I wrote 4 pages years ago about my ways of researching online. Preaching about it, I could say now.
Anyway, may as well publish it now. Part of it anyway. Just gathering dust otherwise.
Navigating Articles and Reviews
Rather than tell you that facts are correct and incorrect, I want to share ways of deciphering online content.
Hopefully you will be better equipped to recognise sales and marketing tactics, insinuations and straight up lies.
Where are these written? In online product reviews, pretty much every newspaper article that I read and of course, those blasted adverts that go on for half an hour.
Online Reviews by Customers
I love reading Amazon reviews sometimes, and not just because they can be hilarious.
You can see problems that are common to the product, the procedures the staff have for dealing with complaints, and find out if what the product will do vs what you expect it will do.
Staff processes for complaints (thus adjust your expectations and know what to do).
Three examples of this are when I bought a) an internet box for my tv, b) my washing machine and c) a more expensive phone.
Pay to post back to assess
With the data box, I got to see that if there was a problem with it I had to pay to post back, and it could be a month before I heard back from them.
Staff response times, I believe, after doing admin for a churn em and burn em printer company is due to resources, money, time allocated to them.
Company culture too – where the staff dealing with actual customers have no say. When management at all levels doesn’t want to hear it.
Will it break? How much are parts? How much is a callout fee?
With the washing machine, after I put it on layby, I researched it. I found out there is a problem with it that shows up after two years – after the warranty has expired.
You bastards. They are expensive – I had been washing my clothes in the shower or bathroom’s laundry sink since I’d moved in.
My options were to either buy an extended warranty, keep money aside for when it broke, or buy a new one.
In the end I donated it while it was working fine. I still feel a little guilty, but I couldn’t bear to just throw it out as had been suggested.
What the product will do vs what you expect it will do
For example, when a phone I had broke on me, I bought a more expensive phone expecting it to do the same things.
I expected a calendar and reminders. Turns out the new phone didn’t have them. No Reminders.
I also was told in store that the internet would be fast, and the sales person showed me his phone, saying mine was the same speed as that one.
Turns out my internet was slow. Like it had been.
This could be because around town and at home, I was on the 3G network, but in the shopping centre they have ultra fast wireless internet.
I was complaining to people for a long time after that.