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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Professional Reviews

    In another thread, Graham Smith said
    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    professional reviews ... turn it into a comparison of features - ABC has 3 more features than XYZ so it gets more points in the comparison. But there's little to nothing about the value of those features.
    I'm with Graham, so many reviews are bottom-level points comparison exercises these days. I only use them to alert me to new products I might be interested in. I then check out user reviews--filtering the paid ones as best I can--to get a sense of the real deal.

    Do you have any professional reviewers you trust? Or maybe review sites--is it the site or individual reviewer you trust?

    I find Amazon reviews are as good as I've seen, provided you click on the 'verified purchase' filter. Some of the Vine and other solicited reviews can be excellent of course, but 'normal' users give a better overall sense imo. The 4-star and 2-star reviews are often the most informative--too many possible fanboys and competitors' shills in the 5 and 1 brackets. Other retailers I've looked at generally don't come close, for whatever reason.

    The general problems I have with professional reviews:

    1. The advertising or other compensatory [freebies etc] relationship with the seller.
    2. The 'it's a job' problem, ie got to do 2 reviews today with this hangover.
    3. The motivation loss after a while--I've seen a few great reviewers gradually move to taking the easy route.
    4. The easy route--sort of a spreadsheet approach, what's the sound like, what's the material finish like, how much will fit in a bowl, etc.
    5. The need to get the review out before the competition, therefore often not written about the actual shipping product, and always hurried.
    6. The 'nothing new' fetish, which promotes feature creep/bloat in products just to get a higher review score--imo the vast majority of products could do with fixing and refining, instead of abandoning to get the next model out.
    7. The lack of awareness of or empathy with the 'normal' user, who don't have super machines or years of background or living space free of destructive kids and pets.
    Last edited by Lugh; 2016-10-13 at 08:36. Reason: typo
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  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I'm with you -- I think Amazon.com has the most honest reviews. My theory about that is, Amazon.com is not a manufacturer's or vendor's website -- they aren't connected to either of those entities. They simply are a huge forum whereby people and companies can buy and sell. I often go there when checking out products. The only reviews I feel are not honest on Amazon are for books about or by controversial people or topics. If someone has strong feelings for or against the author or subject of the book, those feelings will come through in the reviews posted. But in the non-controversial products (computers, tools, vitamins, etc.), I feel that Amazon has honest reviews.

    I tried to post a review on Verizonwireless.com about my current cell phone. They rejected it -- they told me that I somehow violated the rules of posting reviews. But the only thing I could see in my post which might have bothered them was the fact that I had some negative things to say about the phone.

    I have some confidence in the reviews that I read on hardware store websites (Lowes.com, etc). But even there, you have to take what you read with a grain of salt.

  3. #3
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    If you are speaking of retail merchandise, then Amazon is OK if you are careful to read. They are tightening up on things but there are still way too many reviews that read as if the manufacture wrote them. What I usually do is click on the 3 star reviews to see the negative ones and see what it is people didn't like about something.

    Consumer Reports is still worthwhile but too often they evaluate on criteria that don't interest me that much. There's also a site called ConsumerSearch that is an aggregator and can help with some things.

    Wirecutter and Sweethome do a fair job of researching products. Not perfect by a long stretch but they seem to be relatively objective. Engaget is also worth looking at.

    Now, when it comes to software, that's where it gets sticky. I used to be able to count on PC Magazine, CNET, and similar outlets, but for a long time now they have gotten really sloppy and have resorted to features lists more than actual evaluations. CNET is probably the best of the lot.

    AV software is almost a category of it's own. There are some highly technical ratings you can look at, but these are torture tests and when you look at them closely you will see that many of the ratings are fairly close since everyone knows what's being looked for in these tests. One of the most important criteria (ease of use) is often the least emphasized - mainly because it's subjective and hard to measure.
    Graham Smith
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    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    A few October 2016 articles:

    Amazon ban on incentivised reviews
    Quote Originally Posted by BBC
    A recent study of more than seven million reviews by analysis site ReviewMeta found that the average rating for products with incentivised reviews was higher than those for non-incentivised ones.
    Amazon to crack down on incentivized reviews
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Musil
    The only exceptions to the new rule are book reviews and reviews created through Amazon's Vine program
    What Amazon’s review policy change means for marketers
    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Frech
    If you’re in the book business, you can disregard the ban as well—as the update doesn’t apply to incentivized reviews for books.
    Quote Originally Posted by Comment
    companies can still provide products to consumers, but they cannot require consumers to write reviews.
    Lugh.
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  6. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    ... One of the most important criteria (ease of use) is often the least emphasized - mainly because it's subjective and hard to measure.
    +1
    Eike J Heinze
    What I am about
    SE Wisconsin

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