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As others have noted, it depends on the site and the type of product. Although most 'review sites' try to keep it clean, it's a mammoth task to try and exclude shill reviews and deliberate attempts to either big up a product or the opposite.

On places like Tripadvisor and Amazon, I normally simply ignore the 1 star and 5 star reviews and look for the longer, more detailed 2, 3 and 4 star ones. I also automatically discount anything with obvious grammar and odd spelling mistakes, because they either mean automatic software, or stupidity; neither of which will be posting views I want.

Generally, trade sites (Screwfix has already been mentioned) are more kosher. Apart from the obvious cases of shilling, I should of course mention that 'proper' reviews can be found on a number of forums...

Edited by rabski
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I have completely lost all confidence in Amazon reviews so much so that I am actively looking for alternative sources to purchase stuff where reviews would be helpful. 

As for hifi reviews, they can be helpful up to a point, as we all have different ears!

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18 minutes ago, MartinC said:

Don't worry I believe you. I was just checking you weren't missing the option.

If you have a butcher's at the reviews for the two different product listings (one apparently for the 2011 edition, the other for the 2016 version) of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album on the Amazon UK site, the reviews cover a range of formats for each edition, with no way of filtering by format, and the comments make it clear that the reviewer isn't necessarily referring to the version on offer. 

Of course that's just one example, and perhaps a bit of a redundant one, given the album in question: I doubt many people looking to purchase it would allow themselves to be swayed by Amazon reviews :)

Saying that, even with this album, matters like which mastering version or vinyl pressing is on offer can be important. The same issue applies to books, especially if one is looking for a specific annotated version or a classic, for example. I guess one would have to look elsewhere for more targeted reviews. 

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8 minutes ago, Nifkin said:

If you have a butcher's at the reviews for the two different product listings (one apparently for the 2011 edition, the other for the 2016 version) of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album on the Amazon UK site, the reviews cover a range of formats for each edition, with no way of filtering by format, and the comments make it clear that the reviewer isn't necessarily referring to the version on offer. 

Of course that's just one example, and perhaps a bit of a redundant one, given the album in question: I doubt many people looking to purchase it would allow themselves to be swayed by Amazon reviews :)

Saying that, even with this album, matters like which mastering version or vinyl pressing is on offer can be important. The same issue applies to books, especially if one is looking for a specific annotated version or a classic, for example. I guess one would have to look elsewhere for more targeted reviews. 

I'll not be checking that out, or Amazon will keep trying to flog me lots of prog rock nonsense :D.

.

(Yes I know I can look while not logged in :))

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Super Wammer

There have been several reports in the consumer’s Which? magazine about fake or dodgy reviews.  See link below.

They’re potentially useful, and there are brands like Trustpilot and Feefo who seem to be pretty dependable.  As others have said, it all needs caution, but I’d also be suspicious if a poor review was suppressed.  Though sometimes disgruntled buyers ‘go off on one’ which maybe isn’t fair either. 
https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/10/amazon-tech-with-fake-reviews-rated-dont-buy-in-which-labs/

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Super Wammer

I generally use product reviews to get an overall "feel" for something, rather than necessarily hanging off the words of any individual review. As has been mentioned before, shills, fake reviews written en-masse by bots, and the generally-disgruntled can usually be singled out and ignored. I read the longer, carefully-worded responses, and look for any general trends across a range of reviews, i.e. if half a dozen reviews mention an issue with a mis-pressed LP, or a sharp edge on casework for a component, or that the colour of an item doesn't match the description, I'm more likely to take note than just a one--off mention.

Above all, reviews are there as a guide, and not something that I trust wholeheartedly. I make my own decisions about my purchases, and reviews are merely one additional tool in the box to assist with the decision-making. Thankfully the distance selling act does also afford that extra degree of protection for many items that can be evaluated comfortably within 14 days to decide if they work for you or not.

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Super Wammer
13 hours ago, MartinC said:

It depends on the site. I generally find reviews on the Screwfix website helpful for instance, along with some being funny for just how daft they are!

I had never heard of screwfix and it wasn't what I thought that it might have been..... :doh:xD

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