« Snore
$1.65 billion well spent »
People are stupid: a case study

I hate my new phone. Or rather, it has lots of little problems that I can ignore, and one that I can't: there is a half-second delay before the phone responds to any button press. Every task I perform with the phone is a reminder of how much faster the UI was on the phone that I owned 6 years ago. Gak.

But this post isn't about the phone. It's about reviews and reviewers:

I often whine about how this "Wisdom of Crowds" trend is getting out of hand. I personally believe that the information you get by averaging the opinions of a bunch of unaccredited strangers on a restaurant, movie, or product is of such a low quality that it's rarely even worth looking at. There is such a thing as expertise, you know, regardless of how vehemently our Commander in Chief insists otherwise.

To prove my point, I actually bothered to read through all 29 user reviews of my phone on CNet, and unsurprisingly not a single reviewer made any mention of how brutally sluggish the interface is. My smug-ometer is pinned at "righteous".

But then I read the CNet "expert" review, written by an actual paid staffer, and it also makes no mention of the eye-gougingly slow user interface. So I guess I must amend my opinion to "all reviews are useless." Or put more succinctly, "all people are stupid." (And now I have no idea how I will shop for a replacement phone--- if I can't trust the reviews, then I may as well just try them at random, and lean heavily on Cingular's return policy.)

(For the record, I think you can distill value out of The Mob if you include consideration for the credibility of each Mobster. Or better yet, the degree to which each Mobster is likely to think the same things that you think. Amazon has that, and it's why they seem to have spies in your house going through your CD collection at night. Yelp doesn't have that, and it's why Yelp seems like a howling vortex of pointless feces-slinging.)

blog comments powered by Disqus
The views expressed on this site are mine personally, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.