I want to review something!
May 19, 2010 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I want to start a review site. What should I review?

I know the general rule of thumb is to review something you're really passionate about but I'm at a loss.

I, for some reason, am really interested in writing reviews, taking photos, and filming whatever the product is but I can't for the life of my settle on what to choose.

I'm interested in music, laptops, and phones but there are already so many of those review sites, I want to do something different.

I think I could grow to be passionate about whatever I review. Any suggestions?

What do you want to see more reviews of but have a hard time finding online?
posted by anonymous to Shopping (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like you should review............Review Sites!

Let people know what the best review sites to go to for a specific subject and why.
posted by travis08 at 12:52 PM on May 19, 2010 [11 favorites]

Hate to be a downer but if you aren't already passionate and knowledgeable about the subject why would anyone want to read your review of it?
posted by Babblesort at 12:52 PM on May 19, 2010 [6 favorites]

travis08 has hit on an awesome awesome idea.

I think you should review phones. I certainly could use help in that area.
posted by anniecat at 12:53 PM on May 19, 2010

Travis08 took my answer. :) It sounds like meta-review would be right up your alley and you could easily combine laptops & phones & perhaps other personal electronics.
posted by pointystick at 12:55 PM on May 19, 2010

Pertaining to my idea above, you could also offer a comprehensive moderated list of review sites by subject.
posted by travis08 at 12:56 PM on May 19, 2010

I'm also digging Travis08's response.

You could definitely use it as your own less rules-based review blog. You could review a review website, and if they got something wrong on a product, you could re-review that product yourself and show the differences between what you found & what they found.

You could be the "voice of the people"- answer any questions that are in the comments of the other review websites. If somebody put up a review, and in the comments you found "But does it do ____ ?" answer that question yourself on your own site, then respond to the comment.
posted by ejfox at 12:59 PM on May 19, 2010

i'd stay out of media - there's a million of those and they're aggregated on metacritic (although - if someone were to take the metacritic idea and put it in a simpler webpage with a good mobile interface, i'd kiss them).

but to take that same idea and put it towards personal electronics is interesting.
posted by nadawi at 1:00 PM on May 19, 2010

How about calling yourself 'Newbie'? Just grab a product you know absolutely nothing about, pull it out of the box and try to make sense of it. It could be amusing and even quite useful to anybody who makes any kind of product to see that very first moment when a consumer engages with it.
posted by lpsguy at 1:03 PM on May 19, 2010 [6 favorites]

If you want to start a review site but you don't know what you want to review, you're doing it wrong.

People read reviews because they're interested in the opinions of people with expertise and and good taste. If you don't already have expertise and good taste in some area, your reviews will be bad and people will not read them.

Go learn about music, laptops, phones, whatever. Then, when you're an expert on them and full of opinions that people might want to know, you could start writing those opinions on a review site.
posted by k. at 1:05 PM on May 19, 2010

That said, I've always wanted to read reviews of people. Yes, human beings--personalities, appearance/fashion sense, interests, interesting things they've done in their lives. Mini-biographies, or obituaries for the living.
posted by k. at 1:09 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I really like lpsguy's "newbie" idea. There's a British comedian named Josie Long whose main shtick is being super excited about trying new things and she's great. There's definitely room for more people to mine this vein.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:15 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I disagree with the posts above saying you shouldn't review for reviewing's sake. In college I actually took a course on "review writing" and we had to review a movie, a game, a restaurant, etc. and learn the nuances that make a review a well-written review, completely apart from the subject matter. So based on that class experience I applaud your desire to write reviews.

That said...how important is it to you that someone READ those reviews? For example, I have a friend who is a writer who writes things that challenge him as a writer, and if it appeals to a mass audience doesn't matter to him at all. He tries to encourage me on my projects to be more focused on my own artistic ambitions and less on what appeals to the masses. But I'm far more audience-driven; I feel if no one is reading what I'm writing I'm wasting my time.

So if it's important that people read what you write, then you need to offer insight, wit, or something else that makes what you review matter to them.

Now depending where you live, you might actually find quite a niche reviewing local restaurants, etc. I live in a town of about 125,000 people and besides Yelp or Yahoo, there is no restaurant critic. I know Manhattan has hundreds of such sites, but for even moderately-sized cities, you might carve a niche out doing that.

Or you can look at reviewing something unique on a national level. I once had the thought that I bequeath to you of reviewing Strip Clubs from coast to coast to find the best ones. There are not a lot in a given location usually, but it would have been a great excuse to travel (and to go to strip clubs!)

You can review computer equipment, movies, video games, television shows, but you will be one of a million people doing the exact same thing and setting yourself apart is VERY hard (I started a movie review podcast and ran into that EXACT problem, how to differentiate myself... I found a way, but it took 2 years of experimenting before I got the formula right).

I do think if you review something you're already fond of then you'll have more of an "expert opinion" but there's no reason you can't pick an item that just appeals to you and BECOME an expert in that subject...

Good luck!
posted by arniec at 1:20 PM on May 19, 2010

If you really enjoy the aspects of it that you claim you enjoy, here are two options to consider:

1. Hook up with someone who is passionate and knowledgeable on a subject, and wants to review things, but writes like crap and can't take a picture to save their life. Then take the pictures, and edit their writing (or have them write up bullet points, and then write the reviews. You can share the byline.)

2. Write a blog, tracking your progress from n00b to expert on any topic that catches your fancy (including your process for choosing a topic.) Include interviews and things. You'll have a good blog, steady experience writing and shooting, and then (once you're enough of an expert to have credible reviews) you can maintain the blog as your "About Me" section to show how/why you're a credible reviewer.
posted by davejay at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2010

You should review ice cream.
posted by geekchic at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and, yeah: you're kind of doing it wrong. Ideally, everyone wants reviews/recommendations from an expert in the field, whose expertise comes from using/installing/repairing/building/designing/testing the things they're reviewing/recommending.
posted by davejay at 1:24 PM on May 19, 2010

I wish there was an authoritative review site for companies of all types that tracked their overall quality, service, price, and good/bad deeds with regards to things (where applicable) like environmental care, humane treatment of animals, philanthropy, treatment of employees, and so on. "Reviews" for each company could constantly be amended over time. I guess this would be more like a reputation tracker or a Consume Reports type of site. It would include a lot of digging to show campaign contributions and lobbying efforts, and leaks about internal mismanagement and whatever other inside info wasn't supposed to get out.

Of course this would be a project way too big for one person, so I vote for review site review site. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pants. You should definitely review pants.
posted by gubenuj at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2010

Review stuff that you know absolutely nothing about.
posted by spilon at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2010

Review ipod cases, or laptop bags, or travel gear. Something like that. I tend to read tons of reviews before I buy a bag/case - since I tend to find something I like online that I can't get/see locally - so the more reviews the better.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:19 PM on May 19, 2010

I'd really liek a website that reviews homemade soaps that you buy from soap shops or people at craft fairs and the like. You may not be an expert, but I'm assuming you are human and do use soap, so you have some backgroud.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:41 PM on May 19, 2010

How about being a secret shopper od sorts. Not reviewing products but SERVICE.
When ever you buy stuff, go thru a drive thru, return stuff report it!
posted by beccaj at 2:57 PM on May 19, 2010

Review answers on Ask Metafilter.
posted by Wet Spot at 2:59 PM on May 19, 2010

Perhaps you should first focus what sort of site you want to create. Do you want to be informative on a range of things, writing reviews that people would find when looking for a vacuum cleaner or toaster oven then go about their life and forget your site, or something people check out daily because it's offering something new and interesting, or you write with an engaging style?

You could be the latter with a specific area, but generic "consumables" (books, music, movies, art, food) would be more fitting for a constant theme that people would follow. Most folks only read laptop reviews when they're looking for a new laptop, and they're only looking once every few years.

Crazy idea: review every thing in your house. EVERYTHING. Floor to ceiling, carpet to light fixtures (and light bulbs). Tear apart your home, and criticize everything. Maybe even get rid of the things you find unnecessary, displaying how much extra stuff you never realized you had. (If you don't do this, I just might =)
posted by filthy light thief at 4:23 PM on May 19, 2010

Please review nations.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 7:12 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Review zoos, animal santuaries, and animal shelters
posted by zia at 7:30 PM on May 19, 2010

I've always wanted to see a review site or blog about all the street performers from a particular city, e.g. buskers, human statues, jugglers, street preachers, etc. People who have a lot of visibility in the urban environment but not online. Perhaps you could do interviews? It'd be great publicity for them. Also in the spirit of entertaining reviews you're likely to encounter as many dreadful performers as great ones. I was thinking human statues Top Trumps might be fun - you could give them stats like "Originality", "Statue-osity", "Child scaring ability", etc.

Then again, I've never googled for this so I wouldn't be surprised to find it's already being done.
posted by iivix at 2:49 AM on May 20, 2010

I'd like to see a review site that did things you don't get info on on the internet...which off license has a friendly shopkeeper, which kebab shop has a nice chilli sauce, which average cafe's are clean and reasonable...etc etc
posted by Not Supplied at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2010

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