Saturday, November 04, 2006

Spending $100 Plus on a New Item - Read This

Until about three years ago, if you wanted to buy a new vacuum cleaner, you might ask your friend for advice, your housekeeper, or just head off to the store and trust the minimum wage clerk who started yesterday. That has all changed, and in a way so dramatic that it might be one of the biggest stories of the decade. If the internet is about information, product reviews are the future of marketing.

We did buy a vacuum cleaner a few weeks ago. We have probably been buying one every two or three years, on average. Either we are hard on them, or they are just cheap. We generally spend $150-$200. This time I did my research.

As I do in any web based search (which I use for everything from cures to what ailes us to where to find a new bottle cap for a sports bottle we are designing) I just started googling key words that I thought might get me some info. As you might imagine there were plenty of web sites that gave information about literally hundreds of brands, models, and styles. Some of these were put up by the companies, themselves. Others were put up by sites designed to help you find great pricing. Finally there were sites that purported to offer unbiased reviews by either professionals or just plain folks.

I ended up at a most unusual place, but I shouldn't have been surprised. I had been here before. This site has more experience than anyone with consumer reviews, and their expertise in their primary product, books, is even more valuable in the consumer product area. It is unlikely that understood that their greatest eventual value would be reviews of vacuum cleaners, but that might be the very thing that gives them lasting power.

I first used to purchase a digital camera for my wife. The reviews are from folks that know almost nothing and some who know a bunch. But taken together, I was able to select a camera that was not only dependable, easy to use, and good at its primary function, but appropriate for my Pam's needs. And it worked. I can say without hesitation that this camera is the best we've owned (and we've had several.) It's a Canon PowerShot SD600, and the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable.

So, back to the vacuum cleaner. At our house, we all have use for the beast. Each of us is responsible for some part of the vacuuming job. Pam and BJ both have alergies, so that was an issue. So I ended up back at After a bit of research, the choice of consumers was clear. And once again the result has been excellent. Every expert in this house is a fan of our new Bissell Cleanview Revolution Delux model #3596. It even has a light that tells you when the carpet is dirty or clean. (How does it do that???)

With Christmas coming we are all going to be buying items like these for our loved ones. I'm suggesting that you use for your reviews. Personally, I also try to reward them with the business, too. But, we did buy the vacuum at Target.

No comments: