Product Review websites abound on the internet, but they’re far from all being equal in regard to honesty and integrity. Many product review sites seem to be unbiased at first glance, but further inspection indicates their true intent: to only promote products favorably, so they can make money via affiliate links.
Here are a few ways to assess if a site and its owner(s) are only in it for the money, or if they offer honest truly neutral, consumer-oriented product reviews:
1. Who Runs the Site? A real review site will have an About/Bio/or Info page that details who owns the site (and oftentimes why they started it.) Too many sites that claim to be ‘product review’ sites are really run by affiliates posing as “honest” reviewers, when in fact their sole intent is to only recommend every product they write about.
2. Do the Reviewers or Site Owners Purchase The Products Themselves? This is a critical factor for review integrity. Just like scientific studies, there is a strong proclivity towards favorable bias of a product if the reviewer did not pay for it himself. The fact that a reviewer pays for the product(s) him or herself speaks volumes about their impartiality and ability to remain objective during the course of the review.
3. Does the Website Review an Array of Products or Only One? A site that reviews a variety of products is more likely to be neutral and a true review site than a site where only a single product is reviewed. Why would someone go to the trouble of building a site for only one product and then give it a negative review? Of course the review will be positive (although at times they might throw in a negative comment or two to give the appearance of being impartial.)
Single-product-sites are popular with affiliate marketers because the search engines give strong weight to using keywords in the domain name (url title.) So if the product being reviewed is ‘Acme List Building Secrets’, then using a domain of ‘AcmeListBuildingSecretsReview’ will usually give that site a higher position in the search engines.
4. Do the Reviewers Have Only Positive Things to Say about the Products They Review? A truly neutral product review site will have both positive and negative reviews. If all the reviews on a site are glowing, and every product is endorsed, then there’s a good bet that the reviewer is serving his own interests instead of those of the consumer.
5. Does the Review Headline Use the Word ‘Scam’? This is a classic tactic used by many unscrupulous reviewers to utilize keywords in the title as well as to give the appearance of shoring up the trust factor. A sample headline might read, “Is Acme List Building Secrets a Scam?” – because it utilizes the keyword phrase in the title, as well as that phrase will mirror what people type in the search box when they have questions about a product.