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.


  1. Steven, I enjoyed your post. It’s exactly what I was thinking a few days ago. If someone is writing a review, let it be helpful. You are talking about it so I won’t repeat it. But I recommend reading your post. Thanks for your effort to let us know.

  2. Hello Irena,

    Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment with me. It was good of you to come here since this is not my internet marketing blog (http://www.stevenlucasmarketing.com), but since your wonderful blog is also not in the IM niche, it didn’t seem a good thing to spoil each other’s backlinks. This place is a bit more free-for-all as far as topics go.

    Thank you also for your kind words. I do get fed up of minimal word comments that tell you little about a possibly expensive product. I especially dislike the ones that criticise an aspect of the product that is beyond the manufacturer’s or seller’s control – hence my comment about a product not matching the buyer’s furniture. How is that relevant?

    Let’s hope a few more people see this and take note for the next time they write up a review post on Amazon.


    Steven Lucas

  3. Hi Steven:

    It’s Helen, from QSC 3.0. Thank you for visiting my website. I enjoyed your article on how to write good reviews. I rarely write reviews, unless the product is exceptionally good or bad. When I do write a review, especially to praise an exceptional product, I do take a lot of time and effort to make sure that it’s well explained. Your pointers are helpful. I’ll come back and visit more often!

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