Online reviews are a great source of unbiased feedback about future purchases — as well as a treasure trove of surreal humor.

Online marketing has given brands the unprecedented ability to get their products in front of potential customers while they lounge in the comfort of their own homes. However, since online shopping is subject to the glass barrier effect, brands must work hard to assure customers that what they see on the screen is actually what they’ll get in the mail 5-10 business days later. Product reviews help to add valuable social proof and give customers the confidence they need to make a purchase.

Word-of-mouth is by far the most effective form of advertising, and that trend extends online: 88% of people report that they trust online reviews as much as they trust reviews from people they know. That means that consumers, even anonymous or strangers, are empowered to influence their peers’ buying decisions by leaving product feedback. But just like on Google search results, individual valuable reviews can get buried in the sheer number of poorly worded or unhelpful submissions, and no site is impervious to trolls. Thankfully, some reviewers have found a way to stand out– and it’s with a wicked sense of humor.

The popularity of these takedowns has brought them out of the underground. Ordinarily, Amazon is super serious about the integrity of their review system, so it’s notable that they’ve taken advantage of this secondary function, with their own officially curated page of fun reviews.

You Suck And So Does Your Product

Even the big brands get it wrong sometimes. When they do, a snarky reviewer can truly shine. BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pens currently have 2,189 customer reviews — most of which are comments on how gendering such a generic product is both dumb and sexist.

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But while Bic’s girly writing implements might be patronizing, at least they aren’t a danger to the lives of drivers and pedestrians. Unlike the AutoExec Wheelmate Steering Wheel Attachable Work Surface Tray. Yup, that is in fact a miniature desk which can be attached to the steering wheel of a car.

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Just Plain Horrifying

Product reviews can stop us from wasting money on low quality products. And it’s disturbing how low that quality can be, especially when it comes to holiday accommodation. We’re not sure if we were laughing from amusement or horror with some of these…

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Own Goals

Sometimes, the laugh is on the reviewer, as their rants unintentionally reveal their own inadequacies.

Review4We have to give props to this coffee joint for standing up to this creep.

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What are beaches like on your planet, tomgreene?

Odd, But Complimentary

But frequently, funny reviews can work in a product’s favor.

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Dish towels are a hard product to market distinctively: there isn’t really much to distinguish these from the many other brands on offer. Phil H.’s tale of daring adventure makes these stand out: you don’t expect to laugh when shopping for household supplies. And his raconteurship clinched at least one sale: we haven’t taken them out on an mountaineering expedition yet, but we can confirm that they’re just great for drying dishes.

It seems likely that an increasing proportion of commerce will take place online; a move that’s compounded by social media platforms hopping on the shopification bandwagon. While this process will be supported by increasingly sophisticated programmatic ad targeting to maximize ROI, human feedback in the form of reviews will continue to be an important part of online retail — as well as a surprisingly rich source of entertainment.

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