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To believe or not to believe - product reviews on the Second Life market place (Model: Liza)

I think everyone reads the reviews bevor he decides to buy an item on the market place. Provided of course, other customers left one. Good reviews can boost sales while bad ones can literally destroy a business. But how much can we trust in reviews? How can we be sure that acutally other customers wrote them and not foes or friends of the merchant which want to to harm or to help his business?

We aren't psychics. We can't say most assuredly, if a review is true or a fake. However, 5 star reviews like "OMG, I love it!" or "Perfect! I waited for that!" or "I know the merchant. He always builds perfect products!" I would list under the category "help from friends or paid". They all have one thing in common: they don't offer any informatons about the good or bad sides of the product that I want to buy. But informations are what I'm searching for. So what are those reviews worth anyway?Model: LizaModel: Liza
Many merchants have so called reward programs. Buyers which leave a review get a discount or receive other benefits. Well, can those "ordered" reviews be honest and objective? I wonder, if buyers which leave a bad review receive a reward also. lol

One sentence reviews like "Beware! Merchant is known as cheater!" or "Caution! Stolen content!" without further details or proofs are obviously just made to damage the particular merchants reputation and not very credible.

If you browse the market place, you find many negative 1 star reviews of this kind: "Item not delivered!" or "Shape doesn't look like on the picture." And similar. Those reviews are blaming the merchant for something that is actually not his fault.

"Item not delivered!" It's the market that manages billing and delivering. Not the merchant. He isn't involved at all.

"Shape doesn't look like on the picture!" How a shape looks is depending on the skin that is used with the shape. So when buyer and merchant use different skins how can the look be the same? Read more about Skins and Shapes here.

So what would I consider as a useful review? First, reviews made by avatars with a totally empty profiles have little to no value for me. In contrast a short review like "Works fine." from a buyer who appears like an experienced SL resident to me convinces me in the most cases that the item is ok. I also like reviews which tell something about customer support. When I read "Contacted the merchant. No response.", I will most likely refrain from buying.  In general one can say the less emotional, fluttering and lavish a review sounds the more I listen to it.

Believe or not to believe, I don't have an universal answer, sorry. But perhaps I could give some useful hints. :)
Model: Liza
Category: Info
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