How We Work – About Our Methodology
At ConsumerRemarks, we pride ourselves on our methodology. Unlike some review sites that just slap together a few comparison charts and call it day, we take our time and dig deep into analytical data to provide accurate, informative and up-to-date reviews.
If you're curious about how we work, here's a glimpse behind the curtain.
We gather data sets from a variety of sources, including blogs, forums, review sites, watchdog groups and online retailers. Some sources are more trusted than others, so here's how we choose and weigh our information when drafting our reviews.
Online stores usually have some way for buyers to leave reviews, ratings and rankings on the products they purchase. These are all invaluable tools in determining product value, so we factor them quite heavily into our own review process. What are customers saying about their purchases? What benefits and drawbacks are they discussing? Would they buy the product again?
While user reviews aren't infallible, their general consensus can usually be trusted. For example, if 99 percent of buyers hate the same aspect of a product, they probably aren't making it up. The product is probably flawed in the way they indicate.
Another good thing about user reviews is that they can share tips and tricks that the company itself isn't advertising. You might not have realized that your tankless water heater can warm more gallons per minute if you jiggle the handle, but user reviews will let you know.
At ConsumerRemarks, we frequently use forums and message boards to determine the quality of a product. We find that organic conversations between customers are usually truthful in ways that brand-sanctioned testimonials are not.
A typical forum exchange usually involves one person asking a question and other people answering. The question might be about products, prices, brands, features or deals, and the answers might include everything from personal recommendations to coupon-sharing. Since the people responding aren't being paid for their replies, they're much more likely to be honest about the pros and cons of whatever they purchased.
Another benefit of forums is that users can attest to the long-term value of their purchases. Unlike places like Amazon and Ebay where users are encouraged to leave reviews as soon as they receive their goods, people on forums have probably owned their products longer, so they can speak knowledgeably on things like longevity.
While forums aren't the only measuring tool we use at Consumer Remarks, they're one of our favorites. We track, analyze and share data from more than 1,000 online message boards, and that number grows every day.
Product Review Websites
These third-party websites have no affiliations with major companies and corporations, so you can usually trust that they aren't being paid or incentivized to endorse one brand in particular. As a bonus, since these websites usually contain user reviews and comment sections, you can see for yourself what people are saying about the products.
If something sounds too good to be true, all you have to do is scroll down and verify.
One drawback of review sites is that they tend to be more popular than forums. Since they cover broader categories, they attract a larger and more varied group of users, and that means you lose the specialized knowledge of interest-based forums. For example, if you're looking to buy a marine battery, a forum run by boat owners will probably offer better information than a general battery website with one small section devoted to boat motors. Whenever possible, we cull our data from the former.
We employ a number of safeguards to ensure that our reviews are both informative and accurate. We take our research very seriously, so we run all of our articles and comparison charts through quality checks. Here are a few of the things we consider before issuing our final verdict:
It's important to keep the demographic in mind when analyzing user reviews. Young people, for example, might not prioritize the same features and settings as an older generation. Homeowners might have a different opinion on the product than renters. We also prioritize the reviews of actual buyers over those who were given the product as a gift or those who only used the product in passing. The perspective of long-time owners is the most important.
Two customers praising a product isn't enough to give it a good review. 200 customers, on the other hand, might be on to something. The larger the sample size, the more confidently we can make claims based on average user reviews and buying preferences. We've found that 20+ individuals is a good starting place.
We use the "five rule" at ConsumerRemarks. Any review newer than five days can't be taken into consideration since the buyer hasn't had enough time to form a proper opinion on the product, but on the flip side, any review older than five years is equally unsuitable. Reviews that old might be referring to outdated technology or features that were fixed in newer versions.
At ConsumerRemarks, variety is key. That's why we use multiple sources when making judgements or posing questions. Our general rule of thumb is that no single source can provide more than 30 percent of our data; this ensures that we aren't celebrating a flawed or hated product just because our primary source happened to love it.
We want you to trust us. That's why we're completely open about our policies and data-gathering methods. When you read our reviews, we want you to know exactly where we're coming from and why we think the way we do.
While we strive to provide current, relevant information in all of our reviews, the truth is that products, brands, deals and industry standards are always changing. If you only want the newest of the new, look at our front page for our freshest articles. If you're reading anything more than six months old, make sure to double-check the data provided to see if anything has been updated.
Links to Amazon
We often include Amazon links when comparing and contrasting products. This is partly for the convenience of you, the reader, since Amazon is one of the most popular and wide-reaching online retailers in the world; we also receive compensation from Amazon whenever an item is purchased through that link. The money goes towards researching and running this website.
You might see an ad or two while browsing ConsumerRemarks. This shouldn't be taken as an endorsement by the people in our company for the products or services displayed. The ads are randomly generated based on a number of calculations by our advertiser's algorithms, and while we receive compensation for clicks, it has nothing to do with brands. Simply put, we're rewarded when any Consumer Remarks reader clicks any ad; we don't receive special commissions from any one group in particular.
All the data that we gather is freely available from public websites. We may dig deep within forums, blogs, warranties, user manuals and technical specification guides, but nothing is private, and everything can be independently verified by you. If you're interested, plug the products we review into a search engine and double-check our work.
We welcome any corrections or updates in the name of accuracy.
This is just a quick look into our methodology at ConsumerRemarks. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by email. Remember, we want you to trust us, so nothing is off-limits.