How can a consumer reliably find the best product for his needs with many conflicting reviews?

Dr.sunil V July 25, 2014

What algorithm from Internet reviews most precisely points out to quality of reviewed product? How can a user decide from thousands of reviews to select a product? Is there a webpage showing top brands for a category of product? Are company sales figures a reliable indicator for a buyer decision-making process?

  1. dragonmouth
    July 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    "Ofcourse seller reputation , ecommerce portals reputation , manufacturer’s reputation are symbiotic factors"
    From personal experience I can tell you that eBay does not like negative reviews of their established sellers. Several times I had problems with eBay sellers which they refused to resolve. When I posted negative comments, I received emails from eBay telling me to either withdraw the negative comment or to change it to at least a neutral one. I find it very suspicious when a Seller has 5,000, 10,000 or more positive reviews and only less than 10 negative ones. Not even God is that popular.

    • Oron J
      July 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      You're quite right. The eBay review system is partly broken. The problem is that the reviews go both ways (buyers rate sellers and sellers rate buyers) so sellers have a variety of subtle or not-so-subtle ways to "encourage" the buyer to give them a good review. Even then you can usually spot problem sellers (less than 99% satisfaction? read all the neutral and bad reviews!).

      On other sites the system works well enough though.

    • Dr.sunil V
      July 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      I do not remember a webpage , but negative reviews were disallowed or sort of blocked. Honesty is very important esp. in ecommerce dealings for long term user satisfaction and involvement. In such few webpages , ofcourse negative comments numbers would not work acc to logic mentioned earlier , but would do so for other ecommerce portals in general. I agree that pseudo increase in popularity of sellers by dishonest means would not improve actual user satisfaction and such popularity can come down by word-of-mouth. The comparison of such pseudo popularity of 'sellers' in good humor with God understood as implied to strongly speak out against dishonesty is valid. On a broader note , such tendency of lording it ( trying to become God or controller ) over material nature is cause of misery

  2. Oron J
    July 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I think we've covered this (or a very similar) question in the past. There are two main factors you can look at:
    1. The rating (no. of stars or whatever).
    2. The number of reviews.

    The larger the sample (no. of reviews), the more reliable the rating is. A small number (say, single figures or low double-figures) simply cannot be relied on at all.

    You can look at expert review sites (e.g. TechRadar or MakeUseOf) to get an overall idea of the product, its specification and performance. When it comes to usability and build quality, you really need to depend on people who have used it for a while in the real world - i.e. user reviews.

    Many web sites (e.g. Amazon) have a system that shows you the distribution of user ratings (For example ***** 70, **** 30, *** 23, ** 1, *17). This tells you that a large number of people are very happy with the device (100 users rated it 4-5 stars) and a significant minority are unhappy (18 rated it 1-2 stars). Take a sample from each group and read it carefully. You'll get some insight into the people, their attitude and the product. Negative reviews are particularly interesting since people often use them to express dissatisfaction with anything that has to do with ordering it - delivery time, wrong device delivered, doesn't do what they wanted it to do (their fault not reading the description), damaged in shipping etc.

    At any rate, once you have read a good sample of positive and negative reviews, and seeing the distribution of the ratings, you will be able to make up your own mind ,but as Susendeep says, it's still a leap in the dark. There is no single figure that can tell you reliably that the device is good or bad or indeed, that it will do what you expect it to.

    • Dr.sunil V
      July 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks for putting efforts , time and for your interest in this topic. I have noted an important point which our readers would find beneficial. Mostly those buyers who face issues with products enter their reviews and most of those buyers who are satisfied with product do not go to Seller or ecommerce page to put reviews. Based on this logic , the product with minimum "negative" reviews combined with maximum buyers decide good build and popularity respectively , of product. I guess this logic also holds true for Play store apps and webservices reviewed. Ofcourse seller reputation , ecommerce portals reputation , manufacturer's reputation are symbiotic factors

    • Oron J
      July 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      No problem. Sure, large sample, few negative responses are good indicators, but quantity is not everything. As Ben Stegner notes in his article about App reviews, people drift towards giving 5 stars for anything from OK up, and 1 star for something that did not work for them (for whatever reason), so you have to read some reviews at least.

      As for this applying for app stores etc, the principle still applies in general, but there are specific problems to do with compatibility, fake apps, fake reviews etc, as noted by those who answered your question on that subject.

  3. Susendeep D
    July 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    In order to get a good view about a product,watch for its review from reputed sites and then also see for user reviews and try to analyze from your own brain that if such negative or positive reviews are valid or not.

    • Dr.sunil V
      July 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks. Points understood , but you may add details for additional factors to come to good conclusion about products as in query description

    • Susendeep D
      July 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

      To expand my reply,

      You'll firstly need to know that when you're buying a product,you need to know much of the stuffs behind it nowadays as companies are not so truthful in manufacturing them.,They'll utter its positives and make you buy it even if you don't need it.What you need to know is to narrow down your basic and important stuffs and concentrate on quality of a product as well as user experience.

      Say for example,you get across a product named Phone X and it has great specs with very low price.But since many users will say positive about it only by looking at its specs and ignoring the practical usage in daily life.So,what you need to do in such situation is to go for reviews from tech website and decide the final verdict for yourself and cross check it with user reviews whether it's valid or not.

    • Dr.sunil V
      July 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks. Yes tech experts reviews are of greater weight than user reviews

  4. dragonmouth
    July 25, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    You pays your money and you takes your chances. There is no 100% reliability. Listen to someone you actually trust. Maybe.

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