Dont always believe online reviewsThe internet has opened a whole new avenue for marketing of products. E-business volumes have gone up significantly and with the proliferation of the internet these will increase many times over in the future. The internet apart from creating a marketing opportunity has enabled a lot of creative means to market products.

Initially it was just plain vanilla marketing, and then came in the online procurement and payment systems. Along with this came the process of evaluation of the products. Forums were created to discuss the products etc. If done with a good intent this would have been excellent way of letting the consumer make a right decision based on the actual inputs and feedback from other consumers. Unfortunately, the internet has huge disadvantage of being anonymous and as a result this facility can be misused in wither promoting a product or vice versa.

In many cases, it could be that there is a cabal formed by affiliates who can post very positive reviews about a product which can lead a potential customer to believe about the product based on the feedback only to understand later when they actually receives the product.

Can this be curbed? Not really.

However there can be other checks and balances that a potential consumer can put to use. Post queries in forums that are not managed by the site that you are referring to. Check the trend of the responses. If you find all positives with very little negative inputs then you need to find out be extra careful and cautious so as to make additional checks. Also try to find patterns in the language, the date of the posting and such other pointers as these could sometime give away these aspects quite blatantly.

Additionally, try finding out feedback from other websites which may sell a competing product as there could be a reference available about the product that you are looking for. Use other set of data pointers like whether the company is a listed and reputed brand, its existence, your ability to check out the product at a local store, the place from where the company is conducting its business, the mode of payment etc.

One must not be carried away by the fact that this is internet marketing. After all it is human and therefore there has to be caution exercised.

Another aspect to be borne in mind is the information available on the internet has not reached a point where it can be easily used in a court of law for mis-representation as the marketers could always claim that they were not aware of the person who posted that information. It will take time for cyber laws to evolve, and it is doing so slowly.

If you cannot make a decision, then you may choose not to buy it. It is better to buy a known product for a few dollars more than buying something worthless and repenting. It is better to be safe than sorry. In summary, whatever the checks and balances, the maxim – Caveat Emptor – Let the Buyer Beware prevails and products sold on the internet are no exception.

Happy online shopping!!

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