submitted 4 weeks ago* (last edited 4 weeks ago) by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

Searching for product recommendations has become harder and harder over the years. I used to google or browse reddit for reviews, used them to create a shortlist of products and then actually dig deeper and compare them.

Lets say I'm in the market for a mechanical keyboard, but I don't know much about them. I use whatever search engine to look for "best mechanical keyboard 2024". The results are really bad, and I mean really bad. It's more of a list of keyboards to avoid, to be honest. The problem is not just google. Bing, duckduckgo, Kagi, Startpage... all results suck. The results are filled with AI generated pages or outlets farming affiliate links. There are a couple of good suggestions in the middle of the garbage but if 9/10 websites recommend a random razer keyboard, I'm inclined to believe it's an option worth considering.

Some of my friends say they resort to Youtube. I can agree that Youtube has amazing content creators that give amazing reviews and produce great quality content. But if you don't know anything about the subject, how do you know which content creator is good and which content creator is just farming affiliate links?

One of the things I loved about Reddit was that I could just go to /r/whateversubject and talk to what I felt was real people discussing products they loved. I no longer use Reddit ,and Lemmy, unfortunately, doesn't have a big enough userbase to have a good community for each type of product.

So, what's your strategy to find out good products on subjects you know nothing about?

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[-] [email protected] 1 points 1 week ago

I use Vetted (previously lustre) to get information. Then find the reviews on YouTube.

I also use WireCutter and Rtings.com for information collection.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

The thing people need to remind themselves is that - it's subjective. You don't really know how good a product is, unless it's in your hands or you've got hands-on experience. It sucks, because we can't demo everything and it forces us to sometimes take financial risks.

It just comes down to what you're looking for out of a product. Is it X-free from Y chemicals? Does it meet a specific standard you're looking for?

What pisses me off with reviews sometimes is how vague and scarce a review can be. Most of the time it's people just going "It works! Thanks!" or "It sucks. Don't buy!". Like, I can't evaluate a product on that alone, I need a little more to work with. And a lot of the time too is that people will just complain in a review of something that isn't even about the product like "it didn't arrive on time...0 stars". How is that relevant to the product? Sounds more like a problem with the shipping service, two different things.

You don't need to always write reviews spanning 10 paragraphs. But christ, just write more than "it sucks, don't buy". Why does it suck? What makes it suck? Come on, details.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 4 weeks ago

I just look for the most barebones forum with complaints about the product and see if I can deal with those issues or not

[-] [email protected] 4 points 4 weeks ago* (last edited 4 weeks ago)

I ask real people on social media what they think. Sure, there may not be a niche community for every little thing on Lemmy; but there's also not the same level of rules limiting what can be posted where so I could make a post asking everyone what they recommend for whatever in NoStupidQuestions or AskLemmy or whatever and still reach a respectable number of people who could give a response. 🤷🏻‍♂️

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 weeks ago

One I've started using is typing before:2021 at the start of Google searches, it does a good job of removing the obvious gaming the algorithm sites and AI generated content that steal the first few pages. Obviously doesn't work if you're looking for the latest products that came out before the year you specify

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

Cool! I didn't know the command for searching times. Using the menus is not great. I'll use this for finding old news articles.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago

That's a very neat idea, to be honest. I hadn't thought of that!

[-] [email protected] 11 points 4 weeks ago

While Lemmy doesn't have enough people for each product category yet, have you checked out the community [email protected]?

There's also [email protected] for broader discussion, but it's not gained much traction yet.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 weeks ago

Subscribed to the second and link. I like to lurk/sort by subscribed and new and will try to comment when I have something to contribute. Niche communities are hard to form without a decent user base, but a general recommends community seems like a great idea.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 weeks ago

Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely start asking there!

[-] [email protected] 14 points 4 weeks ago

Beyond the other good recommendations here, go on amazon and do your search for "mechanical keyboard" armed with a bit of information first, like knowing that you won't find a good mechanical keyboard for under $40.

Then click on one you're interested in that has at least 50 reviews and check that it's been for sale for at least 6 months. If anything hasn't been for sale very long, or hasn't gotten many reviews, it's likely a poor product.

Now for the other important bit. Go to the reviews and sort them by NEWEST. Every scam product in existence gets the initial ball rolling with fake/paid reviews, but then stops after a couple months. So when you sort by newest and look at the most recent 20 reviews, those are almost always mostly real people. Those are what you want to look at. If a product is rated 4.5 stars with 500 reviews, but the most recent 20 don't average out anywhere close to 4.5, you know the product is a lie.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 4 weeks ago

I really like project farm on YouTube. He tests different brands side by side

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

Very impressive!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 weeks ago

He doesn't just test them, he tests them exhaustively and (in shade tree fashion) scientifically.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 weeks ago

I live in a big city. I go to the store and talk to the salespeople. Most of the time, they know the products and are willing to explain the assests of each brand. The caveat is to ask other people about the good stores. In my area, BestBuy is terrible for overselling, while Staples gives great service.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 weeks ago

Unfortunately this doesn't work in Portugal. Most sales people don't have any sort of training in the products they sell and they are heavily pressured into selling services rather than products. Your budget is 200 euros? They're going to try to suggest you a 100 euros product and then try to get you to buy extended warranty and/or insurance.

Source: I did sales to pay for my college

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago
[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

I have found enthusiast forums and believe it or not YouTube videos to be helpful.

Now with YouTube reviews, you gotta be a bit discerning. Try to follow personalities who have a lot of experience reviewing or have pretty stringent review measures. For example:

For any kind of home entertainment information I usually go to Chris Majestic and anyone he works with because he has pretty helpful measurements of how he qualifies products features.

Reddit has become a wasteland. It’s getting more difficult to find human content on the internet.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 4 weeks ago

Find a hobby that would use the product type in question. Find a community for said hobby then look for discussions comparing the options that are out there.

This tends to work better for certain things more than others. I doubt many hobby groups get excited about dishwashers or clothing dryers. I'm these cases, the Buy it For Life communities tend to have decent comparisons.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 weeks ago

Also for appliances, I like to try to go to shops that also service and repair them and ask, which brand/model they see or work on the least.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 4 weeks ago

This is a great idea!

[-] [email protected] 6 points 4 weeks ago

Many subreddits have a lot of useful resources on their wikis that you can use without really interacting with reddit (you could use the web archive version if you really don't want to give reddit traffic).

There's also this website which (among other things) scrapes subreddits for (positive) mentions of products. I don't really like how they integrated AI in it so agressively, but if you can gloss over that, you might find some useful information in it.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 4 weeks ago

It's a bit vague, but if you're in the UK, or EU too, which.co.uk is a paid consumer recommendation service. Really good, honest, impartial reviews on products

But nobody wants to pay for that kind of thing, so they're quite limited in the stuff they review, it's mostly household

[-] [email protected] 40 points 4 weeks ago

I look at negative reviews. If they are all dumb stuff like "FedEx lost my package, 0 stars" instead of actual complaints I know the product is good

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago

Always a good strategy

[-] [email protected] 27 points 4 weeks ago

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a membership-based non-profit that has been around since 1936. They are funded by membership dues, donations, and some corporate partnerships (mostly for research projects, I think). Their mission is to create unbiased reviews.

They do well reviewing large purchases like appliances. They also review consumer electronics and some software, though not in the highly technical way of a site like Tom's Hardware.

Anyway, Consumer Reports isn't perfect or entirely comprehensive, but the $40 per year membership pays for itself if you are a homeowner. Just in the last couple of months, they saved me $500 by directing me to a less expensive dishwasher than I otherwise would have bought.

[-] [email protected] 6 points 4 weeks ago

Also, check your local library, as they likely have a subscription you can use!

[-] [email protected] 1 points 3 weeks ago* (last edited 3 weeks ago)

I've even found magazines available through Libby and my local libraries. I haven't checked CR, bit mine has cook's illustrated.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago
[-] [email protected] 3 points 4 weeks ago

Someone you know that has the product.. Or ProjectFarm on YouTube.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 4 weeks ago

Call me old fashioned, but I still go to bricks-and-mortar stores to compare a few options when I'm making an important or expensive purchase.

Yes, that is getting increasingly difficult these days.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 4 weeks ago

I'd do that too but Bad Dragon doesn't seem to want to expand into my neighborhood

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

Have you tried stroking it a little?

[-] [email protected] 1 points 4 weeks ago

Gotta network with people!

[-] [email protected] 2 points 4 weeks ago

Make my own opinion or ask someone I trust

[-] [email protected] 15 points 4 weeks ago* (last edited 4 weeks ago)

I generally only ever read the negative reviews.

You've already searched for a product that has the features you want, so you’re probably already looking at the right things for you in the features and aesthetic department.

The negative reviews will tell me things like if the product or parts of it failed or broke. If it doesn’t do the job very well, lacks power, accuracy, etc. If a keyboard, is it loud? Fatiguing? Are the keys replaceable? Do they keycaps wear and become illegible? How “sloppy” are they? If it does fail, is there customer service? How many people get DOA items? How many bad reviews are for dumb things like color or buying the wrong product for the job?

So see what people disliked about the product you think looks shiny and pretty before buying.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 4 weeks ago

This is a difficult question these days to answer. There are a few categories where I always stick to established brand names, these are typically electronics or anything electrical like portable battery packs or wall chargers. Poorly made items in those categories can start fires. And when it comes to silicon, there's only a few to trust anyway since there are only a few major fabs out there.

I usually follow the site:reddit.com search method but I've had to further filter my criteria by only looking in enthusiast subreddits instead of the bigger ones like /r/AskReddit.

It gets difficult though for general goods that don't really need well known brands and whose performance doesn't matter as much but it's hard to tell the quality online. Lawn chairs, pizza cutters, sushi kits, clothes hangers, rope, and shower curtain rods are good examples. These usually come down to luck of the draw.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 4 weeks ago

I like to use the Wirecutter from the New York Times as a starting point, though I often ignore the products recommended because the links are typically to American online retailers that I'm unlikely to use. I pay more attention to the various aspects used to recommend their choices, then check other reviews from specialized hobbyist forums when available. Finally, if I find the product in a store I will ask to demo it before buying.

YouTube can be helpful if you can cut through the clutter or need to see head to head testing between your short list items. Don't blindly search there though because the algorithm is shit.

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this post was submitted on 22 May 2024
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