One of the biggest problems with the internet is not viruses, identity theft or pornography but false information. There is a lot of good software programs that can protect your computer from viruses. Macs hardly ever have this problem. Identity theft is a serious issue but usually if you only shop on respected sites like Amazon and you use long passwords you are safe. There are also filters to stop children inadvertently going to porn sites. What there is no software, patch or firewall to protect the public from are sham sites that pedal sham reviews in order to collect commissions from Amazon, Commission Junction, Expedia and so on.
I guess that 80% of the content on the internet is copied and slightly wrong. I don’t advocate trying to censor the internet but I wish people would have more guile to choose better websites to get their information from.
Here are some signs of bad review sites:
- They never change. The content is not updated.
- The text is blatantly stolen from Amazon or Wikipedia.
- The site has very few pages or posts
- The site is written in the first person even though the person writing clearly has little idea about what he or she is writing about.
- The site is written in English by somebody who obviously is not a native speaker. This is outsourced rubbish. A person should write in their own language about fridges, coffee machines, toasters etc. if they are sincere.
- The site has no links to user manuals, helpful forums or other online resources.
So the next time you want to buy an item on the internet and you type in something like ‘helpful programmable thermostat reviews‘ keep these points in mind when you go to a site. Otherwise you will not get the information that you want and you might up later regretting your online purchase decisions.
Perhaps the notion of ‘watch dog’ is wrong. It is more about educating the public in the ways of internet marketers. This is partly what I think the recent spate of Google Algorithm changes is all about – trying to put quality content in front of the searcher.