Why you shouldn’t trust reviews.

I’ve been looking for a house for about 9 months now. I’m mostly priced out of Nevada at this point – Reno to Elko, prices are so high with multiple offers and $20K over asking…it’ a nightmare. But during this nightmare I turned to someone who knows the market and the business of real estate more I do.

Slimy realtors.

Do any of us really like realtors? I mean I’ve met some very nice ones… nice on the surface. Hiding things. Lying. Only concerned with their online reputation. Recently I was in contract for a town home. The realtor seemed very personable, friendly, straight forward. Her online reviews were very high. Almost too high…

I’m not longer buying the town house. (Always carry a tape measure with you.) The laundry closet designed by the builder was so SMALL – no ordinary washer or dryer would fit. This isn’t a matter of a tight fit even – you could barely get in a compact washer. They blew this off until I got super angry at them and presented my measurements and all the information I gathered from appliance retailers.

The real estate agent promised to refund my earnest money.

But she hasn’t. Another realtor in Battle Mountain NV slathered me so hard with “information” and non stop crap I got confused and showed up (an hour from where I live) on the wrong day. They were nasty people too. And the actual homes were not even close to the MLS photos. They were taken during spring when grass was green and lush and trees were in bloom. Everything was dead, dry and not taken care of. The angle made the homes and property look enormous – when they were lapping at the gutter.

I trusted the realtor because of the double digit glowing reviews. I realized that the majority of them all were fake. (You can fake a Google review SUPER EASY). When I posted my review of the realtor – within 5 minutes the realtor was bullying and attacking me via text, email and google. I was pressured so hard I had to delete the review. I didn’t want to be sued for defamation even though I posted honest words, even held back some.

I’ve had similar experiences with moving companies, apartment complexes, car dealerships, restaurants, cell phone repair and many more. The attacks and threats from the business come swiftly and are unrelenting. It’s one way to find out that the rest of their reviews are FAKED.

Enter Amazon. I think that there are lucrative slimy businesses with a sole purpose of crafting fake reviews for a seller. It’s more prevalent than you think. Ever buy something with non stop glowing reviews, you ignore the few bad ones thinking someone was just being mean or snobby… The item you are so excited about lands at your front door, you rip open the box and…. here comes the disapointment and confusion.

“This is what I ordered?”

And why go through the trouble to send it back?…that’s too much work. So you use it for awhile or just throw it away.

Books can be the same way – an outpouring of long crafted reviews. I am not sure how fake those all are, however it’s easy to trash someone’s book if say you get offended by one tiny little thing in it.

We are so critical. So apt to spill our guts over a book, movie, product, service…to the point where small business, independent writers, artists, creators, crafters, have an ridiculously hard time trying to survive at all.

I’m not saying you should go easy when writing a review. I take negative reviews into much consideration. How can I be better? Should I ignore this? What can I improve? Are there major adjustments or small ones to enact?

I will never attack, harass or bully someone for a negative review. If I don’t get a 5 star review, that’s okay. I want REAL. If it is an unwarranted review meant to do harm to my work or persona – yeah, I will report it. But Amazon doesn’t care and won’t do anything about it. I almost have no choice but to use Amazon as a publishing platform – they have nearly snuffed out all else. I hate that.

Some review etiquette:

  • Don’t write when you’re mad. Calm down a little and organize your anger into intelligent words.
  • Explain your experience but don’t go overboard. If it was that bad – contact the FCC, FTC, legal entity or other recource.
  • Don’t just write one line because you want revenge, “It sucked.” “The whole thing was horrible”.
  • For positive reviews, don’t make your’s look like everyone else’s. That looks fake. Be you. Make your experience come across.
  • Sometimes you need to post the positive and negative – doing both makes your review look very genuine.
  • How much are you trying to destroy a business or service? Do they really deserve that? Did you try and work with them before things got bad?
  • Are you prepared for the backlash in leaving a negative review? In my case I have been harassed and bullied. Fear tactics are common with some people.
  • If you were wronged or had a truly horrible experience – don’t hold back. Explain in detail the whole thing.
  • If you’re on the other end of a bad review – make it right with person. Try. Try harder. Look at your business model, your social media goals, and ask yourself, are you more interested in seeking revenge against the unhappy client or do they have a point? The way you respond to a bad review says a lot about you, your company, your services and/or product.

Etsy behemoth.

Lastly I must place the spotlight on Etsy. I sold on Etsy for many years and achieved very high reviews. If anyone was unhappy I urged them to contact me – and I was readily available. I was ready to give a refund or replacement or help track lost packages and much more. I never once got a negative review.

However once I started BUYING on Etsy – I realized the scams taking place on the site. I would need to write a book about this, there is too much disturbing information for just a blog post. For the first time ever I left a negative review a week ago for seller I bought a plant from, that I never received. I followed the tracking and it probably wasn’t all the seller’s fault but the way they sent it was. Cheapt shipping, long distance for a plant in wintertime, using the post office that won’t deliver a package to the front door…guess what? It got stuck in several distribution centers. I assume it died. It’s been over a month and no plant. They never followed up with me and never seemed to care when I brought it to their attention. They may not have been scamming but they were certainly doing bad business.

After I left my review I was attacked on Etsy from seemingly unrelated users that had nothing to do with the plant seller but apparently were angry I wasn’t leaving a glowing, amazing, glossy review. It was very high school cliquish. They attacked who I am, they assumed who I was, my nature, personality and honesty without ever having met me. They formed radical opinions about me based on my shitty experience with a plant purchase. Would they be this bold in real life as relaxing in their armchair at home?

My story isn’t so bad. I’ve heard tale after tale of friends, family and people waiting months for custom orders, never getting things that cost hundreds of dollars, no refund, no communication – and then the seller is suddenly out of business. That’s strange considering they had like 2000+ positive comments and thousands of sales.

Essence of a scam.

And Etsy doesn’t care. They don’t want you to see the negative reviews. That’s bad for their Etsy brand and platform.

Reviews are powerful. As an author I would ask you to be honest, straight forward, tell me your gut, your heart. But if your motive is fueled out of despite and anger, heck, it’s only a book. I’m sure Amazon will give your money back. Be on your way and write your own book! (Or blog post).

Should you trust reviews? I’m not apt to anymore. Not on Google, Amazon and various other sites. I’ve lost a lot of money, time and energy doing so.

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