When I want to buy something new I usually like to look at reviews. Whether the reviews are in Consumer Reports, Cook’s Illustrated or on various websites including Amazon.com, they are all great places to help one make prudent purchases. Then it struck me that if everyone who ever purchased something on Amazon didn’t take the time to review these items it would be a loss of valuable resource. With that in mind, I have decided that I would like to be part of the process of helping others, so I will now review some of the purchases that I make on Amazon.
Using Amazon Product Reviews
The difference between me referencing consumer magazines, etc. and reading Amazon.com reviews is that I understand going in I’m looking at reviews that are typically authored by regular people, not trained professionals. Consumer magazines cannot evaluate every single product out there, but with the sheer numbers of products available Amazon.com, the chances of finding reviews of a product I am interested in is greatly increased.
When I’m reading the various reviews I don’t just rely on the ones that are top featured. I like to consider what customers from all of the starred rating categories have to say. Often you will find great advice on how to use, maintain, clean, etc. a product. For example, when reading reviews of my Ateco Smoother & Decorating Comb, I discovered that its metal finish can lose its shine if placed in the dishwasher.
When making a major purchase I often check out the reviewers profile (if available) as well as what they have bought in the past (again, if available). I do this to give me a reference point to their product preferences and possible skill level. I also take into account the great feature of showing if the reviewer is a “Verified Buyer”. This lets you know that the person actually paid for the item that they are writing about. Taking these precautions has turned out to be especially helpful if I find a particular product receiving nearly all 5-star ratings. Often in these cases it turns out that these reviewers have no other purchase history and have only bought that one particular item and/or worse yet, they are not even a verified buyer. To me those are the things that raise the red flag which warns me that these might be planted reviews. If you would like to learn more about this problem I found a great article on wikiHow titled “How to Spot Fake Reviews”. After reading the article it was too late to heed some of their advice as I already made the mistake of posting my reviews almost all at once (over just a two-day period…oops) instead of spreading them out as they suggest. I will try to do better next time.
Since I appreciate reviewers who are upfront about who they are I feel I should do the same. That means I haven’t hidden behind a pseudonym and have used my real name. I have also included a small profile and chosen to limit my reviews to gumpasting & baking items only. It’s not that I don’t have opinions about other items, rather I really just want to focus on assisting fellow gumpasters (or soon to be ones).
Here’s hoping that by participating in doing reviews, I can pay it forward and that you too will join me in the effort and start posting reviews as well.