For this example, let’s assume that you wish to learn to play the piano, and are searching the Internet for information. You will find many choices and many review sites which discuss even more choices. Your analysis process should include all of the points(clues) discussed here. This article is more about the selection process than the product or vendor.
In case you didn’t realize it, the typical Internet Product Review site will likely steer you to the product which nets them the highest commission. Shocked? Don’t be – this is absolutely normal marketing in every aspect of life. It’s all about maximizing their profit. However, and fortunately, not everyone does this. There are some obvious and some subtle clues which will help you decide who to trust, especially shopping on the Internet. Don’t be fearful – be informed. Read on.
Been shopping in town lately? Dealt with any commissioned sales folks lately? How about those, oh so helpful folks who keep asking if you found everything, and or, do you want to super size your order? Trying to maximize the store’s profit really is normal and widely practiced. Nothing to be concerned about yet.
Speaking of commissions – In all Internet purchases, the seller, also known as the vendor, pays the salesperson (known as an affiliate or associate) a small commission. The lowest is about four (4.0) percent. The price to the buyer doesn’t change – it costs the same where ever you go. (The price can vary a tiny bit in the physical product areas, for example – keyboards and pianos. This is due to volume wholesale purchasing and distribution costs. The sales commission doesn’t factor in this.)
The commission usually automatically goes to the last affiliate site you visited before you clicked through to the product detail / sales page and made a purchase. This is tracked automatically by the computers with little chunks of data called “temporary cookies.” The vendors who transmit the cookies to your computer explain it all on their privacy or terms and conditions web pages. It is nothing to be concerned about. It’s very normal and business like. Most people have never actually read these pages.
So, the Big Question – what distinguishes a trustworthy product review site of any flavor? Listed here are critical clues. Some are more obvious than others – all are worthy of your consideration.
- First and foremost is your gut level comfort level as you look over a site.
- Can you identify a human with an address and contact information?
- Does the reviewer discuss any negative aspects of the product? Few products are so wonderful that nothing negative can be found and pointed out to you, the shopper and possible customer.
- Does the review include information and opinions not found on the vendor’s site? (All reviews where the reviewer is an affiliate for the vendor will have links for you to click on, taking you directly to the vendor’s site. Perfectly normal and to be expected.) In case you never thought about it, consider this: Vendor’s love affiliates – they are outside non-employees with no benefits, etc. who get a tiny reward (called a commission) only after a sale occurs. If no new information is on the review site, could well be that an actual review did not take place. Major clue.
- Study the information provided, validate the customer testimonials if possible, and make your own decision. Use your normal decision making process. For example, I personally read the testimonials very carefully when researching products. Do they sound authentic – not made up. Can they be verified? Will the seller provide you contact details if asked? This is rare, but sometimes occurs.
- Frequently digital download products are sold with 100 percent money back guarantees. The full details are always part of the information / sales letter. They are commonly placed right at the bottom end, right after the price information. Guarantees are always a very important part of the purchasing decision. Another clue to trustworthiness. Doesn’t matter on review sites – but it does matter on the vendor’s site.
- A good reviewer owns many, but not necessarily all of the products he reviews. When you are are deciding, remember to keep in mind what your situation is (your own wants, needs, desires, etc.) It’s about building trust and confidence. Do you feel pressured? Another major clue.
So, after lots of searching and looking at several – many websites and competing products, let’s assume you have made a product selection decision and are ready to buy. Please consider giving a vote of confidence to the affiliate review site that actually provided you with useful information. Please go back to that review site just before making the actual purchase. That is what triggers that ‘cookie’ thingy I mentioned earlier. And that results in that small commission we talked about. And that is what motivates affiliates to produce meaningful review sites.
I trust that I have enlightened you a bit. Shopping on the Internet is quite safe, especially if you pay attention to the clues. As always, the final choice is yours. Now you know more about how to sort through all the choices and chose the best product for you.
When you find the right one for you, you can purchase it right away. (Remember that often the best product does in fact, cost more. Also normal.) No waiting – parking – standing in line – all the joys of Internet shopping. Fear not – Enjoy.