Take a closer look at those “editor’s pick” pieces
I review things. I generally don’t read others reviews until I have published mine because I don’t want to be looking at the items in the same way. Yeah, I know it’s odd but I’d rather discover the joy or failure on my own of a product in my use cases, maybe hit reviews after I’ve finished to make sure I didn’t miss something.
TL;DR – you probably know this, but people like to make money and pretend they’ve done the work.
I was recently looking up reviews on a company’s products after writing a monumental review of a cool piece of hardware burdened by a hot turd of a software suite. I ran across an editor’s picks piece with ten or so “great” (this product) that happened to include one by a brand I’m talking with. It’s on a site I frequent. Meh, what could it hurt to take a look at this list as chosen by a random editor I wasn’t familiar with on a site I am?
First thing I noticed was there were a lot of (product) listed in his editor’s picks. Must be a (product) guy I thought. So I went through his articles and nothing. No reviews of any (product.) Huh, maybe he’d been working for another site and wrote reviews of these elsewhere… quick google search would turn up… nothing. Googled reviews of the product just checking for portions of the name. Nope.
So I read the reviews of several items, compared with the Amazon reviews, and discovered on at least one there were certain claims in the article that were also made on an Amazon review and they were … duh duh duh… wrong. For an older version of the product that had been replaced / firmware updated week one. Amazon had the negative comments as the top ones, but it was fixed a while ago.
I’m being deliberately vague here as a note. I’ve publicly asked this person outright if they’re just trawling Amazon reviews and adding their link code to make money. No response. If they’re doing it I’m going to offer the site my services of looking at cool product, shilling, and tagging my link code in there because after 4 years of owning this place, still not profitable.
Each sale on these “picks” can earn an author or site about 6% if they’re doing normal Amazon rev share. On larger sites this can translate to real money. Getting you to buy something big on certain sites can also get an editor or site a pretty hefty bounty. You have no idea the offers we get (which I probably should start posting.) I remember when OnePlus+ had some absurd bounties and one site had 17 OnePlus articles in a day. Ah… manufactured hype. So much rev share.
Anyway, that’s about it – a lot of these aren’t doing anything other than reading reviews (reviews quite often paid for by the manufacturer,) compiling a list, and have no experience with the product… but you probably knew that already.