a reply to: worldstarcountry
There's a trick to evaluating a product based on reviews. Many people ignore reviews and miss out on critical information because they don't know how
to use reviews properly.
The first thing you have to understand is, there are people out there who will complain about absolutely anything. There are also shills out there
who will rave about absolutely anything (for a variety of reasons, but getting the items free in return for a review is a big one). That said, in a 5
star review system (which most are), you can't just ignore the 5's and the 1's and look only at the 2's, 3's and 4's. You could be missing out on
critical info. You also have to understand that vendors like Amazon and Ebay will present the highest ratings first in a search (usually, depending
on your search string).
2 star through 4 stars are usually the fewest of the reviews (with 4's being the most common), and there's a reason. Many people will award 4 stars
just out of principle (they never give 5's, "just because"). 2 and 3 star reviews are generally pretty accurate, but they also represent only about
10% of reviews, simply because people think...all or nothing. I try to look at all of these, but there aren't many in most cases. So, what to do?
The first thing to look for is to look at the 1 star reviews and see if there's a trend. Are people just saying it's "crap", or are they listing a
reason also, and is there a trend in the reasons like "part 'x' breaks immediately", or "widget 'y' doesn't fit at all", or "poor shipping, broken,
DOA", etc. These are all good clues. You'll see right away, some people just complain to complain, whereas others actually have some reason.
Next spend a minute (but not too long) looking at some of the 5 star reviews. You can pretty much ignore what people write in these reviews because
they'll all be these glowing reviews like..."It's better than the invention of the wheel!", etc. But rather look at the people who write them. Are
they all 'certified buyers'? Are they all random anonymous names like "John", or "Bill" or "Anonymous" (ad nauseum)? You have to remember, there are
people who get paid to skew review results to get higher search results (i.e. shills). Also, look at the nationality of the reviewers. Are they all
from the country of the product's origin, or are they from all over. Pay close attention to reviews who actually list "Pro" and "Con" elements,
and..."None! Greatest product EVAR, since sliced bread!!", is NOT a "Con"! (LOL!)
Then look at some reviews of both the vendor and the product on other websites than the one you wish to buy from. Do these reviews say similar
things, or are they completely different? The biggest takeaway here is to look for trends, both good and bad. Stars don't really mean a lot, and you
shouldn't base your opinion only on stars. If there's a negative trend which would bother you also, then spend more time researching how big of an
issue this really is. Reviews which have at least one criticism in a generally favorable review are always ones to pay close attention to. They're
probably being honest for the most part.
Remember that highly popular online retailers like Amazon and Ebay are notorious for having skewed reviews, and it's getting harder and harder to find
truly objective reviews on products. For some vendors, skewing review results is actually part of their business plan (it really is). But if you
know how to take reviews as an aggregate, rather than dwelling on only selected areas, you'll get much better results.
Just my .02