How influential are "customer/consumer" reviews for your purchasing?

vbimport

#1

We’ve broached this topic in several threads over the year, but I wanted to bring it up.

If you’re standing next to a salesman who dogs a product, how willing are you to buy it?

(I had a salesman dog Cat6 cable when I knew perfectly well that’s exactly what I needed. He was shocked that I proceeded to get what I needed. The cable works fine, of course. Since he couldn’t tell a Cat5e from a Cat6 by touch - the extra twists - I knew his ‘review’ was of suspicious quality. But in other cases, I’m more circumspect. A technician says, “Great price for that motherboard, but I’ve seen a lot of RMAs come in for these.” Kablooey. “Fine, give me Choice #2…”)

Does the price of an object give you more or less inclination to use Reviews?

(Do I tend to pay more attention to a $20 item’s negative reviews than a $200 item’s? Twenty-dollar items tend to have vast numbers of similar competitors. The $200 item will be far more unique. Is that a difference maker? Could be… “I have fewer choices, so I’ll degrade - or promote - reviewers’ cautions.”)

I do enjoy NewEgg’s offerings for reviews. Their 5 star-type plateaus are helpful. When I see a thousand reviews, then I go thru some kind of “How many Total Pro’s vs. Total Con’s are there?” formulation

One thing I do use the NewEgg Reviews for: to see if a Vendor is responding to the Negatives. When I see rapid response (same day, within a few days), at least I know the vendor cares enough to ‘waste’ that much time. Maybe it’s all lip service, but so many vendors won’t even do that.

Being the cynic, yes, I also check to see if a vendor’s multiple responses occurs on separate dates, as opposed to some employee showing up once a month, writing tons of responses and then skipping town for another month.


#2

I check reviews on most everything over $20 to $30. A few years ago I bought a Troy-bilt brand gas weed eater, because of the brand. I liked it so well I bought another.Well the first one I bought a couple of years ago with about 10 to 12 hours on it locked up. The repair shop said it would cost more to fix it than I could buy another for, and that was a common problem. I went home and looked at the reviews on both of the weed eaters and was I surprised there were more bad than good reviews. I have all the attachments and didn’t want to spend the money for another complete unit. I noticed a store that had a Toro power head only. I checked the reviews the store had and also the ones that Toro had and it was like 100 good and maybe 2 bad. I bought the Toro. Did the same thing on Newegg with Panasonic electric shavers that come on sale every now and then and purchased one that had a lot of good reviews. I like it and it works great.


#3

[B]Sales person[/B]
I try my best to avoid the sales person, usually by saying “I’m fine”. Some are rather persistent and difficult to avoid especially those that turn up at the door stop. A good example is the Irish telecom provider Eircom. I think they called us 3 times in the past month and yesterday an Eircom sales person came to my house trying to push their packages.

For example, at the minute I’m paying €60 for my 5Mb Internet and phone with Digiweb and the Eircom sales person tried claiming their €50 package would be a better offer. I said I’m a new contract with Digiweb and he said some thing like “What a pity, as you could have been saved quite a lot by switching back”. After a quick look on Eircom’s website, I’m glad I did not go with salesman’s offer - The promotional period ends after 6 months and goes up to €65/month and unlike my current provider, their package does not include UK minutes despite us regularly calling the UK.

[B]Low cost items, e.g. <€20[/B]
For cheaper items such as under €20, it totally depends on what I’m purchasing and what the negative reviews are about (rather than the ratio of 4&5 star to 1&2 star).

A couple of examples:

€10 memory card - I’ll generally avoid it if it has even a few negative reviews. I certainly don’t like losing pictures, particularly in situations where you can’t go back to take another picture. So even a very small number of negative reviews about card failures will usually put me off.

€10 ink cartridge set - Negative reviews about spilling ink, slow delivery or poor RMA generally don’t put me off, but I do take them into account, e.g. being careful when removing the seal cap and allowing extra time for delivery. However, if the negative reviews are about terrible colour output, lines, etc. then I generally avoid.

€10 corded telephone - If I’m getting a spare, chances are that I’ll just ignore the reviews altogether.

[B]Medium priced products, e.g. ~€100[/B]
I tend to spend an hour checking through reviews, sometimes looking at professional reviews. For hard disks, this approach worked pretty well in my experience. I generally avoid hard disks with more than 1 in 10 negative reviews about DOA and failure, specifically on NewEgg and Amazon. The last 3.5" hard disk that failed on me was in 2004, despite purchasing ~20 hard disks for my two home PCs over that period. I sold off the smaller (<500GB) models later on. Before 2004, I had several hard disk failures as I was just buying them without checking any reviews.

[B]Higher priced products, e.g. >€200[/B]
For more expensive products, I may spend hours reading reviews before actually forking out on it and I take both user and professional reviews into account. I generally skip reviews that don’t look at real life use. E.g. a user review on a vacuum cleaner complaining about hose kinking, parts breaking and dust blooms while emptying says a lot more than a professional review boasting about its no loss of suction, manoeuvrability and low running costs. A good example would be the Dyson vacuum cleaner I bought a few years ago based on my real life experience with it. I’ve learned my lesson for not checking user reviews at the time - I now have a Henry. :slight_smile:

[B]Specific items[/B]
In one case, I may actually look for negative reviews as to whether to actually by it. For example, if I purchase polo shirt, I specifically check if it’s a slim fit size, which is rarely mentioned in the description. So if I see negative reviews about it being too small, then I’m fairly confident it’s a slim fit size and usually this turns out to be the case once it arrives.

Finally, there are some products I will not buy online no matter how positive the reviews are. I can spend a good part of a day trying out shoes to find a pair that fits comfortably. If I tried out shoes online, I’m sure I would spend a good portion of a year returning one pair after another until I got a pair that fits.


#4

The problem is, the ratings on products in Newegg dont’ often reflect the current reality due to changes either in manufacturing or driver support.

Example 1-Manufacturing changes-The older/original ASUS N56 “Black Diamond” routers were mostly crap, in part due to the firmware. After a few updates, they were rock solid and people loved them. Fast forward to last fall and they changed something in how they were made. Now people complain about crappy N56’s.

Example 2-Driver changes-My ASUS 2Gb HD7770 GDDR5 video card shipped with an older version of AMD Catalyst Control Center. This version gave people problems with their cards, so there were a lot of negative or meh reviews at first. However, they also included GPU Tweak as well. If you read the later, more positive reviews, those people didn’t install GPU Tweak and they downloaded the updated AMD Catalyst driver. Then their cards worked very well.


#5

So many episodes that tend to - sadly - support my “It’s all a crapshoot” philosophy of consumer buying on-line.

And I mostly write off my criticism as a manufacturer/seller’s refusal to divulge proper info. And then for e-tailers to refuse to list it or provide it. “If only they’d tell us the truth!”

Power supply weights, for example. Most power-supply reviewers have come to realize that ‘weight’ does give an indication of overall quality - more is better. Some products list the weight, some don’t. And just take a glance at any 5 SSDs and performance stats would make Campbell Soup jealous of the alphabet quantity!

What’s really inside? Several years ago, during the “G” heyday, there was a website that listed every NIC, Router and Access Point’s radio-chipset, so it was easy to match chipsets across any of those for Best Performance, regardless of brand-name on the plastic outside.

Optical Drive makers have been using a variety of internals, too - chipsets, lasers. Wouldn’t it be great if vendors would supply THOSE names and models? “Renasas” vs. “Mediateks”?

Of course, getting the so-called manufacturers or name-branders to supply their own drivers is often well beyond the scope of these assembly-operations. They’re garages or basements or soon-to-collapse Bangladeshi buildings, for all I know.

These vendors’ lack of info is probably excused by saying, “Too much effort required” and then some vendors (like HP’s computers) have so many variants because they sweep up sweatshop assembly plants and sell those as “HP-Compaq” models numbers with umpteen sub-number variations that drivers are provided by the dozens. “If you have Model XYZ-1334-4934-A12-47895789-A, use this. If you have the -B version, use that”, and they don’t stop until every sub-number is listed. It’s Driver Hell, as far as I’m concerned - my number one reason for never buying HP computer-gear is their asylum-esque model-numbering. It’s Charlton Heston, every time…

“Otherwise, add this one to your local landfill and buy another HP-Compaq!”

Uh huh…

Crapshoot.


#6

This seems accurate…


#7

^ Highly agree, except for me where I would have no problem buying the pretty lamp, but would be very picky about the light bulb that goes into it!

Yes, as sad as it seems, I have spent hours reading reviews on LED light bulbs and just when I thought I picked up a highly rated bulb, well, I’ll not rewrite this post. :doh:

I do have a remote control colour-changing LED bulb, keeps my 2-year old nephew occupied. :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

My wife wanted a $500+ Kitchenaid #600 mixer. While I was checking the net for best price I read most of the reviews, they were not very good. The cheapest I found them was $349. Kholes had them on sale for $399 and 20% off it you used their credit card. Then Tuesday Morning (a surplus store) had them for $299. She went to Kholes used her card, they priced matched her ad for $299 and took $60 off of that. So she paid $260 for a $500+ mixer and I guess in about 6 months I will be writing a review (good or bad)


#9

[QUOTE=Seán;2686026]^ Highly agree, except for me where I would have no problem buying the pretty lamp, but would be very picky about the light bulb that goes into it!

Yes, as sad as it seems, I have spent hours reading reviews on LED light bulbs and just when I thought I picked up a highly rated bulb, well, I’ll not rewrite this post. :doh:

I do have a remote control colour-changing LED bulb, keeps my 2-year old nephew occupied. :p[/QUOTE]

Working in the lighting industry has provided some interesting insights into the way humans work …

Who would expect that a $10,000 (au/us) italian manufactured pendant would have a single active wire going to the lamp holders, and then use the metallic body as the return neutral, in violation of every electrical safety standard in the world?

At the prices charged, surely they could have one electrical testing body to provide some comments.

Bah.


#10

That’s shocking . :eek: :bigsmile:


#11

I was thinking, “Do I want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick this morning, or read NewEgg negatives?”

So, I opted for NewEgg negatives on the WD Black 4Tb’s. 1500 good reviews, over 400 bad ones, and the bad ones are all “DOA or first week Deaths”.

But one review really got me - “I just got this 4Tb WD Black and it died in 2 days. Four years of my work, all gone!”

Uh. You can do four years of work in two days? Hmmm…

Isn’t that, really, like, TWO DAYS of work, therefore?!!

I’m sure he meant that he’d copied files over for two days. So… uh… I gotta wonder, “And you still had time to wipe out all those drives, putting all your eggs in one basket?”

He probably spent Day 1 copying the data from hard-drives, then on Day 2, he was happy the computer started again and he was having fun with all those fies. So he decided to start wiping out those old drives.

It’s reviews like that which - if read with some common sense - that make Reading Reviews a baleful experience.

Much like having Cholla start in with his puns. groan…:D:D


#12

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2686085]I was thinking, “Do I want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick this morning, or read NewEgg negatives?”

So, I opted for NewEgg negatives on the WD Black 4Tb’s. 1500 good reviews, over 400 bad ones, and the bad ones are all “DOA or first week Deaths”.

But one review really got me - “I just got this 4Tb WD Black and it died in 2 days. Four years of my work, all gone!”

Uh. You can do four years of work in two days? Hmmm…

Isn’t that, really, like, TWO DAYS of work, therefore?!!

I’m sure he meant that he’d copied files over for two days. So… uh… I gotta wonder, “And you still had time to wipe out all those drives, putting all your eggs in one basket?”

He probably spent Day 1 copying the data from hard-drives, then on Day 2, he was happy the computer started again and he was having fun with all those fies. So he decided to start wiping out those old drives.

It’s reviews like that which - if read with some common sense - that make Reading Reviews a baleful experience.

Much like having Cholla start in with his puns. groan…:D:D[/QUOTE]

That’s the downside to crowdsourcing. There’s a lot of clueless people out there. But if you can sift the wheat from the chaff without poking your eyes out you can pick up some useful things. If I hadn’t read the reviews on the router we got I wouldn’t have known to disable the QoS setting that was on by default and our internet speed would be as slow as molasses.


#13

This evening, a 3rd LED bulb has failed of the 4 I ordered in March, this bulb which has 4.4 out of 5 stars (52 total reviews.)

It’s as if LED stood for Life Expectancy Doomed…

If the remaining bulb fails, I’ll submit my own review. :bigsmile:


#14

Yojimbo brings up the “educational” aspect of reviews, and perhaps that’s the best of all - seeing reviewers write in “How I Use it” or improvements. Occasionally, I’ve seen vendors give good suggestions but VERY seldom. I have indeed seen more useful tips come from consumers.

On CPU coolers, I’ll see “hard or easy to install” comments. Routers, I’ll see “Use this or that firmware” and various settings.

Given the choice, however, I’ll always prefer sites that offer User Feedback options rather than those that don’t. NewEgg does about the best job with their ‘stats’ collection and their ability to provide me readings by group (1-Star, 2-Star, etc).


#15

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2686145]…Given the choice, however, I’ll always prefer sites that offer User Feedback options rather than those that don’t. NewEgg does about the best job with their ‘stats’ collection and their ability to provide me readings by group (1-Star, 2-Star, etc).[/QUOTE]

Yo-

Then you have very obviously have never shopped at www.amazon.com !!! :a


#16

Actually, I don’t ‘shop’ from Amazon. I buy from there, but I don’t surf and shop too much. Their Sort mechanisms are awful - “Relevance”?!! - and their Search Results invariably displays vast quantities of unrelated, unwanted products.


#17

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2686085]But one review really got me - “I just got this 4Tb WD Black and it died in 2 days. Four years of my work, all gone!”

Uh. You can do four years of work in two days? Hmmm…

Isn’t that, really, like, TWO DAYS of work, therefore?!!

I’m sure he meant that he’d copied files over for two days. So… uh… I gotta wonder, “And you still had time to wipe out all those drives, putting all your eggs in one basket?”

He probably spent Day 1 copying the data from hard-drives, then on Day 2, he was happy the computer started again and he was having fun with all those fies. So he decided to start wiping out those old drives.
[/QUOTE]
I did that once … when I was young and foolish … when my raid (0) array was having a few stability issues for no apparent reason …
I bought a brand new WD HDD, put it through a few tests to make sure it was working fine … then dumped all my stuff off the array/ dissassembled the array, and tested the two HDD’s thoroughly …

After a barrage of tests on the array HDD’s, both were fine … so I recreated the array, reinstalled windows to it, and all my required programs … and started to copy the data back to the array …

Bam … after operating fine for 5 days, the brand spanking new HDD died at 1% … which as it turned out was about 99% of the way through the first large file … meaning absolutely nothing copied back before the HDD died.

This, of course, was well before external HDD’s were popular … or probably even affordable/available.

All the important stuff was, of course, on CDR’s … and nearly everything could be found floating around the campus network … but … urgh :stuck_out_tongue:


#18

That is a delicate question.

I always read ALL the available reviews before buying anything of value. Do they influence me? To a considerable extent yes. But I had to realize that my personal experience with certain brands can not be forgotten. And it is advisable to be careful with reviews, comments, posts, etc. as nowdays there are people on the net who review, comment, post for money either praising or critisizing the product.

Just an example. Some weeks ago I decided to buy a new BD Player. After some days of research there remained two brands to choose from. And here came my personal experience and I bought the Pioneer.


#19

Just to back my post. I have visited a forum dealing with BD Players. One of the members posted that Pioneer BDP has been produced by a low end manufacturer for years that is why they are junk.

I could not help smiling.


#20

I think most of you have covered this topic well as it concerns tech products… plenty of the reviews are useless, except to record data on success vs doa/defective items. What’s more useful in deciding between items is what problems people are having with them and whether that’s from inexperience, a software/firmware issue, and/or product “LIMITATIONS”. You can also include ‘enthusiast’ niche consumers in disclosing the higher QC products similar to Verbatim DVD+r’s with AZO dye. Not as many MFG are making BD-R’s so quality isn’t as good overall and yet we see sky high prices for bd-r’s still some 3+ years later after the format war ended.

The tech industry is kind of in a rut and that affects innovation and morale of the mfg of these products (** except mobile computing which is maturing & evolving finally). Back when a PC 386 / 486 MOTHERBOARD alone was 400, 500 600 dollars ALONE, the guys building these systems did “BURN IN” tests to stress the board & system to make sure it wasn’t going to RMA and cost them money. Nowadays, RMA is factored into the prices and on a company scale insurance is bought want the potential costs could exceed accounting threshold of profit/loss.

I find Amazon reviews on tech products not useful as most of them are not written by tech literate people. Newegg has some controversial posts when it comes to reviews and you can’t trust them as much due to the fact that NEWEGG IS a company selling stock on the stock exchange (aka, publicly traded company). Newegg’s MFG response for negative review mitigation is meant as damage control when MFG get problems creeping in and want to look good as if they’re doing something about the problem. This usually happens in the back-channel and gets fixed- rather quickly, it shouldn’t take for several bad reviews to show up and consumers are STILL 2 - 3 months later having problems. I still like NE, esp. for their long time customers they still in the end do the right thing for them, but going after AMAZON style profits will bend that curve of good service eventually into a company that is arrogant like Amazon (and you can $EE that in the aggressively higher pricing already). The only other answer to that is Ebay, or the flea market (physical and online e-tailers)… not good choices…

Ponder this… my Norelco shaver is about 12 years old, and has ~40 charge capacity left out of 100 mins when new. The new products which have the 100 minute charge are still in the $150 - $250 price range where they were 12 years ago… not all tech products improve on price and innovate… You’d think technology would have made a 400 minute run-time shaver by now under $90. Nope, just new fluffy marketing hype… I’m also not impressed by using Lithium-Ion batteries in a shaver that is wet/dry and can be exposed to temperature extremes & humidity. Luckily none have burst into flames or exploded-- that I know of.