Thursday, February 12, 2009

Customer Ratings Suck

Customer reviews suck. There. I said it. But, of course, there's a story behind the statement. Here it is:

I was looking to buy an all-in-one printer/scanner. So, I scoured the usual sources: PCWorld, CNET, Amazon, etc. I was looking for the "best of" categories in each. Never mind that each of them had a totally different pick for the "best 10" in the category (hey, they only get so many free evaluation units!) - the thing that got me was the "reviews" and the supposed satisfaction index of "real life" customers

Back in the day, the customer ratings carried some real weight. Now, they are just dead weight.

After wading through mind-numbing specifications on all models - I then began to read the customer ratings to see what real people had to say about the product. Big mistake #1.

Like most people, I was drawn to the products that had the higher user reviews - but some sites have the actual number of reviews and others just have the rating. So if a product gets 5 stars - but there is only one guy who has reviewed it - it doesn't really matter.

So I look for the product with the highest number of starts with the highest number of reviews. Then - I actually click into the reviews to see what people are saying - that was big mistake #2.

You would think hearing how people used them in real life versus how a tech-savvy writer used it would offer some insight into some "hidden" features or flaws that only come out after you get the thing home and try to use it. After scrolling and reading through a bunch of comments - both good and bad - I came to the same conclusion about every single one of the printers - regardless of how they were rated by the site:

Consumers are by in large, technically illiterate, stupid cattle that buy on price only and then have unrealistic expectation as to what the product should do.

No, really!

People would give the printer a 1 star and rant in the "con" comments on how they couldn't get the printer to be recognized on their network.

People would gush with 5 stars because the ONE picture they printed looked "great."

People would list things in the cons like "can't fax more than 100 pages with the auto-feeder" - HUH? In the specs, on the box and on the point-of-sale it clearly says "35 sheet auto-feeder." RTFM, people!

So, after about an hour of this nonsense - with model numbers and inkjet codes flying through my brain - I did what any other technically illiterate, stupid cattle person would do - and just went to my local stationary supply store (Staples), looked at the all-in-ones, found the one that had most of what I wanted for what I wanted to pay and bought the thing.

I think I'm going to go back up to the various sites and offer my cattle review:

***** (5 stars) "Highly recommend this printer! This was sure EASY to get out of the box! I can't wait to make my first print!"

1 comment:

Jon said...

I have found the same thing myself. People post reviews after using some device for ten minutes and then write whatever pops into their heads. Sometimes cnet.com has useful product reviews. When I bought a multifunction printer, I bought an HP because I've always had a good experience with HP printers and technical support, and I'm glad I did.

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