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Retailer rating sites: Who do you trust?

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Retailer rating sites: Who do you trust?

Postby cfitz on Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:12 am

I was thinking about purchasing some software and came across this site:

http://www.edirectsoftware.com

This is one of those retailers that walks right up to the edge of legal sales, doing things like buying overstocked OEM bundled software and selling it outside of the originally intended distribution channel. If retailers do this carefully, they can stay within the law. If they play it a little too loose they can at least violate civil contracts and possibly even criminal law. Even if they stay completely within the bounds of all criminal and civil constraints, you can still have trouble registering software purchased from such retailers if the original manufacturer decides not to honor licenses sold under such circumstances. This wouldn't necessarily be the fault of the retailer, but it is something to think about when making a purchase.

Anyway, having no experience with this particular retailer I looked up their ratings at ResellerRatings.com:

http://www.resellerratings.com/seller9127.html

They score a terrible rating of 2.5 out of 10 and have overwhelmingly negative reviews.

Okay, this wasn't too surprising, since some retailers of this ilk are less than reputable. But I noticed that on eDirectSoftware's web site they touted their "unbiased" reviews on PriceGrabber, so I took a look:

http://www.pricegrabber.com/rating_getr ... retid=2132

Here we see an entirely different picture, with one glowing review after another. In fact, they are rated essentially as high as newegg.com:

http://www.pricegrabber.com/rating_getr ... /retid=280

So, what is the deal? How can this same company have such drastically different ratings? Who do you trust?

Personally, I trust ResellerRatings.com. I've seen other companies that I know to have deservedly poor reputations be panned on ResellerRatings but be praised on BizRate.com and PriceGrabber.com. And in these cases many of the stellar reviews seem to be suspiciously similar in writing style. Other possible red flags are a pattern of reviews that are bunched in groups with many on one day followed by several days with no reviews, and sudden increases in the number of reviews.

Looking at eDirectSoftware's reviews on PriceGrabber, I see some of these suspicious characteristics. For example, 74 percent of all reviews and 77 percent of positive reviews were written in the last three months they have been listed at PriceGrabber, even though those three months make up only 20 percent of the time they have been listed on PriceGrabber. Meanwhile, only 44 percent of their negative reviews have been written in those same three months.

Granted, this is by no means conclusive, and the small sample size of negative reviews makes extrapolation dangerous, but this and other examples do make me wonder if the reviews on PriceGrabber.com and BizRate.com are not very well policed.

For what it is worth, I do appreciate and make good use of the pricing information on PriceGrabber.com. I just don't trust the merchant ratings.

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Postby LoneWolf on Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:02 pm

Yeah, I don't trust PriceGrabber or others to rate small merchants either, I only use them for user reviews of products (which seem to remain fairly honest) and for approximate pricing. I usually use 3-4 sites though to ensure a fair sample of product reviews, rather than just assuming something is good because PriceGrabber's users said so.

I read Resellerratings, and then base my decision off what I'm ordering too. For example, Supermediastore has really poor ratings, but all I do is buy extremely cheap remanufactured toner cartridges from them for the two Laserjets at home ($25-30 for a LaserJet cartridge vs. $70 for an HP original) . Then again, I wouldn't buy their carts for business use, not even HP originals.
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Postby overclockxp on Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:53 pm

If the deal is too good to be true it probably is.

That is the problem with the Web; anybody can post anything they want - good, bad, or ugly.

Resellerratings.com seems to be the best. They show you how many reviews the person has written. If the person loves a place that everyone else hates and only has written 1 review then the review was probably written by the owner.

Reminds me of the time I almost bought a video camera from broadwayphoto.com. I almost pulled the trigger and then did some research and found out what a scam they are. What really ticks me off is that magazines allow places like that to advertise. It just disgusts me to no end when I see a Canon 20D for $800 advertised in a photo mag.
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Postby hoxlund on Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:06 pm

yeah you should skip that site for software
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Re: Retailer rating sites: Who do you trust?

Postby bill on Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:30 am

cfitz wrote:Personally, I trust ResellerRatings.com. I've seen other companies that I know to have deservedly poor reputations be panned on ResellerRatings but be praised on BizRate.com and PriceGrabber.com.

cfitz



That statement sums up my thoughts about ResellerRatings..

Though I have no proof I have the impression that ResellerRatings verify the reviews.

Sometimes the difficult task is determining the persons attitude that is doing the review. Some people are just pissed off at the world and they sort of stand out. Others may make comments like, "great product, good communication, good packaging but arrived a day late so I only give a rating of three." Heck, why even mention the day late. Who knows, maybe the UPS driver had a bad day... The reviewer shouldn't penalize the shipper for things beyond the shipper's control.

Good topic, Cfitz. I think most of us in this forum have been taken advantage of at least once as noted in the Rants n' Raves forum.. Hopefully this thread will help out those who have less experience with shopping on-line.


OT- Cfitz. If you get a chance, check Mad Dog at ResellersRatings.. "money in the mail"
:lol:
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Postby cfitz on Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:36 pm

LoneWolf wrote:Yeah, I don't trust PriceGrabber or others to rate small merchants either, I only use them for user reviews of products (which seem to remain fairly honest) and for approximate pricing. I usually use 3-4 sites though to ensure a fair sample of product reviews, rather than just assuming something is good because PriceGrabber's users said so.

That sounds like a wise way to use them.

overclockxp wrote:If the deal is too good to be true it probably is.

An old maxim, but a good one. And still as true today as the first day it was spoken.

hoxlund wrote:yeah you should skip that site for software

Agreed. Consider it skipped.

bill wrote:Good topic, Cfitz. I think most of us in this forum have been taken advantage of at least once as noted in the Rants n' Raves forum.. Hopefully this thread will help out those who have less experience with shopping on-line.

Thanks Bill. Your comments are also helpful.

bill wrote:OT- Cfitz. If you get a chance, check Mad Dog at ResellersRatings.. "money in the mail"
:lol:

Speaking of old "maxims"... the check is in the mail. Except this one is probably as untrue today as the fist day it was spoken.

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