Have you seen lately? These phony reviews are taking over.
In the clutter of new products, even the best new product has problems getting known. Maybe the vendor doesn't realize they're committing ethical fraud when they buy positive ratings.
To buy and like them, we have to see them. I get it. Marketing is difficult and expensive. An increasing number of vendors started offering significant "gifts" in exchange for a rating. You do not need to ask for "positive" reviews. All you have to do is ask for a link to the review or a screenshot.
While that's kind of understandable from the vendor's point of view, should a site we put our trust in, AppSumo, allow this?
Let me ask you this: Would you consider reviews more or less trustworthy if you knew people received a free product for it?
You could rightfully say that these reviews are incentivized and not fake. That is technically correct.
But here's the problem:
- Generally, people who are unhappy are more unlikely to review an item than people who love or like their purchase. Through gifts, the number of positive reviews artificially increases.
- The vendors ask for screenshots or links to the reviews. Most people don't feel comfortable making critical comments when they send their links in. Also, people are afraid they might not get the gift if they rate anything else than 5 of 5.
So, yes. These reviews are fake. They are intended to manipulate ratings and therefore trick the buyer.
But is it really that bad?
Of my last 6 purchases, the ONLY ONE that didn't offer me a massive gift in return for a rating was a $19 vendor of VJ loops. Sometimes, for instance, a current email solution, the vendor asks for 3 reviews on different sites, including two authority sites that do what they can to fight fake reviews.
If you are not reviewing a product because you want to but because you want what's promised in return for it, you're not a reviewer, you're a mini-jobber. Of the unethical kind.
And I'm talking significant "gifts" (it's not a gift but a payment, as you have to do a task for it. Once you realize that, you also realize that it IS unethical.)
One vendor would double the limits, adding 100% of what you just paid for. Another would add whitelabel which is an incredible advantage.
Hooray to the $19 vendor of VJ loops that doesn't resort to rating manipulation.
Why are fake reviews on AppSumo a problem?
Who doesn't want to get free stuff? Also, it doesn't feel like cheating to leave an overly positive or even unrealistically positive review for a product you purchased.
The "I fool you" "you fool me" approach isn't sustainable. AppSumo tarnishes their reputation as a trustworthy site, and you'll be fooled by fake reviews as many times as you fool others.
Now that it's nearly standard that you get an offer after the purchase, vendors will calculate that into their offering and might take away from their initial offer.
For vendors, the best approach would be to create offers so irresistible people WANT to speak fondly about.
Fake reviews on AppSumo are an increasing problem. They currently have the trust-level of JV-Zoo (not regarding the quality of the products offered but how reliable ratings are.)
Nobody is winning. Vendors don't give more than they intend to do and will tweak the initial value of the deal.
AppSumo sometimes has great deals, but you cannot trust reviews about the products unless people explicitly state they receive nothing in exchange for their reviews. Some vendors force reviews on sites such as Capterra & Co, so that you also cannot trust them anymore.
Use your influence to let AppSumo know if you disagree with the practice of manipulated rating and, therefore, fake reviews on AppSumo.