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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: WX2S on January 27, 2013, 02:44:37 PM



Title: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: WX2S on January 27, 2013, 02:44:37 PM
Hi, all,

While searching for a piece of equipment, I came across one or two websites that suggested (well, flat out stated) that certain manufacturers were exercising "reputation control" to get negative reviews removed. Some of it was positive, replacing failed equipment. But some was more negative.

I checked one of the items in question, which I won't state here, and I can believe that one of the owners was right. Glowing reviews, but plenty of problems listed in the forums.

Any idea how much of that sort of thing goes on?

73,
- WX2S.


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KB4QAA on January 27, 2013, 05:03:43 PM
Can you be more vague, please?   ;)

-no brand
-no product
-no review
-no complaint
-no stating how they are controlling whom
-no web sites

As long as we are talking about ham radio, how are the Red Sox looking this year?


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: N4JTE on January 27, 2013, 07:08:27 PM
Steve your question is more suited for the Misc forum.
Bob


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: WX2S on January 27, 2013, 07:24:47 PM
Mods, please move  it there.

Thanks,
- WX2S.


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KA4POL on January 28, 2013, 09:54:39 PM
The same thing can happen to you in some of the Yahoo groups. If you dare to be critical about the group's beloved gear you find yourself no longer having access to that group.
And keep in mind that there are meanwhile businesses making money running positive support for certain hotels or negative against the competition.


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: AJ4WC on January 29, 2013, 07:02:42 AM
I posted my first review of an AL-80B.  The review mentioned a few problems, but wasn't super critical.  The review never appeared...   ::)


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: WX2S on January 29, 2013, 08:09:09 AM
To get specific about one example:

http://wd5eae.org/Review%20of%20the%20Palstar%20AT-AUTO.html

Quote from: wd5eae.org
Those customers who have no problems talk about what a wonderful unit the AT-AUTO is. Those customers with failures or who get replacement units want to stay quiet in the hopes that they don't lose their > $1K investment with even poorer service from Palstar.

Those customers who have no problems talk about what a wonderful unit the AT-AUTO is. Those customers with failures or who get replacement units want to stay quiet in the hopes that they don't lose their > $1K investment with even poorer service from Palstar.

This, if true, is reputation control.

Disclaimer: I am neutral on the subject of the HF-AUTO and Palstar. But this does not look like random griping. I've seen random griping about other products I've been interested in, and this does not look like it. I would honestly love to believe that the HF-AUTO is the perfect QRO autotuner, because I would like to find a QRO autotuner that works well and long.

I've also seen some effects that look like reputation control on the MFJ-998, but nothing I can put my finger on.

Regards,
- Steve (WX2S.)


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KB4QAA on January 29, 2013, 09:51:32 AM
Well, if owners choose to hide their problems in order to mislead others in hopes of dumping bad equipment, that is a human behavior problem.

The Palstar problems haven't been hidden, in fact much of it has played out here on the eham forums.  Autotuner problems, manual tuner problems, Commander amplifier problems, parting of ways between a key engineer.....

Regarding disappearing reviews, that is under the control of the website owner.  To be honest, more than a few reviews have disappeared hear on eHam....  Now, there may be valid reasons, but Moderators and Administrators should be upfront about their action, and give at least a brief reason, e.g.  "Review removed; libelous, unfair, inaccurate. "  etc.


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KE3WD on January 29, 2013, 09:58:30 AM
The latin phrase is, "caveat emptor"...


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: W6EM on January 29, 2013, 07:02:53 PM
Let's think 'outside the box' for a second.  Are these website forums objective podiums that don't accept support from dealers or manufacturers? (look outside THIS box right now for a clue).

 


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: N2MG on January 30, 2013, 06:31:50 AM
I've been here since Day One and eHam has never kowtowed to any manufacturer (advertiser or not).  You can choose to believe that or not, but I'll defend that statement as far as I can.  Also, we do the best we can to keep the Product Reviews signal-to-noise high, but it's nearly impossible to prove anyone posting a review did not experience the problem they may be complaining about, or that the poster actually owns or even used the equipment.

As to the "disappearing reviews" - there is a list of "rules" at the far right of the reviews main page.  If someone chooses to ignore or break those rules, their post is subject to either never making the light of day, or being hunted down and deletion later.  We don't tolerate lots of manufacturer bashing, or dialogue in the reviews. It's not a "forum" for taking apart another's post, or for complaining about a long turn-around time at the Yaesu repair depot ( no offense Yaesu ;-) ).  Our volunteer staff generally does not have the time or inclination to respond to each deleted submission with a list of rules that were broken.  The various feature managers - reviews, links, classifieds, etc. - have full discretion over their areas and my support.

As far as manufacturers go, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) at the extent some manufacturers go to try to suppress negative reviews, or to coerce users to make positive reviews (sad for users).  Many quote or point to our reviews and don't support us financially (sad for us).

In general, online reviews are a mix of naivete, ignorance and incompetence along with posts of genuine merit.  It's really up to the user to ferret out which is which.

Personally, I ALWAYS read any negative reviews first and try to see what the complaints are.  Often 80% are bogus or nearly so.  Then there are a few with a grain of truth.  The 5-star ratings are also suspect: "Hey, I've had this radio for 4 hours and it's great!".  Really?

73 Mike N2MG


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: K3GM on January 30, 2013, 06:46:58 AM
.......
While searching for a piece of equipment, I came across one or two websites that suggested (well, flat out stated) that certain manufacturers were exercising "reputation control" to get negative reviews removed. Some of it was positive, replacing failed equipment. But some was more negative.......
This has happened to me as a result of a less-than-glowing review right here on eHam of a product that shall go unnamed.  I was called by the owner of the company on a Saturday morning, to my cell phone while my wife and I were out for breakfast.  How he got my cell number remains a mystery.  We launched into a cordial chat.  The owner wanted to get to the bottom of why I gave his product a scathing review.  After about 30 minutes of discussion, the owner of the company asked me to box the entire product up, of which there were a number of parts placed around my yard and shack, and agreed to replace the entire product with a new updated unit with one caveat.  I in turn would agree to return the defective product, and update my review here on eHam.  After sinking $700 into a now unusable piece of equipment, I unfortunately jumped at the opportunity.  Upon receiving the replacement, I put it into use and added a second post regarding the product.  Mysteriously, my original post disappeared, so my references to it weren't of any help.  In my updated review, I stated the facts, the phone call, etc.  I never heard from the manufacturer so I assumed he was satisfied with my end of the agreement.

In retrospect, I'm not proud of the events that led to a free replacement.  I should have stuck to my original review and left it stand.  It was junk, and I wasn't alone with that opinion.  I just got lucky.  I feel that I compromised my integrity just to save $700.  I still believe the product is far inferior to its competition (which I now use), and I don't hesitate to state that in any of the forums when a discussion of the product may arise.

Interesting.... I just checked the re-write of my review and found that the update has been deleted as well.  While I don't know how long it's been down, I do know it had been up for several years. That I will take a sworn oath to.


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KB4QAA on February 01, 2013, 11:13:02 AM
N2MG, Mike,
Thanks for taking the time to comment!  Cheers, bill


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: W5LZ on February 03, 2013, 12:17:45 PM
Except for very rare instances, reviews are the personal opinion of the people writing them.  I don't have any means of doing objective measurements that mean a lot, I honestly don't know of anyone who does.  That means that if I review something, it's my observations and preferences/opinions.  I 'read' all reviews that way.  That 'caveat emptor' is a very nice way of looking at reviews, and I think a better one than just taking them at face value.  I'll bet your requirements/preferences aren't always my requirements/preferences so how can your experience make it 'right' for me?
 - 'Doc


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: WE1X on February 08, 2013, 09:08:46 AM
Actually, this has become a very significant issue well beyond ham radio and eHAM. Consumer product sites, e-tailer sites (e.g., Amazon, Best Buy), web review forums, etc. have been experiencing a growing wave of "fake" reviews financed by competitors and manufacturers to bash or extoll a particular item or vendor. Several software companies, including one of my clients, have developed tools to study and analyze language use, syntax, etc. among reviews to detect patterns. Once done and when suspect reviews are found work is done to analyze the source ... particularly location. I seem to recall one of the business mags, possible Bloomberg BusinessWeek, had an article about the growing "fake" review business (and this is a business with "reviewers" paid to generate a glowing or negative review) and actions vendors were taking to address it.

Given the nature of reviews based upon personal experience, I would never make a purchasing decision on the content of any specific review(s). Instead, I look for trends and what the "community" at large has to say about a product or vendor.

Harry WE1X


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: KE3WD on February 08, 2013, 11:57:31 AM
http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_hancock_3_types_of_digital_lies.html

Towards the end, Jeff reveals some of the artifacts that programmers are looking for to write the algorithms that sort out truth telling vs lies in text such as found in "reviews" etc. 

An intelligent human being can easily use that information to help sort things out. 


73


Title: RE: Reputation control and reviews
Post by: W5DQ on February 13, 2013, 11:45:40 AM

Given the nature of reviews based upon personal experience, I would never make a purchasing decision on the content of any specific review(s). Instead, I look for trends and what the "community" at large has to say about a product or vendor.


Exactly as it should be done (or at least applied). The overall "picture" created by reading the reviews is one of the ways I judge the suitability and quality of any item I intend to procure, whether it is for work or ham radio. One line "5 star" ratings are immeadiately squashed as non-informative (i.e. 'had it for a week and it has not failed' - ok but how was it used?). Same with low count quantity "1 star" gripes.

If the gripe is repeated over and over again then it requires more scrutiny as to why it is occuring but single (or two or three) complaint could be seen as 'the inability of the user to understand and follow directions correctly'. If a product has the typical bell curve of user reviews but is skewed towards the low end of the scale, then that suggests that either the product indeed may have a problem(s) and may need to be investigated further before deciding to procure. If it is too high, then it also needs to be closely looked at since there is no such thing as a 'perfect' product. The higher the price, the closer I scrutinize the high level reviews. No one wants to admit they bought a lemon for a bucket of money!

The number of review samples also is a big motivator in how the reviews are analyzed. A small set of reviews might not reveal the real truth about a product in as much as a very large sample set would.

Bottom line, it is up to the reader of the reviews to apply common sense and read their own 'gut' feeling about the product under review. I have never been burned YET from taking a sound logical (and educated) approach to deciphering on-line reviews. But nor do I base decisions solely on them either.

Gene W5DQ