Sock Puppet Spectacular: Are Online Reviews Completely Worthless, or Only Mostly Worthless?

Fef 2012/09/09 18:00:00
Related Topics: Online Reviews, Yelp
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Glorious online reviews created by fake accounts set up by sellers hurt the positive effects of real reviews because consumers cannot tell the difference.

TechCrunch reports: Some years ago, Amazon accidentally revealed a clutch of other authors praising their own work and ripping into others’. Since then, hundreds of other authors have simply bought fake five-star reviews by the dozen.

Even the honest reviews are mostly written by people who are stupid, or blinded by fury, or both. It really makes you wonder whether online reviews are only mostly worthless, or actually completely worthless.

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Read More: http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/08/sock-puppet-spect...

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Top Opinion

  • Charlie 2012/09/10 20:13:06
    If online reviews are worthless then that basically means SodaHead is worthless/pointless.
    If online reviews are worthless then how is SodaHead so popular? SodaHead runs on views and opinions. Thats all i have to say...

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  • Depp78 2012/09/13 01:41:46
    Real humans reviewing products makes my life more comfortable. For instance, I moved to working at home for 10 hour shifts, the first chair I bought was undescribably painful after 8. Online reviewers pointed me to a chair they were comfortable in for long days up to 12 hours. My new chair did not disappoint.
  • TwistedArtisan 2012/09/13 01:11:23
    Online reviews have helped me find restaurants with non-vomit inducing food and nice hotel rooms!
  • Bibliophilic 2012/09/13 00:08:43 (edited)
    No, I can tell which ones are real. I check them to see if an item of clothing runs large or small and sometimes they are good for determining product quality. There are certain patterns that fake reviews follow, read a lot and you'll get good at detecting them. If a product has hundreds of bad rankings I would be slightly suspicious of course.
  • Mog of War 2012/09/12 21:34:41
    Mog of War
    Even understanding that many reviews are simply fabricated, I know how to find the honest, well informed ones, mostly by discarding the ones which are clearly duplications written by "sock puppets." (which can be determined by repetitive diction and syntax)
  • Diddley Squat 2012/09/12 18:26:02
    Completely Worthless
    Diddley Squat
    Probably some are accurate. But if you don't know which ones to trust, that makes them all pretty worthless, doesn't it?
  • mikeeonly 2012/09/12 17:50:58
    I use them, google and I are good friends
  • ivegotloveinmypants 2012/09/12 08:33:20
    Mostly Worthless
    Sometimes they help me, but other times, I need to make my own mind up.
  • Kozmo, Kostable of the Kust... 2012/09/12 06:29:03 (edited)
    Kozmo, Kostable of the Kustodian
    Irrelevant, modifying 'worthless' is the same if you divide by zero or multiply by infinity.
    It's an absolute.
  • Sandman366 2012/09/12 03:50:18
    Mostly Worthless
    But they can all be faked. Big company reviews can be bought, and user reviews could be tons of fake reviews (or paid for).
  • elizabetch 2012/09/12 00:25:24
    They are definitely helpful if you keep in mind the fact that different products suit some people more than others and there will be people who are biased who are giving pretty extreme opinions on things who have had bad experiences. It depends on the sources you're seeing reviews on like amazon, youtube, etc. They have helped me though so they aren't all bad you've just got to know how to pick and choose info that's useful
  • Ada Whitmire 2012/09/11 21:44:56
    Ada Whitmire
    If I see a review that says how amazing a product is I check that person out (make sure they arent fake) and when they are really bad I check them out too. Baisicly I dont blindly trust what I read
  • Margaret Jacobson 2012/09/11 21:15:58
    Mostly Worthless
    Margaret Jacobson
  • Man_Bear_Pig 2012/09/11 20:20:56
    Cnet reviews

    I use online reviews for almost everything. I even use them to research the best professors in my school. The fake reviews are usually obvious.
  • belinda baardsen 2012/09/11 17:53:47
    belinda baardsen
    I find them helpful because I am the the techno wiz kid, so I count on the voice of other people to give me an insight.
  • alex 2012/09/11 14:34:46
    Mostly Worthless
    Not as worthless as this website.
  • maci.mas.96 2012/09/11 14:32:59
    Mostly Worthless
    most of the time, you can tell when someone is promoting a book/item way too much!!!
  • cesspool 2012/09/11 14:13:19
    Everyone is a critic, but in the case of reviews done by sellers....completely worthless.
  • Tina 2012/09/11 13:36:17
    I think they're very helpful, although I can't say that a few are trustworthy, as I have heard of companies hiring people to put up fake "excellent" reviews in the past.
  • Stevethinks 2012/09/11 12:03:48
    Completely Worthless
    The Internet is my most valuable tool for shopping. It depends on the sites honesty. For instance I have had a good experience with Wal Mart and their web site's personal reviews. Most of the service companies in town's reviews are plants. Not even believable.
  • El Prez 2012/09/11 07:36:31
    Mostly Worthless
    El Prez
    However, if there are many negatives I usually pass.
  • 3414503 2012/09/11 05:35:15
  • Charles R. Anderson 2012/09/11 05:03:54
    Charles R. Anderson
    If you only consider the conclusions a review makes, then you can be easily misled whether the review is an on-line review or one by a professional critic. The critical thinker is much harder to mislead. He examines the reasoning offered carefully and if that reasoning is inadequate to justify the conclusions, he discards the conclusions as valueless whether the reviewer is in the main stream media or someone unknown.
  • Just Jenn for Now 2012/09/11 04:57:22
    Just Jenn for Now
    Worthless....? WORTHLESS?! Are you KIDDING me!? Online reviews are a godsent in this day and age, and I'll tell you why: now we know what's worth putting our money into and what's a lot of bullhonky.

    Sure, there are ALWAYS trolls out there who try to be funny or something, but honestly, reviews have saved me a lot of money. I've got an impulsive instinct when it comes to shopping, which thankfully I've learned to simmer down, but thanks to reviews, I know to think before clicking "Add to Cart".

    This isn't just online shopping either. New restaurants, shops, pretty much any business is reviewed now thanks to Yelp!

    Let's not forget the money I've saved by NOT going to movies that are recently released and end up being pure suckage. I LOVE going to movies, but only when it's worth it - and when it takes $20 per person practically for a movie, it's dang well worth it to read up on it or watch videos before going.
  • Kevin1111 2012/09/11 04:39:41
    If a product only has a few reviews, I don't put much credence into them. But dozens or hundreds of reviews average out. If they are mostly five-star with only a few outliers, I know its a great product. I'll often read the outliers to see what possible negatives there are, these are very often people who are reviewing their own poor research instead of the product, when what they received was not what they expected. But you get a feel for these after a while. If almost everyone loves it, its a good bet.
  • wedge56 2012/09/11 04:16:51
    A reader has to work harder to get a clear picture of a product, but mostly one can still separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • wedge56 wedge56 2012/09/11 04:22:59
    Looky what I found because of this poll. It a site where you can copy/paste a review into it and it will use language models to tell if it a real review or a fake.

  • phil 2012/09/11 04:09:12
    Mostly Worthless
    Im here in that
  • Lady-DeathBright 2012/09/11 03:48:03 (edited)
    Take everything with a gran of salt. There is always two sides to everything.
  • JCLadybug 2012/09/11 03:18:44
    But mostly with products, not books. Opinions on books can help but in general those can be very hit or miss. With other products, reviews are very valuable.
  • Flamingolady 2012/09/11 03:10:01
    Mostly the ones I read are helpful. Whenever I am almost suckered into one of those TV fantastic products, I google and read the reviews and am SO glad I did, because they always talk me out of spending money.
  • Estick 2012/09/11 02:54:24
    Movie reviews are really helpful. I look up movies all the time to see what their critic and user scores are. If the movie gets really good scores it let's me know that it might be a movie I want to check out. I care more about user scores than critic scores, and also more about what people say about the movie. Sure I guess there could be some fake scores but is someone going to take the time to write a fake review about some obscure film from the 50's?

    Video game reviews have become BS in the last few years with fake reviews and fanboys giving either 0's or 10's.
  • maci.ma... Estick 2012/09/11 14:36:07
    I have to agree with the gamers. Some are just plain biased.
  • warrior... Estick 2012/09/12 02:44:04
    warrior goddess
    Lots of fake movie reviews out there- so watch out. Look for real details about a scene that caught the watcher's eye, otherwise it was a bought and paid for review, written by someone who may not have even seen the movie at all.
  • Estick warrior... 2012/09/12 03:30:55
    Yeah, good advice on looking for specific scenes. On the flip side I hate how people give away spoilers. Hate it. LOL

    I agree for many of the newer movies. But I just don't see that happening for a Buster Keaton film, or say Edward G. Robinson or something like that. The big blockbuster films are the ones that I've seen reviews that were clearly fake. There's a lot of money to be made from fake reviews getting the public to go see a a big summer blockbuster (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull). But some random film from the 40's? I'm always wary, so maybe... I guess.
  • TySiharat 2012/09/11 01:50:30
    Very helpful.. but you have to understand who and whom saying crap.
  • Swordfish 2012/09/11 01:12:46
  • Crystal 2012/09/11 00:59:04
    Mostly Worthless
    I always read 1-2 star reviews of a product I'm interested in buying, I find the negative reviews more helpful than the positive ones
  • Kevin1111 Crystal 2012/09/11 04:41:39
    I do this also, but often find that these are people who are reviewing their own false expectations instead of the product.
  • warrior goddess 2012/09/11 00:40:17
    Completely Worthless
    warrior goddess
    I know quite a bit of "secrets" about the online reviews and who actually writes them.
  • Mr. Won... warrior... 2012/09/11 03:51:37
    Mr. Wonderful
    I bet you wear a tin foil hat too. ;-)

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