More than just advertising…

I was listening to Sean O’Driscoll’s blog cast earlier today while working in the kitchen, and one thing stuck me was the analogy he made about buying a camera.  This reminded me of something I saw on a Dell forum recently…

I had purchased a Dell monitor, and the monitor itself is beautiful , but there was/is a problem when it comes to using the integrated SD card reader.  After searching their forums I found out it was a problem with the monitor in general not just mine.  Not a big deal to me, but a bit disappointing.

The thing that really struck me while searching their forums was a post by someone who asked if they should buy that monitor.  They were concerned after reading a lot of negative feedback.  The good news for them and Dell was the replies were a resounding yes.

But it got me thinking about how many probably were asking the same question but never did.  What kind of impression does newsgroups and forums leave on your customers ?

I find Dell’s pretty good because you do seem to have a high level of clearly visible interaction from Dell staff.  But still, the site is all about problems, the bad side of things.  It gives you as much confidence as wading through a mass of KB articles.

So do newsgroups or forums help sell your product ?  I don’t think so, they can however sell a vision of good or poor product support.

When it comes to actually telling the good story, the passionate story, I think blogs are the primary source.  Magazine articles too often provide great reviews. Company web sites however are always going to try to sell, and so people do tend to view that with more skepticism.  The problem you have with 3rd party sites, blogs or review, especially comments on reviews is the question of credibility.  I’ve read reviews for hotels that make the places sound really nice only to discover it’s more like a place where you’d bring your own fumigator to.

Personally I tend to like blogs, and find them more credible. I suppose the problem with dingy hotels is the reviews have been anonymous as such, where as blogs, people tend to want to ensure they remain credible.  Of course not all blogs are good, some are just marketing, and all have the tendency to be biased to some extent, after all they are about people’s opinions.

Are blogs a good way to research any purchase you’ve got planned ? Web sites ? Newsgroups or forums ? What web resources do you use to help you make purchasing decisions ?

2 Comments so far

  1.   James Green on June 5th, 2007          

    I think Blogs are 2nd only to a personal recommendation for techie gadgets.

    I think news groups etc are skewed towards the -ve opinion (based on the assumption that people b*tch on the web more frequently than they praise)

    So which model monitor was it? I’m in the market… 🙂

  2.   bill on June 5th, 2007          

    I got the Dell 2407WFP. It’s good except for the SD card reader limitation. Nice bright crisp display.

    And yep, forums /newsgroups seems very re-active, focusing on the negatives.

    Do you include +blog or simialr in google to help find blog posts ?