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Old Jul 27, 2007, 12:00 PM   #1
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Just to pass along something that I've found to be very useful, in hopes it might help someone else.

Before I buy a camera or any piece of hardware or software, I check it out on Amazon for pricing and also to read the user reviews. For example, they have 5 reviews on the CG65 which I just read. They ring true to exactly what I have found with my CG65.

I was interested in an external DVD writer than HP makes with the "litescribe" technology. I had read about this and briefly considered an HP computer, mainly to get this feature. Instead, I bought a Dell high powered laptop but thought I might also get the writer as an additional gadget.

So, over to Amazon I went and found 9 user reviews on the DVD writer, all but one as negative as possible. Not only did the users hate the product, they provided an insight into HP customer service. I am very glad I did not choose HP for my computer and I will not buy the "lightscribe" DVD writer.

Personally, I find actual user reviews to be very helpful and Amazon has them on most technology products.
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Old Sep 8, 2007, 3:16 PM   #2
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I'll agree with you, to a point. Amazon has been a wonderful place for me and hence I want to make it clear I'm not in any way bashing them...they are awesome and their customer service, so far, has been beyond my wildest dreams. Having made my pro-Amazon bias clear, you have to be very careful what reviews you "listen to".

If there's one thing I hate, it's an overenthusiastic geek who rips the wrapping off a new gadget, sticks in the batteries, and then goes straight to Amazon to rave about how great their new gadget is. A review from someone who just got the product is worse than useless. Unless you're buying something as basic as a knife, where you can say that it either cuts or it doesn't, you're rarely going to be able to figure out a new gadget and get used to all of the quirks within the first couple of days.

Well, for one ignoble, dark moment of my life, I got carried away and did something similar - albeit having owned the gadget for a week by then and done some extensive playing with it, so it wasn't quite the same. I wrote a rave review of said gadget, prasing it to high heaven.

Well, after using it for another month, I found all sorts of bugs and warts - including a manufacturer defect - and wanted to update my review and give a new, much lower score to the product.

Guess what? The updated review with lower score was never posted.

So, I suspect not all reviews make it onto Amazon, especially not from people who gave rave reviews which undoubtedly encouraged more purchases, who then want to go back and say, wait a minute, this isn't so great after all. That wouldn't exactly encourage the bottom line....

Finally - I've noticed that Amazon "lumps"reviews across products sometimes, so that a review for item a will have the same reviews as item b, even though they are slightly different models ( albeit from the same manufacturer). And then there's people like the guy who tried to say, with a straight face, that he could brew coffee from a regular drip coffeemaker faster than with the Philips Senseo, because the latter entailed all sorts of manual priming hassles. Guess what? Wrong product. But unless you own the Senseo, you wouldn't know that, and the ill-informed reviewer might just have scared you away from something you would have been very happy with.

So yeah, Amazom is great, with some precautions. Personally, I skip all the positive stuff and go down to see the negative first. I wouldn't be looking at a product if I wasn't already piqued, so I guess I'm more interested in the warts and bugs.
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