Real reviews
April 29, 2010 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Where do you go for when you want to read a review on a product?

I used to use Google Blog Search for finding reviews written by normal people. Not professionals who might be getting paid off.

Nowadays all I find is reworded - or even worse, non-reworded - press releases, linkspam and referral hell.

Where can I find reviews from real people (ignoring Amazon for this question?
posted by devnull to Shopping (18 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
If we are ignoring amazon, for technical stuff, I go to and do a search here at Ask as well. That's how I found the data recovery place I'm using at this very moment.
posted by syntheticfaith at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2010

Consumer Search is not quite what you are looking for but it is helpful. It's an aggregator of several review sources.
posted by snowjoe at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2010

You can always get *an* opinion by Googling "product name sucks" or "product name review" but naturally you'll see some skewed results that way.

The FTC now requires all bloggers to disclose that they've been paid for a review, though that doesn't necessarily mean that they do still.

In any event, you can also consider searching for specialized blogs and product sites for the product you're looking for and seeing if they've reviewed it. Finally, Amazon isn't to be ignored--a lot of legitimate reviews are there and you can typically tell if there are serious problems if there appears to be a trend. Amazon also features the Real Name badge which verifies that the person used their credit card to register the account. NewEgg will show reviewers they know purchased the product through them, not sure if Amazon does the same, but they're both good places to start.
posted by disillusioned at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2010

I usually Google the product name and model along with the word "sucks" and look through the results for things that seem like they were written by real humans. Once I've found some, I read through the reviews and look to see if their complaints have merit -- basically, are they complaining about an aspect of the product that I care about, and does the complaint seem legitimate. Essentially, I want to find the angriest people and see if I care what they're angry about.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2010

posted by Jaltcoh at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2010

Consumer Reports. Not so much for detailed reviews on individual products as for comparisons within classes of products. And their writers are professionals, but they have high standards about being independent which I tend to trust. (They accept no outside advertising. The products they test are purchased normally, not donated as freebies by the manufacturers.) Drawback: not free, except perhaps at your local public library.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2010

Amazon is my go-to for a lot of stuff, but when I can't find anything on there I have a few other sources I turn to. Sometimes seller websites are surprisingly good for honest reviews:,,

eOpinions can be good sometimes. Makeupalley is great for cosmetic reviews, so is Sephora.

Also, I often Google for topic-related forums where knowledgeable people might hang out. Often I'll find a thread reviewing the very product I'm interested in, or others like it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think we should assume the OP said "ignoring Amazon for this question" not because s/he doesn't realize it's a good source for reviews but because s/he already knows about Amazon and there'd be 50 recommendations for it if s/he hadn't excluded it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:32 AM on April 29, 2010

Depends on the product. Consumer Reports, for example, is not a good source for car reviews--they consistently point out that sports cars don't have a lot of trunk space and Jeeps are noisy, so, clearly, everyone should buy a Camry or Accord. It goes without saying, I hope, that if your priority is acceleration or rock-crawling ability, a Camry might not be the best choice. Broadly speaking, though, there is a specialist forum on the web for everything in the world, and that's usually where I try to start.
posted by box at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2010

It depends on the product, but I've had good luck with the enthusiast forums for cars, stereo equipment, etc. It seems like there is an enthusiasts blog and/or forum for just about everything so you might be able to find forums for even the most innocuous of products.
posted by COD at 11:01 AM on April 29, 2010

For technology, nthing Newegg.

I never buy a product from them that doesn't have the standard diminishing curve for the reviews. Most of the reviews should be 4 & 5 eggs, with the number of lower reviews decreasing down the line. If a product has more 1 or 2 egg reviews than 3 egg reviews it's out of my consideration immediately, because clearly something is amiss. There are too many great products to for me to be messing around with something with potential problems or too small a sample (like if the product is new to the market).
posted by BeerFilter at 11:04 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best if you indicate the kind of products you're interested in.
posted by randomstriker at 11:08 AM on April 29, 2010

For techie stuff, I like reading reviews at Newegg, as mentioned above, and CNET.
posted by scarykarrey at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2010

It is not used everywhere, but is a decent resource for restaurants, bars, cuisines, service companies.

Actually, I have been finding that AskMetaFilter is a great resource for queries!
posted by mnb64 at 11:59 AM on April 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. There's not a specific product I'm looking for. I'm more looking for the counterbalance from real people to professional reviews, but the extra sources for independent professional reviews are certainly helpful.
posted by devnull at 1:10 PM on April 29, 2010

The best way to get a real answer is to ask the techy people on your contact list on social networks, either here or twitter or whereever. You might not get as much feedback as searching the web, but what you do get will likely be more genuine, provided that you've only got genuine people on your contact list.

The social search feature from Google can be the best of both.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2010

This is a great question. I've heard that Newegg is great for what it has (and I browse it a lot for data storage products), but if you want a new laptop, for example, they probably don't have a lot of advice for newer models, and so it's not such a great source for absolutely every type of product.

When I was trying to decide on a digital camera, I spent hours at this site. I like its thoroughness (down to the durability of the battery door) and its consistency (taking photos of the same things from camera to camera).
posted by joan cusack the second at 12:46 AM on April 30, 2010

Nowadays I use the discussion feature in Google a lot to filter the search to discussion forums only - here's a search for ipod sound quality - Basically do a search in the normal way, click 'show options', click 'discussions' - you can even filter by time if you want the latest opinions. I don't exclusively use this but have found it very helpful.
Also once I find a product I like I use 'brandname+product' vs x; for example, HTC Desire VS - this usually throws up what people consider to be the main rival to the product your looking at. Again you can filter this search to discussions only.
posted by razzman at 8:53 AM on April 30, 2010

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