Electronic Hub recently posted a study divulging which electronics have the most unreliable reviews on Amazon, with some of our most beloved cameras sitting near the top.
Fakespot is a website which uses artificial intelligence to “detect fake reviews and scams.” Having analyzed Fakespot's data, Electronic Hub identified the electronics and brands with the highest density of Amazon reviews suspected of being fake or unreliable. Here is how the list stacked up:
Sony a7R IV: 45.5% fake/unreliable reviews
Canon EOS R6: 45% fake/unreliable reviews
Nikon Z5: 44% fake/unreliable reviews
Once the fake reviews are removed, the Amazon rating for the Sony aR IV dropped from a 4.8/5 to a 2.5/5. Being a Canon enthusiast, there was a little devil on my shoulder coaxing me to wrap up the article with that highlight, but alas, I have some more findings to reveal. According to this study, Canon takes the first slot as the brand with the largest percentage of unreliable reviews on Amazon: a whopping 34.17%. With a slightly shallower fall from grace, the EOS R6 drops from at 4.8/5 to a 3.5/5 once the fake reviews were removed.
Who Are These Fake Reviewers?
As soon as this article came to me, I remembered hearing an interview on NPR where a contract "fake reviewer" was interviewed anonymously. I dug it up. It turns out that there are online channels where Amazon sellers congregate and barter for products on which they want favorable reviews. Going by his first name for the interview, Travis confesses"
I don't think it's right that people can write fake reviews on products, but I need the money. The sellers provide detailed instructions to avoid being detected by Amazon's algorithms.
NPR reports that according to outside auditors like Fakespot and ReviewMeta, more than half the reviews for certain popular products are questionable. Amazon disputes those estimates: "Our approximation is that less than one percent of reviews are inauthentic," says Sharon Chiarella, vice president of community shopping at Amazon.
According to a study by the Journal of Marketing Research, another source of these fake reviewers are fans of competing brands. We've all known a photographer who is obnoxiously over the top with their loyalty to their selected camera brand. Studies have now shown that these users perceive themselves as brand ambassadors with the task of tearing down the reputation of their competitors by leaving fake reviews.
On Writing Reviews
As writers, we are tasked to write reviews unbiasedly, and we are hand-picked by our editors for each review based on our qualifications. The process to be a gear reviewer for Fstoppers not only involves passing the competitive cut to be a writer but also a six month of writing and revision of your work from the editors before even becoming eligible to receive gear for review. You can know that Fstoppers always hand-chooses qualified photographers when it comes to gear review.
As writers, we sometimes tend to compose on the topics we are reflecting on in our own practices. Time and time again, though, I get messages from readers on my Instagram asking the beginner questions: "Where do I buy a camera?" "How do I prepare for my first shoot with a model?" "How much do I charge for my first paid shoot?" I have to rewind my mind to those questions I asked when I was just getting my toes wet. The seemingly obvious takeaway here is that Amazon is not the place for getting accurate camera reviews. Most of you probably already knew that. Is the Sony a7R IV really a 2.5/5 when the padding is removed? I don't know, but the moral of the story is that Amazon is not the place to find out.
Another closing note is that a camera that is perfect for one artist may not be the right one for you and vice versa. I've had photographers work for me who shot Nikon, and I just love how Nikon handles low light. Color is a predominant theme in my work, and for me, Canon is the best at color. Leica seems to have a reputation for the sensitivity to light and a creaminess of texture. The takeaway from this article is to go to the right source for your reviews and figure out what camera is best for the work you are doing. Don't trust Travis.