -- of which there are a few -- occasionally sell books! (Going by my Amazon sales reports.)


5:36 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hard to say what the general trend is, but personally I tend to trust mostly mixtures much more than totally positive blankets.

If a product has reviews which average out at over 4.0 stars out of 5, I would have more confidence in that product than if they max out at 5.0 stars. An imperfect rating seems to imply a genuine rating, at least for me.


6:43 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Negative reviews are just positive reviews for something else.

Widget wore out in just days!
> See also: High Durability Widget
The screen is too small for clear viewing
> See also: Widescreen Widgets
Batteries ran out quickly
> See also: Spare battery packs for Widget


7:25 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

^ That right there would make me run from that product and that website. They've acknowledged the fact the product stinks, but offer solutions only if you spend more. *edit* I think I mis-read the post, I thought those were all from the same review, but I think what you were showing was that if a review had a specific problem, then offer a specific soluion *end edit*

I think it's far more powerful the way Amazon does it which shows you percentage wise which product people ended up purchasing instead of which product some one purchased and then followed up by purchasing 10 different accessories just to make it work like Product B.


7:43 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I read a motherboard review on Maximum PC and bought a mobo based on what they said. I should have read the reviews from the online computer retailer where I ended up purchasing all of my computer gear as it pointed out some shortcomings in the bios- real world experiences and all that.

Some products have over a thousand reviews. What's more, you can sort the reviews according to their rankings and read all the bad reviews, then re-sort them to show all the good ones. They even show the percentages of each ratings (five stars is good, one star is bad, so at a glance you can see a product has 80% five-star reviews, or 50% five-star reviews etc. and quickly make thumbnail assumptions about the quality of the product).

If you do a drill-down or search box search, you can sort the results according to their reviews, and each product listing shows how many reviews it received so you can see how authoritative the rating is.

The upshot is that I have never felt more confident buying from any store, whether brick and mortar or online, as I do buying from this site. It is by far my favorite online retailer and part of the reason is the way they have cultivated community.


11:26 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A large computer component retailer site I buy a lot from has user reviews and I've noticed that it doesn't work well at all for some products, such as hard drives.

There's so many different models, which get replaced on a fairly frequent schedule, that most individual products just attract a couple of "bought this and it failed after 3 weeks, useless product do not buy 0/5" type reviews.

Which doesn't tell anyone anything apart from the fact that hard drives have a failure rate. Without knowing how many people bought this product and didn't have problems the reviews don't give any useful information.

The way it works out is that the better drives tend to have the most bad reviews, I presume because more people buy them, and therefore the total number of failures is greater.


2:49 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Reviews for rapidly evolving products are tough - it's hard to build critical mass.

Reviews that appear to be honest should be allowed to stand. A preponderance of bad reviews for a product suggests that the product should be dropped, improved, or perhaps marketed in a way that causes less user disappointment.

There's little doubt, though, that some review spammers are getting more clever and harder to spot.

Accumulating reviews of very costly items is difficult, too. A consumer is likely to buy only one 60" plasma TV for quite a few years, so he won't have much of a review history for that product category. In addition, review quality can be a bit iffy - the typical consumer doesn't have much to compare with when commenting on picture quality, etc. (Assuming it's not horrible in some way.) So, you might have one consumer who says "great picture!" and a more savvy AV buff who provides a detailed list of the shortcomings of the TV's picture quality compared to the top-of-the-line Sony. Both reviews can be helpful to the purchaser, IMO.


1:32 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

An analogy could be made with feedback ratings on ebay. In general, a few negative comments about a seller amongst lots of positives wouldn't stop me buying from him.


8:48 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Make users log in to post reviews and allow others to see what else they reviewed.

If you run into somebody who never likes anything others; wil see him for what he is. If it's somebody who generally likes most, but dislikes this, they'll be more likely to heed the warnign if it's relevant to them.

Sort of build a trust rank among the reviewers.

Another way is what amazon does: let the users rate (useful or not) the reviews themselves.

Combine both and you'll have a great system.


9:30 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think the content of the review speaks more than anything. A negative review where someone specifies what they didn't like about a product would make me think. A negative review that says "teh suxx0r" would be ignored. I don't know about the general public, but unless you can say WHY you liked something, you're feelings are irrelevant. A step in the right direction is Amazon's "Did you find this review useful" button.

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