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Product reviews violate Google TOS?

Postive product reviews improve CTR

     
8:29 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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When I write a review highlighting positive features about a product, the CTR goes up to 50% as surfers click ads related to that product. As an experiment , I highlighted the negative rather than positive aspects of a product and the CTR went below 10%.

Google TOS clearly admonishes webmasters from encouraging ad clicking. So do positive reviews violate the TOS? It is clearly an invitation to click.

8:56 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Positive reviews are not exactly invitations to click... you are not encouraging them to click in any way, you are just writing about the product; only the facts. This doesn't violate Google TOS.
8:59 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I can always subtly encourage clicking by saying things like : 'Excellent features --check them out' or 'I used the product and do try it for your self'....etc. The ad block is next to this comment ( blended in ) and is a straight invitation to click.
9:05 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Better yet, write honest and thorough reviews, and you might actually build a reputation that attracts repeat visitors and inbound links.
11:37 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The bias of the reviewer can encourage surfers to click ads. If I review a product ' honestly' and say I like the product and you should also try it .. This is a straight invitation to click.. Is it fair?
12:30 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Green_grass,

Your ideas are not even close to violating TOS.
Many of us have product reviews and Google is OK with it. Just don't say: "Have a look at the ads", "Click the ads" or "The use of this website is free thanks to our sponsors, please support us by visting their websites", etcetera. Advertisers (including myself) feel robbed by that kind of inviations that create false, not converting clicks. Just write a good product review, preferably a positive one. It's called pre-selling and it helps both you and the advertiser. If you think a product s*cks, don't review it at all. Cause then it will cost the advertiser (no conversions) and you (no conversions and thus smartpricing) money.

1:17 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I can always subtly encourage clicking

- building a web site is a subtle ecouragment to click
- placing an ad unit is a subtle ecouragment to click
- blending is a subtle ecouragment to click
- ad location is a subtle ecouragment to click

I don't know why you are feeling guilty about the higher ctr, just be true to yourself and honest in the review even if it earns you less.

3:05 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all .

I guess , I worry too much.

:-)

3:51 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Excellent features --check them out" is not exactly subtle. But if you stay away from suggesting users click on the ads on your page, then I'm sure you can write a review as positive as you want.

Keep in mind that people have very highly developed BS detectors these days, and your site will have a lot more credibility and do a lot better in the long run if you are bluntly truthful instead of being a cheerleader for everything.

5:32 am on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is clearly an invitation to click.

I think you've missed the point. The admonition against encouraging clicks includes an underlying assumption that you don't control what ads are displayed.

So, while you think your review might be viewed as "encouraging clicks" for Product X, the fact is, it's entirely possible for all ads for Product X to get pulled from that page, and for the page to be filled with ads for Product Y and Product Z. I guess you'll have an invitation to not click on your hands at that point.

If you are dynamically detecting what ads are displayed and adjusting your copy to say lovely things about whatever products appear, that would be the time to start being concerned about a TOS violation.

IANAGL. (I Am Not A Google Lawyer)

1:17 pm on Apr 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Every properly written review should by default include an indirect invitation to click (or not).

For example: If I review X Brand green widgets and the review is positive, I'll sum it up by saying something like "Overall, I believe the X Brand Green Widget is one of the best I have ever used. I give it a big thumbs-up."