Idiot Marketers or Idiot Consumers?

I have written and published reviews online about books and products for over 10 years. Primary motivation for doing it is to share my experience with other consumers to help them make a choice, and with manufacturers to learn about customer experience with their product. I know that only a tiny number of consumers find it important to write the reviews as on the average well under 1% of a product customers review them, but my motivation is the same as most reviewer’s:

Fully 90% write reviews in order to help others make better buying decisions, and more than 70% want to help companies improve the products they build and carry.”

Sounds like a truly win-win proposition until dishonest, idiot marketers come with “brilliant” idea to manipulate customer’s feedback. We will never know what financial impact was experienced by Belkin after their reviews manipulating scheme was publicly revealed, but the brand reputation stain keeps lingering years after it became public. Just Google “Belkin reviews scandal”

Belkin became a “poster child”, but it surely is not the only perpetrator of public trust. There is a long list of slimy morons who figured out it is easier to brake the law (yes, it is illegal) than to produce really good product the customers would be inspired to write about. I can’t imagine that economic value of results produced using cheap manipulation can possibly justify the legal and financial risk involved, yet in spite of all scandals and successful legal proceedings the practice continues, and cheap labor providing sites are flooded with ads like this

I don’t want to single out travel industry, but hotels seem to be the worst offenders as these ads are running for years

All of these activities are unethical and illegal, practiced openly through Social Media channels and yet did not destroy public trust in value of Customer Reviews.

Are consumers dumb and unaware of chicanery or is it a testament to human resiliency and faith? My bet is on the second and we will continue to work on development of algorithms to help us minimize influence of the disingenuous product reviews.

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