Indiscriminate application of opinion in an area that is perceived as knowledge and fact. No, we are not discussing the current presidential campaign. This is the evolution of online shopping in the United States. Amazon and others have monetized our social nature and put it to work for them in product reviews. What was once cute and funny, reading our family, friends and others peoples opinions on toasters, vacuums or lamp shades, has come around to bite us in the butt.
We are all guilty of doing it, looking at the number of stars a product has acquired in social shopping to help us determine if it is any good. We also look for approval in the volume of reviews, our natural herd mentality that says if lots of other people bought this then I must not be crazy if I also buy it. It is not a bad idea to seek wise counsel in some purchases, particularly those that are not based in common knowledge or require some expertise. If you buy a good central vacuum, and are not a serial “home buyer”, then you might purchase two or maybe three in your lifetime. This is hardly worth the effort to become an expert in series universal motor systems and airflow dynamics of strip-wound hoses. Likewise if your Amazon, and operate the largest retail warehouses in the world shipping millions and millions of products, what do you care about the efficiency of a vacuum motors lamination? Well, you shouldn’t and you don’t.
There is nothing wrong with either the buyer or the seller not grasping the deeper facets of central cleaning systems and what makes one better than another. The real issue is that instead of the box-shipping retail giants admitting “we don’t know anything about what is inside this box, but here you go”, they show you hundreds and hundreds of reviews by other people just like you. Just as you are seeking information about a product they were in the same boat. Of course that has all changed because now they have (“supposedly” for my conspiracy theory friends) purchased the item both of you previously knew nothing about.
Can you become an expert by simply owning one item, expertise through osmosis? Most folks do not believe so. We all own cell phones that are smarter than us, but are we “cell phone experts”? I am not, and I have never met anyone that claimed to be such, but there are lots of people on Amazon who sure seem to be experts in opinion and they all are all different. Can every review be correct if they are all different? We if it were facts then the answer is a resounding NO. But these are not truly a review of the products, they are new owners opinions. Interesting? Yes. Helpful? Meh. Factual? No.
Some etailers have cleverly applied consumer opinion in an area where we all expect facts to be, the products description page where we make our online purchase decision. It may not be “wrong”, but it does have a slight soylent-green tinge to it. A feeling of taking something from people and feeding it back to them to continue the cycle of selling and feeding back. That’s kinda creepy in my opinion.
And how exactly does a person exclaiming “I ordered the wrong item” add to my better understanding of a product? Perhaps more importantly, how is this a 5-star review and is it being combined with other similarly insightful reviews to make the overall product review which we are expected to use (instead of a real description of the product) as part of a purchase decision?
Aspria Systems employees are Central Vacuum experts and CVAC is all we do. We are happy to post our previous clients opinions about Aspria sales and service (something that all consumers ARE experts in!) but the only “product reviews” on our website are our Professional ProViews. Written by experts in the floorcare industry with decades of service under their ever expanding belt our ProViews will enlighten any reader about the quality and performance of the products we offer with facts supported by science instead of manufacturers sales jargon, a retailers wishful thinking or the well intentioned opinion of our fellow consumer.