back to article Review sites commit to address UK regulator's concerns

The operators of five online review websites have committed to take action to resolve concerns raised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that consumers were not getting a "complete picture when making buying decisions", the regulator has said. Between them the companies have agreed (3-page/240KB PDF) to take …

  1. Ole Juul

    Seriously?

    Review sites are taken seriously? Surely nobody takes them at their word. I personally find using Google to search through miscellaneous forums and blogs to be much more informative in aiding my buying decisions.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Seriously?

      I rarely find a 'review site' that actually gives a review. It's usually adverts or links to Amazon, etc. Then again, how would they make any money otherwise?

  2. Paul Shirley

    new internet skill

    Sad that an essential internet skill is knowing how to recognise paid ads everywhere an opinion is given.

    Had yet another offer to supply as many fake reviews as I wanted to pay for just yesterday. Don't see how those services will be affected by disclosure requirements they'll simply ignore. At least in the old days you had to actually go to a pub in person with a journalist to buy a good review ;)

  3. Dr Paul Taylor

    Checkatrade

    They now have sufficiently many members that it can be used to compile a shortlist of people to contact by email to do a job.

    They do verify whether the reviews come from customers, though they have not yet told me what penalty they intend to impose on a trader who sent in one purportedly from me.

    Of course there is suppression of negative reviews - by the customers themselves. Was this mediocre job bad enough to warrant a complaint or do I just want to get on with my life?

    But it's much better than when we only had the Y*ll*w P*g*s.

    1. Peter 26

      Re: Checkatrade

      You don't pay checkatrade, the businesses advertised there do. These businesses are checkatrade's customers and they won't do anything that would stop them paying them.

      Just go look at roofers, the dodgiest business there is, yet the majority on checkatrade has a 99.7% approval rating?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's all gamed

    more or less. Some sites do it blatantly, like argos, by publishing only positive reviews. Others, like amazon, "employ" a steeply growing number of "trusted reviewers" who, surprise-surprise, almost exclusively provide five, or at worst, four stars for the products they "review". It's getting harder and plain tedious to sift through the opinions and work out which ones are genuine and reliable, especially if you know nothing about the subject. And then you have youtube, where more or more people are presenting "views" and "opinions", and then you have a 30 min slick video of an electrician rubbishing cheap Chinese led bulbs, and you start asking yourself, does he get a life, or does he get paid for this? And the people commenting below the video, are they for real, too much on their hands, or are they paid for those comments too?

    1. VulcanV5

      Re: it's all gamed

      Argos in the UK was until recently retailing a Nikon 55-200mm zoom lens at a not inconsiderable price. It was also posting on that item's website page questions from potential buyers who weren't sure if the lens came with Vibration Reduction or not. Argos had provided its own response but it was ambiguous. I therefore responded myself, even though I'm not an Argos customer. I explained that the lens Argos was selling was in fact a very old model, and that Nikon had brought out not one but two newer versions. Argos thanked me for helping out with the customer's question and then a day later published my answer in full. The effect of what I'd written would have been to put anyone off buying that particular Nikon lens from Argos at that price. . . and Argos would have known that.

      People like you who come along with such obviously glib denunciations are as bad as those on review sites who post their obviously fake commendations. If you've evidence of Argos running a shilling operation then say so. Oh, and no: I have no connection whatsoever with Argos, other than admiring its openness.

  5. BurnT'offering

    How can we trust review sites?

    If only there was a website where we could rate them

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