How often have you been in this scenario?
12:37 PM Saturday
I’d like to buy product! I’m going to look up some reviews online!
“Popular Tech Site says: PRODUCT is great!”
Wonderful! I’m leaning further in the direction of buying it!
“Other Popular Tech Site says: PRODUCT is good, but mostly only for those who are interested in it!”
Okay, well I’m someone who is interested in it, so I think Product will be great!
“Mumbling Youtube Reviewer says: I took this thing out of the box here it is mispronounced word.”
That was a waste of time. Let’s go to the online store and check out…oooh it’s slightly discounted!
“Popular Online Store Review: ONE STAR this PRODUCT is GARBAGE. Look at this review from POPULAR TECH SITE, they said it was GREAT, but it BROKE in TWO MINUTES.”
(Pause while brain begins to doubt itself)
Hmm. Well. This person sounds a little out there, but I don’t want my product to just break after two minutes. Oh hey replies!”
“PRODUCT MANUFACTURER: We’re so sorry you had a problem with PRODUCT. Please contact us, and we’ll send you a replacement right away!”
“LOL your PRODUCT sucks, I returned it already. Look at this NEGATIVE REVIEW I found.”
I’d better click on this link to the negative review!
“NEGATIVE REVIEW FROM POPULAR TECH SITE: I don’t see what the big deal is with PRODUCT. I don’t like it as much as everyone else. It’s not well-built, and feels like it will break in two minutes. I also don’t think the FEATURES are as good as everyone says they are. 3 out of 10.”
Oh man! I’ve trusted reviews from this site before, and they say it’s bad! And another mention of two minutes….let me just go read all the negative reviews on online retail site.
Yes, this is clearly a bad product, even though I wanted it for both logical and emotional reasons earlier, I now no longer want it. Some people don’t like it and it will probably break in two minutes.
I don’t want to buy product. Boy, I sure dodged a bullet there.
Have you ever done this? Because I do it like, every week. It’s an end result of the opinion-driven online culture we live in now. Everyone can have a thought about everything, and quickly publish it online. The more popular the PRODUCT you’re talking about, the more likely that a negative opinion will be well-received by prospective buyers. “Thanks for helping me not to buy awesome thing I wanted just minutes ago!”
This is often ridiculous. I will regularly stop myself from buying a thing I either A)Need for some particular purpose or B)Want for my own fun and enjoyment. Once I get to the buying point, I’ve always done a good bit of research to make sure the PRODUCT meets my needs, and yet I can never resist clicking on those user reviews. I can never turn away from one last hit of validation and/or fear.
We all buy things we don’t like sometimes. That’s why return policies exist. We all also know ourselves better than anyone else does. I prefer reviewers who wear their preferences on their sleeves to those that try to be an “objective voice.” There’s no such thing as an objective review, never has been. And yet, my brain will often treat comments and reviews as immutable facts, rather than one person’s particular experience.
So try this experiment: The next time you’re shopping for something…just go with your own gut. Research the PRODUCT, sure, but be aware of the fact that reviews and comments often serve as validation for our own fears or desires, rather than true research.
Okay that’s all I’ve got. I just thought it would be fun to write this. I’m sure that many of you have gone through this experience, and for me, it’s the easiest way to see just how emotional core parts of our consumer lives are, even when we think emotions play no part.
Here now is a random photo because posts need photos so they look nicer when you link them on places.