Shop Sweeps

How To Read Reviews

One of the best things about shopping online is that many sites post online reviews from buyers who can help confirm that a product is worth buying or that perhaps there are some reasons why you should consider another product.

Heck, you can even research merchandise you are considering buying from offline stores with some quick online searches. That said, you must be able to decipher which posts are legitimate and worth consideration along with the ones that maybe are not so genuine and should be ignored.

I find that for the most part, reviews are pretty honest. Most of the better sites will weed out invalid comments. Invalid comments could be complaints about something because they simply don’t like the seller for some reason, or post multiple really positive or negative reviews to try to game the ratings, or could be from people who clearly did not purchase the product and no nothing about it. Some sites like Amazon will weed out some comments they deem to be in violation of their policy, but they also allow users to rate the comments and ratings themselves by simply asking if you found the comment helpful and invite you to report abuse if you don’t think the comment was valid (or worse). Amazon will also note if the reviewed was a verified buyer of the product which adds another layer of legitimacy.

When reading negative comments, it is important to consider if the comments are valid like, wow, that vacuum cleaner is by far the noisiest vacuum I have ever used my life or perhaps a book review stating something like, while I loved prior books by this author, having read a bunch of her titles, I am finding the more recent books to be very predictable. These would seem like genuine reviews, especially if others made the same comments. However, I have read book reviews where people gave negative reviews about a book, simply because they disliked the author (I really think so and so is an awful person and I’d never pay a penny for his book). 

A review like this is worthless. I’ve also read reviews from people giving negative reviews because they don’t like a certain company. Other types of invalid reviews and unfortunately, I’ve seen many like this will give a poor rating because the product was damaged during shipping or perhaps arrived later than expected. While it would be appropriate to give the shipper a poor review, people will often give the product a bad review for something like this despite the problem having nothing to do with the product itself. Be careful when reading these types of comments.

Basically, use your common sense and judgement and you’ll probably be just fine when analyzing product reviews online.