"Reviewing" Items You Haven't Actually Tried

lyannastark

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Hello BuSo! Okay, so I've recently started a new project and right now, I'm focusing on writing the initial content. My game-plan (for now) in terms of revenue will be selling Amazon affiliate products and perhaps other affiliate products if I find anything decent. Obviously, I will not buy and review each item from experience. Plus, I think any potential readers I have won't think that I've bought and used hundreds of products and their variations. It's just not practical.

I guess the most logical route would be to find existing reviews and re-word them, or write a review based on the general "consensus" of the data gathered. And even if I do that, how do I sound authentic, when I'm just re-hashing pre-existing data? Maybe I should just go ahead and lie. And say that "we" send the product to one of "our writers" to test and review... Basically that Money Over Ethics debate :wink: Have any of you done anything similar? Did you have any qualms? Did any of your readers find out you were bullshitting and out you? lol How important is morality to you when it comes to IM? Any thoughts? Comments?
 
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I do the same, I write about reviews of different products while I haven't actually used them. It's quiete impossible to buy them all, so I just write a nice product description + small review and put a price comparison in the article which converts quiete well. Never any had complaint so far.
 

MetaData

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Reviewing something just means to evaluate it, and you can evaluate things without holding them in your hand AND without saying that you did.

"The Vitamix blender personal edition comes with a smaller container, as opposed to the professional model which can make 8 cups at once. The professional also has a motor that's approximately 4x as strong. Do you need the professional model for at-home use? No, probably not, but some people still like to have that extra umph - not to mention a 7 year warranty instead of 2. One of the reasons that people love the Vitamix is because rather than using sharp blades to cut your food into tiny pieces, it has dull blades - believe it or not - to literally PULVERIZE anything that you put inside of it. On a MOLECULAR level. Seriously!
One of the most trusted reviews of the Vitamix says "This blender is an absolute MUST for ANYONE who loves to juice but doesn't like the high sugar content of homemade juice nor the fact that all of the fiber gets removed." (*imagine that's a real quote from a real review from a legitimate site.*) That's so true, most people don't realize how much sugar they're blah blah blah blah"

You can still get all of the facts of a product across without being disingenuous or lying to your audience. You can even QUOTE real reviews from Amazon (Or wherever) and provide an affiliate link right to the actual review. Like "Blah blah blah... (Continued at Amazon.com)"

What should you do? If you have to ask, you should probably lean to the authentic side, especially if you want to build up an actual audience and FANS of your site rather than just people who are passing through the serps. I think a lot of people looking for reviews want to know the FACTS about the product, not someone just going on and on about how great it is. You can still use a review to write persuasive copy you just need to be so much more subtle because these people are still in research mode. Put yourself in the head of someone who's looking for a review.. they don't want an ad, or a landing page, or a bunch of sensational BS because (especially in some niches) that's what EVERYONE else is doing. If they've just been on six pages where it's all the same "OMG BEST THING EVA"... your review that actually provides value to them is going to be a breath of fresh air, it's going to be what tips the scale.

Review keywords + Product information = People who are now in buying mode.
Review keywords + Over the top sales copy = Falls on deaf ears, they want to know more first.

When I look for a review, it's because I want to know the facts about the product. I want them quick, dirty, in bullet-point form. I'm not the typical person looking for reviews online, though, none of us are... At the end of the day, both ways can work and I'd be willing to bet it really depends on the niche (Surprise, surprise...)
 

lyannastark

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@Dankovich @MetaData thanks for the responses guys :smile:

And yeah Meta, I see what you're saying... Makes alot of sense... I think I'll try something more along that line.

And you're totally right btw lol I forgot that ethics can be good or bad lol it's just that most people associate the words ethics with *good*
 
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When you are setting up a review site, it can also be interesting to let other people review the product to by leaving a review comment. There are different Wordpress plugins to make this happen. Makes it look even more legit if there are a few other reviews next to yours. I add those reviews from a few other sites and rewrite them.
 

Andrewkar

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It depends on the products or services you are going after. For example, LED TVs reviews will need different copy and then weight loss pills will need different angle also. I have had Amazon aff website and it was all about TVs. The copy of each TV reviewed on the site was short (around 300 words at most and only in superlatives) with at lest one link in the body and one strong call to action (linked) at the end. The KWs there were "discount", "deal", "save money" and many forms of "Only today!". As you my guess I haven't tested all those TVs :smile:

I was after low to middle price tag items.
People searching for those kind of low-middle end products don't need much information (actually giving them too much info would be harmful for the conversions).
They are looking for good deals and are more impulse buyers. Good reviews on the product page (at Amazon) help them make right decisions.

Targeting high end TVs it's a different story because this market is more knowledgeable and can spot BS much faster. Most often than not, they know something about stuff they are looking for and need more data to make good decisions (they are researching a lot as well). So they need a bit longer and more detailed reviews loaded with facts and numbers. To sell to those people requires setting up a decent authority so they can actually trust you. So overall it calls for more dedication to website etc.

If you are after diet pills (you just can't test them all, gee you can't test even 0,001% of them) you will need a lot of stories and testimonials. Setting up authority is also necessary the get most out of it.

For sure you don't need to try everything to recommend it to others. One thing that helps a lot is to have experience in the niche or with that precise kind of products you want to push. Then you just don't need to try every single product there is, you just read the label and you know how good it is.

Let's take for example all those Garcinia Cambodia pills and extracts.

Those were hot as hell but do this stuff really works?
Top sellers just don't give a fuck. They just pushing it because it's trendy and hot. Now, it's completely up to you if you decide to push it and make some money or you want to dig dipper and find out that it might be not just as "miracle product" as it's advertised. Anyway, no matter what way you take both can be equally (very!) profitable.

And then it comes after-sale support which is (especially in weight loss niche) very important. People are buying on impulse but, then they have doubts. So good after-sale service is what can make or brake your aff presence (no matter what niche). Yes, affiliates should also take care about the buyers after the sale is made.

So it all comes down (again) to knowing our market, the product and being able to provide great (meaning help them get rid of their doubts) service to our customers - if we talk about good long term relationships.
Overall, my choice is not to promote the product that I have doubts about its effectiveness.
 
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@lyannastark Two things came to mind when I read this thread. The most relevant to the group is that it depends on what type of traffic you're wanting. If it's organic traffic that you don't have to persuade as much since they are already interested, then just perform decent SEO, talk more about facts than opinions, and outrank everyone and become a gateway between them and the final purchasing place. There's nothing wrong with that.

The 2nd thing I thought of is that I'm happy to see you having this dilemma. One of the philosophical ideas that had the most impact on the way I live my life is one of the spokes of the noble eightfold path in Buddhism, particularly Right Livelihood. Basically, how can I earn a living that positively contributes to society, versus leeches, misguides, doesn't follow Right Speech (lying in your reviews).

That's it. You're not alone in wanting to live in a certain manner of integrity and dignity. I don't compromise myself in business. This whole cutthroat paradigm and all of the rationalizations about "these idiots will give their money to anyone, might as well be me"... I can't dig no jive talk like that. I've missed out on a lot of opportunities that would result in very decent wealth but it would also mean using marketing as manipulation instead of persuasion. No can do. In the end, on my death bed, I'll breathe out my last breath with a smile of contentment and acceptance on my face. That matters far more to me than the illusion of security and materialistic engagement that money can afford. Those things are comfortable, sure. But I've accepted unsatisfactoriness as a part of life, so the emphasis has shifted a little bit. </ramble>
 

CCarter

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PS Everyone seems to assume that Money Over Ethics means money over GOOD ethics... Why can't it be money over BAD ethics? :smile:
I actually tried that argument once... didn't hold water even for me... :D
 

chaddicus.

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If you think about it, reviews are basically what we base the majority of our daily decisions after. Who doesn't at least glance at the critics rating on their showtime app before deciding on a movie to see? Who doesn't do at least a little bit of research before they buy a product? Hell, even our perceptions and friendships are influenced by reviews those close to us give. I can't tell you how often I hear, "Dude, she's crazy. Did you hear what she did to Dan? Blah Blah Blah..."

And when a bad review is against us or our services/products we fight like hell to clear up the misconception or problem.

Given, we all take these reviews with a serious grain of salt. Either we don't really trust the source, or we like to think we make our own decisions. But we, as humans, are social creatures and rely on each other for our decision making process. This is why celeb endorsements do so freaking well. And why we feel so slighted and pissed off when we are lied to.

So to your dilemma. Do you give a false or fake review? This, my friend, is going to have to be a decision made according to the dictates of your own conscience. I would personally argue it is in very bad taste and ultimately benefits you nothing.

Customers want a product that fulfills their expectations. I've bought things that I was excited about and have sucked a big bag of donkey dick. Then I get pissed, either return the product or go on a tirade letting everyone I know that this product is complete and utter horse excrement. In the past, I've had customers do that to me. The customer service involved in it, the return rate, the overall headache, in my opinion, is not even close to worth it. I get that if you're doing aff sales then you aren't really dealing with this issue as much. But I subscribe the the universe ultimately being very karmic. I'm with @thehobbster on that one.

I also agree that gathering info about the product from other reputable reviews is totally fine and have done this myself. But straight making shit up is too far. Haha, I admit its a really fine line, and I don't know if I'm really conveying what I want to come across.

Long story short, reviews are a great selling tool. Use them well and honestly and you can make truckloads.