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