Now that Google, Twitter and Facebook have agreed to censor free speech (note the word "tone") and 'reeducate' the public on what is 'hateful' (note sharia blasphemy laws) , it is time to turn our attention to another online behemoth, Amazon, when it comes to discerning deception.
I write a great deal about the necessity of formal training in analysis, particularly after reading comments that are spurious, incorrect, and misleading, but I have also posted the value of Statement Analysis 101 in Advertising. This is where one who reads, as an amateur, much analysis and a few books and becomes accustomed to the basics, can dramatically increase discernment in advertising. Amazon is a great place to practice such discernment.
Readers here should be able to pick up the patterns of speech in Amazon Shill Reviewing.
1. Extreme Reviewers Who Give 5 Stars
Companies in China send products for free and reviewers give them 5 stars with raving, over the top reviews, including pictures and videos, while an actual purchaser will leave one star for the plastic disposable item. The Need to Persuade is extreme. They must add disclaimers so some use additional language to persuade, not to buy the product, but in context: to persuade that they are being truthful. This one gave his "personal guarantee."
"I was sent this item at without charge or a discounted price for my unbiased review. I personally guarantee that my views are always completely honest and unbiased."
2. Shill Reviewing
Amazon tried to stop shill reviewing so they changed policy to have only purchasers (or those who received the item free) review.
Can you guess where this led?
The Chinese companies now routinely purchase 5 or 10 of their own products. A single employee enters as many as 10 new Amazon accounts and leaves 10 reviews that are very short, all with American first names.
Betty: great product *****
Sally: it's awesome *****
Jimmy: the best *****
Donnie: none better ******
Louie: it rocks *****
The Amazon customer then buys it and written:
"I bought this based on all the 5 star reviews. What a piece of flimsy junk! The instructions come in Chinese and it doesn't work. It is missing parts. 1* but I wish I could give it zero!"
If an unsatisfactory review is posted, the reviewer is harassed by the Chinese companies:
"Kind greetings, dear friend. My name is Tabitha and I am single mother of two children and am the supervisor of Wall Light Design Magnetic iPhone 5 holder. I see you have posted a negative review. Won't you my dearest remove it and make it better for me? I lose my job and my single children suffer. Please. We sent this to you free of charge as trusted friend. I only have 24 hours to keep my job and this is an urgent message."
It did not take long for "the middle man" to emerge. This is where, in business, companies waste money imitating governments unnecessarily.
These are now companies in the United States that solicit the Chinese manufactures and promise them 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Here is a copy of an email sent to thousands of Amazon reviewers: