Tag Archives: product-review

Would You Lie on a Review Site?

I’ve drilled it into your head repeatedly: always do your research. Before you buy a product, purchase a service or even decide where to eat dinner, you need to research. What are others saying? Reviews from your peers on the items you’re thinking of owning are the truest form of advertising. Any manufacturer or business owner can claim to be the best. However, the truth lies with the people who have already been there and done that. They’ll tell you what to expect – or not expect… or will they?

What happens when someone lies on a review site? There are any number of reasons people would do this, including bribery. The economy sucks. We’re all looking for ways to cut financial corners. Would you be willing to sacrifice your morals, though, in order to save a couple of bucks? That’s exactly what one landlord is hoping his tenants will do.

One guy simply known as Luke received a letter from his landlord recently, offering to take fifty dollars off his next month’s rent. He was ecstatic – until he saw what it was he had to do. The apartment owner wanted him to leave a “five star rating across the board” on one of the apartment rating sites. Luke sure could use a $50.00 break in his bills… but not at the expense of his beliefs. He knows this isn’t quite right – or ethical.

There are review sites galore for everything you can think of these days: products, services, accommodations, apartments and even restaurants. If people and places are bribing their customers to leave positive reviews that may not be completely true, how do you know whom to trust? I’m beginning to think that you have to go beyond a simple review in order to find out the truth before you spend your money.

How are you supposed to know what to do? Where do you go to get answers? Get on your Facebook or Twitter account: ask those who follow you and you know in some capacity what they think. Isn’t that what networking is all about?

Where Do You Find Reviews?

I have told you that you need to research before buying anything so many times that I have had nightmares about it. I dream that you go out and grab any old product off of the shelf, simply because it is shiny and new. You didn’t do your homework. You just took whatever caught your eye, took the toy home and then proceeded to become disillusioned. I warned you, didn’t I? The problem is, no one seems to be listening. The Pew Research Center says that only 58% of you are researching purchases online before you buy.

This Pew study doesn’t distinguish how the “online research” happens. This can include doing simple searches, heading to a product website or asking for opinions via a social networking service. Any of these methods of obtaining information will work. It doesn’t matter how you do your research, it simply matters that you do. That which sounds too good to be true usually is, young grasshopper.

If you are in the market for a new product – ANY product – don’t just read the specs listed by the manufacturer. Don’t make a decision based on how good something looks, or even how shiny it is. Read reviews. Talk to people who have bought or tested the same item. Do a few online searches. Heck, check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure there aren’t complaints lodged against the company you want to purchase from.

Do your research.

How to Write an Informative Product Review

Geek!This is Matthew Savoy’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Have you ever been shopping for a specific product online and read through all the reviews? There’s usually a lot that give a simple “I like this product” or “I wish I never bought this.” These reviews do little, if nothing, to help the reader out. So what is it that makes a good product review? Don’t just throw in a few pros and cons along with an “I like this product.” If you’re truly enthused and want others to enjoy the same product, or want to inform everyone of how bad a product it is, follow these simple steps to writing a great review:

  1. Catch the attention of the reader. Yes, you do need to say whether or not the product is any good, but you want to start off with something that will catch the reader’s attention. That doesn’t mean to slam on the caps lock and start yelling at the reader about how terrible the product is (unless of course you want to catch the company’s attention, then go right ahead and yell; but nothing hurts a product more than a lack of buyers, so think of the readers). The readers of the review are your friends (no, I don’t necessarily mean this literally). If you think of them first, they may take your word to heart. In fact, they might make a purchasing decision based solely on your opinion. To companies, your readers are potential buyers; so if you’re going to write a bad review, get your message out to the consumer.
  2. Break your review up into sections. If you follow these steps, you might turn out an informative review; but there are a lot of people with short attention spans. Start of with a brief opinion and description of the product. Then move into a pros section, a cons section, a section for other thoughts and then finally a conclusion. Your review will probably be one among many, and putting everything important in your conclusion might get the reader to click yes under the “Was this review helpful to you?” question that usually shows up on the end of your review. If you are posting this review to your own personal site, then this might not be as important – but who doesn’t like the look of a good, organized layout? Don’t forget to make sure it makes logical sense, and that everything is easy to understand. This could almost be it’s own separate point, but seriously, it goes along with planning. If you plan well, it will flow properly and make sense.
  3. State something unknown about the product in the description. In you’re description of the product, make sure to put something in there the reader may not already know about the product. Preferably something not in the product’s listed description, or the quality of some of the product’s features. If you think something doesn’t work as good as it should, but isn’t quite a con, the description would be the best place to put it. Like the packaging? That might also be something to include in the product description, because it isn’t really a pro of the product itself (to some I suppose it is). Either way, consumers like to know the details; so if it’s not a feature in the product’s listed description, be sure to include it in your own.

Remember, a review doesn’t have to be too long, but don’t make it too short either. If it’s too short, then the reader should probably just read the product description, but if it’s too long, then nobody’s going to read it. Just follow the three steps: write for the reader, plan and organize your review, and include some original content. If you stick to these steps, not only will you have more friends enjoying the same product you have, but you’ll have a very useful review regardless of whether or not you actually liked the product. So go out there, and inform others.

Five Reasons to Purchase an iPod

Geek!This is Eric Aceves’ submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

There seems to be a fad going on that started with the release of the iPod Mini. That was when I started to notice more people with them, and the Mini was my first iPod too. But is it really a fad or is there a reason? There are good things about other mp3 players such as the Creative, SanDisk, Zune and Sony players.

I would like to know why other people are getting iPods and how you feel about having one. Does it make you look cool? Are you “in” if you have one? Or are you the type of person that chose it over others for the features? There are many great portable media players out there that offer the same stuff with even more features. I am not a big fan of Apple products because of their prices. A PC is easier on the wallet and they have a lot more stuff for them. Still, I have several reasons why I got an iPod.

  1. They have great battery life. Normal use for me is using the device from home to school (50 min), between classes, and from school to home. Some random use also occurs at home. This is the biggest reason why I recently purchased my iPod Classic. When I had the Zune 30, my battery would always die out really quick during normal use. I had tried everything to make it better, such as reducing my interaction with the device like moving through the menus. I tried to listen to the music in lower volumes (which is hard when you are riding the train and bus to school), turned off the WI-FI, and I reduced the brightness. It wouldn’t last long on one charge – two days. When I bought the iPod Classic, I was overwhelmed by the battery life. I was so surprised that I actually timed the battery life and got a whooping 35 hours using half volume and continuous play with no interaction. I had tried the same on the Zune 30 but only got about 10 to 12 hours. I know that’s not a fair comparison because the Zune 30 was out a year before; but the later generation of the Zune, the Zune 80, did get a better battery life; but from reports it only got 20 or something hours. So the iPod still did better than the Zune.
  2. iTunes. I have heard people say that they don’t like iTunes, I have used it for several years and never had a problem with it. Some say that it is hard to use. I remember using it for the first time and found it pretty easy. Of course, I consider myself a geek with technology but it was quite easy to use and help people with when they had problems. People have said that they didn’t like that you couldn’t drag-and-drop. Yes, you can drag-and-drop; this makes it easy to add media.
  3. Storage. When I purchased my second iPod (the Classic I spoke of), I chose the 80GB rather than the 160GB because the price was lower; I didn’t want to spend an extra $100 for space which I may never use. I thought 80GB was enough for me and my needs. So this point really depends on how much storage you really want and what you’ll pay for.
  4. Usability. When I first used the iPod I remember thinking, “Man, this is easy to use and straightforward.” I have used other media players that have a nice interface as well. I have always liked the idea of all the buttons are on the front rather than scattered all around the device. It makes it very easy for new users to adapt to its usability. If you think about it, that may be why Apple has done so well with the iPod and iPhone – because of their usability and interface.
  5. So many accessories! If you’re still not broke after buying an iPod, then there are a ton of iPod accessories to select from. Of course, there are all sorts of accessories for other media players, but they do not compare to the selection of the iPod.

So those are my top 5 reasons that I got an iPod, what are your yours?

Make Money with Product Reviews on ExpoTV

I began uploading product reviews for ExpoTV last month. This is your chance to help recreate an interactive TechTV experience! ExpoTV is the content provider for on-demand channels on cable boxes across the US. Uploading your content is simple, and fast. The process takes only about five minutes for each video.

ExpoTV is a place for people to connect, share and celebrate the products they are passionate about in video to help each other shop smarter!

You can earn up to $10 for product reviews that meet the community’s quality standards. Share your personal opinion and demonstrate how you use the product! Real, honest consumer opinions are what ExpoTV is all about.

This month, I uploaded reviews for five products that I have taken a look at in recent weeks. The original videos are all posted here in my blog for each of them.

1.3 Megapixel USB Digital Microscope Review

This 1.3 Megapixel Digital Microscope allows you to capture some higher resolution images and video and display them on your PC using a simple USB connection. View specimens collected around the house, backyard, your desk, or the fridge. Look at the micro-printing on a dollar bill or examine the traces on your motherboard. This microscope provides you an easy way to zoom in on a wide variety of objects to satisfy your curiosity of the world around you. Ever wondered what lint looks like or the mold growing on your week-old bagels? Now you can find out.

Simple plug and play operation with included software that allows you to magnify objects and view them on your PC up to 200X and take snapshots and time-lapse movies. You can also manipulate images with drawing and painting tools. The microscope is detachable from the stand to allow you to get closer to large objects.

USB Humping Dog

It doesn’t serve any purpose, but it’s what they do. They are insatiable. And that’s all we really have to say. Harley is brown and Duke is black, and you can take your pick. Oh, and don’t worry – if the kids ask what the doggie is doing to your computer, just say, “He’s trying to jump over the computer, but he got a little stuck,” or “The computer is giving him a piggyback ride.” Either will suffice.

Tengu!

Here we have a cute little white plastic brick with a face made of LEDs. The tiny microphone in the base picks up sounds in the room, whether it’s music, or your loudmouth boss, and makes his mouth move in time. It’s like he’s lip synching to the song! Kinda like Britney, only much much smaller, and probably smells better.

He’s USB powered, so plug him in to any powered USB port, set him near your favorite sound-source, and your little buddy will perform for you all day long!

Multi-Color LED Lightbulb with Remote

The Multi-Color LED Lightbulb is a super bright LED bulb that can transition through dozens of color and brightness combinations and is compatible with a standard lightbulb socket. The included IR remote can select an individual color or brightness level or choose one of four different transition effects. Great for mood lighting, decorating, parties or special lighting environments. It has multiple brightness level settings and four transition effects (long pause on each color, short pause, slow fade between colors, faster fade). The light is generated from a 5 Watt LED.

Apple 2.0 Operating System

With the free iPhone 2.0 Software Update, your iPhone does even more. Extend its capabilities with innovative applications you download directly from the new App Store. Get push email, calendar, and contacts from your Microsoft Exchange server at work. And use great new features in Mail, Contacts, and other applications. To get the free update, just sync your iPhone with your Mac or PC.

Once you check out my product review videos, why not sign up for your own account? You can start uploading reviews and possibly make some cash yourself!