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#49329 - 07/04/18 09:02 AM Do you read reviews?
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I've read reviews all my life. But I've written some posts recently about the decline in quality of nearly everything. Do you read reviews? Do you find that they have anything to offer? I'm not sure anymore.

I find that with everything, there are people who say "this is the greatest" and there are those who same about the same thing "this is the worst". No matter what it is: a shirt, a car, a restaurant, a computer mouse. How can this be?

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#49331 - 07/04/18 09:18 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I read the 0-1 star reviews, and if I find consistency down at the bottom, I don't even look at the top.

I put some faith in the 4-5 star reviews, but only if they're consistent and the 0-1s aren't, and I always keep in mind that my expectations seem to be greater than those of others and, accordingly, I get less satisfaction.
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#49333 - 07/04/18 09:34 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: deniro
I find that with everything, there are people who say "this is the greatest" and there are those who same about the same thing "this is the worst". No matter what it is: a shirt, a car, a restaurant, a computer mouse. How can this be?

I watched a consumer show recently that did a piece on the business of written reviews. There are people who make their living by getting paid for writing good reviews of products they've never used. The program uncovered paid writers who pop up everywhere extolling the virtues of various products.


Edited by ryck (07/04/18 09:40 AM)
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#49334 - 07/04/18 10:51 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Dad never made a purchase over a certain value without consulting Consumer Reports, to which he had a subscription. I got in the habit.

He also subscribed to Newsweek and Time, trying to find a balance in the reporting. I got in the habit.

But as you are, deniro, I've become quite sceptical, especially of web-based review sites. Too many shills out there. TripAdvisor! Whoa!

Still, where do you go to investigate products? I read and try to find corroboration elsewhere. At least you've got consumer rights to fall back on.

Most things have lived up to my expectations, but recently I purchased a Samsung M2-NVMe SSD after reading a reviewer say it worked great in his Mac Pro, the same one I have. It didn't. I returned it to the seller, who had a serious moan at me, but did refund my money.
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#49337 - 07/04/18 04:20 PM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: freelance]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
There are all kinds of reviews. User reviews which are invariably subjective and IMHO have to be taken with at least a grain of salt. Interest site or publication reviews may be somewhat scientific, at least they have a lot more items available for comparison, but too often influenced by who supplies free products to review and purchase advertising space. Institutional reviews by agencies such as Consumer reports, New York Times, etc. go to great lengths to be objective but may rate a product high based on factors you do not particularly care about.

Whatever type of review I read I am far less interested in the rating given than I am in why the reviewer rated the product the way they did. Additionally I keep an eye open for someone gaming the system. More and more sites are providing tools to help evaluate the raters such as identifying certified purchasers, what is the raters ratings history, and using analytical software to identify and eliminate specious ratings.

In the final analysis, the ratings I trust the most come from people I know and personal experience with the vendor.
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#49338 - 07/04/18 04:49 PM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: freelance
...Consumer Reports....

A few years ago I bought a one month subscription to CR to see what they had to say about air conditioners, and I followed that up by checking out the same A/Cs on their manufacturers' websites.

Every machine that was top-rated by CR had unanimous bottom of the barrel reviews on their own manufacturers' websites. tongue
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#49344 - 07/05/18 02:54 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: artie505]
jchuzi Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
The newest issue of Consumer Reports has an article that gives their updated method of ratings. In the future, reliability will be included in the overall rating, and any product that has a poor record (according to feedback from CR subscribers) will not be recommended. CR has done that with automobiles for years and now they will extend it to other products.

It's about time. I had read CR's reviews of dehumidifiers and was planning on buying their top-rated brand, until I looked at CR's website for reviews, and saw that that particular model only lasted 6 months.
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#49348 - 07/05/18 07:35 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: jchuzi]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I still read Consumer Reports once in a while. In fact, I read an issue last night about the costs of cable and streaming.

But I've always found the magazine only partially helpful because it is thin on content, seems not especially scientific, seems narrow in outlook, has a political ax to grind, and doesn't cover nearly as many brands as it should.

A few years ago I found the web site The Wirecutter, which did a much better job than Consumer Reports until it was bought by The New York Times. Now I feel it's unreliable and seems to favor certain brands because of paid advertising. Judging by the comments, I'm not alone. For a year, during the transition to new ownership, the comments section was shut down.

Other sites: Consumer Search, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, Lifewire, Yelp.

Everyone here knows that the more specific a review, the more helpful it is. Excessive adjectives don't help. Saying "this is the greatest" or "this is the worst" doesn't help unless there is elaboration.

I know about fake reviewers. Sometimes I think I can spot them.

Where do you look then? You rely on the experience of people you know. You rely on local small businesses. You rely on web sites that are more independent, less beholden to Google and Facebook and big companies like that. You read forums and comments sections, which can also be entertaining. You watch independent reviewers on YouTube who provide helpful, visual analysis of the product (sometimes). Until Google and Facebook and Amazon devour everything, the internet still has some free thinking on it. Some of these people you can support through Patreon.

Nevertheless, I still think we live in a time when quality is poor, when disposability is overemphasized, when there are no longer any reliable brands, and perhaps when there's no such thing as a clear conscience. Too much cheating and lying.



Edited by deniro (07/05/18 07:44 AM)

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#49350 - 07/05/18 07:42 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I agree that an overwhelming number of negative reviews (0-1 star on Amazon) is worth paying attention to, and perhaps an overwhelming number of five star reviews.

But most reviews on Amazon give four out of five stars, which isn't necessarily helpful. Some people are reluctant to give bad reviews. Some are too eager. Trying to be impartial is an art, a lost art perhaps.

Amazon reviews lose credibility when people use the reviews for political reasons, when they use reviews to complain about price, shipping, being sent the wrong product, or incompatibility, such as "This is supposed to work on my Kindle but it doesn't!" Some reviews are written by people who are impatient and dumb.

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#49351 - 07/05/18 07:47 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
freelance: I have a Crucial SSD which has never had any problems.

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#49365 - 07/06/18 07:24 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: deniro]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
This morning I had my Starbucks' and my brain began functioning at or near normal capacity when I thought about this thread and remembered back in my days as a university lecturer (non-tenure path) I ran across a carefully researched and verified marketing axiom that held…
Originally Posted By: marketing axiom
A highly satisfied customer will tell as many as 10 others about their satisfaction and the product or service. A dissatisfied customer will tell 80 or more others about their dissatisfaction with the product or service.
I ran into it again while working at Microsoft where it was drummed into the heads of their tech support people and again when I was co-developing Software Six Sigma at Texas Instruments Malcolm Baldridge winning Defense Systems Group.

That was twenty to forty years ago and before the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc. but human nature does not change that rapidly. If anything I would posit the faceless anonymity of the internet would make a troll feel safer trashing a product, service, or even an individual's opinion. In the final analysis to me user ratings are best taken best taken with caution and a substantial grain of salt.
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#49374 - 07/06/18 10:32 AM Re: Do you read reviews? [Re: joemikeb]
deniro Offline


Registered: 09/09/09
I agree with that, but times being what they are, when I find a good product or service, I pass it on.

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