For years I have or someone close to me has had a subscription to Consumer Reports magazine. You are making an important purchase and you look up with they think about it. AND they dont accept advertisements so you feel a certain comfort level in what they report. I love the format, I love the ease in figuring out what the selling features are with the grid – what I don’t like is the information on the last 3 products I bought using their recommendations.
The first product was a digital camera and it turned out to be a disaster – I ignored my own experience to buy one they reported as “Best Value.” Well Best Value is sitting on a shelf broken and I am too frustrated with the company to send it back.
The next one is a vacuum from Sears – Kenmore. I absolutely hate it and it wasnt cheap. Today I was ready to throw it into the river. If I spent as much time actually vacuuming as I did trying to fix the one I have (that is a year old and I have a housekeeper that hates it so much she brings her own) I would have the cleanest house in the world. I was so frustrated I posted something on Facebook and sure enough I learned another friend was unhappy with this thing, while 2 others told me DYSON was the one I should get!
The other one is a front loader washer. It has been fixed twice and there are 2 people in my house, no kids. It doesnt get much of a work out, but it cannot take whatever 2 people can give it.
So now what will I do? First, I will buy nothing ever again from Sears and I won’t ever bother with “Consumer Reports.” I don’t think they are bad people, I just think they are not like me and I don’t need to pay a subscription to somebody that gives me bad information.
And neither do you have to. User generated reviews are changing how people get information and make decisions. “Consumer Reports” has an online website where members (you pay) sign up to get information. I am not doing that, when Amazon has reviews that website companies like consumersearch.com link to for people’s opinions. YOUR experiences, your opinions, free of charge.
There is a great user generation travel tool called tripadvisor.com that allows the traveling public to provide their experiences easily and for free. For those of us that use it, we need to also tell the good news when it happens, because oftentimes it is just people frustrated and angry that bother to participate and that is only half of the story. So if you decide to use these sites, I suggest you put in your two cents worth. Tell the people and products that are important to you that you like them! It only takes a minute. Then the time YOU want information from someone you will get it. Keep in mind information isn’t always accurate, so poke around and check it further before you make a decision!
A not-so fancy site is consumerreview.com and it takes tons of clicks and unlike consumersearch.com the content seems to be organic, meaning a person has to go to that site that has purchased something from somewhere else and tell it. With a site using an Amazon feed – the people are there anyway and Amazon prompts you for your reviews on products that they sell.
I suggest as this buying season is upon us, you participate in the review process, it is painless and helpful to those of us that really want information.
Happy Holidays and use the internet as the convenience and time saving tool that it is!