Monday, June 20, 2016

Amazon Reviews: Analysis

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:


Hello PRN Reviewers,


Due to a bit of misunderstanding about the review process, we have decided to take a moment to further educate you on exactly what differentiates a "good review" from a "bad review".

GOOD REVIEW: Any review of 4 stars or more. This review helps to support a product's ranking and image on Amazon.

BAD REVIEW: Any review of 3 stars or less. This review severely and negatively affects a products ranking and image on Amazon.

In an effort to support the positive image and ranking of their new products on Amazon, our clients have chosen to work with the amazing team of reviewers here at the Product Review Network (you!), so it is of the utmost importance that we keep that in mind when posting reviews.

These companies have spent lots of time and lots of money on the products that they choose to share with you COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE; it is imperative that the reviews posted by PRN members support a successful product launch.

NOTE 1: If you receive a product and feel inclined to give it a bad review for any reason, we respectfully request that you CONTACT US REGARDING THE ISSUE rather than posting a bad review. In a case like this, we will most likely ask you to simply refrain from posting a review (so as not to harm our client's young product listing). A bad review can be devastating; contacting us rather than posting a bad review allows us to help the client improve their product in a way that does not damage the product or their reputation.

NOTE 2: If you have posted "bad reviews" (3 stars or less) for products received through the Product Review Network in the past, we respectfully request that you go back and reconsider those review(s) based on the content of this email.

To reiterate: our clients have entrusted you with the end result of much hard work and great expense. If, FOR ANY REASON, you are disappointed with the product you have received free of charge, PLEASE CONTACT US rather than posting a bad review. If you have ANY questions, please contact me directly by replying to this email.

Thank you!
Susan G


John Mc Gowan said...

OT of sorts.

About 18months ago i realised (some may already have picked up on it a long time ago) looking at the "Amazon" logo the "subliminal" message within.

Notice the arrow it begins a "A" and ends at Z". This is to say we can deliver anywhere in the world from "A" to "Z". Now look at the arrow again, it is a smiley face. Again, it suggests, we deliver with satisfaction and are customers are are happy with ours service. This smiley face comes in all sorts of advertising. Take for instance, one example, a clock (this is extreme. lol) You will notice that the big hand will point to the number ten and the little hand points to the number two, and variations thereof (sometime, even if it is a digital clock it will read 13:50 or 22:10) when advertising their product. Trivial i know, it's little things like this i tend to pick up upon.

I have to much "time" on my hands, lol.

Anonymous said...

I used to do some of those review sites. Not only do you get those reactions but they somehow obtain your phone number and proceed to harass you on your home phone number as well as email. They threaten you, they offer to pay you, they offer you other free products, and as a result generally if I see that disclaimer I find another product to buy.

Tania Cadogan said...

That you do John.
I am one of the people who get to test products as well reporting on product ideas.
It is fun plus i get paid for it (a couple of pounds or points which i save up & then exchange for a gift card for my amazon account.
This is why on the tv ads you see an odd number of consumers say they would give said product 5 stars.

This is where SA comes in handy.

When it comes to product concepts & there are multiple ideas, differences in container, labeling etc some of their concepts are fairly good, someone having put some thought into it.
others are so bad they make me Grr.
This type are the ones where i use SA to the full & basically tear the blurb to shreds, pointing out nicely where they are going wrong, what makes sense, what makes no sense at all & if they have hired someone with no brain & a liquid lunch who needs smacking with a wet haddock.
These are the ones where i make my own suggestions as to what they need to be saying in regard to said product, what it does, the labeling, the tagline etc.
Me being me i always say they are welcome to use my suggestions as long as i get credit.
When it comes to testing products, this is where i have to use SA to the best of my ability.
I know that what i say can have a profound effect on the product & whether it will be released to the consumer as is, whether it will be tweaked, or back to the drawing board.
I have to make it clear what i mean when i give my opinions.
I get the forms to fill in asking my opinions of specific areas which can be a lot, depending on product.
If a product is good, it does what it says etc then i will write a detailed positive review.
If a product is average i will not only write a detailed review, i will also suggest what can be done to improve it or make it appealing to consumers.
If a product is bad, i will tell them in no uncertain terms why it is bad, what can be done to improve it & what can be corrected regarding taglines etc.
I have had a couple of products where i have been scathing.
One was for a well known brand of soup.
There were 5 products sent out to be tested, they were tweaking the recipe.
The one i got was inedible. all i could taste was vinegar & tin.
I manage to have a couple of teaspoonfuls n order to be able to comment on oiliness, mouth feel, etc.
Normally i would love this particular product & wolf it down, i struggled with even 2 teaspoons worth.
I was blunt, polite & even ended up with a final comment that i forgave them for the trauma to my taste buds.
I notice that for some products, testers don't follow the instructions & will write positive reviews such as i give this 5 stars, i highly recommend this product without saying why.
I think i get so many products to test from certain companies as i write a thorough review.
The best product to test to date has been a £260 steam generator iron.
I hate ironing & use gravity to get the wrinkles out.
I wrote a positive review for this item as it did what it said on the box & most of all it had me enjoying ironing which was a first.

I have found when purchasing an item which proved to be not as claimed or faulty that they do not like if i post an honest review about something.
This is usually after they have refused to admit it was faulty/refused to give a refund.
They can get quite nasty if i refuse to back down.
On the other h& if i have had excellent service, the product s better than i expected/ high quality/exactly what i ordered then i will write not only a positive review, i will send them a nice email thanking them & praising them for being a good seller, positive feedback works & i have had a partial refund as a thank you or some vouchers.
This also works when i make suggestions to companies on product ideas, suggestions for a new product or a way of making use of something they currently discard.
Odes work particularly well, it makes them smile & feel appreciated.
It also means that i get remembered & i get better service the next time i see them.

Tania Cadogan said...

Off topic BBM

The Department of Justice is scrubbing references of radical Islamic beliefs from the transcripts of calls Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen made to police during his massacre, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Sunday.

A partial transcript of the conversations between authorities and Mateen, who killed 49 and wounded 53 in the June 12 attack at a Florida gay nightclub, is set to be released on Monday. But Lynch, who appeared on numerous Sunday talk shows, said the transcripts will not include Mateen's oath of loyalty to ISIS or any other religious justification for the attack.

“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda,” Lynch told NBC. “We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State].”

The calls could confirm Mateen's motives in the wake of Facebook postings from the killer that already reveal Islamist leanings.

“I pledge my alliance to (ISIS leader) abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me,” Mateen wrote in one post during the attack. “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” …“You kill innocent women and children by doing us taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

Other posts include warnings to the U.S. and Russia to stop bombing the Islamic State and a prediction that more ISIS attacks would follow Mateen's assault.

But that "radical Islam" angle is likely to be missing from Monday's release.

Critics blasted the move by the administration, which has rejected branding terrorist acts as motivated by radical Islam and has sought to paint the Orlando attack as a gun control issue.

"This is not just a simple wording issue," Ric Grenell, a Fox News contributor and former aide to UN Ambassador John Bolton told Fox and Friends Monday morning. "The fact that Loretta Lynch is somehow redacting the specific enemy that is being called out here is a PR move."

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giluiani, also on Fox and Friends Monday, said it does not help law enforcement to try to bury the motivations or allegiences of criminals and terrorists.

"Why didn't they do this with the Mafia, to spare Italian-Americans?" Giuliani asked. "Why? Because if you did, you would never make the connection [which ultimately] brought them down."

Mateen died in a hail of gunfire after police blew a hole in the side of the venue following a three-hour hostage standoff. But before his final moments came, Mateen declared allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi -- right in the midst of the slaughter.

The move to edit the transcripts of Mateen's calls harkens back to April, when French President Francois Hollande's reference to "Islamist terrorism" was left out of an official White House video during an international summit in Washington D.C. The White House later told several news outlets the dropped phrase was a "technical issue."

President Obama famously has tried not to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" in his remarks, a position many Republicans have lambasted him for. Obama has said he believes that phrase gives a measure of legitimacy to terror groups.

Tania Cadogan said...


And as investigators look past Mateen's religious convictions, Lynch said a top goal is to build a complete profile of the gunman in order to help prevent another massacre like Orlando.

“We are trying to re-create the days, the weeks, the months of this killer’s life before this attack,” Lynch said. “And we are also asking those people who had contact with him to come forward and give us that information as well.”

Mateen was the focus of two FBI investigations into suspected terrorism. However, the probes were concluded without further action, and Mateen was allowed to legally buy firearms.

Lynch said the Justice Department is “going to go back and see what changes could have been made,” regarding how the investigations were handled.

Lynch said she’s traveling to Orlando Tuesday to meet with federal investigators.

While speaking to CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Lynch said that a key goal of the probe was to determine why Mateen targeted the gay community. The victims were predominantly gay and Hispanic since it was "Latin Night" at Pulse.

Lynch, speaking to “Fox News Sunday,” declined to say whether federal authorities will charge anybody in connection with the mass murder. She also declined to comment on why the wife of the shooter has not been arrested, amid purported evidence that she either helped her husband plot the murders or suspected his intentions and did not alert authorities.

Lynch also expressed support for Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn's amendment, which is scheduled for a vote Monday in the Senate and would allow the federal government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for as long as 72 hours. Afterward, prosecutors would have to persuade a judge to block the sale permanently.

Lynch said such an amendment would give the federal government the ability to stop a sale to somebody on the terror watch list.

Meanwhile, thousands of people packed Lake Eola Park in Florida Sunday evening for a vigil to honor the victims of the shooting. The park was filled with people holding white flowers, American flags and candles.

At the end of the gathering, people held up their candles as the name of each victim was read, creating a ring of fire around Lake Eola. They chanted "One Orlando," ''Orlando United" and "Somos Orlando," Spanish for "We are Orlando."

"That event has gotten the attention of the world," said Evania Nichols, an Orlando resident. "And, for Orlando — a city that's always been incredibly inclusive no matter your skin color, no matter your background — it's brought about a movement that I think is starting here and I really hope continues."

How much more blatant does obama have to be regarding his muslim beliefs and his intention to bring down America?
How much more obvious does he have to be for Americans to see his true intentons?

The terrorist told them his motive and yet they refuse to believe it and instead have decided his motive was something else, anything else other than islam.

I am shocked that they won;t even allow the terrorists own motive, spoken using the process of free editing to be publicised.
Americans are now being told lies regarding terrorist ideology, that obama is squashing and redacting any link between islam and terrorism.

I wonder if obama s going to go out with a bang, he will do something that will reveal the truth of lie, his ideological beliefs laid bare for the world to see?

Will he be impeached because his intent to harm America is so blatant?
Will laws be brought in to prevent his ilk ever getting in again?
Will he ever be prosecuted when it turns out he was never eligible to be president in the first place?
Will laws he brought in to favor islam be revoked?
Will others take the fall for him?

Something is brewing and it isn't going to be good

Hey Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Jude said...

That email is shocking - basically don't post a bad review if the product is obviously rubbish; we are relying on those who are unethical enough to write positive reviews to assist in the off-load of massive quantities of substandard merchandise for our shifty clients....
Wow :-/ How can that be legal?

Related - this was priceless, a few weeks back:

and her goodbye rant, which, understandably, was not well received by other mommy bloggers who are in deep denial. It was a bit harsh considering those she addressed were all part of her blogging 'community', competitors really, not much love lost there - she didn't spare anyone's feelings (bad language at the link):

I found her blog, and reading round a couple of those written by those who responded to her, a fascinating insight into how 'reviewing' mommy bloggers live their lives, even arranging much of life, and their families' lives, round the products and 'experiences' they review.
It's a sad old world, even for those whose problems are only first world - everything's relative.

(Deleted and reposted to remove duplicate paragraph)

John Mc Gowan said...


FBI releases partial transcript of Orlando nightclub shooting calls


The following is based on Orlando Police Department (OPD) radio communication
(times are approximate):
2:02 a.m.: OPD call transmitted multiple shots fired at Pulse nightclub.
2:04a.m.: Additional OPD officers arrived on scene.
2:08 a.m.: Officers from various law enforcement agencies made entrance to Pulse
and engaged the shooter.
2:18 a.m.: OPD S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons & Tactics) initiated a full call-out.
2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted
approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:
Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Shooter (OM)
OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OD: What?
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of
God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf
of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?

OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]
(Shortly thereafter, the shooter engaged in three conversations with OPD’s Crisis
Negotiation Team.)
2:48 a.m.: First crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately nine minutes.
3:03 a.m.: Second crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately 16 minutes.
3:24 a.m.: Third crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately three minutes.
In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the
crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted],
and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is
why he was “out here right now.” When the crisis negotiator asked the shooter
what he had done, the shooter stated, “No, you already know what I did.” The
shooter continued, stating, “There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs,
just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they
try to do anything stupid.” Later in the call with the crisis negotiator, the shooter
stated that he had a vest, and further described it as the kind they “used in
France.” The shooter later stated, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more
of this type of action going on.” The shooter hung up and multiple attempts to get
in touch with him were unsuccessful.
4:21 a.m.: OPD pulled an air conditioning unit out of a Pulse dressing room window
for victims to evacuate.
(While the FBI will not be releasing transcripts of OPD communication with
victims, significant information obtained from those victims allowed OPD to gain
knowledge of the situation inside Pulse.)
4:29 a.m.: As victims were being rescued, they told OPD the shooter said he was
going to put four vests with bombs on victims within 15 minutes.
(An immediate search of the shooter’s vehicle on scene and inside Pulse
ultimately revealed no vest or improvised explosive device.)
5:02 a.m.: OPD SWAT and OCSO Hazardous Device Team began to breach wall
with explosive charge and armored vehicle to make entry.
5:14 a.m.: OPD radio communicationstated that shots were fired.
5:15 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that OPD engaged the suspect and the
suspect wasreported down.
Based on OPD radio communications, there were no reports of shots being fired inside
Pulse between the initial exchange of gunfire between responding officers and shooter,

John Mc Gowan said...

and the time of the final breach. During this time, the shooter communicated with an
OPD 911 operator and an OPD crisis negotiator, and OPD radio communications
reported that victims were being rescued.
The FBI urges the public to provide information about the shooter and any contact they
may have had with him. Since the release of the FBI’s Seeking Information poster, the
FBI has received thousands of tips. The FBI will investigate every tip.
To provide a tip, please call1-800-CALL-FBI or visit