Left a quick note over on the CNET Cheapskate that I thought I'd repeat here, edited slightly:

Idk. Most of the time, even the "real" reviewers that get items for free or less than full price often seem to give inflated grades. Even when they put in some serious time making sure the review has good production values, I'm not sure they always use the product representatively. There seems to be a real crunch on time, as if they had too many items to review, and they miss too many important things about products you only get from being a daily user for at least a week or so.
You might be one of the good ones (there's no reason a priori that they can't exist -- if you've got a good bell curve, count me impressed), but in my unscientific-yet-increasingly-vast experience, compensated reviewers do not leave reviews as useful or as honest as the best reviews from actual purchasers, and it's those first not-quite-earned 4-5 star reviews that really drive sales. It's an ugly business, overall.

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