Jul 04

Writing Online Reviews – The Rights and Wrongs

Writing Reviews Online – The Rights and Wrongs

Writing reviews is now an established part of the online buying process. Most people do it after a genuine purchase, some do it for the money they get paid and (fortunately only) a few do it just to write negative things about companies and products – mostly because they can be annonymous about it.

Now most buyer reviews are quite boring, little more than “This product or service was OK” and are written using the minimum number of words or characters that the review site requires. Nothing wrong with this although this sort of report doesn’t tell other potential buyers that much – which is really the whole point of the reviews after all.

Here are some tips for you for the next time you write a genuine buyers review.

  • Mention the product by name both in the title and in the review. I know a lot of the reviews are already on the product sales page or directly attached to it, but reviews do go through search engines and the way for you to build a reputation as a trusted reviewer is to get your reviews seen by as many people as possible. Including ‘product name review’ in your write up is a good way to be appear on Google for that search term.
  • Say something about the product or service. If it is good or bad, say what you think about it. However, make your review really about the product. Telling viewers that the colour of the rug YOU selected doesn’t match your furniture and you had to send it back does not justify a one star review, especially if the product was as described and delivered in good time. Reviews are as much about the seller as the product, so don’t go off on irrelevant tangents.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix positive and negative comments within a review, but justify why you feel the way you do about the aspects you like and dislike.
  • Use your real name and be consistent about it across different review sites. Use a real photo of yourself as well if possible. These things add to the trust factor of your reviews especially if you are doing reviews that you are or could be paid for (some sites give reviewers payments if enough readers ‘like’ the reviews). Make yourself as much of a ‘real person’ as you can. Conversely, hiding behind cartoon pictures and strange nicknames reduce or even destroy any trust a reader might have in your review.
  • Put some of your personality into your words. Some of the best reviews on Amazon have put over negative comments in a highly humorous but reaching way. Of course it is also possible to do reviews purely based on a statement in the product description which could be taken in a rediculous way, but that is a real talent and these reviews are not real reviews in the sense I’m talking about here.
  • Finally, use full words, not abbreviations, text-speak or leet spelling (where you use numbers instead of letters) and if you can, spell check it all before you hit the publish button. Many reviews that could be good have been spoiled because they need a teenager to translate them to an older person.

Do write reviews in the way they are intended – to help other buyers. You never know. You could be relying on somebody else’s review before you make a purchase of your own soon. Lead by good example.

Jun 24

Solarversia by Toby Downton is nearly here!

USA:

UK :

Solarversia by Toby Downton is nearly here

I have only got into the first few chapters of the pre-release copy of Solarversia, but already I’m gripped. If you like ‘Ready, Player One’ then this is definitely for you as well.

It’s teen aimed sci-fi set in the near future about some of the protagonists in a virtual year-long game, concentrating on a girl who’s 18th birthday also marked the start of the game. We’re still in the first few weeks of the game but her schooling is suffering and her long distance friend (who is also in the game) is more than a distraction to her.

As for what happens next – I may let you know more or I may just encourage you to go buy it for yourself… But you can’t yet as it’s not available until 31st August. Keep popping back here and we’ll see if I can let out enough of the story without too many spoilers.

Needless to say that Solarversia by Toby Downton is going to be well worth the effort of chasing down.

Jun 24

Hackers and Slackers

Hackers and Slackers

It might seem like that I haven’t done a great deal on here just lately, but behind the scenes a lot has been going on.

The first thing is that a couple of my sites were hacked a couple of times. Not through brute force on my passwords but by an SQL hack to change the title displayed. Not severe as these things go and easily rectified, but annoying just the same. I fixed it the first time only to find the same mob had done the same again, which meant I had to go a little deeper and change some things around. I don’t know if they’ve given up, (I never assume they have.) or whether they’ve just moved onto another target that doesn’t keep removing their message. After all, what’s the point of boasting what a great hacker you are if your message is removed within a few hours of being put up?

My other excuse is that I’ve been moving house. It might be only 3 miles down the road, but it only goes to show that we have far too much stuff. Especially books. This might be the age of the e-book (and I do like my Kindle – if only it had more storage), but there’s a lot that’s not on Kindle, will probably never be on Kindle or is just not suitable for Kindle and when you have a couple of hundred of these (not kidding), the weigh an awful lot. We’ve been ruthless in disposing of some books, but there’s still an awful lot. Not to mention everything else we’ve got too!

Having said all that, I never promised that this blog would be regularly updated, and it’s really only here as my rant spot and a way of keeping my personal thoughts off of my marketing sites, so it’s my choice whether I fill up these pages with my drivel or not. (grin).

I will point the world at my wife’s blog and the highly amusing reading that it makes. See for yourself here: http://bizzylizziesramblings.blogspot.co.uk/ She writes far more entertainingly than I do and more often as well. It even has me in stitches and I am often the main target of her writing.

So keep us in mind, me for my rants and my wife for her adventures (at least that’s what she calls them). Between us, we may even keep you entertained for 5 minutes.

May 08

More Strange Behaviour of the British Public

More Strange Behaviour of the British Public

The British election is over and as usual no one is really happy with the results, except of course, the winners. The rest become whiners claiming fixes and unfairness, in the usual British fashion. But what are ‘the people’ really complaining about?

The turnout for this election was around 70% which is very high for a normally apathetic voting electorate. A high turnout should mean that the will of the country is more accurately portrayed. But you can’t point that out tothe whiners.

These same whiners also seem to have 2 things that they want governments to do for them (forgetting John F. Kennedy’s geatest sound bite – Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Applicable everywhere in the world).

  1. We want the government to take more control of our daily lives by giving us more money (with the unspoken bit – for doing nothing).
  2. We want the government to stop interfering in our daily lives.

What are these people on? They want the government to do more for them, whilst interfering less with what they do.

These are possibly the same people who resent being told to go look for a job when they are perfectly capapble of working. (I do empathise with those who are unable to work due to medical or other circumstances. My wife would love to work, but due to physical ailments that don’t show externally, she drops through the support net).

Despite protests from some of those at the lower end of the food chain, all we seem to see are work shy scroungers who count alcohol and cigarettes as essential foodstuffs and deem their satellite subscription and cable broadband as must haves.

Meanwhile there are people who work very hard for minimum wage or less, pay what is required of them by law and who scrimp and scrape for every penny. They do struggle and are often laughed at by the scroungers for doing so, but they carry on with dignity because they don’t see government handouts as a right.

So Britain has a new government and all the screaming, bitching and whining (especially from the losing politicians) is not going to change that for the next 5 years.

No governemnt is here to carry the populace and the great unwashed should stop expecting that. The first step to changing the next ruling party is make the party a credible force. Labour under Red Ed were not credible and that is the real reason that they lost. UKIP under Adolf Farage were also not credible – a one policy party will never do well in British politics. The Lib Dems were the victims of promises made 5 years ago that they never had a chance to fulfill because they were in a minority amongst the Conservative masses.

The last thing to look upon by those whiners who are screaming that their children’s lives are ruined forever is…

IT’S ONLY 5 YEARS TO THE NEXT ELECTION.

If they’re under 13 now they won’t be eligable to vote then. If they’re under 11 now, they’ll still be at school then.

Stop acting like Simon Cowell just told you that you can’t sing and show that you can support yourself.

Man up Britain.

Mar 27

The British General Election & The Media

The British General Election & The Media

It is a source of continual disappointment to me that the British media continue to portray the General Election as a competition between 2 people – the leaders of the major political parties of the united Kingdom. What about the other 648 seats that are going to be contested at the same time? There is more to British politics than the 2 people who are continually shown on the TV and newspapers.

For those who don’t know, there are 650 constituencies between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, each of which is represented by a locally elected Member of Parliament or MP. This MP is elected by a majority vote or ‘first past the post’ system. There is no proportional representation. These 650 MPs sit in the House of Commons and are the first place that new laws are debated and created.

The House of Lords – the ‘upper’ house consists of unelected people, appointed by leaders of the political parties and individuals nominated to the Queen. The House of Lords does not change on a regular basis, usually on new appointments or the death of a sitting Lord.

Unlike the American presidential elections, the general public do not have a direct say in who the leader of any given political party will be although you’d be hard pushed to believe that if you read the British national or local media. They continually only ever refer to the two leaders, David Cameron & Ed Milliband with a few passing references to other senior members of their respective parties and no reference at all to any MP or potential MP outside of these few.

The British public need to alert the media that they want to know more about everyone concerned, not just the idiots who think they’re in charge or who want to think they could be in charge.

The trouble is, very few of the British public really care. Voter apathy is very much a part of the British psyche with a turnout of over 50% being considered high. I have a feeling that a forced turnout system, like in Australia, might give very different results in this country, although none of the political parties would put it forward as a policy until they were sure they would do well out of it.

So my plea to the national media is to look at the whole country and the whole of the electoral situation and treat the election for what it is – a vote for a local share of a 650 seat government, not an A versus B, 2 person fight.

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