Online Ratings Now More Worthless Than Ever

Ok, let me couch that. Online ratings are now more worthless than ever to end users.

There’s a new game in town folks, and that game is selling bogus reviews to get pretty little stars attached to your Adwords ads.  For those who have never noticed them, they look a little something like this:

review

 

When Google first started assigning star ratings to Adwords ads (back in April 2014 if memory serves), they were using reputable resources such as Bizrate for those reviews. Last year though, everything changed. Instead of just using a few trusted sources, Google opened the floodgates and created a new cottage industry of allegedly selling bullshit reviews.

If you’re not familiar, here’s how it works. Adwords charges on a “per click” basis. The price and position though isn’t just based on the amount you’re willing to bid. It is a calculation based on your max bid, the quality of your ad, the quality of the landing page and the click through rate. Basically, Google is trying to figure out how to maximize their revenue by showing the most relavent ads. The idea of adding the star ratings is to improve click through rates on ads, hypothetically decreasing the cost per click (as CTR is a large component of the Adwords quality score calculation).

The problem though is that there are now dozens of companies that are in the business of gathering reviews and giving the data they gather to Adwords. Now, I get weekly calls and daily emails from extremely aggressive salespeople from these review aggregators and they all come with the same basic sales pitch:

“Hey Mike, I see you’re spending quite a bit of money on Adwords. I’ve got a great way for you to decrease your cost per click! Google leverages reviews collected by as a data source for its seller rating extension and it has been shown to increase click through rates by 17% on average! Oh, and did I mention that we guarantee that 95% of your reviews will be 4 or 5 stars and less than half of one percent will be one star? Seriously, how strong is that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?”

No offense to the great Herb Tarlek, but I’m pretty sure that all of these jackasses that waste my time on a daily basis look like this:

herb-tarlek

If you then look at the reviews from these companies, you’ll notice that somehow everyone is averaging 4 stars or higher. One of these services goes on to claim that 95% of their ratings are either 4 or 5 stars. If you believe that 95% of the ecommerce companies deserve 4 stars or higher, put down the bong and the Grape Ape, as you’re clearly abusing your MMJ card. As for the quality of the reviews, the vast majority are short, one liners like “always a pleasure” or “great site”. No details, nothing to show that these are verified buyers or in any way legit. Just page after page of worthless 3-5 word, 5 star reviews for companies you’ve never heard of.

Not surprisingly, there are now hundreds of individuals on Fiverr offering to sell you positive reviews.  These guys were there before, offering to write you Yelp reviews to artificially boost your Yelp stars, but now the floodgates are open.  And don’t worry if the reviews don’t actually make any sense, are written in broken English or simply look like they came from spambots.  After all, if the review services don’t care/encourage these types of reviews, why should we?

Honestly, I don’t blame companies for using this service. Google has created an environment where they are effectively encouraging Adwords customers to use these systems, as they allow the companies to publicize the fact that their review data is used by Google. This then encourages sales people to use aggressive and deceptive tactics to make sales.

Are all the companies Google uses bogus? Are all the reviews bullshit?  Of course not.   Just keep in mind though that the next time you see 80k five star reviews for a company you’ve never heard of, there just might be the slightest hint of cow feces wafting from the rating.

Posted in SEO Crap.

Hanukkah Awesomeness

Whether you spell it Haunkkah or Chanukah, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is the fact that we’re gonna light some candles over the next 8 nights, I’m gonna get some sweet ass socks (hopefully from Sock It To Me), the wife is gonna cook up some delicious latke and Guinness braised brisket and we don’t need to rely on Weird Al to give us this – sick – parody.

Mazel Tov motherfuckers.

Posted in Jew.

Zara And Their “Honest Mistakes”

Oh, those wacky kids over at Zara’s.  If you’re not familiar with the brand, think of it like Kohl’s or H&M for Europe.  They’ve got about 2,000 stores worldwide with pretty much all of them being located in Europe.  They focus on selling “fashion forward” clothes and accessories at affordable prices.  Apparently “fashion forward” is code for “racially insensitive”.

Back in 2007, the company briefly carried a bag with what appeared to be large swastikas on it:

zara-swastika-bag

 

The media caught wind of it and Zara’s released the following statement: “We did not realise Swastikas appeared on some of these bags, the swastika was not on the bag which was sourced by us after being supplied by an external producer.  Of course we apologise to anyone who was offended by the bag, and we will be withdrawing it from all our stores.”

Ok, fair enough I guess.  I’m not sure how the entire company at Zara’s (the buyers, the store managers, the floor staff) all seemed to miss the glaring and obvious, but they apologized and pulled the product.

Flash forward to the present and the good folks at Zara’s have done it again.  This time, they released a shirt designed for kids – blue and white striped shirt with a giant yellow Star of David “Sheriff’s Badge” on the front.

zara-concentration-camp-shirt

When asked about it by the Jerusalem Post, a Zara spokesperson stated: “It has nothing to do with the Second World War or whatever. The inspiration had to do with the old classic western movies. Obviously we are very attentive to the sensitivity of our customers. we made a mistake in this case.”

I can totally see how this was an “honest mistake”.  After all, it’s not like they’ve only released clothing that is insensitive to Jewish people.  Just a couple weeks ago, the company had to pull a t-shirt they were selling that stated in huge letters “White Is The New Black“.  Plus, if you look really, really closely, there is the word “Sheriff” that is barely legible on the star.

Based on Zara’s comments and behavior, their designers and buyers aren’t antisemitic or racist.  They’re just complete morons.

Posted in Jew.