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What’s new in Which? magazine: November 2019

Take a look inside the all-new Which? magazine as we explore the story behind Amazon's fake reviews problem

Which? magazine is the UK’s bestselling monthly, trusted by more than 600,000 subscribers. Packed with reviews, advice, investigations and news, our aim is to make individuals as powerful as the organisations they deal with in their daily lives.

If you’re not yet a Which? member, we’re offering a sneak peek at the latest product reviews and investigations that are featured in the latest issue. Keep scrolling for a look inside.

Which? magazine: November 2019

Shenzhen is to hardware what Silicon Valley is to software. But, as our recent investigation has discovered, dodgy products and fake reviews on Amazon can also be traced back to the city.

Our journey into the world of fake reviews has taught us that they’re often very difficult to spot. We chose eight products from a selection of categories – wireless speakers, dash cams, headphones and cordless vacuum cleaners – and put them through our tests. Many were promoted as ‘Amazon’s Choice’ recommendations, and at the time of selection, each appeared on the first page of an Amazon search when sorted by customer review.

Meanwhile, we’re demanding action from eBay as the website continues to list potentially life-threatening products.

We’re not even midway through our latest round of CO alarm tests, yet we have already found six unbranded alarms listed on eBay that simply can’t detect CO reliably. We’re not waiting until the end of the test to make them Don’t Buys.

Take a trial to Which? magazine today.

Also in this month’s magazine:

  • Is the high street really in decline? The UK high street has seen considerable change over recent years, and not always for the better. We tap into national retail data to find out how it’s evolving and where it might be going next.
  • Five things you didn’t know voice assistants could do How to get more from Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Breaking the upgrade cycle Our latest reliability survey highlights the tech brands that last.
  • Food prices crunched The cost of food is a major concern for many, especially since the Brexit vote, but we’ve arguably never had it so good.
  • Too plush to push? Our latest tests reveal that some vacuum cleaners are practically impossible to use on thicker carpets.

From the Editor

If you go on Amazon and search for a technology product, you can be faced with thousands of options over hundreds of pages. Unless you know what you’re looking for, or can see a brand you already trust, your choice is likely to be influenced by the order that the products appear in – you’re more likely to see something on page one than page 12 – and the star ratings based on customer reviews.

However, over the past year, our investigations and product-testing teams have exposed the extent of Amazon’s fake reviews problem. This, in turn, influences the rankings, by pushing up products from unknown brands – including many that our tests have shown to be poor quality or that are insecure or unsafe (such as the flawed security cameras and dangerous chargers, travel adaptors and power banks we reported on in last month’s issue). Unknown brands dominate search results in many categories, boosted by suspect reviews.

Where is all this coming from? The dodgy products? The unknown brands? The fake reviews? Our research has increasingly led us to one place: Shenzhen, China. So we started digging deeper. In this month’s magazine, we bring you the story behind Amazon’s fake reviews. Other online marketplaces are also at fault, not least eBay, which we’ve found selling dangerously ineffective CO and smoke alarms from Chinese sellers.

Harry Rose, Editor, Which? magazine

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