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Few customers will go out of their way to return to your site to review a product if unprompted -- but if you auto-mail them a couple weeks after they've received their order with a link back to the product they purchased you'll build critical mass in no time. This is a component that a lot of folks overlook when implementing reviews because it's hidden from view -- but it's critical to the success of the program.
Reviews are a powerful tool for selling and if done right they amplify conversion in beautiful ways -- but if done half-way, I agree, they can be a liability. The tipping point for critical mass appears to be about 7 reviews per product.
2 years, 6 months ago on DOs and DON’Ts of Reviews