Hi. My name is Karen, and I am addicted to online shopping. There, I’ve said it so I’m now on my road to recovery. I love the fact that I can go online and, in a matter of minutes, send a last minute gift to my cousin in Des Moines complete with card and gift wrap. As an added bonus I can spend a moment or two to do a bit of comparison shopping and then fill in my credit card information faster than you can say “Google Toolbar.”
One of my favorite sites is Amazon. It’s definitely my site of choice for book shopping. I started using their “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section years ago and have discovered some great reads that I might have otherwise missed. Throw in free shipping – and the fact that they carry all of my books – and I’m indeed in Shoppers Nirvana.
However, as much as I love Amazon I’ve come to hate – or at least be very wary of – their review process when it came to items other than books. In case you’re not familiar with Amazon virtually anyone can offer a review of a product and assign a ranking based on a 5 star system. And of course the more people who assign a product a low ranking, the worse the product will appear in the minds of a potential buyer.
I’m not one to post reviews but I purchased a Canon wireless printer last year for my home and really love it. I’ve had numerous printers over the years including an Okidata dot matrix and an HP laser that could double as a tree anchor during hurricane season. Never had a Canon but tried this one because the features – and price – were right. I got it to work with everyone of our computers in minutes including machines using Win 7, Vista and XP. Even got my daughter’s Mac book to work on it. I headed to Amazon and was stopped dead in my tracks by the venomous reviews posted there. Yikes! If I had read those reviews first I would never have purchased my beloved printer.
I started by reading some of the 1 star reviews. Most of them were quite short and many weren’t about the printer itself. For example, can you really hold Canon responsible if there is a delay in Amazon’s shipping, or the package arrived damaged by UPS? The 5 star reviews were much longer; some of these reviewers might consider a career as e-book authors. One common theme I noticed in the 5 star ratings was reference to the Quick Start guide. Funnily enough, I didn’t see that reference in any of the 1 star ratings!
This got me to thinking – who exactly is posting these reviews? What is prompting them? And most importantly, which ones should I believe? If I were looking for a new car I’d probably take a look at Road and Track. Software and hardware? PC Magazine or PC World work for me. And, by the way, they both agreed with my assessment of my new printer. I’ve decided to stick with Amazon for their book reviews but leave other reviews to the experts!