Do people still trust reviews?

45 replies
Even reviews that seem very genuine seem to have an affiliate link(s) very often. I came across a great site the other day, and you can tell the author was very knowledgable on the subject, because the content on the site was very original in thought and well supported with research. However, it was not until the next day I realised many of his links were actually affiliate links (to amazon and three or four other stores), as I thought they were mostly connected to other sections of the site. He has a lot of traffic, big return visitors, tons of genuine comments on many of his articles. You can't tell me he isn't motivated by the affiliate links he will add to the content each time he writes a new piece.
#people #reviews #trust
  • Profile picture of the author createyouwealth
    People still trust reviews, that's the main thing
    People look for online, as long as your giving
    out valuable information there is nothing wrong
    with affiliate links every once in a while.

    You provide valuable content which equals in you
    hopefully getting commission for your input.

    All the best!
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    • Profile picture of the author Anton543
      Originally Posted by createyouwealth View Post

      People still trust reviews, that's the main thing
      People look for online, as long as your giving
      out valuable information there is nothing wrong
      with affiliate links every once in a while.

      You provide valuable content which equals in you
      hopefully getting commission for your input.

      All the best!
      He actually has, at times, four or five affiliate links blended in with with as many (or twice as amny) links to other sections of the site on some of his pages. This is quite clever, and deceptive. I do have to wonder if he gets mcuh in the way of Google traffic because of so many affiiate links. It has a pretty strong Alexa ranking, and judging by the activity on the blog, I am sure he does indeed geta substantial traffic. Probably the reputation of the blog means he gets substantial number of his visitors from returns and linking from other sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaunybb
    hey,


    People definitely do still trust reviews and many people don't. Many people online photoshop clickbank earnings or paypal earnings. Many scammers pay people for fake testominals and there are a lot of other things going on.


    This is how I personally see if a review or website is trustworthy:-


    • Do they have all the correct legal stuff (privacy policy, disclaimers etc)
    • Do they have an active, live support desk?
    • What is their authority in the niche?
    • Find reviews of the website or person on different sites, forums etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Anton543
      Originally Posted by shaunybb View Post

      hey,


      People definitely do still trust reviews and many people don't. Many people online photoshop clickbank earnings or paypal earnings. Many scammers pay people for fake testominals and there are a lot of other things going on.


      This is how I personally see if a review or website is trustworthy:-


      • Do they have all the correct legal stuff (privacy policy, disclaimers etc)
      • Do they have an active, live support desk?
      • What is their authority in the niche?
      • Find reviews of the website or person on different sites, forums etc.
      Are you referring to the reviewer or the product/merhchant reviewed?
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      • Profile picture of the author shaunybb
        Originally Posted by Anton543 View Post

        Are you referring to the reviewer or the product/merhchant reviewed?


        Yes, because most people that do these reviews or review websites are affiliates for the products!


        EDIT the reviewer!
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    If he has that much traffic and allows comment then I'm sure people
    who bought on his recommendation would post negative reviews of his
    reviews. So his expertise must really be respected. I don't if huge
    websites like CNET.com use affiliate links, but I can't imagine any
    other way of them making money.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author writeaway
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      If he has that much traffic and allows comment then I'm sure people
      who bought on his recommendation would post negative reviews of his
      reviews. So his expertise must really be respected.
      WP allows you to moderate comments.

      Just because there's a comments section doesn't mean comments are posted automatically.
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  • Profile picture of the author munir ahmed
    Hey,
    If I was interested in something and its cost money,
    the first thing I would look for is reviews,

    I always try look for bad reviews first and then
    look at the good reviews....

    If I cannot find reviews then I am out of there,
    because internet is a big sea and there are so
    many fishes selling the same thing.

    There are many sites out there that does comparison
    reviews and ratings so if you are mixed mind which
    service or product to go for then REVIEWS ARE WHAT HELPS YOU DECIDE.....

    So that should clarify about reviews...
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    People would trust a review if......

    the review contains information that can be TRUSTED.


    How does this work?

    Format your content so it is easy to understand

    Avoid obviously stilted reviews

    Break down the different features and benefits offered by the product you're reviewing

    Refer to other authorities (but don't create a traffic leak) to back up your assertions

    Create a graphical comparison

    Call the reader to action to bookmark or somehow store your review

    ABOVE ALL ELSE, make sure your review doesn't have a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. ie., you're pushing obviously inferior products because you're getting a cut. Bad move!
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    It depends on if they trust the person giving the review.
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    • Profile picture of the author zimbizee
      For me, any review that has an affiliate link attached to it has an ulterior motive and should not be trusted for what it is.

      I can say this because i used to have lots of amazon review sites and my main objective was to make money convincing folks to buy the products i reviewed. I don't care how respected the reviewer may be, unless of course they are actual product owners, the only real motive for them is to make money from you otherwise they wouldn't need the affiliate link.

      The way to make your site more "genuine so to speak" is to have 1 bad product review for every 5 good reviews that you write. This makes you appear more genuine.

      In the news today i see that Amazon is suing over 1000 folks from the site Fiverr for selling fake product reviews. So do you really know if the reviews you read are real or fake?????
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by zimbizee View Post

        For me, any review that has an affiliate link attached to it has an ulterior motive and should not be trusted for what it is.

        I can say this because i used to have lots of amazon review sites and my main objective was to make money convincing folks to buy the products i reviewed. I don't care how respected the reviewer may be, unless of course they are actual product owners, the only real motive for them is to make money from you otherwise they wouldn't need the affiliate link.

        The way to make your site more "genuine so to speak" is to have 1 bad product review for every 5 good reviews that you write. This makes you appear more genuine.

        This is why you have to pay attention to other things the affiliate does.

        People who are trying to point you to good products generally do have a financial incentive to do it. If we take away the financial incentive, few people would take the time to figure out if a product is worthy of recommendation.

        Without affiliates, 80% of transactions would never happen.

        In time, you will figure out which affiliates you can trust and which ones you cannot.

        Only buy from those who seem interested in steering you in the right direction, and ignore those who seem to only be looking out for themselves.
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      • Profile picture of the author ED1190
        Originally Posted by zimbizee View Post

        For me, any review that has an affiliate link attached to it has an ulterior motive and should not be trusted for what it is.

        I can say this because i used to have lots of amazon review sites and my main objective was to make money convincing folks to buy the products i reviewed. I don't care how respected the reviewer may be, unless of course they are actual product owners, the only real motive for them is to make money from you otherwise they wouldn't need the affiliate link.

        The way to make your site more "genuine so to speak" is to have 1 bad product review for every 5 good reviews that you write. This makes you appear more genuine.

        In the news today i see that Amazon is suing over 1000 folks from the site Fiverr for selling fake product reviews. So do you really know if the reviews you read are real or fake?????
        Obviously, the person is going to have an affiliate link to get paid. There's no ulterior motive behind it. You can provide value to customers, but also want to get paid at the same time.
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      • Profile picture of the author essmeier
        For me, any review that has an affiliate link attached to it has an ulterior motive and should not be trusted for what it is.

        Why? The two don't have to be related.

        If I decide to write a review of a product, I'll include a link to the product Website. More often than not, that link is an affiliate link, and that's true whether I like the product or not.

        I keep my reviews honest; if I say a product is recommended, it's because I think it's a good product. If I say it's not recommended, it's because I think it's not a good product. But I'll link to it anyway, because I don't delude myself into thinking that I'm the final word on what my site visitor is going to do.

        I offer my opinion, good or bad. I also offer a link. They can buy it or not, but if they buy, I want a commission for it. After all, I took the time to write a 1000 word review and made the effort to provide a link to their site.

        Charlie
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  • Profile picture of the author allegandro
    Yes I do, but it depends on the number of reviews and the time that they are posted.

    When the product has less than 50 reviews and they are all posted in the same time and all positive I not trust it.
    If there are reviews made during the last years/months and there are a lot, I trust it more.
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  • Profile picture of the author tuhinindia1971
    There are many people who still believe the Review as me. I believe it. Though there are some miss using of the Review, but we all come forward to resolve it. In the world there is no sector where the cheater is not available, But all people are not same. So we still should believe the Reviews. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author superowid
    There are 2. Good review & bad review. Always compare them and use your own instinct. That's what I do to check any product/service I want to buy online.
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  • Guys that's all relevant, some trust, some doesn't. Like some of you said, depends of reviews, whether they are positive or negative, and etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author smasif15
    Actually consumers rely on them increasingly(REVIEWS) as they make buying decisions about products and businesses. But why are we so quick to trust information from strangers? Are we forgetting that many online reviews are just flat out fakes? How do we know what to believe when we’re looking for guidance online?

    Consumer opinions posted online were trusted by just 70 percent of respondents in Nielsen’s survey.
    So when it comes to trust, it seems the vast majority of us are on the friends and family plan.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Anymore, if it is someone in the Industry I do not know at all...Iam suspect ! I just know how many of these Reviews are done and they are NOT done objectively.

      Typical WSO the Product creator will solicit review Copies with an Honest review.

      But sometimes it can be with the intention of "you scracth my back and I scratch your back" type of mentality.
      The good ole boys club where if you leave me a good review I will do something nice for you in future.

      OR

      "As a Thank you for a free copy Iam going to say something nice about it even though the Product actually sux !!"


      Just bogus bullsh@t !!



      - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author KeenR
    I do (or I think I do). I know how to spot a fake review or disgruntle reviewers that can never be satisfied. I avoid product or services with few reviews because most people can get 20 or so friends to review their products. When you get to hundreds, there ought to be some genuine ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kathy331
    I agree with Bill, that's what affiliate marketing is all about and it's also how I make the majority of my purchases.
    I don't mind clicking through an affiliate link to make a purchase and in fact, sometimes actively look for an "honest" site with affiliate links, it's how many us make an online income.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gambino
    Most of the time, no. Unless there's nothing in it for the reviewer: reviews without links, reviews to restaurants on yelp, etc.

    Review mills where someone has reviewed a thousand different products? No.

    Reviews on a business' website that show reviews or "testimonials"? No.

    Blogs that I read daily where the writer recommends a product every now and then. It's worth looking into.

    Blogs that I read deadly where the writer hardly, if ever, recommends a product? Sold.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aussie_Al
    Amazon still think its important

    thats why they are suing fake reviewers

    Amazon sues 1,114 people offering fake product reviews
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Do people still trust reviews?
    I trust reviews from people who have actually bought the product. Like Ebay feedback.

    When it comes to the MMO market, I only trust reviews from people I know to be honest. In other words - very, very few!
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  • Profile picture of the author extrememan
    To be blunt. He's smart and monetizing and you should too. He's thinking like a marketer and if a transaction is not being made, then no sale will be made. Basic business in affiliate marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Humbee360
    Catch 22, Can you trust reviews, (I do not really believe in reviews, they certainly do not hurt unless someone is advertising the reviews in front of the sales copy) I have seen this done, in some WSO sales, very bad decision, mostly in my mind I would say that the product should speak for itself, logically thinking, IF your product is a great product, that meets the needs of the customer, the product should speak to the customer, first...

    Then the sales copy should speak to the customer. ...

    (Lastly reviews)
    If you do a good job developing the product and you do a good job creating the sales copy reviews are not really needed, unless you have someone on the fence, but my question about this would be do I really want someone that can't make up their mind about a product unless they see someone else come out and endorse a product for them, (basically they need someone to help them make up their mind to buy or not to buy)

    Just being brutally honest I believe that I would rather have customers that know what they want and want to buy from me rather than someone that may not be ready to buy and use the product, those are more likely the ones that ask for refunds anyway.

    So, I guess you could do the review thing and depend on that to make sales and then see a disproportionate number of refunds or even refund requests from people who read the reviews and did not realize what the product was about and made a purchase blindly.

    I really believe that if done correctly a product and sales page can speak to the customer and empower the customer to make that purchasing decision, when you do that the right way, you don't really need reviews to make sales...
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Someone mentioned that finding an affiliate link was a sign of an ulterior motive.

      When someone reads one of mine, there's no "ulterior" about it. I flat out tell people that I use affiliate links wherever I, in good conscience, can. And that if I like something enough to use an affiliate link (with my own rep on the line), it's a positive sign, not a negative one.

      It costs time and/or money to do an honest review, so without some kind of financial incentive, most reviewers would find better uses for their time.

      As Zig Ziglar used to say, "nothing moves in the economy until somebody makes a sale."
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  • Profile picture of the author gdi4life
    Just like any other part of the IM world, in 2015 you are responsible for completing your own due dilligence. Unfortunately with competition continuing to go up, you will have to be extra cautious in regards to what people say or don't say about a certain product or service.

    I just read in another thread here that Amazon is currently cracking down on over one thousand fake reviews. I mean, are you kidding me??

    Ask yourself, what is the person saying and why are they saying it. Does the person or website that is reporting the information have credibilty or have they just popped onto the scene recently?
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Anton,

      A mammoth like Amazon would not be using customer reviews if they were of no use.

      Certainly, when you see affiliate links tied to a review, it makes you wonder how credible the reviewer is.

      But here's the thing. . .

      Let's say you were an impartial reviewer and you tried five competing products and then ranked those products from top to bottom and subsequently wrote honestly about your findings. Everything is on the up and up and you've been completely truthful.

      Now let's say you happened to be really impressed with the product you ranked #1 to the point that you just had to tell all your friends about it. You bought it have used it extensively and you still love it.

      Is there anything wrong with becoming an affiliate for that product and making a small commission on every sale that comes from your recommendation? No, what's wrong with that?

      My feeling is . . . yes affiliate links from a review do make you sometimes wonder about the motive of the reviewer . . . but they don't necessarily mean that the reviewer is not being truthful in his review.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex65
    Hello
    I believe that to be heard and to recommend the products must be well informed.
    Maybe if I can help you to solve your problem is because I tried the best product.
    If that I can gain do not see anything wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author marguerite
    Yes they do. But even sites like Amazon have problem with paid reviews. You get a bunch of junk reviews from people who are paid to do so. As for reviews on websites, it's hit or miss. If you are into internet marketing you know how to recognize the signs of someone trying to sell you something while not telling you the whole truth. These reviews are usually well written in terms of SEO, they have photos and videos, all the stuff search engines love, and they rank on the top of more honest reviews that are not as well optimized.
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  • Profile picture of the author rMike
    I think most people do trust online reviews, the percentage of which probably depends on the market demographic.

    Perhaps non-tech users might supplement their online reviews with what they've heard through word of mouth, or from their favorite YouTube stars.

    On the other hand, tech savvy users might spend more time comparing different products and verifying if the reviews are legit through researching forums and enthusiast blogs. At least that's what I would do.
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  • Profile picture of the author dlane1987
    It is still important to some, and will always be important to those that value reviews.
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  • Profile picture of the author seogurus
    To identify real from fake reviews you have to educate yourself on the product or service being talked about, who is reviewing it, what they are saying and so forth. You really have to monitor your own spidey sense so to speak, and also use a little common sense.

    I will observe reviews as part of my overall analyzing spectrum, and not on their own merit. Affiliate reviews do not exist within a vacuum remember.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Anton543 View Post

    Do people still trust reviews?
    Yes. If you were in a grocery store and you had the option to buy pork sausages or beef sausages, but you were in limbo.... would you trust the opinion of 5 people who walked by and said that the pork sausage tastes WAYYY better?
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Vee
    Yes they do, and the more negative the review is, the more they trust them.

    Don't believe me?

    Go to a site like TripAdvisor for example.

    When a restaurant gets hundreds of positive reviews, but one review is the exact opposite and pretty negative, we all have doubts.

    One negative review spoils it all!
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  • Profile picture of the author BizBuyz
    I think reviews are valuable, I moved recently and was looking for a Chinese restaurant that delivered in my area and the first think a did was look at reviews. If the restaurant had 5, five star reviews that praised them like the next coming of Christ I wouldn’t order from them, however, if they had 30 reviews with mixed results I would consider them. I’ve done business with companies that had negative reviews it depends on why people are complaining. As far as including affiliate links in a review why not whatever it takes to generate revenue as long as it’s legal
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  • Profile picture of the author sujit1717
    I see for authority sites. If there are lots of interaction and comments then most probably you can know that the review is genuine or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author atinderdongill
    Well, presently people still like reading reviews to know the quality of some product and then, check the comments to know,whether the review is genuine or not.

    But one thing, I like to say, putting affiliate link, is not a bad thing, if the review is genuine one, because if we are helping someone by putting up genuine words, then we should also get some benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author SeanSupplee
    You should only trust a review if you trust the person. It is illegal to post a review with fake made up information and to have testimonials on your site that are not real.

    With that said reviews I can understand why a blogger would input affiliate links I do it myself. I even do it for the not so great products since I did put in the time and effort to personally review the product.

    Yes people love reviews, but what they love even more is a serious quality review and outlines the good ,the bad and the ugly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Reviewers have to make money some way. They are not going to do reviews
    just for the fun of it. Take CNET.com for example, I think they make money
    from advertising on their sites instead of affiliate relationship to the products
    they review. But many people go there to get an "unbiased" review for many
    electronic products.

    ConsumerReports is another "unbiased" reviewer, but they sell their reviews
    in the form of a magazine subscription. So if you want a really unbiased review,
    you have to find a reviewer that makes money from other than an affiliate
    relationship with what he is reviewing.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author urmilp
    What a great question.

    I think initially you have to consider what type of business model the review is for:

    1. Is it a local business like a restaurant or a plumbing company that makes money by providing a service?

    In this case, reviews about the business will definitely help decide whether to use them or not, through the experiences of other people. I've looked at reviews many times to see which local business to use and even what restaurant to eat at before picking one. Many of these reviews are genuine but of course, some may not be (and you have to expect that). The business owners definitely are motivated to get more reviews to get more because, but ultimately if they can't deliver, they'll also get bad reviews.

    2. Is it a small/medium size blog (one author) about a particular narrow niche (e.g. gardening)?
    These blogs focus on one topic and ultimately the individual running is hoping to make money from it and become somewhat of an authority. These blogs are great because the author spends his/her time finding and collating great information from different sources, adding their experience and opinions to the content and obviously highlighting new products and services that the average person may not have had time to find. Now this does take time and effort and the author should be paid. The best way for the author to get paid is to recommend products and services they either use or recommend and use affiliate links.

    I feel that if the author is running a blog, spending time putting out content regularly, providing helpful reviews that actually help to evaluate whether the product is for me or not and also making themselves approachable in some manner e.g. email, Facebook group, etc... then the affiliate links are trustworthy.
    And I have no problem buy from someone else affiliate link, that takes the time to do the research, so I don't have to.

    3. Is it a small/medium size blog (one author) focused on reviewing product?
    Now here's an interesting business model and one that more and more people are now doing. Of course, its easy to think that they are reviewing products and adding affiliate links just to make money, and some authors may be doing just that.

    However, the amount to time taken to find a product, evaluate and write a good review or record a video walkthrough review should be rewarded. They have taken the time to do so, so the reader/viewer doesn't have to.

    Imagine this, the reviewer writes a review about a widget. They tell you what it does, its limitations, and the scenarios in which it would help you. Now it's up to you to buy it or not, whether it suits your needs. Using their affiliate link to buy it is good karma, considering they brought this information to your attention and helped you figure out whether its for you or not.

    Now imagine this, the reviewer writes a review about another widget. They make all sorts of claims, they don't mention its limitations, they tell you it can do things that it actually can't. Firstly, you as a smart buyers, would never trust a word this reviewer says again, so the reviews really losing his audience.
    Also if you did decide to buy through his /her link and realised the brought doesn't do half of what the reviewer told you, well guess what, YOU'RE PROTECTED! - simply return if for a refund.

    And of course, it goes without saying, I wouldn't trust that review again.

    4. Is it a big blog with multi-authors focused on just content?
    5. Is it a big blog with multi-authors focused just on reviewing products?

    I've put these together because they are similar in nature. These big blogs whether focused on one topic or on product reviews within an industry have the same goal.

    They want to make money and of course they use affiliate links and also advertising.

    However, these big blog owners know the secret to making money and its providing useful reviews, ones that actually help people make a buying decision.

    If you purchased something and it wasn't anything like the review on one of these sites, you'd probably never trust that site again (and of course get a refund).

    So these blogs, want to keep you re-visiting their site, and they know that you'll only do that if they provide reviews that help you make a good buying decision.

    And if the reviews are good, I believe they have the right to spread their affiliate links throughout the page and believe can be trusted.


    Summary
    Affiliate links are a way of life on the internet.
    They are what help those people prepared to research, collate, spend time getting that information infront of you and I, get compensated.

    Should you trust all reviews with affiliate links, I don't believe so.

    But should you feel comfortable buying through an affiliate link?
    I believe so, but only if the review has actually helped you evaluate whether what is being offered is of value to you. The review should definitely be compensated for helping you make your decision.

    And remember to figure out whether you can and should trust a reviewer or not, will mean you'll have to buy through their link after reading a review.

    6 Questions to help decide if an affiliate link is trustworthy?
    1. Do you know and trust the website the affiliate link is on?
    2. Do you trust the author of the content surrounding the affiliate link?
    3. Is the affiliate link related to the content?
    4. Is the review of the product the affiliate link related to useful to YOU?
    5. Did the review save you time researching whether this product/service fits your needs?
    6. Have you had a bad experience with buy through this websites affiliate link recommendations before?

    Hopefully these questions will help you out when evaluating whether to use an affiliate link or not.

    Final thoughts.
    Imagine you are the reviewer (or someone who wants to make money online via affiliate marketing)....

    What is more valuable to you?
    Customers that trust what you say and come back over and over and buy through your affiliate links OR
    One off customers that aren't happy with you, get a refund (so you make no affiliate commission and never trust your reviews again?
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  • Profile picture of the author oneresource
    most still trust reviews. especially if you have an opt in section for them to be built to your mailing list
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  • Profile picture of the author Kherk Roldan
    Yes i do. i never buy a product/service without a review.
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