Ignoring Amazon's new policy... How do you ensure honesty/impartiality in your reviews?

Obviously there has been a lot of discussion recently in reviews, in Amazon Q&A, and in the blogosphere about reviews (despite a statement about the review being honest/impartial) for free/discounted products from a seller, I do think it’s possible to be impartial. Anker is a good example of a company that provides EXCELLENT, often 5-star products, but I feel like people won’t really trust my review once I mention that it is for a free/discounted product.

What do you guys find are good strategies for trying to provide a review that demonstrates your impartiality. For example, have you found that pictures/videos make a review more reliable/helpful? I’m looking for ways to balance out a review to make it relevant for people even though I’ve revealed that I got the product at a discount or for free.

It’s hard to argue data. For example I reviewed one of Anker’s first QuickCharge chargers and simply timed how long it took to charge my Moto X from 20% to full, and then did the same with Motorola’s stock turbocharger.

It’s more difficult to do that for something like lumens on an LED desk lamp, but that’s where photos and/or video is handy.

I’ve tried both video reviews and photos in my several review samples I have been provided by Amazon sellers (that is 7 ‘sample’ items out of 200+ reviews I have done on Amazon). If the product was audio based I have used video so the viewer can see the product and hear audio, if the product was a charging battery I also included a screenshot of the charging voltage for the devices I tested. Despite this though I often get a negative vote or two just because it is a sample. Stats don’t lie and if the product does what the company says i.e charges an iPhone 7 times, you can’t exactly shaft them with 3-4 stars for that.

I’ve said numerous times that Amazon could do with looking deeper at there review system so that you have to give a reason for a helpful or unhelpful review as at present it is too easy just to click yes or no depending on whether your friends are trying to pad your score or others are just doing it to screw your Amazon rankings (and then possible Vine program consideration). I think having to do more than just a mouse click would take the shine off this practice (not to mention possible Internet bots).

Just my two pence (or cents for those over the pond)

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When I write a review, I try to include as many information as I can … pictures definitely helps. It’s one thing to say that battery x takes y amount of time to charge to full capacity but to actually show a picture, I think it validates it moreso then just words. I like to think that although, I get a product for review for free or at a discounted price, that I am being honest and taking the time to put all the information I can out there so that the reader can draw their own conclusion on if the product is right for them. I like to give a list of pros and cons of the products, how I used it, what testing I’ve done, and who the product would be good for. But of course, I think that the consumer has a responsibility to do a bit of research on their own. When I read reviews on things that I want to buy, I take in the different points made by the reviewer and then see how it would relate to how I want to use it.

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I find that doing a video review that shows the product actually working really helps. Also, any “proof” you can include, such as a USB power meter showing how much power the USB port is providing, also helps. But you’ll get down-votes no matter what… I believe Anker’s competitors hire people to watch every review 24/7 and down-vote it immediately.

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I try to look at it from the perspective of someone that has paid for the product. I constantly look back at the price of the item while writing the review, because sure, it’s nice to have gotten it for free or discounted but that doesn’t mean it’s worth the listed price.

Mike - interested in that review you mentioned of the charging rate vs. the Motorola turbo charger. I have a Moto-G4, and I’d be interested in that data. Where could I find your figures? Are they published online somewhere?

I will post it up here when I get some time to root through my reviews! Stay tuned.