Are Paid Product Reviews Safe? Success and Failure Examples


Everyone knows that the lifeblood of today’s Internet is organic. It’s no longer about stuffing your web site with keywords and key phrases, but rather about how many likes you have on Facebook, how many fans you have, how many tweets you get, and the quality of your reviews on sites like and

This is a good thing: it means that people are placing more emphasis on genuine content and word-of-mouth reviews rather than simply taking a web site’s word for it. But what happens when the industry starts purchasing the likes, asking for the reviews, and giving away prizes to earn the fans?

It changes the game. And if you’re an Internet marketer, you may want to think about what it could mean for your business, too. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of getting paid product reviews, or purchasing your “organic” marketability online.

The Pros: When “Buying” Your Reviews Works

Tim Ferriss is one of the most respected self-marketers out there. In fact, he’s so effective at earning glowing Amazon reviews for his books like “The 4-Hour WorkWeek”and “The 4-Hour Body” that some people started to question his methods. Lisa Barone of, in fact, went so far as to call the influx of Amazon reviews for one of Ferriss’s books “a little fishy.”

As it turned out, Ferriss was able to deny that he gave out prizes for positive reviews. He gave out prizes for buying the book, but not for the reviews. Ferriss’s books, of course, are bestsellers.

What can you learn from that success story? Here are the pros to less-than-organically acquiring more positive reviews, likes, and fans:

  • If you follow the rules, it works. Tim Ferriss followed the rules, and even though he was caught red-handed “manipulating” the system a little bit, he ultimately got off scot-free because he was following the rules. People really did enjoy his books, and there’s not much his critics can do to stop him.
  • You generate lots and lots of hype. Buzz is difficult to capture in a bottle – it’s unpredictable. Acquiring reviews, likes, and fans helps to boost the chance that your product or service will catch a buzz.

Judge for yourself: “The 4-Hour Body” reviews


Judge for yourself: “The 4-Work Week” reviews


The Cons: When You Get Caught

Of course, not everyone has tried the same strategy and come through clean on the other end. Consider the case of a hotel boss who was found encouraging his workers to make fake reviews for his hotel on TripAdvisor.

If you don’t solicit genuine reviews, you’ll look bad. That’s the long and short of it. People figure that if you need to make fake reviews, then you’re not willing to earn strong reviews. The negative publicity generated from this is downright damning.

You’ll become “the boy who cried wolf.” Who will read any future review of your service or product without a grain of salt in the future?

Yes, you can do a lot to swing online fortunes your way, but you should never go so far as to be outright deceitful. Instead, play by the rules: you’ll earn a lot more fans that way.

And for those who do want to give it a try – where can you purchase these paid product reviews? On any outsourcing on crowd-sourcing platform, just sign up and search for paid writers or product reviewers.

And as for me, if you enjoyed this post, as part of my “Gray Hat SEO” series of articles, hit the like and share buttons, post your thoughts below and save me from getting paid reviews instead!

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