A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

Big media publishers are inundating the web with subpar product recommendations you can’t trust

Housefresh - an independent publisher and reviewer of air purifiers for your home - recently published a well-researched and damning article about how big media companies game the system by flooding Google with useless listicles of 'best product for X' without actually testing and reviewing them; 'content' is mostly based on Amazon listings and have no reviews on their website. It will surprise no one if these traps are not even touched by a human writer.

Big media publishers are inundating the web with subpar product recommendations you can’t trust Uncovering the cookie-cutter system well-known magazines and newspapers use to trick Google

Savvy SEOs at big media publishers (or third-party vendors hired by them) realized that they could create pages for ‘best of’ product recommendations without the need to invest any time or effort in actually testing and reviewing the products first.

So, they peppered their pages with references to a ‘rigorous testing process,’ their ‘lab team,’ subject matter experts ‘they collaborated with,’ and complicated methodologies that seem impressive at a cursory look.

Sometimes, they even added photos of ‘tests’ with products covered in Post-it notes, someone holding a tape measure, and people with very ‘scientific’ clipboards.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to show you’re doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing, but what happens when that’s as far as you go?

Their air purifier recommendations are generally plagued by high-priced and underperforming units, Amazon bestsellers with dubious origins (that also underperform), and even subpar devices from companies that market their products with phrases like ‘the Tesla of air purifiers.’ Any actual product testing would show these air purifiers to be a bad pick. What you hardly ever see in their recommendations are truly affordable and high-performing options, which should be a priority if you’re trying to help people clean the air in their homes.

From here on it goes even deeper into the rabbit hole. Great article and recommended reading for everyone that does shopping and researching their next buy online.

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