The Exploding Number of Product Reviews

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Do Product Reviews Really Help Consumers?

When it comes to purchasing decisions these days, no one wants to fly blind – I get it.  We all want some intel from our peers before committing to a buy. And the internet is the perfect place to get that feedback? Or is it? While the wonderful World Wide Web offers up reviews aplenty, how much can you really trust the online crowd?

With the rise of influencer culture and affiliate marketing, some reviews out there are less than organically inspired. As posting reviews becomes a money-making game for both brands and reviewers, discerning genuine opinions from paid-for promotions grows murkier. Does flattery beget sponsorships or vice versa? It’s hard to say for sure in the ambiguous arena of “relationships”.

And what about those anonymously posted reviews? Sure, no face or name attached could liberate honesty – or it could just as easily be to shield saboteurs. Without credentials or a public reputation at stake, unverified feedback leaves buyers with less context to evaluate credibility.

The Game Reviewers & Brands & Consumers Play

There are a few key factors that have fueled this prolific growth of online reviews in tandem with e-commerce. Firstly, both reading and writing reviews are remarkably convenient in the digital sphere. The ease of creating reviews is a huge player.  With just a few clicks, people can easily access reams of feedback or add their own two cents. This ease of use is a major draw.

How the Reviewer Wins  

Reviewer Wins

Creating reviews has a real and measurable impact on purchasing decisions. As more shoppers rely on the wisdom of the crowds to inform buys, especially for online purchases perceived as higher risk, reviews become an indispensable resource. The ability to influence sales then gives reviewers an incentive to participate. You can read this as affiliate commissions.

Opportunities for self-promotion represent another driver. On sites with their own identity and reputation, posters can build expertise that attracts followers and builds brand. This reputational currency has value for both individual influencers and companies.

Every reviewer is looking to create a loyal and consistent following.  The easiest way to do that is to create honest product reviews.  When you create honest reviews, your readers will also tend to believe that your posts are true, relevant, and guiding.

How the Brand Wins

Brand Wins

Boosting sales: Reviews have been shown to produce an average of 18% uplift in sales, and businesses with more than 9 recent reviews earn 52% more than average.  Let this sink in.  Nine recent reviews have increased sales from 100 units to 150 units.

Brands embrace the affiliate marketing review game because it effectively expands their reach and sales through a trusted network of influential content creators. Affiliate programs are equivalent to hiring thousands of commission-only salespeople.  If you had the opportunity to hire an additional 1,000 salespeople to sell your product, would you?  That is a resounding “DUH!” as Homer Simpson would put it!  By partnering with reviewers and paying commissions only on generated revenue, it provides a highly cost-effective promotional model for brands.  Compare this with traditional advertising and hiring salaried salespeople (add in benefits) and the cost would be astronomical.  

Additionally, reviews containing affiliate links give sellers valuable tracking data on which influencers are driving the most purchases. This performance-based aspect allows brands to optimize future partnerships. Perhaps most importantly, these third-party endorsements provide powerful social proof for potential buyers by appearing more authentic than paid ads. 

The user experience-based insights and validations boost consumer confidence, improving conversion rates. Over time, the affiliate review approach also helps companies build stronger, longer-term relationships with creators—opening new opportunities to tap into engaged audiences down the line.

For sellers, the rewards of this model extend beyond immediate sales gains. Affiliate marketing reviews deliver ongoing benefits through performance analytics, relationship-building, the discovery of top influencers, and authentic social signals that positively impact bottom lines. It’s a win-win approach that smart brands leverage for an effective marketing mix.

How the Consumer Wins 

Consumer Wins

Over 88% of consumers trust online reviews to make informed purchases, as they offer valuable guidance, attest to a company’s reliability, and provide insight into product quality.

While incentives today don’t always favor pure objectivity, the discerning consumer still holds the power. Dismissing all reviews outright denies valuable insights, but blind faith risks being misled. A winning strategy is a balanced approach – maintaining an open yet analytical mindset when evaluating claims. Prioritize sources that scrutinize better, understand influencing factors at play, and never accept any single review at face value. With a healthy skepticism and a commitment to critical thinking, consumers can separate genuinely useful takeaways from embellished endorsements. This ability to read between the lines, recognize nuances, and evaluates motivations, is what ultimately enables consumers to benefit from online recommendations while minimizing risks of undue influence. Awareness means the informed browser retains the upper hand in today’s complex review landscape.

Creating Trust – One Review at a Time

At Setting Points, I am focused on creating genuinely helpful, unbiased content to establish trust and loyalty over time. For any product reviews I share, I will give a full assessment of both pros and cons while including detailed photos and videos to provide visitors with a true sense of the user experience.  I will include specific examples illustrating how items can benefit different readers’ specific goals. 

Beyond just reviews, in-depth educational blog posts on my site will help you address common challenges you face without any sales pitches. I plan to interview experts and share their most effective advice rather than just affiliate links. Readers can expect personal responses from me to any questions or requests you may have, showing that I truly care about meeting your needs above all else. Transparency around any affiliate links while maintaining a focus on usefulness will build integrity. 

Developing an email list will allow me to nurture loyal readers through high-value freebies like checklists exchanged for their emails. This consistent approach using genuinely helpful information and reviews will make Setting Points a trustworthy go-to source and foster strong brand affiliation over the long run.


Your Comments Are Welcome

Don Dixon
Don Dixon

Over 30 years in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Operations, Management, Training, and Website Development did not save me. The Gray Apocalypse is Real. I am here to help you earn the extra retirement income you will need to live a golden retirement by writing about what you love. My ultimate goal is to prevent you from living in the age of the Gray Apocalypse.

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