Amazon review process

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Anybody else here run in to something like this?
I often buy repair related items (tools, etc) from Amazon, and I consider the reviews an important decision element. While browsing yesterday, I happen to stumble upon this non-repair related item when doing a search with the word "emergency" in it
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
I was curious so I read about it and noticed that the vast majority of the 4/5 star reviews were clustered in March and November of 2015 and that few if any of those reviewers were verified purchasers.
I've written a few hundred reviews for Amazon products so I though nothing of writing a review questioning the review statistics of this product. It was very brief simply questioning what had caused that clustering of 4/5 star reviews around those very few time periods.
I was very surprised to find my review rejected. It was the first rejection I have ever received for an Amazon review. Apparently questioning the Amazon review process is a no-no. Amazon wrote
- Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.com/feedback.
which sounds reasonable, except that to leave "feedback" you have to actually buy the product. It also indicates to me that they devote a lot of effort to identifying reviews that are critical of their product review process.
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On 12/2/2015 6:58 AM, CRNG wrote:

Amazon wants to SELL products. They are far less likely to want to encourage behaviors that work *counter* to that!
The fact that they even allow "unverified reviews" is a sleazy practice. Gee, with the volume of sales that they report, they can't find bonafide customers to testify regarding the products that they sell?
Verifying a purchase is also something that can EASILY be automated; no need for a human to review the review to determine if it is appropriate.
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On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 9:09:08 AM UTC-5, Don Y wrote:

Except that they accept many, many negative reviews that clearly say some of the stuff they sell is crap. The clear issue here is that what he wrote wasn't a review of the product at all. It was a review of the reviews, that's why it was rejected because it doesn't meet their review guidelines.
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On Wed, 2 Dec 2015 07:26:02 -0800 (PST), trader_4

A new moderated list I belonged to had rules written (I was part of writing the rules but I don't remember discussing this one.) that didn't allow discussing the moderation. It was "off-topic".
I eventually quit the list but while I was gone, people rebelled and forced them to loosen moderation and allow discussion of moderation rules.
It struck me as a desire to be in charge, like a weak version of "no one pushes the police around. Talk back to me and I'll mess you up."
There have been articles lately about how many of the negative reviews are by people who have never used the product. I think it's a way for some to vent their hostility to the world, something like ombers do except less extreme. (and that if they couldn't forge reviews like this, a few would become ombers and kill people) Article said you can sometimes tell because the complaints are vague, spend time on the story and not so much on the product.
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On 12/2/2015 8:09 AM, Don Y wrote:

Just about everyone I've bought from on Amazon ends up requesting me to write a review of the product I purchased. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so, and I suspect most buyers feel the same way. Instead, I selectively review.
But there's a place for reviews by unverified purchasers. Often most of the purchases are made at another retailer, not Amazon, and the reviews serve to help people searching online for reviews and price comparisons of those particular products. I see that all the time with products that are predominantly purchased at Costco for much less than what a third-party seller is offering them for on Amazon.com. And unverified reviewers may have something useful to say about a product. If you're ever suspecting a shill, check the reviewer's review history on Amazon. You can usually figure out quickly if the person has a history of something useful and apparently genuine to say about products - or not.
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On 12/2/2015 8:32 AM, Moe DeLoughan wrote:

I "give feedback" to vendors about products, not reviews for other (potential/current) customers -- for much the same reason that I ignore other folks' reviews of items.
For software products, "customer service" or "policies" -- i.e., things that can be relatively easily changed and put into effect ongoing or retroactively (e.g., software upgrades for existing customers), I try to give that feedback relatively quickly.
For material changes to products -- things that require time to get implemented in "manufacturing" -- I take a much longer view, letting my experiences with the product accumulate until I can offer a more comprehensive review. In these cases, the current product may NEVER benefit from my comments; but, some newer product *may*!
(E.g., my review of our new vehicle will take many months to complete. There's no chance my comments will affect other 2016 purchases. And, probably only the "easier fixes" will see their way into 2017 model year offerings.)

Then why not simply state: "Buy this from Costco, instead of Amazon!" For many folks, I suspect that's more valuable than "touchy, feely" comments about an item.

So, what is needed is a "review of reviewers"? :> And, a review of review reviewers??
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On 12/2/2015 10:32 AM, Moe DeLoughan wrote:

Would like to add that Amazon will often request a review before you have opened the package or just opened it.
I wrote one on a wifi printer giving it good marks for ease of set-up. Then a couple of months later, had some troubles with it but could not go back and change my review.
Might add that it is easier to deal with Amazon themselves rather than some of their listed suppliers. I tend to stay away from the secondary suppliers. Can also note that Best Buy will match Amazon prices but only if the item comes directly from Amazon.
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snip..

That's odd. Where you logged in when you look at your review? When I return to one of my reviews to revise it, there is an "Edit" and "Delete" button at the bottom right of the review.
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On 12/3/2015 8:43 AM, CRNG wrote:

I will have to look into that. In this specific case there might have been a thousand reviews so my edited comments would not make much difference.
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On 12/03/2015 06:13 AM, Frank wrote:

The packaging review requests are a little annoying. Yes, it came in a box, no, I didn't have to get out the chainsaw to open it. Yes, it was what it was supposed to be. I plugged the usb cable in and it worked. I don't have enough words in my review?
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Moe DeLoughan posted for all of us...

I never fill out reviews for anything. New cars, repairs, customer satisfaction, etc. They just start bugging you for more and more of your time and phone number. Sometimes they send a dollar to make one feel obligated. Hah, they have to pay me more to open the envelope.
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On 12/2/2015 7:58 AM, CRNG wrote:

<snip> Instead of writing a review, post a comment or two on some of those reviews pointing out the issue. But you may first want to check the review history of some of the reviewers you suspect. If they've got a seemingly legit review history, it could turn out to just be a coincidence. I've had reviews of mine accused of being fakes, where if the reviewer had only read my review history, he'd have seen that I have a legit review history.
Another possibility is that the seller provided a number of reviewers with free or discounted products in exchange for a review, though they should acknowledge that in their reviews.
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snip...

That's what I'm guessing here.
I also consider the total number of reviews an important factor. I'm a bit skeptical about an item that has 46 reviews vs. an item with 4600 reviews.
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On 12/2/2015 8:58 AM, CRNG wrote:

There is a review that was recently posted about the same thing you write. Check the link you posted. By PB on November 17, 2015 Beware of the dates of reviews. Many of them are written from March 29-31. It may be a bunch of employees trying to get a 5 star rating on their boss' product.
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snip...

Thanks for the reference. I found it. I wonder how the Amazon sensors let that through?
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wrote:

You stepped over their line, They just don't a food fight. I wrote a review on a new gasket set, stating it came with the box sloppily taped shut, one gasket was bent, and another one missing. Amazon posted it, but some jomoca wrote a response that I "shouldn't give a bad review" for that reason. I set him straight. Wrote another review on a wall register, which came bent, because it was shipped in a cheap envelope. Some jomoca responded that I should read the amazon review guidelines, and change or delete the review. Both reviews are still there. There are plenty of Amazon groupies "monitoring" the reviews. BTW, both reviews also got a response saying there was nothing wrong with it, and one saying the review "guidelines" should be changed.
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On Thu, 03 Dec 2015 00:15:07 -0600, Vic Smith
snip...

I've never read the guidelines, but have posted about 300 reviews. This was my first rejected review and it has caused me become a bit skeptical of items have a low (< 100??) number of reviews. In the future, when considering purchasing a item that has a low number of reviews, I'm going to take a much harder look at those reviews.
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CRNG wrote: "This was my first rejected review and it has caused me become a bit skeptical of items have a low (< 100??) number of reviews. In the future, when considering purchasing a item that has a low number of reviews, I'm going to take a much harder look at those reviews. "
Also: Beware of products with "halo" review ratings. This is where there are a lot of 5 & 4 star ratings, few 2 & 3 star - but almost as many 1-star ratings as 4 or 5:
5 - =======4 - ===3 - =2 - 1 - ======= (!)
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Anything with over 1,000 reviews and ratings like below should be a great buy:
5 - =========4 - ==3 - =2 - 1 -
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On 12/3/2015 7:39 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Right, it is how I made my decision as to whether or not to buy a "My Pillow" ;)
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