Product Reviews – Thumbs Up or Down?

Call them stars.  Call them thumbs up or smiley faces.  Call them reviews.

Whatever you call them, are they important?

Let’s be clear.  About half of potential buyers for any kind of product ignore reviews.  They don’t care about what they say.  They buy because they want it and they want it now, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else says about it.

The other half?  They like to read reviews.  More weight is given to those from professionals if the purchase is something like a camera or a car, but most of the time, the average person brings an even stronger perspective, because – they’re like THEM!

This raises the question about why people don’t leave more reviews on what they buy.  This isn’t just books (while I’d love to see more readers reviewing mine) but any item.  I think the answer comes down to this.

People aren’t sure what to say.

I’ll tell you straight out – you don’t need to be a writer or an expert or a person with a big name.  In fact, I’d rather read a review from someone like me.  Did you struggle with the camera’s instructions or making sense of the many bells and whistles and settings?  What miles per gallon do you get in your daily activities as compared to the manufacturer’s claim?

Did you like it?

I propose a simple approach to writing reviews for any kind of product or service.  Yes, click the number of stars or thumbs or whatever, but even more important, tell us three little things:

– How long have you been using XXX?  Or did you finish the book or listen to the whole recording?  Or was the service completed, on time, within budget?

– What was one thing you can’t get out of your mind about it – the one thing that lingers in your memory about the experience you had with it?

– Why do you think I’d enjoy it too?  Or not?

That’s it – three sentences.  Yes, it takes time, but sharing your everyday, normal, personal experience connects you to someone else interested in this product.  And don’t we all need a little more connection in this world?

Do you leave stars or write reviews?  What determines if you do or not?  Please share in the comments!

About The Author

Yvonne Kohano

Award winner and storycatcher Yvonne Kohano writes contemporary romantic suspense in her Flynn's Crossing series. She is also working on a psychological thriller trilogy, and producing nonfiction books with tips for creative types. In addition to running an indie press, Yvonne loves to cook (dedicated foodie), garden (plantaholic), travel (anywhere), and read and learn (anything). She, her husband and their dogs love their home in the Pacific Northwest. Follow her at and on Facebook and Twitter to learn what tickles her about being a writer.


  • Lilian Simmonds

    January 20, 2018

    I try to always leave reviews and stars when possible. I do however sometimes slip up particularly as I have had quite long spells of poor health of an on over the past years. I do appreciate the authors talents and must confess free books on occasions. I do also buy books.
    Kind regards

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 20, 2018

      Thanks Lilian for sharing your point of view. We authors appreciate any time you take for reviews OR stars! Thanks for being a reader who shares! Best – Yvonne

  • Dikkon Eberhart

    January 20, 2018

    I read reviews about household and other products I know nothing about but need to use — and I read both positive and negative reviews on purpose. No product is perfect, and what I really want to know is, what is the general response? Do I want to cope with what will be my experience of the reality which is identified by the general response?

    Scarcely ever have I written a review about these products, whatever my experience: I don’t consider that I have a platform about these products from which to make an opinion (despite what Yvonne reasonably states above!).

    I do write reviews about service related to these products–service is human, and I want to point out (and implicitly to reward) good service.

    As an author, book reviews are, for me, in a different category. Books are ideas, and I have people who respond to my advice, so I feel a responsibility to them to point out truly excellent “ideas.”

    I don’t write negative reviews. If I’m going to take the time to write a review, it’s because I want to praise. My thought: there’s enough negativity out there already. Someone else can do the negative. I’m interested to find a way to identify the positive about a product or an “idea.” It’s by the POSITIVE that the world as a whole becomes richer.

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 20, 2018

      Thanks Dikkon for sharing your perspective. I too like to give people kudos for good service, most often because I believe we don’t say ‘thank you’ enough! (And good service seems to be pitifully hard to find sometimes!) I do share opinions about products too – particularly if it’s advertised as good for novice, and I am a novice for whatever that product is supposed to do. But like many of us, I get busy, and I don’t always add my opinion. I appreciate your honesty about the times that you do! Best – Yvonne

  • Nicky

    January 20, 2018

    Great article. Appreciate your viewpoint and wanted to say hi!

  • Glenda Hislop

    January 21, 2018

    I try to leave both but sometimes in my rush to finish one book and start another, I forget 😀. I will often remember at a later date and then go do it.

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 21, 2018

      I understand the desire to dive right into the next title, Glenda. Me too! Thanks for leaving reviews whenever you have the chance – and thansk for being a reader! Best – Yvonne

  • Joan Fernandez

    January 23, 2018

    Yvonne, this post is helpful because often I tell myself I need to think about my experience a little more. Then I never get back to it. I will try your quick 3 steps. Something to say is better than nothing to say. Warmly, Joan

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 23, 2018

      I think we all stress about reviews, Joan – both reading them as the product provider, and writing them as the product customer. I hope this method works for you! Best – Yvonne