#105: Rated Best Overall…

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

How many of you read and believe consumer reports and treat them like a bible when you buy a product? If you do, you may want to reconsider doing this. Let me give you a scenario and a few reasons to change your ways.

Magazines are out there for one reason. Money. They don’t care who reads them, why a person reads them, or what it says, as long as it is making money. If they are making money, then everything is cool in their book. Magazines rely on the content of the articles to sell it to the customer, but don’t make jack shit from customer subscription. All their money comes from the companies that pay for those glossy adds plugging their product. If you stop to notice, most magazines are between 50 and 75% advertisements, not articles.

Scenario: A ‘popular’ magazine isn’t doing so well. They decide to release a few consumer reports on a certain line of computer printers, or telephones, or something else. During their testing, three companies approach the magazine and offer to buy an extra large advertisement in the next issue, for three times the price normally charged. The magazine of course will run the ad, pocket the money, and nothing else happens… right? Wrong. In return for the extra funds, the panel of ‘experts’, determine that Brand X printers and Brand Y phones are the best on the market. Is it coincidence that they happen to be made by the same company that just paid for the huge ads? I think not.

These days with the power of money, there is NO guarantee that those 187 test were performed on those 64 brands of that product. Even if they sat there running through all the tests like that, do you think they have a good reason to waste that kind of time testing all those products when everyone out there will believe the results regardless? Nope.

Another reason: Those test performed are designed for a specific task. Each test will determine how a unit will perform in a specific condition, trying to utilize a specific function, in a certain way. Translated, not the way you would use it. Who cares if that item can be used while hanging upside down, in zero gravity, on a full moon? For the average use, 99% of those lame test will never be utilized nor the conditions met, so why follow it?

Instead of reading the report, using it as a buying bible, why not think of what you will be using it for. How often are you going to use it? Who in your family will use it? What kind of money are you looking to spend? Buy a product that meets THOSE needs, not the needs of some 89 year old guy who doesn’t know what the real world is like.

If you have doubts about what I say, write the magazines and ask them for a list of test and the results on something they did a consumer report on. See if they can even send the data to you, and if they will. They should have no reason to hide it since the results have been published. If they don’t send it, consider my view on it, and see if it makes more sense.

9 out of 10 Statistics are Wrong.

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