Slave to the Reviews


Do you find yourself checking the ratings of products on Amazon, and movies on Netflix before buying them? Of course, you do. You also realize how easy it is to manipulate these ratings, right? I can easily hire fifty people to tell you this book is five stars, and better than The Hunger Games. (It’s not.) Then, if you buy the product and it sucks balls, you might lie, and say you like it (a la Birdman, which was awful), to justify falling for the ruse of the reviews.

As an author, I’m painfully aware of the power of reviews. I’m aware of how brands manipulate them positively. I’m aware of how competitors manipulate them negatively. I still can’t seem to resist looking at the stars. Three stars or less, and I’m digging deeper. Four or more, and I’m buying.

So, one prick (jealous author, jilted lover, etc.) can hurt my income by trashing this book with a one-star review. (Please don’t do that, or I’ll feed your dog chocolate.) I used to monitor my reviews, and attempt to fight negative reviews. I’ve learned it’s no use. Best to thicken my skin, and prod on. Pricks will be pricks, and any reaction by me enforces their positions. The best way to handle a prick (aside from two hands and lots of spit), is to ignore it.

If we are so review-driven, why aren’t dating sites set up that way? Would that fall under the “mean bullying” category? Think about it. If my profile picture showed with 4.5 of stars and 600 reviews right beneath it, you’d give me a second look, regardless of my five-head, gray chin, and utter disgust toward anything offspring, golf, or religion related. If it were three one-star reviews, I’d be overlooked more quickly than a lime green cardigan.

Here are some of the reviews I imagine my dating profile would have:

“Three Stars: Yes, Phil is a nice guy, but he made out with me in the car, then never called. I suspect he’s either gay or married … or both.” – Annette

“One Star: He once farted during an orgasm, and blamed his cat. He was inside me. I’ll never be the same.” – Beth

“Four Stars: Unlike most men, Phil seems to enjoy heading south, so to speak. I’d give him five stars, but that goatee doesn’t play well with clits.” – Christine

“Five Stars: I love my Uncle Phil. He bought me a Starbucks card in return for this review.” – Courtney

“One Star: He’s drunk nightly, won’t do yoga or spin class, said Christians are pudding-brained zombies, and he called my son a soulless pile of goat boogers.” – Deena

“Three Stars: He’s hairy, so five stars during the winter months, and one star in the summer.” – Emma

I know how this game is played. The objective is to get more reviews, so one becomes more average. I can do that. A simple lowering of standards should help. It’s expensive, but I’ll consider it a loss leader. Come have a drink with me, on me. Maybe we can exchange fluids and reviews. It’s a win-win! Act now! Buy, buy, buy!

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About the author

Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.