questionsconsumer product ratings on websites, do you care?

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The ratings depend on the quantity of ratings, to me. An item rated 5 star or 1 star, but only 2-5 ratings has no value to the rating. If there are 70-120 ratings and the item has 2 stars, I'll avoid it. If it has 4+ stars and 70-120 ratings, then It probably is worth buying.

(I have seen some items where 2 raters have complained about the shipping and give a quality item 1 or 2 stars because it took 2 days longer to get it than expected. That is not a valid rating, so I ignore it.)

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I am not misled by stars because I actually read the reviews people write. If they are wrong I report them as being unhelpful or incorrect and ignore their faulty review.

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Feedback has its place, and it's up to the consumer to use it.

I usually read the negative reviews first and rule out the reviews from folks who seemingly can't understand the difference between an apple and an o...nion. That helps paint a better picture of whether it's the product or the user.

Then I read the positive reviews, and rule out those who really haven't used it; "It arrived quickly." is not worthy of a 5 star review. In that process, if there are shills promoting the product, then I start approaching with caution, as truly good products don't require such tactics to sell.

Also factored in are expectations. I could care less about middling reviews such an item isn't as user friendly if I only expect to use it sparingly -- so long as the value aspect is still there. Mediocre has its place, so long as its reflected in the price (Harbor Freight tools!). OTOH, something I expect to use everyday, quality and durability will triumph and I would aim higher. (to be continued ...)

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(continued)

I will say that I tendency NOT to purchase something without some review/feedback somewhere, good or bad. This applies to the seller/site first too. When it's my dollars at stake, I rather not be the guinea pig.

(A lab mouse, OTOH ... narf! Indeed, I'm currently a part of an experiment for a brand new site ...)

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It's funny when you go to a store and you tell the salesperson that you saw a particular item on line and it had 30 negative reviews. I've had sales people say, "oh that's 30 people out of millions of people", my response is always, "no that's 30 people that took the time to tell me this item is no good, and that's plenty for me".

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@mkentosh: it is true, however, that a dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave feedback than a happy customer.

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@zuiquan: therein lies the rub...sites like amazon allow you to judge reviews, but not all sites are created equal.

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@candreae: That is true too. The thing is, when someone is buying something, there's an automatic expectation of it being functional for what it is. As a local example, I haven't and won't be posting reviews that "My shirt from shirt.woot actually arrived on the right blank, in the right size, printed straight, centered, and with all the correct colors! 5 monkeys!". Kind of unnecessary there, y'know.

OTOH, when it's not functional or it's imperfect, folks will have negative feelings ... and posting a review as such is a way to relive oneself of the negative experience.