I hadn’t considered the fake review angle but I always have had an issue with the number of 5-star endorsements. The way I see it is:
1=boat sucks in every possible way
5=boat is perfect for all possible conditions and is perfect in every way.
3=boat is average (most boats are). It may earn a 5 for build quality but turns like a truck (1). Ultimate score would be an average of all qualities.
I think that a set criteria could be established that would include (among other things) build quality, outfitting (are the deck line functional, etc), cockpit, initial stability, secondary stability,speed, skeg/rudder function, there are tons of things that could be included and I sincerely doubt that any boat would score as perfect in every way. If you owned a perfect boat you would never sell it.
Yeah, I know…what is perfect for me isn’t perfect for someone else but if we could dial in on specifics maybe we could make a decision that a boat rated as 7 might be a great candidate for us. I don’t need a boat that goes much over 4 knots because I paddle at 3 knots and I don’t want a rudder so a boat that cruises at 7 knots but needs a rudder isn’t a good choice for me.
I submitted a review on a Zephyr 15.5 once and it was one of my all-time favorite boats. It wasn’t perfect but it served me very well, was comfortable had great handling characteristics and I rated it 7. If anyone was sorting through reviews by numerical score they wouldn’t have read it. If they read it, though, they might have found that it was a boat for them to consider.
Now talking out of both sides of my mouth I have to admit to giving my Illusion a 5 but it had flaws. It was near perfect for me but after the Zephyr review experience I felt weird not playing the P.com review game so I broke down. Forgive me for I have sinned.
Another thing to consider in adding to the review criteria is a paddler profile. Wouldn’t need to be in depth just some simple qualifiers.