How to find impartial reviews

One of the first things I do before I spend significant money on any product is search the internet for reviews of that product. It might be a physical product such as a computer monitor or a digital product such as a file storage service. One thing I’ve found over the years is that not all product reviews are truthful.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few product review websites that give positive reviews to sub-par products. The root of the problem is that almost every product in the world has an affiliate program that backs it. Webmasters join these affiliate programs and receive compensation for every customer that clicks through and purchases a product.

Whenever there is a financial incentive to sell products, webmasters will be tempted to write positive reviews no matter what. The more sales these webmasters generate, the more money they make. This can make it difficult for us searchers that are in need of legitimate, unbiased product reviews.

EDITOR NOTE: Please note that Technology Bloggers admin team will never give a good review of a bad product, it is unethical and against what we stand for. We will also never enter affiliate schemes which require us to promote a product we don’t believe is value for money – note by Christopher

1. Search For Discussions

The most unbiased product reviews are written by people that have no incentive to sell those products. Two of the most reliable places to find reliable product reviews are discussion forums and the comments section of major websites.

Discussions:

Let’s take online file storage for example. You can search the internet for “online file storage reviews” and find dozens of websites that review online storage services. Some of these websites are dependable, others… not so much.

What you can do instead is run a Google search for reviews, but then narrow the search down to discussions. You can narrow down the results by first running the search and then clicking on the “more” link on the left side of the Google and then the “discussions” link beneath that. See below:

Google search for discussions about online file storage reviews

Clicking on this link will change the results to only include discussions related to your term. These tend to be real discussions between real people and are therefore pretty reliable.

Note: Remember that you are likely to see more negative reviews than positive reviews when you search for discussions. People who are happy with their products post fewer comments than people who are angry. Keep this in mind as you read through various discussions.

Comments:

If you’re looking for a physical product, you can often find a good number of comments by visiting large websites such as Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. Visit those websites and search for the exact product model that you’re considering. The chances are you’ll find unbiased comments related to that product.

2. Find Trustworthy Websites

Not all review websites are bad. In fact, some are awesome. They will break down the product in its entirety and give you both the pros and cons. The key is knowing how to identify these websites.

For the most part, you can tell if a website is trustworthy or not by reading through a few reviews. The writing style will tell you a lot. Trustworthy review websites tend to stick to the facts. They will tell you both the pros and cons of any product. They will also give you hard numbers that you can use to compare various products.

Low quality review websites tend to offer more generalities than facts. For example, bad review sites will tell you that a product is “amazing” or “life changing” but they won’t back those claims up with hard numbers or legitimate reasons to like the product.

However, it is worth noting that some websites make it a point to only review products that they deem to be of high quality. They don’t even waste your time writing reviews of products that are inferior. But even in this case, the reviews include hard numbers and are willing to note both the strengths and weaknesses of each product.

Shopping online – tips and advice

When shopping online, there are loads of things to look out for, and loads of ways to get a better deal. In this article I hope to share some of the experience I have got from shopping online, and some of my tech knowledge in order to help you get a better deal – what you want, at a reasonable price.

The first thing to say is that what you are shopping for, is crucial to how to go about buying it.

Virtual Goods

If you are buying an online or ‘virtual’ good/service, then the key thing to check is that you are buying from a reputable firm. Checking the firm is reputable and reliable is key for all online shopping, but especially so if you are buying something virtual – e.g. a website, anti-virus software, access to a game, music etc.

There are a few ways you can go about checking if online firms are reputable. The first is to see if the firm exists in reality, do they have shops in the real world, or are they totally online? Firms with physical property are less likely to be fraudulent, as they are easy to find and locate. Totally online firms can be just as reputable, look at the likes of Play.com and Amazon.

Play.com's LogoThe second way to get an idea of whether a firm is reputable or not is to check their stats. Does the site have a good Alexa rank – top 500,000? If not, people may not be visiting the site for a reason: it has just been set up, and after a few quick cons will be gone. You can check the history of the site using the Way Back Machine for more info on its past.

The third way is a much less reliable way, but can be useful to back up your decision. Try looking at the websites PageRank. If they have say a PageRank 3+ homepage, they are more likely to be legitimate than a site with all PageRank 0’s. People link to shop websites when they buy things and then review them, so shops should acquire PageRank. If they have no PageRank, they may still be legitimate, but check, as that may mean they have not been trading for long, therefore have just set up to scam, and will be shut down soon.

Finally are they a big name. Say you are buying anti-virus direct from the supplier. Most people have heard of the likes of Kaspersky, Sophos and Norton, but if the company is called something like ‘SpywareBeGoneSolutions’ then they are a lot less likely to sell you a good product, if any product at all.

Kaspersky's LogoFinally, when checking that the firm you are going to buy from is going to give you the product(s) you want, watch the news, or research them on news sites! Is the firm about to go bust or being run by administrators? If so, buying from them may lead to you loosing your money!

Services

If you are buying a service, such as a holiday, insurance or a meal at a restaurant, then there are loads of really useful sites that can help you, by giving you an incite into what others thought of that service.

Say for example you are buying a holiday, you can use websites like TripAdvisor.com to see if the place you are looking at staying at has positive reviews. If not, you can maybe choose somewhere else. Be careful though, as sometimes these sites can be misleading, as Jonny recently wrote about.

There are other websites too like MoneySavingExpert.com and Yelp, which can offer similar services for other things like insurance, banking, restaurants, shopping etc. MoneySavingExpert.com is especially worth a look, as aside from reviews, they can give really good advice, to help you save money when buying all sorts of things.

Products

The key to ensuring you get value for money and what you want when buying products online is to make sure you read what other people think about it. Reviews are really useful, and can help you determine which product is right for you.

Don’t be afraid to venture out of the companies website itself, and look for more reviews elsewhere online. Some firms will only publish the positive reviews they receive on their own site, in order to try to persuade more people to buy that product, from them.

A really important bit of advice is not to discount the high street, it can still be a very good place to buy things. Often things are cheaper online, however you can usually see and sometimes try products when in a shop, whereas online, all you have is pictures and possibly video.

Once you know the product is for you, make sure that you shop around. Find the best deal using price comparison sites like MoneySupermarket.com and PriceRunner.co.uk.

Once you have your product and the shop, don’t forget to go to coupon sites to see if you can get an even better deal. Sites like MyVoucherCodes usually have some great discount offers, you just need to look.

To conclude

In summary, when shopping online, make sure that you are buying from someone reputable. Make sure the product or service is what you want. Check out other peoples reviews. Look for the best deal, and then finally don’t forget to check if there are any vouchers that could further slash the cost.

Hopefully these tips have been useful, good luck shopping online!

How to Improve Your Business Using Technology

In today’s day and age, you will very rarely find a business owner sitting on their laurels and simply allowing their business to move from one day to the next without change. With the current unsteady financial climate, most should be doing their utmost to move their business forward in order to attract and secure enough new customs to stay afloat. One of the many ways in which this can be achieved is to invest in the latest technology for your particular field of business.

Whilst this may seem a daunting prospect both in terms of a lack of technological experience and a strain on already limited finances, the advantages of making the investment could be profound. No matter what industry you find yourself in, there is almost certainly going to be a form of technology at your disposal – whether this be a specific system, programme or piece of equipment – that can have a positive effect on the way in which your business is run.

For instance, a retail setting that is behind the times in terms of technology could definitely benefit from the introduction of point of sale and EPOS software to make payment transactions swifter and stock counting easier. Although the transition from traditional ways to modern alternatives may be unnerving, if you are able to keep track on the amount of stock you have on the shelves whilst making payment at the tills quicker, this could have long-term financial benefits.

In an office environment, a large number of computers has now become the norm. In the world of computer technology, new system updates and program developments are common place so ensuring that your business stays up to date with such regular changes can be a struggle. However, by investing in professional help, you may then be able to divert your attention away from this area to concentrate on other pressing matters, safe in the knowledge that everything is being taken care of on your behalf.

IT support cartoon

Professional tech support could help prevent employees from needing their own!

Whether you decide to develop an in-house team to offer support when it comes to your IT systems, or decide that outsourcing will be a more cost-effective option, having one individual or a team of technologically savvy employees who are aware of technical changes that could influence the performance of your business will give you an advantage over your competitors.

It is no secret that attracting new custom can be a struggle and with many consumers now using the internet to find local services, ensuring you have a fully functional website and an online presence is more important than ever. Attractive website design coupled with an SEO campaign to get your business ranking in the search engines for particular terms related to what you offer could make all the difference and give your company the edge when attracting new customers.

Although the current financial climate leaves many businesses in a perilous position, it is clear to see that with an investment in new technology, things may well turn around. From developing a fresh and invigorating website through to purchasing the latest equipment and calling upon professionals to offer assistance, you and your business could see a turn in fortunes that leaves you in a far more stable position.