5 Star Bribe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beware of the reviews on Amazon! Bribery is afoot! I addressed this issue about seven years ago, with a blog post, and also with a review I left on Amazon. That concerned people who had received a free product in return for leaving an Amazon review about it.

Seems these days the bribery on Amazon is becoming even more blatant. So today I’m doing the same thing I did seven years ago, with this post about a review I recently tried to leave on Amazon for a surveillance camera.

Amazon rejected my review, warning: “It appears your review had inappropriate content.”

Well, fuck you, Amazon. I think warning people about bribery is very appropriate, if you want them to buy good quality products. But maybe Amazon isn’t so concerned about that.

Amazon won’t stop me from posting this review. But it will just have to appear on WP. So here it is, below. You can decide for yourself whether or not it is “appropriate.”

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 Star Bribe ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Two months after I bought this surveillance camera, I got a postcard in the mail offering me a $20 gift certificate to post a 5-Star review on Amazon. A note at the bottom of the card warns, “Do NOT mention this card in the review.” Ah, very sneaky! So I guess I’m no longer eligible for this bribe.

Back side of the bribe offer, er, postcard, I recently received in the mail.

I couldn’t find any way to report this bribery to Amazon, so what does that say about Amazon?

I feel incensed that customers are being bribed to leave 5 Star reviews. I need to trust the products I buy. Due to my distrust, I’m leaving a 1 Star review. Otherwise, I would have given it 3 stars.

Ironically, this surveillance camera is made in China, which is a nation suspected of spying on the USA (remember the spy balloon?). But if you’re not a high-ranking government official, I’m guessing they won’t use it to learn about you or your habits, so don’t worry.

It cost nearly $30, with tax. The video quality is okay. You can set it to detect and automatically track motion, but I found the tracking to be wildly inaccurate. Often, when the motion goes one way, the camera goes the other, or just points straight up at the ceiling.

I’m unaware of any desktop app, but a phone app can be downloaded from Google Play, that can be used for controlling the camera. The app shows alerts whenever the camera detects motion. A tiny photo is displayed with the alert, that is hardly recognizable. Unfortunately, I can find no way to expand the size of the photo. And there seems to be no way to make my phone sound an alarm when motion is detected.

You can program the app to record video when motion is detected, if you buy and install a mini-SD card. But the learning curve for figuring out how to do this was rather steep for me. I could find no user manual for the app, and the user manual for the camera was not very helpful.

More features are available if you subscribe to YI loT’s cloud service, which they push a lot while you’re trying to use the app.

When I’m ready to buy more surveillance cameras, I will not choose this brand. Even though it’s okay, I’m willing to spend a little more for something better. Plus, I resent bribery, and feel distrustful of the product after receiving this bribe offer.


Categories: business

71 replies »

  1. I have had Amazon reject my honest reviews several times before as well. For instance, for some seat covers I bought. They didn’t tell me what was wrong with the review and deleted it so I couldn’t go edit it, so I said “to hell with it. I don’t care that much.” I actually gave the seat covers a good review and included a few pictures of them installed in my vehicle, but they didn’t publish it.

    Every time I buy something from Amazon, I get harangued by Amazon emails to leave a review, but it really isn’t worth the effort anymore. I have plenty of stuff in my life anyway and don’t buy all that much from Amazon anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Fake reviews, site count visits, and YouTube views are whole industries. Not too long ago, I read a technical article (asserting that the “Internet” is now essentially a robot) that included a description of a Chinese YouTube count-generating facility. It consisted of racks with thousands of programmed mobile phones.

    But I am assured to you that this is real person to your amazing post that deserve many like and visitors!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Apparently, gift cards have been offered for 5-star reviews on Amazon for at least five years now, according to my research. I think it’s officially against Amazon’s rules, but they don’t seem to enforce the rules very well.

      Perhaps the best course of action is to disregard all 5-star reviews, and only consider those with 4-stars or less.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Your experience sounds like an experience that someone I know had. Though she got offered the gift card after leaving a negative review. She had purchased a refrigerator that had wonderful 5 star reviews. The refrigerator was awful. Had problems with it almost right away. She left a negative review and got an email from the company saying they had taken her review down because negative reviews were not allowed! But if she would change her review to a favorable one they would give her a gift card. She of course refused the gift card. Crazy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pathological Amazon reviewer. A most “Helpful” review among a couple of hundred is a very long and technical evaluation comparing a very popular mountaineering stove to several alternatives using actual numbers (weight, relative masses of fuels, fuel operating temperatures, heat calories produced…). It just places the stove into the best context for its use.

    Last two were for some Chinese-made lead-acid batteries in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (4-Stars, last reasonably well, but often fail by leaking), and the non-returnable Chinese-manufactured generator that I bought (2-Stars due to poor packaging resulting in damage and crappy American-based company customer-service). I try to be helpful with reviews by giving specific details. I don’t use them to vent or to croon.

    Nowadays, Amazon is pretty much a competitor to the likes of Ali-Express, since China is where the stuff comes from anyway. I’ve used AE mostly for tech equipment… microscope imaging, camera adapters, digital soldering, signal-generator… and I always write a review. However, they have NEVER published a single one. I eventually came to the conclusion most if not all reviews on AE are paid, either to promote a product, or to downgrade a competing product. I think it’s just a part of doing business in China.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like helpful, detailed reviews. Too bad AE won’t publish yours. I’m getting the sense that the entire review process has become so corrupted you have to take it with a big grain of salt.

      Liked by 2 people

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