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Online Reviews Earn Raised Eyebrows

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On Edmunds.com, the 1999 Daewoo Leganza received a “Consumer Rating” of 8.4 (out of a possible 10 points).  The 2002 Aston Martin DB7 only got an 8.2.  So please, please, please be careful when reading user reviews.

This was one of the takeaway messages of an article by Michael Kanellos.  “Perhaps no other time in human history has there been so much nitpicking,” he writes.  “All you have to do is troll a site like Yelp.com for a few minutes to find a cavalcade of complaints disguised as constructive criticism or – just as bad – positive, and largely tangential, compliments.”

Indeed.  Aston Martin can get away with charging over $100,000 for its base model; Daewoo couldn’t even keep its U.S. arm in business.  Which company do you think sells the better car?

Now, if you happen to own a company, this nuttiness may play out in your favor.  Daewoo certainly didn’t mind those positive reviews, and Kanellos’s research led him to believe that a fast food joint could score as well as “Campton Place and other celebrity chef restaurants.”  (Kanellos’s research also led Andy Beal to write about him, and I owe a hat tip to our friend at Marketing Pilgrim.)

But if you’re approaching user reviews from a buyer’s perspective – this bears repeating – please, please, please be careful.

Oh, and if anyone ever lets you choose between a Daewoo and an Aston Martin . . . well, I’d recommend that you take the latter, sell it, and buy an Acura and a Lotus.

Online Reviews Earn Raised Eyebrows
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  • http://www.bazaarblog.com Sam Decker

    Doug…appreciate your perspective. However I think you’re forgetting context.

    Why can’t a Daewoo and an Aston Martin receive the same rating. There’s a filter you’re missing…class of car. Ratings are about meeting or exceeding expectations and value.

    Now, if you put them against each other in a product war, no comparison. If you filtered by price, the Daewoo wouldn’t show up next to the Aston Martin.

    80% of product reviews are product, from a 99 cent dog treat on PETCO to a Lexus on Cars.com. Low priced products that have low expectations can exceed those expectations. High priced products have higher expectations to meet.

    However, I have seen that higher priced / higher margin products…those with bells and whistles designed to exceed expectations, great design, etc…are typically top rated products. But that does not exclude value brands from achieving and exceeding expectations for what they offer.

    The big problem are brands that ‘market’ themselves to high expectations and don’t deliver. Tech support on PCs is a good example of this.

  • Dagwood

    Who is the moron who wrote this…

    An Aston Martin DB7 is an amazing automobile with a lot or ergonomic issues that make a Toyota Camry sometimes a nicer daily driver through the streets of Manhattan. However, if Mr. Caverly every drove a 1999 Daewoo Leganza he would have been extremely impressed. In fact the car was every bit as good as a Camry or Accord and the customers who purchased a Leganza were extremely pleased with their automobiles. Everyone who I know who bought a Leganza put 100K on the car until 2 out of 3 of them got into an accident (parts are expensive and tough to get) and had to get it totaled. Daewoo left the country because of financial issues with a Chairman who stole billions of dollars – not due to quality of a vehicle. I also have a friend who has a DB7 and loves it – but it is a car that needs to drive and he has a different standard than those who are buying a $20K vehicle and don’t get me going about buying a Lotus (a company that has already left the country once because of substandard product). You can’t be over 5’8″ to even get into a new one.
    Mr. Cavelry’s point about consumer ratings is quite accurate though. Only people with a strong opinion will actually give their input. A source to stay miles away from however is Consumer Reports. In a recent issue they ranked the Camry as one of their favorite vehicles yet they said the quality of the Camry Solara was substandard – It is the same vehicle!!! They also reviewed small SUVs recently and they thought that the Hyundai Santa Fe was fabulous and still didn’t give it a best buy even though it outperformed the Toyota, Honda and Subaru it compared it to.

    The Bottom line is you have to drive a lot of cars from a lot of manufacturers and don’t let your friends tell you that a Honda / Toyota / BMW is what you have to buy. Buy what serves you best for the best money with the best warranty.

    Sorry for the rant.

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