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Ask Slashdot: Best Open Product Review Website? 55

First time accepted submitter MastaBaba writes "I want to move my personal reviews (of books, games, music and films) from my website to an online product review website. However, I would like to be able to bulk upload my existing reviews and I would require my reviews to be downloadable by me in CSV, at any time in the future. Goodreads allows for import/export of book reviews, and IMDB allows you to export your ratings, but what about game and music reviews? What website aggregates consumer reviews of (all) products, while allowing for each individual user to easily import and export his own reviews?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best Open Product Review Website?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would like a site to work exactly to my specifications (I have requirements, you know!), however I am to lazy to find it and/or it doesn't exist. Is this something I should ask the semantic web?

    • Okay, people ask these kinds of questions:

      1) In case they miss something
      2) They don't have to spend time looking
      3) Everyone else is informed of the solution for their own education*.

      *Education: that knowledge you may or may not need right away, but could be useful in the future.

    • Sounds like this idea puts more control in the users hands. Probably a great idea. Start building and please notify me when it's ready for use!
  • by NemosomeN ( 670035 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @06:27PM (#37546932) Journal
    Why do you feel that your opinions are valuable enough to be archived for posterity, but not so valuable that they are worth maintaining a website?
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Different people have different priorities and abilities. Just because somebody is able to write content for a website does not mean they can maintain one.

      Look at the whole cloud computing thing. Not much different.


    Their product reviews are community moderated and highly accurate. Amazon generally doesn't tamper with the product reviews either. It's _open_ for you to read right now.

    • by Mr_Perl ( 142164 ) *

      I used to believe too, but lately I've discovered that their review process is highly biased in favor of the product manufacturer. For example if you sell a product that is fraudulent, and have your company's employees all buy one and leave a glowing review, you'll have a solid five stars. Should anyone post a review that contains an unusual abundance of critical wording (they seem to have an algorithm for this) you will find that it's automatically rejected.

      For a current example of this, have a good look a

    • Amazon doesn't allow for exports of your reviews. So once you start submitting, you're locked in.
  • WTF is this article about? The poster wants to be able to upload and download bulk reviews of random stuff? I don't get it at all. Why would somebody think they're so important that their reviews of the latest Lady Gaga album need to be saved and archived? Why would anybody want to download their reviews after they're already posted? For spamming multiple product review sites?
  • "I would require" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 )

    Yep, its all about you. geesh.

    • Gee - and your response is different how..?

      If anyone deserves to be criticized, it might be the moderator who approved this question...but it's pretty weak to insult someone who just submitted a question specific to what they're looking for.

      And sorry, i got nothin'..

    • Yep, its all about you. geesh.

      God forbid services cater to their users' needs.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @06:46PM (#37547128) Homepage Journal

    There are a few, like epinions, but I find them fairly annoying.

    Perhaps something like Rotten Tomatoes for everything.

    The Zebco Combination Flyrod & Waffle Iron has a 37% Fresh score

  • bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @06:58PM (#37547236) Homepage

    This sounds like a bad idea to me.

    Any site that allows people to "bulk upload" reviews will be inundated with spam reviews and reviews by shills and sockpuppets. Amazon, which is much more restrictive, nevertheless has this problem to some extent with reviewers like Harriet Klausner, who can't possibly read all the books she reviews. I run a site that catalogs free books and collects users' reviews of them (see my sig), and I find that a decent fraction of user-submitted reviews are obviously authors reviewing their own books. (E.g., the reviewer's name is the same as the author's, or the review is identical to a blurb on the book's web site.) This is against the rules on my site, and I delete these reviews. But on a site that reviewed as many different kinds of things as the OP is asking for, and that allowed people to upload and download them in bulk, it would become extremely difficult and time-consuming to deal with this. Amazon has the advantage here of knowing that their reviewers are individuals with credit cards whose names match the names on the cards, and who have bought something from Amazon using the card. (You can review a book on Amazon without having bought that particular book on Amazon, but you have to have bought something from Amazon at least once.) This helps them to avoid, e.g., sockpuppet reviews.

    I sympathize with the OP's desire to have a reviewing site that's not a handmaiden of commerce, but Amazon does have a massive network effect working in their favor. I would never have bothered making my own site if there had been any overlap between my mission and Amazon's -- but there isn't, since Amazon doesn't accept reviews of free books.

  • Roger Ebert gave it 2 thumbs down saying, "This dumb ass wants it easy. Reviewing movies is no easy job, shithead. You can't just change a few words of your review of a movie and repost it as a review of the soundtrack."

    Rotten Tomatoes rates it 0% (from 15 posted reviews). The sites consensus is that the poster is lazy, arrogant and wonders how this even made it past a junior level "Ask Slashdot" editor.

    Metacritic reported this Ask Slashdot had an average of 0 based on 15 posts and gave in an F on an A t

  • For video games, the Backloggery [] is easily the best site with the best community when it comes to cataloging your collection. That said, it doesn't support importing, and exporting is not possible yet, though it is a planned feature. The focus of the site is on helping you to chip away at your collection, and it does a good job at orienting itself around that idea while having a lot of fun with it.

    • I still think this is one of the dumbest stories Slashdot has ever run. But I was not aware of this site's existence, and it's an incredibly useful idea. Thanks for the link!

      • That was actually why I posted. It's one of those little-known sites that really deserves more attention, so I love to squeeze in a mention of it whenever I can.

  • Product reviews? Seems like just the sort of thing for another wikiwhatever site, if not Wikipedia itself. There is a, but it doesn't look like much. Don't know about Maybe a suitable wiki site should be created, becasue there isn't one?
    • I like this wikiwhatever idea for any product review.
      I guess it will run into the same problem wikipedia has, such as self advertising, but it seems they can handle it.

      You mentioned, maybe the OP could ask there if their scope can be extended?
      The site name is already fine :)

  • Why are you so negative about this question? And so gross sometime?
    If it isn't of any interest to you, just leave it alone.

    I was only mildly interested but though the OP question may lead to some valuable answers, nice unknown site reference, etc.
    All I see is nasty and useless comments, to an extent we rarely see on /.
    Anyway, thank you, those who kindly tried to answer (it wasn't an easy one ;)

    • Thanks! I'm the OP and also a bit surprised by the quite negative reactions to the post. Particularly because user reviews are part of pretty much every website which promotes any type of product on a larger scale (Amazon, CNET, IMDB to name a few). The more contributors, the more trustworthy the site and the reviews. Can it be that few of the /. crowd actually every post a review on any of these sites? What annoys me with these websites, though, is that as soon as you start contributing to most of them, y
      • by Rysc ( 136391 ) *

        User reviews are useless at places like Amazon. Amazon wants you to buy things, so they have a vested interest in putting high-ranked reviews up front.

        User reviews on third party sites are almost useless: you have to specifically go to them and spend a possibly high amount of effort to locate the product you want to buy, and then you have little assurance that you're looking at reviews for the Frobmaster 9000 QRZ-3, which will get you laid every night, and not the Frobmaster 9000 QRT-3, which will explode i

        • by jgrahn ( 181062 )

          User reviews are useless at places like Amazon. Amazon wants you to buy things, so they have a vested interest in putting high-ranked reviews up front.

          Citation needed. I figure they know they'd make more money by directing you away from the crap so you buy things you like and come back for more. (Not that I think reviews from anonymous users are a great source of knowledge in general.)

          • by Rysc ( 136391 ) *

            I don't have a citation, but it's simple logic and common sense. Not every store-site is going to act that way on every occasion, but their reliability is certainly subject to legitimate suspicion. I don't trust their neutrality, because they aren't neutral, and while we could go ten rounds on the question of "When would it be more profitable? When would it seem like a good idea? What are their disincentives?" the actual answers aren't so important as the fact that they can be asked.

    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      Yep, even more importantly, the OPs problems are a very general ones with the way the Internet and the whole cloud thing works these days. There are a ton of cloud services that let you enter data in, but there are only a very tiny few that actually let you get the data back out of the cloud again. It's a problem that isn't just limited evil cooperations, many open source project hosters for example suffer from this as well and provide only partial data export, which becomes a major annoyance when you want

      • I agree with you. Getting our own data back from sites is often very difficult.
        On most sites it can be done with custom spider bots.
        The last time I did it, I wrote a greasemonkey script to copy a whole forum to another, with thousands topics and replies.

        Some people already use this scheme:
        1) Find a popular site for which users can't export their data.
        2) Write a exporter tool.
        3) Profit!

  • I realise this doesn't cater to your requirements for bulk export, but reviews like that are ideally placed in something like google sidewiki (obsolete now) or ReframeIT [], or at least links to reviews. Personally, I'd like to see more annotation not controlled by site owners, especially with regard to potential product/service purchases
  • by psydeshow ( 154300 ) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @02:50PM (#37557392) Homepage

    ...and let Google sort 'em out.

    Reviews are much more trustworthy when they exist in context. If I came to your site and thought, oh, there's someone like me, and s/he really liked that product, that's far more valuable to me than seeing a similar review in the middle of a bunch of other faceless reviews.

    Your own site will (ideally) give readers a pretty good idea of your taste and background. Leave them there.

  • by SuiteSisterMary ( 123932 ) <> on Thursday September 29, 2011 @03:39PM (#37558136) Journal
    Out of curiosity, why would you need to be able to download your own reviews? Do you use some sort of destructive uploading software that erases your local copy as you upload it? Like something out of a good old fashioned cyberpunk story?
    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      It's not that unusual for example for video game reviews to allow rich formating, images and stuff like that, even Amazon allows you to upload images and add some metadata to them. Essentially none of that can be properly saved by regular means without losing the metadata or the formating, as that kind of stuff happens via Javascript hackery, not via a classical HTML form textarea.

      • Well, if OP is planning on doing 'bulk uploads,' he's either using some sort of standardized markup language, or no markup at all, so that argument doesn't really apply.

  • I prefer to use amazon because it is a pretty popular site and you usually get varied opinions.
    plastic table covers []
    submersible floralytes []
    battery powered lights []
  • o my gosh! it's so much letters here...

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein