Okay, Be Honest, Would You Buy A Product That Had SOME Negative Testimonials?

29 replies
Man-Warriors and Warrior-Goddesses,

You're looking for a product or service that your business needs. You read the sales copy or watch the sales video. Then you continue to read or hear some glowing testimonials. All in all 98-99% of the testimonials are postive, BUT.......

........1 to 2% of the testimonials are negative. The seller continues on in their copy to explain that they included the negative reviews because they wanted you to see that they were not trying to "hide" anything. And after each negative review the seller comments on them, trying to explain why they were negative and how his customer support staff tried to resolve any issues.

I'm genuinely curious, if you were in this situation, would you still take a chance and buy this product or service? And yes, it does have a refund policy. This is a hypothetical situation of course.

RoD

P.S. This is an anonymous poll, if you vote no one will know how you voted - only the results will show. Thank you.
#buy #honest #negative #product #testimonials
  • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
    Only 1-2% negative? That's nothing, it wouldn't bother me. UNLESS the seller made too big a deal in the copy about how they were letting the negative reviews stay in there -- that might actually backfire with me. Or maybe not. I'm just another marketer, and may or may not be your target prospect.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      I voted the "maybe" option. There are a lot of factors for me - who created the product, do I know any of the people leaving reviews (good and bad), etc.

      If it's a WSO thread, I just expect to see some negative reviews eventually. How much weight I give them depends on the situation - if I know and trust the person, I give it more weight in my decision than if it's some random person.

      It also depends on what the negative feedback consists of. If a feature I really wanted is not working properly, that would hold me back a lot more than if it was something I didn't care about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    It depends. I often pay more attention to the negative reviews than the positive ones. Often, the negative reviews are more telling than the positive ones. They serve to let you know what problems and, more importantly, what kinds of problems you might expect.

    Of course, you also need to try to figure out whether the person leaving a negative review is experiencing problems because of flaws in the product itself, or because they are morons. With some reviews, you can tell pretty quick. With others, you have to read a variety of negative reviews to see if they all have similar complaints, or if it's just a bunch of people off their meds.

    Also telling is how the seller responds (or fails to respond) to criticism.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    Interesting.

    Because of the sellers openness, I'd tend to believe them
    MORE that a seller who just includes glowing testimonials.

    After all, people know that nothing is 100% perfect.

    That said, TEST the two approaches and see which wins.

    Another approach is to include testimonials that each give
    at least one negative as well as positive points so they're
    more balanced.

    Having a customer give a balanced viewpoint rather than
    having the seller counter the negative reviews - may work
    too.

    However, test it out and let your market tell you which
    works best on the final sales.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    It would depend if all of the negative testimonials had the same complaint AND if that complaint were relevant to me.

    For example, if all of the negative comments said that the product didn't work with Windows Vista, then I wouldn't care because I use Windows 7. But if they all said that the customer service was downright rude, then I probably would care.

    However, the tone of the negative comments would also matter, as I would want to see if these were people who just had some sort of axe to grind.

    All the best,
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    First, when I want to buy a product with 99.9%. I go check what did the .1% negative seller said.

    It may affect me. I should be careful.
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  • Profile picture of the author burtonridr2
    Just about everything has at least 1 negative review, you cant seem to please everyone. But it would really depend upon the product and short comings. 1-2% negative is not a deal breaker for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Ashwood
      As has been said below, there are always some negatives, but these may be by people who have bought, kept, refunded and not even made an effort with the product. It's in the same negative mindset.

      If I find many Warriors negating a product/WSO or it's 'creator', I would certainly back quickly away.

      In my very early days, (about 4 years ago) I remember getting 4 VERY HARSH negative reviews for a set of three ebooks. Now, I'll admit they weren't great, but they were easy to read and follow, and could definitely be used to get a newbie on the right track very quickly. The new versions were better - nay, great, as I'd learned a lot more by then.

      Interestingly, over 400 books went out - and they WERE ALL FREE! :rolleyes:

      Can't win 'em all.

      Cheers

      Alan
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    It would depend on what the negative was.

    I would most likely purchase if it was what I needed and the negatives weren't
    a key issue of the product/service.

    Heck, If it's not what it says it is in the salesletter, then I could always get
    a refund.

    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    So...

    I'm guessing that this is related to the "do you trust testimonials" thread.

    A lot of people say they don't read them, they don't trust them...then they turn around and say they DO trust them, IF they are negative.

    See the disconnect there?

    If you don't trust positive ones, why would you trust negative ones?

    Anyway, I firmly believe that people really do use testimonials as part of making their buying decision, they may think they don't, but they do.

    All the best,
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author kosoma
    It wouldn't bother me. If they had that many positive posts. Some folks would complain if you handed them a hundred dollar bill.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    Look at Amazon..

    Most products have some negative reviews.. no matter how good it is.

    As long as the positive reviews outweigh the negative and it interests me, I'll buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author J Cohen
    I have seen a few films that my friends didn't like but I enjoyed them.

    I would just have to go with my own decision about the product but it wouldn't stop me buying if I thought it could improve my business.

    Jay
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    • Profile picture of the author Ryan David
      I sell products and implemented a review system (like Amazon) on my site. The upside is that people can see the average review (stars) and number or reviews. I included all reviews, good or bad, but 99% of them were 5 stars. But the customer can easily filter the good/bad reviews.

      The only thing I do is make sure that if I have a bad review, that I comment on the review so people can see me taking action if there is a problem. This is how you can turn a negative into a positive.

      Putting that onto the site improved the conversion rate tremendously. I've actually been working to improve it for years and never saw an improvement like this. Over long periods, the spread was simlilar, but I had this image handy because I sent it to a friend.




      Having said all that, I'm not totally sure how it would work on a salespage. One of the beauty of "reviews" is that people trust their validity if there are bad ones mixed in there and the reviews seem authentic. It also helps visitors determine if they want to place any weight on that review, like maybe they think the guy is an idiot. Like if you're buying a leaf blower on amazon and one dude gives it 1 stars because it has a cord, the buyer can look at that and say "Hey, it says it has a cord and it's right in the picture!"

      A number of years back, I went on a job interview. This was my 2nd job out of college. Since I was still working at my 1st job, I couldn't have this guy call to check references for my only "professional" job.. So I gave him a copy of my last annual review. It wasn't perfect, but it was REAL. And by seeing "Needs more community involvement", he could decide for himself if that's important or not.

      To me it was kinda common sense to do that since I didn't want to risk my current employer finding out I was looking for a job. But I guess this went over well with the new boss because he told his assistant that it really impressed him that I provided that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Rod...

    I understand what you're saying but I see no value in
    creating negative impressions of any kind in the prospect's
    mind... for any reason. There are plenty of people in this
    world who are more than happy to tear down anyone or
    anything for any reason or, often, for no reason. They don't
    need my help.

    I don't need to tell people that someone doesn't like me
    or my product in order for them to trust me. I think you're
    over thinking this.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
      Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

      Rod...

      I understand what you're saying but I see no value in
      creating negative impressions of any kind in the prospect's
      mind... for any reason. There are plenty of people in this
      world who are more than happy to tear down anyone or
      anything for any reason or, often, for no reason. They don't
      need my help.

      I don't need to tell people that someone doesn't like me
      or my product in order for them to trust me. I think you're
      over thinking this.
      Tsnyder,

      I hear what you're saying, but I'm asking this for a very relevant reason. I'm actually doing a split test on a high traffic site that I have and I'm going to have everything identical except the testmonials. I'm just asking my fellow marketers this question just to get some feedback and to see what they think.

      I'm an avid tester and this is actually one of the things I've never tested to any great extent.
      If this increases conversion on this one test, I'm going to test it out on other sites and see if it's consistent.

      @ Everyone else,

      Thank you for your feedback so far, I'm getting points of view that had not occurred to me.

      RoD "877-Ounces-Of-Coffee-Made-Me-Do-It!!!" Cortez
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  • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
    Originally Posted by Rod Cortez View Post

    Man-Warriors and Warrior Goddesses,

    You're looking for a product or service that your business needs. You read the sales copy or watch the sales video. Then you continue to read or hear some glowing testimonials. All in all 98-99% of the testimonials are postive, BUT.......

    ........1 to 2% of the testimonials are negative. The seller continues on in their copy to explain that they included the negative reviews because they wanted you to see that they were not trying to "hide" anything. And after each negative review the seller comments on them, trying to explain why they were negative and how his customer support staff tried to resolve any issues.

    I'm genuinely curious, if you were in this situation, would you still take a chance and buy this product or service? And yes, it does have a refund policy. This is a hypothetical situation of course.

    RoD

    P.S. This is an anonymous poll, if you vote no one will know how you voted - only the results will show. Thank you.
    I must admit I saw this thread and voted without reading the conditions.

    In the actual conditions you state I would without a doubt buy the product.

    98% - 99% positive!

    In my experience there are ALWAYS negative reviews for whatever reason but the biggest is that the buyer does not take action and blames the product.

    If it were a product that had a ton of bad reviews and clear reasons why the product does not work then I wouldn't bother with it.

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      And after each negative review the seller comments on them, trying to explain why they were negative and how his customer support staff tried to resolve any issues.
      The seller would be more likely to lose me by over-explaining and excusing any negatives mentioned. I've seen sellers bask in positive comments and then go into protective mode at the slightest complaint. Not necessary.

      I ignore most testimonials. Your positive or negative opinion of a product doesn't count to me unless I know you well enough to trust your judgment.
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveDolan
    If I was interested I'd buy. It's not possible to please everyone - we're all different. We're all at different places in out IM endeavors so what may be obvious and useless to one person is the holy grail to another.

    In fact if there's nothing but glowing, fantastic reviews I become more than suspicious.
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  • Profile picture of the author DominiquePrentiss
    I've purchased products from Amazon that had negative reviews but was exactly what I needed. I read the reviews, but I don't necessarily base my decision to buy on them.

    I like to see for myself. And there have been times that I wished I would have kept my money in my pocket. But more often than not I'm happy with the purchase.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    Then there is the proverbial elephant in the room, which Rod alludes to in his post: we only ever see the testimonials that are printed.

    In the WSO section that will often reflect both positive and negative aspects of any given product, assuming they are legitimate posts and not removed by a mod.

    This is also true of marketplaces such as Amzon, where the reviews are left as is.

    However, when a site/sales page is controlled by the seller, THEY have control over what's shown and what isn't. So, EVEN IF they publish a few "negative testimonials", there is no way of knowing how representative the comments are.

    Printed negative comments may be culled from a much larger number and only the ones that aren't so bad may be printed. I say "may" because there is no way to know for sure.

    We may see 1% or 2% negative testimonials, but there could be 75% negatives and we would never know. The exception being 3rd party sites where the seller doesn't have control over what comments are printed.

    Perhaps we have been looking at the whole testimonial debate from the wrong angle. It's not whether or not we trust them; it's whether or not we should trust them when printed by the 1st party as opposed to a 3rd party.

    All the best,
    Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

      Then there is the proverbial elephant in the room, which Rod alludes to in his post: we only ever see the testimonials that are printed.

      In the WSO section that will often reflect both positive and negative aspects of any given product, assuming they are legitimate posts and not removed by a mod.

      This is also true of marketplaces such as Amzon, where the reviews are left as is.

      However, when a site/sales page is controlled by the seller, THEY have control over what's shown and what isn't. So, EVEN IF they publish a few "negative testimonials", there is no way of knowing how representative the comments are.

      Printed negative comments may be culled from a much larger number and only the ones that aren't so bad may be printed. I say "may" because there is no way to know for sure.

      We may see 1% or 2% negative testimonials, but there could be 75% negatives and we would never know. The exception being 3rd party sites where the seller doesn't have control over what comments are printed.

      Perhaps we have been looking at the whole testimonial debate from the wrong angle. It's not whether or not we trust them; it's whether or not we should trust them when printed by the 1st party as opposed to a 3rd party.

      All the best,
      Michael
      Thanks Michael, you said important things. I remember a few cases, which supports your sentences.

      In one case, I was on a list of a very big name in Internet Marketing, years ago. He asked me to write feedback about his product. But... he stipulated that the review must be only positive in nature.

      After thinking, I haven't written that review, and paid the discount difference. As I studied the product, realized its poor quality. Also realized that I have read it elsewhere already. So I asked for refund. I've received it, but only after large wranglings.

      This game didn't increase the value of that marketer in my eyes, and I'm not particularly keen on reading any testimonials, because of the games behind the scenes.

      Take care,

      Sandor
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    One: I buy what I want cause has something interesting FOR ME.
    Two: Negative reviews can be true, YET the product can fit my needs - while other think the exact opposite.
    Three: Negative reviews sometimes even show whats good inside...
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    • Profile picture of the author kashifpak
      It depends on the product and service,if it interests me and there is a money back guarantee then i will give it a chance.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        It would entirely depend on what the product is and the nature of the complaint.

        If I'm buying a video game and all the complaints were that it ran slowly on
        the person's PC and I know I have a top of the line system that would probably
        have no problems with it, I'd still buy it and try it out. If however was that the
        graphics were horrible and the game play was shoddy, hot keys were
        convoluted, game had no plot, etc, then I'd probably stay far away from it.

        Conversely, it wouldn't matter how great the game was (based on reviews) if
        the negative ones all said that it didn't play on a certain platform, even though
        it says it should, and it's the platform I'm running. In that case, I wouldn't
        take a chance.

        Point is, this isn't a "yes" or "no" type of deal. Price can also be a factor. If
        it's a very high end product and there are even just a few negative reviews,
        I'd be reluctant to purchase, whereas with a low end product I'd probably
        take a chance.

        So the short answer to your question, Rod, is it depends.

        Steve "Wish-he-had-Rod's-coffee-today" Wagenheim
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Toulou
    If I were interested, I would definitely take a look at the product even with a couple of native reviews. There are a lot of reasons why a product may end up with some negative reviews. The negative review could come from not answering a support question fast enough or from the product not doing something it was never intended to do in the first place.

    You just don't know with out getting the full story. If there is a low percentage of negative reviews you should probably try the product and make up your own mind about it.

    I think that sometimes good reviews are not scrutinized enough. A brand-new product with too many glowing reviews would make me more nervous than a product with a couple negative reviews to balance it out.

    Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
    I don't mind a negative review- as i think it balances the review out rather than just sterling all around. Now, we know that you can't be perfect just like that
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  • Profile picture of the author Phillip M King
    I don't have to speculate whether I would. The fact is that I have purchased in such circumstances. The results have gone both ways, just as when you buy products with 100% positive testimonials. Sometimes you get lemons in those cases as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author RHert
    I'd definitely buy. If there's negative reviews mixed with the positive the positives become more believable. You do have to be careful with the negative since negatives are automatically remembered by the human mind before positives. It's just the way most people are wired.
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