Smart Online Shopping Tips

How to Get to the Bottom of Product Reviews

Important Note

Most shopping sites are honest businesses and in this for the long run. Their credibility online is enormously important to them and they run their businesses accordingly.

Here are some smart online shopping tips to keep you on the winning end when you're making purchases over the internet.

Before you exchange your hard earned cash for goods, no matter where you're doing your shopping, it's important to do your research.

Internet buying has exploded in recent years and companies and products are constantly emerging and fighting for your attention ... and your money.

Unfortunately there are unscrupulous companies that pay people to write false reviews to manipulate you into believing that a product is really good - if the payer is the seller of the product - or really bad - if the person paying is in competition with the seller.

So how on Earth is a person supposed to get an honest impression of a product?

Here are some smart online buying tips that will help you sort through to the nuggets that represent a true picture of the product and of the seller.

Faking Out the Fake Review

Genuine reviews are fairly easy to spot if you know what you're looking for.

I always open the most negative reviews first. Some of them aren't even about the product and a few people blame the product when they misread (or didn't read) information that was clearly provided to them at the time of purchase. I also find that sometimes the reviewer was confused about how the star rating worked and it's clear that they thought a 1 star review was the highest rating they could give the product. Additionally some reviewers blow a small matter into a major issue and trash the whole experience (seller and product) in one fell swoop.

I disregard any that don't seem genuine or don't provide any real information.

Next I go to the middle of the road reviews because I assume that no one is going to pay for a 3 star review. I put a little more weight toward these and find that the writer usually contributes both pros and cons.

Check the the answered questions section (if there are any) and read the answers and the comments, they can be very revealing.

Finally, I check the 5 star ratings. I give more weight to reviews that provide pictures, evaluate the pros and the cons and have actually used the item (many reviewers have just received the item or bought it as a gift). They've seen the product but they haven't seen it do its thing.

Glowing Reviews & How to Rank Them

How many of those glowing statements have any truth to them?

Here are a few things that lend credibility to a review.

  • Adding photos or video.
  • Including measurements and personal information.
  • High number of reviews. It's easy to fake 20 reviews but it's unlikely when there are hundreds or thousands.
  • Commenting on the product as a whole and bringing up the negatives as well as the positives.


Here are some red flags that indicate that a review should be tossed out.

  • It's clear that the reviewer has never seen the product or even gone to the trouble to read the product description.
  • No specifics are provided. One or two word submissions often don't give enough details and don't ring true. For example a statement of "Don't Buy" is tossed as is "Love it".
  • The poster gives a poor review because they didn't get the right color or size or some other minor complaint that doesn't reveal much about the actual product.

It seems pretty harsh to give a 2 star review because it didn't fit properly.

Smart Online Shopping for Travelers

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