One of the best things about the internet has been the ability for others to connect with one another regardless of international borders. Shopping for an item will never be the same thanks to the ability to connect with others who shop for the same items that we search for. But there is a method to using reviews.
As time has gone on, we get new innovations to shopping via the internet with the successes of eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon but some have taken these and used them for their own gain. All reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Never take someone's word for it that something is good or bad. The internet provides people with a way to be anonymous so you never know if the person reviewing the item is the seller or a competitor trying to downplay the item so you come to them instead.
I've given a few friends and family some of the advice that I'll be sharing here about how to determine where to get the very best reviews and determine which are the best and most trustworthy.
One important thing to remember when reading reviews is to remember that most people reviewing are reviewing for one of two likely reasons:
1. They are highly upset with the product and/or service they received.
2. They are highly excited with the product and/or service they received.
Both of these things will cause people to write reviews. You will rarely find reviews from the average user who is satisfied with little to no problems. This can be a problem as it creates a sort of bias blind for people.
If McDonald's gave you a million dollars today for simply shopping at their restaurant, you will be more likely to give them a very positive review even if your food was absolutely disgusting. You may write a review on Google Maps stating, "I love this McDonald's! The people are so friendly and caring and it's an absolute wonderful place to go!" While your review is truthful that they are friendly and nice, you forgot to mention that their food didn't taste anything like food.
If you were to go to Burger King and you ordered a Whopper, and when you opened it, you found a big fat booger on it, you would be more likely to get on Google Maps and write a review that explained how much you hated this Burger King. Unfortunately, your review is based on bias rather than a random visit.
Most of the reviews that you find on websites like Google Maps or Yelp will be like this. Very rarely will someone come to actually give honest feedback unless something out of the ordinary occurred at the business. Keep this in mind when reading reviews especially on these websites and when it comes to local, brick-and-mortar businesses. These reviews are notorious for this.
When it comes to ordering something online such as from Amazon or eBay, it's a bit different. Most of Amazon's reviews are truthful and honest. A small percentage of the reviews there are due to negative or positive service. This is because Amazon encourages customers to rate products that they have purchased. If they encourage you to write about what you ordered, you are more likely to give an honest, unbiased opinion unless your experience truly was out of the ordinary. Amazon also is a great place for reviews because it sort of forces customers to separate and detail their order.
For example, if you ordered something from Arizona and you live in California, you may be upset that it took 3 months for them to deliver your item. However, the item that you ordered was perfect and there were no complaints on it. Normally, you may give the review a negative rating just because it came late but Amazon has split up the reviews forcing customers to review both the product and the person sending the product. These sort of websites are best for reviews and will help you determine the best seller and the best product.
When it comes to Craigslist and eBay, unfortunately, there is no sort of rating system for products. For Craigslist, there is no rating system at all, but with eBay, there is a rating system for sellers which is pretty honest from what I've observed. While Craigslist may not have rating systems, there are websites like it that have classifieds and do rating systems; however, most of these will cost you in terms of a monthly subscription.
If you are interested in a product on eBay and want to know what others thought of the product, I would suggest searching for the item on Amazon. But, this is very important, be careful of what you purchase on eBay. Most items on eBay are used or are scams. Check the seller's rating to see if they are legitimate or not. A more positive score can mean the difference between a scam and not a scam. But if you are interested in purchasing an Xbox One on eBay but wonder what others have to say about the Xbox One, simply search Amazon for the Xbox One and read the reviews given there. These reviews can be helpful in helping you determine whether or not the Xbox One is as durable of a gaming system as Microsoft claims it is. But keep in mind that the Xbox may be used and not in pristine condition.
Something to also do is to use a search engine. Personally, I love Bing but you can also use Google or Yahoo! for searching. Use your search engine to find reviews on products that you are interested in. For example, if you're still interested in buying an Xbox One and want to know what others think of it, use a search engine and search for "Xbox One reviews" or "Xbox One customer reviews". I guarantee you that you will find all sorts of neat websites through this method that will help you find what others think of the product that you want. Your search may yield lots of forums too which is great. Online forums are great places for reviews as it involves many people discussing a product amongst themselves. Be careful though, some users on forums are sarcastic and you may not get their humor right off the bat.
When it comes to Craigslist, you're kind of out of luck on reviews. You can do the same thing as before which is searching the internet for others' opinions on the product, but that's about all that you can do in terms of reviews there. The only other option you have is to find a similar website to Craigslist that does have reviews for its products and sellers.
If you want the cheapest prices on items, this can take a little bit more work. The problem is that the internet is filled with scams and trying to search for the cheapest price on an iPhone will yield you all sorts of pyramid schemes to get an iPhone for one penny or some other sort of unrealistic price. The only way to get as legitimate prices as you possibly can is to visit a website like Google Shopping or Bing Shopping where it gathers prices from all over the web and brings them to you and even helps you sort them based on price, model, year, etc.
If you have any questions or want to add anything to this post, feel free to do so in the comments below!
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