If you’ve spent long at all on the Internet, you understand how useful reviews can be when researching products. But like much else on the’net, spam is now an issue; many reviews are superficial, vague, and yet suspiciously positive. Chances are, the writer is selling you what they’re reviewing without having really used the product. Even with legitimate reviews, many reviews are too short to be convincing. So what’s the answer? A little bit of human judgment (yours!) and an efficient process that I’m going to share below. And a web site that does likewise, in the event you’re too pressed for time and energy to really research plenty of products.
First, I’ll claim that I’m not really a big shopper myself; my house is not cluttered with stuff, I’d rather walk outdoors than wander around in malls, I toss out mail order catalogs, and bidding on eBay isn’t my idea of entertainment. However, finding top quality appeals in my experience: great books that stimulate the mind; movies that challenge convention; craftsman-like tools and machines; if I collect anything, it’s such items. Plus giving good gifts is very important in my experience; I enjoy seeing friends and family work with a gift for years. So, onto the search for the best of the best…
Let’s assume we realize the TYPE of thing we would like (e.g. a guide on US politics or even a new laptop), but we don’t know the exact item. (Since when we knew the exact item to get, we’d just buy it!)
Determine the type of product you’re trying to find; think of the major (e.g. book, electronics, portable) and minor keywords (e.g biography, children, mp3)
If it is a well-recognized type or category (e.g. laptops) then you can certainly just pop to consumersearch.com and look at their aggregated reviews; they perform a good job of combining many professional reviews into short summaries. I haven’t any affiliation using them, BTW, I’ve just found their site useful.
Otherwise, head to Amazon.com – the world’s biggest online retailer. Even if you don’t ultimately buy from Amazon, it’s the best place to begin – they’ve more and better reviews than somewhere else online, for their longevity and high volume. Also, they put more controls on the reviews than elsewhere; you can’t just submit an evaluation for something, you need to have bought it.
Key in your keywords, and search. OR click on Amazon’s department listing, and narrow-in on the category of interest: amazon.com/gp/site-directory/
Seeing your search results and/or having clicked to a category of interest, keep narrowing down: either add more keywords, or, click the subcategories on the left hand side of Amazon, under “Department” – the more specific you can be, the less reading you’ll need to do later.
Satisfied along with your search results or category choice, next narrow the list using reviews. See what pops up from your own search or category listing; organize the results by “Relevance” or “Bestselling” then try to find items with at least 4/5 star rating, and at least 10 reviews, preferably 20. Obviously, products with 4.5 or 5 stars and over 50 or 100 reviews are to be considered.
Go through the well-reviewed items; read the absolute most helpful reviews, both positive and negative. Would be the reviews convincing? Exist plenty of helpful votes per review? Usually the most truly effective half-dozen reviews will show you much of the thing you need to know. Repeat for each item of interest. If there are too many items, repeat the step above where you used more keywords or clicked on more specific categories.
With a few more keywords, and sometimes clicking right through to more specialized Amazon categories, you are able to usually manage to winnow down your initial list of Product reviews site to take into account just a handful of well-reviewed items. Then you can get it down to just 1-3 after reading reviews. At that point, you understand you can be fairly certain that you’re getting one of the best products for the reason that category. This technique works especially well for books, and specialized professional books too, where often, an evaluation is written by someone with experience in the relevant field.
So that’s it! Except, maybe you discover the entire ordeal above too tedious? Well, me too sometimes; it can certainly take me many hours to locate that perfect book. Sometimes that’s time well-spent; other times, I’m in a hurry.
Thus I created the website Pickii.com which scans the an incredible number of items at Amazon in a similar manner, trying to find what’s the best reviews. If you’re in short supply of time and need to locate something of quality, fast, for yourself or as something special, give it a take to! Thanks for reading, and find something good – you don’t have time for what’s subpar or mediocre.