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Are “faux reviews really ethical?

A few days ago, I purchased a course (PDFs and videos) that taught how to make money by writing reviews of products on Amazon.com. There was nothing blackhat. It taught how to set up a site, get a domain name, find profitble keywords, etc.  I have to admit I’m sort of leading from ignorance as I never completed the course. However, it seemed to me that if one were to follow all the instructions and do everything recommended, one would make some money.

What bothered me

There were a couple of reasons why I gave up on the course. First, it taught that you should use keywords that included a brand name, such as http://canonpowershot.com.

I seriously avoid suing brand names because you can just never know when the company owning the brand will hit you with a cease and desist order – leaving you with little choice but to shut down the site.

Second, it recommended finding other people’s reviews and then writing a new one using them as source material. In other words, you didn’t have to actually own or use the product to create a review, which just rubbed me the wrong way.

I don’t see this as “black hat” or illegal but it just smacks of being a “faux” review. I also wonder if you can really write a good review if you’ve never actually used the product. IMHO, the best reviews are those that simpley say whether or not they thought the product was worth what it cost.

I know that product reviews are a great way to get ranked on Google and that people often search for product reviews so they do generate traffic. But my philosophy is that it just isn’t ethical to write reviews unless they are of products I’ve actually used.

What do you think?



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