Saturday, January 08, 2005

Consumer Review Sites

Aside from this site I run a small consumer-review type site (among other things). Anyway, this type of site seems to be a popular one among affiliates. I assume that this is because you one can review several, or many, products and get paid no matter what your visitors choose.

Sadly, it isn't really as simple as that. Getting people to actually click through and buy the stuff you review takes a certain amount of work, luck, and careful strategy.

After reading through those credibility reports, I realize more fully the importance of that "careful strategy" part. The report (PDF) shows that opinion or review web sites depend less on their design for credibility than do other sites. At least, people commented less about that for those sites.

What they did talk about was "information bias", "information accuracy", and "to a lesser extent, underlying company motive".

Here's a list of the sites that people rated so you can do your own comparisons:

  1. (Most credible; High positive score)
  5. (Barely positive)
  6. (Barely negative)
  10. (Least credible; Big negative)

Personally, I was surprised to see Bizrate were it is. They're all over Google Adwords and they seem to have a pretty robust system. Perhaps they aren't quite as impressive if you start out at their homepage instead of coming to a product page through a search.

Anyway, it appears that people like unbiased and accurate reviews (surprise). They don't like sneaky attempts to get them to buy stuff (darn).

I think that a product-review-affiliate-site that does away with the hype and sticks to the facts can be succesful. Tell people what you know in a straightforward manner and they may just believe you. If you tell the truth, what should they care that you get paid for it? It doesn't cost them anything. You took the time to write an honest review and that's worth something isn't it?


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