The problem with "shopping" on the Second Life grid is the lag - as vendor textures rez slower than molasses. And if you are a hunter like I am, trying to find what you're looking for is a nightmare as there is a sheer Matterhorn of stuff for sale all over the grid. So much so that it's a rare treat to go anywhere and not run into some prim blasting it's advertisement at you hoping you'll throw Linden Dollars at it.

This is why I, like thousands of others will shop via XStreet SL (XSL) - it is still a major hit-and-miss frustrating experience. But it is less frustrating than going on the hunt in-world. You are able to compare likewise products side-by-side and then - if that creator/merchant actually has any smarts at all by providing a link to their in-world location - I'll go in-world to check the product first-hand.

Unfortunately, like in-world, XSL adverts are gamed to no end with "keyword spam" and often ridiculously inflated proclamations about the quality of the product that is up for review (a reason I never purchase anything from XSL that does not provide a SLURL to review it in-world).

However, XSL has one major gaming flaw that does not exist in-world. Think of it as the counter-part to in-world traffic-gaming with traffic-bots: the all-to-common shill.

I went into XSL to check-up on one of my own listings. Then for some reason I went back to the "home" page, where there are "featured" listings. The one that caught my eyes was a "sex rug" for L$99. Zodiac House (go there and buy our stuff now, please - "ZHSL" SLURL link in the menu above!) also sells "cuddles" and "love" rugs, but certainly with the work we put into them we don't sell for that price. The headline is "Super Promo..." - so I figured it was some limited-time sale or something. I looked...and laughed.

Often in SL you will get exactly what you pay for. Sometimes you'll be shockingly surprised that you get a lot more than you pay for. But more often than that, you will get a lot less for what you pay for. In this case, your L$99 will get you an MLP script-set with a bunch of (currently) freebie animations. And that's okay.

But the shilling is rampant:
Back before the XSL web site was redesigned it was pretty easy to give reviews of stuff you have purchased as every time you logged-in there they were in your face waiting for you to rate them. Most people, perhaps 999 of 1000 won't bother writing any review at all and very few will actually bother giving a star-rating.

However, the redesign of the XSL web site makes it ridiculously confusing to find a way to review items you have purchased from your "account" page, meaning you have to make an active effort to jump through the link-hoops to go back for the purpose of reviewing. Or, however, revisiting the item page will allow you to rate and review. So a question: how often after purchasing something from XSL do you return to that same item listing...just to post a review?

Certainly some people will. But the overwhelming majority will not.

A common practice of "traffic-gaming" creators on XSL is to login with all their alts, perhaps convince some friends to all go into their product pages and give 5-star ratings with often ridiculous over-the-top commentary.
"ZOMG! This thing is the best since sliced bread!!!! OMFG I LOVE THIS!"
Uh...yeah...riiiiight. For a L$99 Sex Rug with freebie animations?

How to spot shill ratings: check the dates and times of when the ratings were posted. This is why I always go to the "Item Discussion" thread to see what real people are saying.

So, as for brand-new just-listed low-cost items with more than one or two reviews where every one of them is a 5-star rating... fasten your seatbelt and rather than a grain, swallow a whole bag of salt with it.

As the traffic bot on the grid has made a complete mockery of traffic ratings on the grid, so too has the XSL shill of star-ratings and reviews.