Fake Reviews on Pnet

I don’t look at the reviews anymore and this morning I noticed one review that was highlighted so i started checking out some of them. I’m afraid a lot of the reviews are now fake or paid reviews. Especially true of the SUP boards.

I don’t know if it is possible but it might be best to limit reviews to reviewers who have actually posted previously on Pnet and and the post was not regarding the item that they find so fascinatingly wonderful. Lots of 5 star reviews from one time posters like they are regurgitating the webpage marketing.


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.

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I do a lot of product review posting of various products I buy and always consider what information I would want to have in considering such a purchase. Too many reviews (from bras to boats) are “I just love this and it fits me perfectly. 10 out of 10.”

Honestly, I don’t give half a crap if another buyer “loves” the thing. And since I know nothing about that buyer, how will the fact that it suits them be anything more than a self-important brag?

The reviews that are useful list the metrics of the user (height, weight, fitness level), summarize their previous experience (like in the case at hand, what other boats they have used/owned and what kinds of paddling they have done) and that note specific features and/or shortfall of the boat’s performance and how it compares with similar products with which they are familiar.

Anything else is just vapid and useless fluff.

The reviews that are the most pointless are the all too common iterations of “I just bought this awesome kayak at (insert big box discount store) and can’t wait to use it. 10 out of 10!”

(of course, I’m a curmudgeon anyway and as soon as somebody describes something, other than a major aspect of the natural world, as “awesome” part of my brain goes numb.)


:wink: …I would imagine a lot of us share aspects of that description.


I think that we are basically in agreement here. I suspect that we select what interests us in a similar way and that most reviews are ignored or read for entertainment value. I think that there is a large ‘tweener demographic that could benefit from a review system more detailed than what you and I would like to have but less than what you and I would benefit from. Personally, I would be very happy to see that change so that folks choosing their first or second boat could learn more than how the cockpit had drink holders and was therefore awesome.

Some of us are left sorting through stellar reviews for clues as to how a boat would really serve our needs. I think that P.com could do better in this regard.

I get a lot more out of the comments than the overall rating. I agree that the reviews might be more valuable if the review process was more standardized and rigorous but I’m not sure if that’s a realistic expectation.


Yeah. You are probably right.

I think most of the more experienced kayakers can glean what they need from the reviews e.g. they will tend to

  • discard reviews from enthusiastic newbies (who likely give high ratings)
  • look for reviews by experienced kayakers (who likely give lower ratings)

A useful type of additional information from the reviewer might be standardized to include:

  • how long have you kayaked and typical days per year
  • type of kayak you own and have owned
  • skill level
  • range of sea conditions you paddle
  • etc.

Don’t forget the fact that if you write a review you get entered for a prize or whatever. I’m sure that results in a bunch of half-a$$ed reviews.

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This is a good start. In addition to that useful information would include,

  • Manufacturer’s specs such as hull and wetted hull length; beam; skeg, rudder or neither; cockpit type and dimensions, hatch sizes and storage volume if known; keel type straight or rockered; weight, composition (fiberglass, plastic, etc.); hull design; description of deck rigging; etc. Seat design.

  • Subjective review of what conditions it would be suitable for. How it handles in wind and rough and flat water. Maneuverability vs distance paddling. Perceived stability. Good for day tripping, overnight or weekend camping, extended expedition camping, exploring local creeks and lakes, fishing, photography, open or protected water, etc. Build quality. Comfort.

  • Finally why they chose that particular boat. What they like and what could be improved. Happy with their choice or any regrets. Paddler’s height and weight would be useful but optional.

A list of what would be useful information listed at top of the home page of each review class might discourage useless reviews.

I tend to doubt that there are any fake reviews, or at least I hope not. I think it’s more that people don’t know what is useful, how to be objectively critical, or just lack experience with a number of boats. Some people might not want to admit they spent a small fortune on a scow. There are, after all, some pretty thorough and well written reviews.

At least it’s not like some sites where the only people that submit reviews are people that are pissed off about something and hate the product.

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On another paddler forum where I participate, a poster’s “signature” of sorts appears at the end of each of their comments/replies that lists all of the boats they have owned. This is VERY useful when you are scanning for sources of information on various models.

The older version of P.net had a brief profile section (optional but it seemed a lot of participants included the information) where you could note your paddling interests, geographic location and level of experience. I liked that a lot and found it helped in responding to an OP’s question if I could see a little background and not have to ask all the questions each time.


That is all something that we could include in our profiles, however, it seems that most posters don’t Fill out their profiles. Seems that maybe it could be possible to have some profile info required before a person could access the review portion. Or would that exclude a lot of folks.

It took some fiddling around but I did find the profile page! Something that had been invisible to me since they changed the format. I did input it (and got a medal of some kind for doing so, evidently). But now I can’t seem to find how to get back in to edit it to add something I forgot. Oh, well. Some other time.

Great suggestions! I doubt that the site moderators/maintainers would implement such constraints on potential reviewers because it would likely reduce participation. I suspect participation is a site goal. However, an article about “How to read kayak reviews” would be useful. Then a link (which could be ignored) to such an article included in each review? Note that I am focusing on kayak reviews.

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AWESOME. you guys paddle? I have dreams from a previous life that I did . Reviews and surveys and jada jada are totally (total) now in internetwebland. Most is just marketing. Pretty easy to spot. Everything wants a review. Market statistical measurements or social engineering ?

kcuf the reviews on pnet and please go paddle. Post photos. Still full time care giver for my ALZ patient and I have not been wet since last October. My support system totally unraveled with Covid onset of course. I still peruse ( that means read) good old pnet (invented when the internet was kind and gentle, xcept of b&b )

Peace J

So sorry to hear you’ve been off the water for so long. Wish there was some way I could help.

I want to hear more about that boat that cruises at 7 knots. Skis don’t count though.

Hang in there Jeff…the water waits. You are needed .{in a big way} I hope you play your guitar for her some…

Thanks for kind words Rookie Post Photos of water rocks and tree… I miss UPlandia paddling adventures Sleeping Bear to Pictured Rocks " and all points in between" good times… J

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I found the profile page but its just my name and e-mail. Is there a way to enter or see someone’s general location, height/weight, experience level, boats owned, or other information that would be useful in reading reviews or comments?