TOP UK CONSUMER “WHICH” MAGAZINE SLATES AMAZON PRODUCT REVIEWS
Oh dear Which? I have just run to my front door excitedly to pick up this month’s copy of Which magazine as part of my yearly subscription. The front cover has a special “Features & Investigations” and puts online product reviews and Amazon.com into the spot light. “We didn’t have time to check Amazon UK,” says Which, who are the only “independent” subscription based consumer testing organisation in the UK. Yet, for a UK magazine it begs the question to why they bother to highlight an American site where products can’t normally be sent to the UK.
As a domestic product review writer for more than ten years and something I do as a hobby because I enjoy writing (and it improved my Dyslexia skills no end) I also write reviews for Amazon.com as well as Amazon.co.uk
However, there is an inaccurate report on “ giving you the full picture ,” that Which has outlined in the report.
They state that a “ verified purchase ,” means products bought by members online are being given them free . This is completely wrong .
The “verified purchase,” means a verified purchase. It means the product or service has been paid for and consumers have the right to write a review if they wish. Same as they would do for John Lewis and other companies - though Argos UK use a silly third party company who invite the buyer to write a review and its a pity Which don’t go and check out Argos instead. (see my post regarding Argos underhandedness http://personapaper.com/article/38287-too-bazaar-to-be-a-true-voice-for-product-reviewing-at-argos-uk)
Free products on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk are given with the Amazon Vine program, a selected secret club that Amazon themselves invite selected members where a certain number of reviews on site meet a target. I have never had an invite and I always write my product reviews fairly and squarely! I have always bought the products I review.
Briefly last year my own rating on Amazon UK reached 500 in terms of being a “top 500 reviewer.” But mostly all of my reviews are either verified purchases, or reviews cross posted from other sites to give consumers the requirement to read a review about a product that Amazon UK might be selling. I didn’t even know that a journalist - a Mr Rhodri Marsden had taken the time to write about me in the The Independent paper (see http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/online-reviewers-fill-a-vacuum-for-the-average-consumer-and-our-opinions-carry-huge-weight-9901714.html ) for example, but good to see for honest words realised by another buyer.
Sadly for Which they have also outlined one particular product line that I know a lot about - vacuum cleaners - and they have done themselves NO FAVOURS by outlining that their testing approach is better than mere consumer feedback on Amazon UK.
Take for example Miele vacuums - a model line & brand that Which have conveniently forgotten to mention. Miele appliances for most of the UK are unreachable because of their expensive cost prices. Their vacuums are not alone here in terms of being expensive to buy and in some cases being expensive to run dependent on the model and the amount of consumables required. Yet, Which make an example of a Hoover bagless and cordless stick vac to outline their 42% testing data of the model compared to customer feedback of 78% on Amazon.co.uk
This isn’t actual news to any consumer, but rather a cheap way of pushing Which’s so-called independent testing. What Which fail to state in reality is that most of the Miele vacuums they test consistently have different data when tested, even if the models themselves might be a different colour or feature a different filter on board. It is the same with a lot of the appliances that Which TEST; they test products individually but fail to have common sense when a vacuum cleaner has a different colour but remains the same model underneath the cosmetic changes.
REALITY : Base level Miele vacuums are just as good as the top rangers that Which consistently promote; it is the floor tools or filter upgrades that determine the different models in reality and different test data findings. As a buyer you can upgrade your Miele vacuum cleaner to match the top models tested with a "Best Buy" Which label on them.
So its not all doom and gloom where Amazon is concerned and their product reviews. "Which?" need to take a more honest approach here and a factual one based on real information rather than making it up. Shame on you Which - I’d have thought you’d have known better. (c)Nar2Reviews2015.
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