I purchased a set of Sidchrome tools as a 20 year old working on my first car, simply because a mate doing an apprenticeship told me they were the best tools, and 40 years later, I still think Sidchrome are worth the money, despite not putting a spanner on a cylinder head for 30 years.

The power of word of mouth referral for a brand.

The world has changed, and we all now go looking for product reviews on line, and as the volume of those searches has sky-rocketed, so has the incentive for marketers to game the system. Use a pseudonym, or pay for someone to  tell the world how great your product is, nothing stopping you. The line between advertising and endorsement by a trusted figure blurred beyond recognition? Perhaps not, so long as negative reviews are able to get equal time.

Social media is a great leveler, both positive and negative reviews get oxygen, reviewers can build a bank of credibility by being even-handed. EBay’s rating system of the performance of buyers and sellers is a great example of the way it can works, as is Amazons book review system. 

Planting reviews that are advertising cowering as reviews is dodgy, but ultimately OK, so long as the product delivers on the promise. False reviews are immoral, wrong, and dangerous, as the power of social networks will find you out, and shoot your lousy product dead. This infographic from Hubspot makes for interesting reading.