Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Using Amazon Reviews

One of the kitchen tools I often find useful is a probe thermometer. You put the probe in the loaf of bread (or cut of meat) in the oven, run the cable it is attached to out the oven door to the main part of the thermometer and can see the internal temperature of what you are baking without opening the oven. 

After checking the two I had and trashing the one that didn't work, I decided to order another from Amazon as a backup. A brief search found a model that was substantially less expensive than others. It had 42 reviews—39 gave the product five stars, two gave it two stars, one gave it one star.

Just to play safe, I tried limiting reviews to verified purchases only. There were three--the three lowest. So I ordered a different model. It was a little more expensive, but the positive reviews were real.

Be warned.

6 Comments:

At 9:31 PM, September 11, 2018, Blogger paul miller said...

You might enjoy this:
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/06/27/623990036/episode-850-the-fake-review-hunter

 
At 6:45 AM, September 12, 2018, Blogger smolin said...

I try not to pay attention to ratings based on less than 100 ratings, and prefer to see 1000 or more. In fact, I wish Amazon had a way to exclude then from the "4 stars or higher" search results! But I also recently found the website fakespot.com that rates the ratings on any given Amazon product --- for the item you linked it gave a "meta rating" of F: https://www.fakespot.com/product/wehome-digital-meat-thermometer-touchscreen-instant-read-meat-thermometer-with-timer-alert-for-for-food-milk-tea-bbq-grill-smokers

 
At 11:38 AM, September 12, 2018, Blogger Lawrence Kesteloot said...

Click through the profiles of some of the 5-star reviews. They're very predictable. All their reviews are 5-star, and many are on the same day (like, several reviewers have 4 reviews each, all five stars, and all on August 16 of this year). With all the brains and machine learning at Amazon you'd think they'd be able to spot this more easily. I consider reviews one of the most valuable parts of Amazon, and they must know this. They're risking a lot by letting fake reviews through.

 
At 7:47 AM, September 13, 2018, Blogger Jonathan said...

I've virtually given up reviewing stuff on Amazon, because too many of my past reviews (all of things that I'd actually bought) were later deleted, for no reason that I can understand. Why would I waste my time writing a review for which I get no benefit and which later gets deleted? I still find Amazon a convenient place to buy stuff, but its review facility seems to be broken in various ways.

 
At 11:50 AM, September 16, 2018, Anonymous Doctor Mist said...

Interesting: this morning there are only three reviews, two two-stars and a one-star, all verified-purchasers -- presumably the ones you saw after filtering. Amazon says the item was first listed only a month and a half ago. I wonder if they were tipped off about fake reviews, or does it just took a while for whatever AI crawler they use to find them?

Thanks for the tip about verified purchasers; I hadn't realized you could filter for that. I will start doing that henceforward. (Of course, somebody like this Wehome company could pay $600 to buy 50 of their own product in order to post the positive reviews as verified purchasers. I'm sure it's a constant arms race.)

 
At 7:41 PM, September 18, 2018, Blogger Cathy Raymond said...

I should have thought about filtering for verified purchasers, but did not. Instead, I look at the reviews starting with the one-star reviews and moving upward. The things that are discussed in those reviews usually give me a reliable guide as to whether I want to buy the product or not.

 

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