Our philosophy at Mac360 remains much the same as it was when we launched nearly 14 years ago. We write about Apple-related products we like, products we use or recommend to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors– knowing there is a bit of implied support that comes with the recommendation.
Oh, and we throw in a few opinions on almost anything Apple related; mostly because that’s more fun than product reviews. To date we have over 8,000 reviews and opinions on software, hardware, Apple, and competitors. Sadly, product reviews these days have fallen under the spell of fake news.
4 Stars Everywhere
Got Amazon? Yes, of course. Amazon is an American success story. Everybody I know in the good old U.S. of A. uses Amazon, and a growing number use Amazon Prime because of all the goodies CEO Jeff Bezos throws in for free to keep us hooked on the one click purchase.
Allow me to identify a few problems I’ve noticed about Amazon in the past couple of years I’ve been a Prime member. First, the reviews suck. Every damned product is good. That didn’t used to be the case. These days, everything I look at has 3 to 5 star reviews; on average. That cannot be the case.
Whatever happened to 1 star ratings?
Then, when I read them, often I find reviews that talk about an entirely different product or features not found in the product reviewed. What’s with that, Amazon? It’s my understand that Amazon’s Terms of Service prohibit sellers from offering users products for free in exchange for reviews, yet I see that in some reviews thanks to Amazon’s Vine program– it’s an invitation only club for elite reviewers.
Can paid reviews be trusted? Of course not. Can Amazon’s non-paid reviews be trusted? I’m beginning to think not because so many reviews use the same language within the review and too many offer 4 and 5 star reviews for mediocre products.
Apple allows reviews on the Mac App Store and iOS App Store. My understanding is you must have downloaded or purchased the app to write a review. That seems like the correct way. I also understand that app developers get a whole bunch of redeemable coupons for friends, family, testers, and even reviewers to use. It wouldn’t take much for a new app to have dozens of positive reviews almost overnight.
Yet, I still see new apps that have been out for six months and they have a mix of ratings with half a dozen reviews. Apparently, those app developers don’t have many friends or family members.
At Mac360 we like to think our quick reviews of Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps are independent– but notice that we seldom write highly negative views unless the product is a total mess and a must to avoid. It happens. But not often. Many of our reviews come from Mac360 readers who write to tell us about a Mac or iPhone app they found and love. We try it. If we like it, we’re willing to write about it.
The problem with Amazon and reviews elsewhere online is that too many scam the system which diminishes or destroys the validity of the review. Apple now allows app developers to respond to reviews, and this probably helps readers form a more accurate perspective on an app.
Amazon’s inability to police the review process and its own Vine program which allows paid reviews have tainted the entire review process. Elsewhere online I’ve read detailed reviews of apps that offered a glowing, positive perspective, when in reality, the product– to me and my experience eye– turned out to be less than acceptable.
Such paid reviews– and you see more and more products being promoted and sold by Apple-oriented websites than ever– diminish in value and cause readers to end up trusting no one. The same thing holds true with fake news, of course, so maybe this is just a trend we have to learn to live with.