Last week, I was searching online for some product reviews when I came across this interesting site called ExpoTV. ExpoTV allows users to post their own video reviews on all kinds of products. Sounds really cool at first, but if you go take a look at some of the reviews, you might find yourself scratching your head... what is the point of this?
You might stumble across this guy, who posted his review of a Staples 6 outlet surge protector. So captivating. Such thrilling commentary such as "it is basically an extension cord with stuff you can plug in"... "it has six slots" (really?)... "cord isn't very long" (yeah, they don't make longer ones)... "it feels sort of cheap" (duh, it is the Staples brand). Apparently the Staples 6 outlet surge protector is a very popular item to review. That is good though, I definitely need multiple opinions before I go buy one of my own.
So then I decide to dive into a review of something that someone might actually be searching for. I stumbled across this review of an IBM Thinkpad T41. The problem with a number of reviews I saw is that what makes the reviewers experts? Such things as "as you can see, it has a 14.1 inch screen" (ohh yeah, can totally tell... not 14.2 or 14.0 for sure)... "has a standard fullsize keyboard" (really? um...)... "this laptop, I would recommend for... for heavy users, I'd recommend..." (how the heck would you know?). The last one is the one that really made me laugh. How would she know? Has she used various other laptops to actually know what to recommend? Has she used comparable systems to actually know if it is "fast"? Across a lot of the reviews, almost all of them make claims they cannot back up. "It is fast!" Compared to what? Have you used other laptops released at the same time to compare? Run benchmarks?
My opinion is that reviews should be left to the professionals. Sure, you always think the professional reviews can be paid off, but if they use metrics (ie, performance stats) it is harder to argue, plus you know a big reviewer like CNet is likely to have actually compared it to other systems. With end-user personal reviews, it is easy for them to make claims, but we have no way of verifying if they even have a clue. Personal reviews still can serve a purpose, but only for personal opinions, and have to be taken with a grain of salt (or a few grains). End-users can only really make claim to their own personal experiences. Things like "runs hot", "expensive", "heavy for my tastes", "faster than my old Thinkpad T40", etc. At least by seeing the video review as opposed to plain text, you could probably get an idea about the drug/alcohol usage of the person.