I want to help people finding the most durable and sustainable products in the world. It should become the Rotten Tomatoes for products, almost like you check the trustworthy rating of a movie before you watch it, people could check a brand or product before they purchase it.
A metric I am working on is the average cost per month of ownership. That feels like a great metric that shifts consumer mindset - the longer you own something, the more you save. I still don't have enough data, so please submit your favourite product.
Let me know what you think!
PS: this project is completely non-commercial and entirely community-driven. It is still a work in progress, but I want to get feedback as early as possible.
But the idea of tracking cost per month is very intriguing (a measure of TCO, which you may want to tackle as well, because for some products that may include electricity usage, upkeep, etc). I think it is something that can truly differentiate, and can appeal to everyone, not just people that are concerned with reducing their environmental footprint.
outdoorgearlab.com looks like a professional review site to me in the context of being an affiliate marketing / review site. IMHO almost all reviews online are affiliate marketing these days, so what I'd really be interested in is a site that hosts reviews and doesn't allow _any_ affiliate marketing or external links. IE: No incentive to game the system with inflated review scores.
And if you pay attention to those affiliate marketing sites that are disguised as review sites, note how they never give anything a bad review. "Poisoned my dog, caused my house to be condemned - 4.0/5.0 stars." Getting you to buy _something_ is the only goal.
So don't build a search engine: build a "rotten tomatoes for X" where the sources for each X are "the top N subreddits/communities/editorial-sites/forums for X".
For example, supplements: examine.com, reddit /r/supplements /r/nootropics (long tail ones), wikipedia, etc.
Then, final piece: make this aggregator site also a community (ala reddit/hn) where people vote on the results rankings, but also vote on how other people comment on them. Because you can lock down user accounts quite a bit (have high bar for registration with lots of verification for voting permissions), and you have a quality indictor for the users themselves (users voting on users), you may get much better results over time as the community sorts out who are legit and who isn't.
I'm not saying any system is immune to optimization/spam, but it feels like Reddit, HN, SO, Wikipedia at least prove that if you want good quality content, rely on a community. Why not extend the model to search itself?
However, at some point the whole review process might become unusable for legitimate users, resulting in too few reviews, rendering the whole endeavour futile.
E.g. if a shitty product earns a seller 20US$, and they expect to sell exactly 100 more over a site like this, then they can easily invest 1000 US$ into trying to make their product seem good, even if it isn't.
Thinking of this, by that reasoning a non-negligible part of the high cost of good quality products might also stem from the fact that advertising genuinely good quality must be expensive like hell (I guess).
* The community chooses what goes in the search database, the rules for the crawler etc.
* People in the community can vote on stuff, etc.
* The engine can be customized to have some "semantic" understanding of what is scraped (i.e. on a math-oriented instance, it would understand latex, in a cooking one, it would be able to parse recipes if they respect schema.org).
I really believe in this kind of concept of "user curated, community oriented" search engine, since this means taking pretty much the opposite approach to what google does, thus:
* this wouldn't compete on google's own ground ==> higher chances of success.
* you could keep more control on the data
* the engine wouldn't pull any tricks on you by trying to overfit what you meant
* lots of customization options, etc.
But I never had the energy to try and start something with the idea…
There huge incentives from the companies who make the products to influence the ratings, regardless.
Is there any way that this site can prevent fake reviews?
They are: https://www.buyforlifeproducts.com/products/9
Wirecutter, Good Housekeeping, GearLab
I think it really depends on: (disposable income * time to evaluate reviews - fakespot review adjustment)
Reddit has been a good resource lately as someone else mentioned. They have a buy it for life subreddit. Camelcamelcamel for price history.
In general, having been able to talk with some of the people there, I'm convinced that WC was focused first and foremost on truth-seeking and quality at this point in their life (pre-acquisition) — however, the consensus seems to have been that after the NYT acquired them, they started becoming more incentivized to grow revenue, and started to jump the shark.
It’s hard to find a product recommend without an affiliate link. Many recommendations have several comments about why they did not bother to review X cheaper or well known item.
However, this should not be the core focus. After getting enough product submissions from users, I will focus on the cost per month metric. As you said, this could be the true differentiator.
If I have a 500 shoe, does it last the same as 5 similar shoes in a row?
That went a totally different direction than I was expecting.
first, adding an item is a LOT of labor to enter data that's freely available from amazon's APIs for most products you're going to encounter.
not only would this be _much_ easier if you just allowed me to paste in an amazon link, or name that you searched for on amazon, you could also easily generate affiliate links and make money. I used _my_ affiliate link for the product link because... why wouldn't I? except now that i look at the products i see there aren't any links? Why wouldn't you offer links to go buy these things, doubly so when you could profit from it AND make life easier for users without costing them anything.
obviously there needs to be a fallback mechanism to handle things that aren't sold on amazon.
you ask for a weight in kg or lb, thus suggesting a desire to cater to international audiences but then you don't have a currency for price.
"BIFL Score" is something i can guess but is never actually defined. Don't make users think.
when i submit it asks for an email address, but you already HAVE my email address from when i signed in. You could just make this a checkbox "do you want to be notified when we add this?"
Some products seem to have multiple categories but i could only select one. These seem conceptually like tags so i don't know why it's a pull-down instead of a multi-select or some other multiple choice thing.
OP lets you add an affiliate link to order Graeter's ice cream. There's 20 years of 5-star aggregate reviews and a link to go buy it, so you do. But in year 21, Graeter's changed their all-sugar formula to corn syrup, and now you falsely believe that the aggregated five-star rating is supposed to apply to the corn syrup formula.
If one is designing for a lasting product review, the information needs to be snapshotted at a certain point in time- ie "In 2020, this part number from this company was constructed well." Modern listings may reflect the 2020+ product, rather than the 2020 construction that got the good reviews.
In theory, that’s what the dates next to Amazon/App Store reviews are for. The problem with making them immutable though is: say you write a 5 star review, but the next day, the device craps out (inside the warranty). You contact the manufacturer who informs you that they can’t help you because it was caused by “user error” or whatever (basically, you can’t return/replace it). So you’d like to amend your review to mention that it crapped out, but you can’t. There also is the point of reviewing the product, not the company, but if a product and company sucks, why not warn the other consumers?
There's no way to chart the average review score over time, though, is there? If people saw several years of 4.5-averaged scores and then a sudden drop to 3-average, that would tip them off, but looking at dates next to individual reviews doesn't help because any single review by itself varies wildly with the knowledge and opinion of the reviewer.
As for immutable reviews- that's a good point, although it seems like you could get around that by leaving reviews editable through at least the listed warranty period of the item. Or add a separate set of reviews that only become active after a certain period of time after you left your first review, but now we're getting into anal-retentive nerd territory that no average user is incentivized to venture into. ("Why, of course I'd like to log back on to a review site I used once six years ago and talk about how my washing machine is functioning!")
Edit: Actually, the type of person who would seek out and help populate a "reliability rating site" might be the type of person who would respond with details to a six-year-later email that asks for commentary on a product, especially if you can enter the review straight from an email reply.
Interestingly they only allow for recommend / not recommend instead of stars.
Amazon is the biggest offender in the buy it for now category i think
I am an asshole. I copy&pasted a fake 5 star review from Amazon, using a fake account. Do you have a plan to stop brands from doing this to you?
Just a couple of days ago I needed to buy another iphone USB-lightning cable. If you want to get a sense of just how broken Amazon reviews are, try searching for one of these. It's a nightmare minefield of 4.7+ rated products that have these highly dubious 5 star ratings, but with a telltale sizeable chunk of recent 1 star reviews. So I ended up having to also check various meta-review sites or other product review sites just to to buy a stupid cable. For certain product categories, reviews have become mostly noise.
 I tend to discount really effusive, highly detailed 5 star reviews for basically mundane products. "This ethernet cable was both highly attractive and yet lighter than others I've bought in the past. I plugged it in and it immediately started working! I was amazed!"
FWIW, almost every [negative, because I'm trying to warn others about wasting money] Amazon review I leave is removed for arbitrary reasons set out by Amazon. They seem uninterested in contributions like "this mouse was $30 not 6 months ago, and the current $90 price tag is unconscionable. [LG G602 mouse]" The few times I've complained about shipping problems (as you suggest you've seen) they also removed those.
Do not leave price related reviews. The prices change daily. You may leave a bad review because you think the price is too high. Tomorrow the mouse may cost $10, but your one star review is still there ten years later.
Shipping problems do not belong in product reviews. The listing is for a PRODUCT, shared by any number of amazon sellers. Amazon provides seller reviews to comment on seller's shipping problems. (If you are leaving these as seller reviews, then I apologize for assuming, and you are correct)
You telling me the mouse was cheaper before doesn’t help me decide which mouse to buy today.
Nice; thanks, Amazon.
> even if it’s potentially fake.
Yikes! Hope I don't get one of those!
> Most of the time you cannot even return these items!
That's just rubbish though, Amazon returns are so easy, if the price is only marginally lower elsewhere I'll order from Amazon just because - if necessary - returning is easy, third party or not.
I'm not sure if I get the point of it, if I can't tell if the product's a 'fake', aren't I happy? If I can (and I'm not happy with it anyway) I'll just send it back?
I think the best thing online stores can do at this point is just nuke all user-submitted ratings and reviews. They're 99% garbage.
Now that there have been some recent rulings that Amazon is liable for defective products they sell, we might see a difference as they put actual effort into it since it's more directly related to the bottom line of their e-commerce business.
Seeing 4 posts with pictures of the same failure on reddit is a pretty good sign the product has a problem.
Yes, in order to re-start, but what then?
The whole user reviews concept is bonkers, I would add that there are - besides "fake" reviews - "real" ones BUT written by clueless people (in good faith, but completely disconnected from an objective rating), and in this it is also way off the "5 star" rating where 4 stars are already "not so good".
Then it's entirely how much you trust the reviewers, and whether you agree with their matrics/tastes.
I really like wire cutter but they convinced me to buy an awesome convection toaster oven that takes seven minutes to lightly toast a piece of bread on its highest setting.
Exactly, and rightly so.
But as well the "negative" ones like (I swear I have seen more than one of these) "The item arrived but it is a darker yellow than what seen in the pictures on the site." which may have some meaning if you order - say - a scarf to match a coat (but you'd better go to a shop with the coat and find a matching colour scarf) but doesn't really apply to - still say - a chainsaw or a power tool.
I could also imagine picking reviewers by interviewing them initially - someone who owns and uses the product for a while.
But theres a problem with that: people create an account, build up their reputation for a while posting credible reviews then when they're large enough and have a good rep/trust, start taking money for their reviews.
A similar thing happens on Reddit -- people build up an account to have lots of karma (sometimes they're literally just bot accounts reposting tons of posts), build it up for a few months, then sell the whole account off for money after the account has 100s of thousands of upvotes/karma.
I think your idea of cost per month is good for things you use often. One thing I've been thinking about lately as I've undertaken a medium-sized kitchen renovation is the cost of ownership of tools. Since I'm not a professional I can't take a cost per month approach since I may not use the tool for many months at a time.
Instead I've been thinking about two things:
1. How many hours of operation can I get out of this tool? If I amortize those hours over my lifetime, will I ever have to buy the tool again? In this case a mid-range tool may be an A+ for me, but a B- for a professional.
2. What is the lifetime of a battery-powered version of the tool? I'm avoiding battery-powered tools (with a few exceptions, I'm looking at you power drill) because I'm concerned the batteries will fail before the tool does.
My ideal situation is that I buy these items once and never need to replace them. As an amateur, I should be able to do that without buying the most expensive tool. As a professional, I probably already have preferences and a strong opinion anyway.
I started “collecting” tools a year ago and my first batteries are starting to go now. They’re actually still plenty good enough good enough for my impact driver (best tool ever) but they die too quickly in my chainsaw. Couldn’t say how many hours they’ve given me but it’s a lot.
- A Milwaukee right angle drill. I don't use it much, but when I need it, it's invaluable
- A Porter Cable circular saw. I get a bit more use out of this. Circular saws are so versatile.
- A hand-held power planer. I used this a lot fitting doors to irregular door jams. I've loaned it out quite a bit too. Like the right angle drill, I don't reach for it often now, but when I need it, I'm damn glad to have it.
- Just purchased a Makita track saw. I'm anticipating a lot of long rip cuts in the next few months. I could do this with a circular saw, but I really like the simplicity of the track saw.
- Power drill. I've had it forever. I rarely reach for it, but it's nice to know it's there.
For battery powered tools I have:
- Power drill. This is a must-have for battery. The convenience is worth having to get a new one every so often. I'm on my second one now. I started with a Craftsman a long time ago. I replaced the batteries once and now I can't get new ones.
- I'm considering a jig saw. I'm not sure. It feels like this would be more convenient w/o a cord, and they're cheap enough that I wouldn't worry about replacing it. Still undecided.
For yard tools, I can totally see going with battery powered as well. I'm considering an edger. I hate dealing with two-stroke engines, and a cord would be a huge PITA. I'll probably get a battery powered one and try to stay in the same brand for leaf blower and chainsaw.
The blower is fantastic and quiet at that too. Much more relaxing than a gas one making noise all the time. The edger is phenomenal but probably too much for my needs.
I've got too many corded tools, so my decision isn't generally choosing between cordless or corded, but rather deciding whether adding a cordless version will help me. My metric is that cordless tools are useful for short jobs where reducing the setup time helps (eg pick up a driver and use it). Corded tools take less maintenance and are adequate for jobs where you're already setting up a work area... which is most things involving a jigsaw. Not having to manage the cord during long cuts would be nice, but doesn't seem like it would make any task significantly easier. Then again if I didn't already have 2+ jigsaws I'd probably feel different.
power tools have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. what was good then is no good now due to greed. Makita has stayed someone consistent as they only have the same brand, same for Bosch, Hitachi and Metabo (although not going forward), but their individual product lines have drifted. eg Bosch jigsaws are still excellent, their circular saws are whatever, some makita impacts have a design flaw, etc.
But it's pretty much a given that anything like a cordless drill will have the batteries give out long before (and even multiple times) before you need to replace the tool itself. Batteries are consumables in any mis- to high-end product with a long lifetime, like it or not. (Same with cameras.)
Search for “battery repack”. The batteries inside are always a standard size, and can be replaced by cracking the case. There are specialist companies that do it, but you have to find them.
You can do it yourself if the tool is worth spending the time on - basic soldering skills, and glue the case back together after you break it open to replace the cells (ugly, but works).
A corded tool, I can leave in a box for 3 years, then pick up, plug in, and run it all day if I need to, then put it away for another few years, and never have to worry about it.
I'd probably also be willing to put up ~$5 dollars to have someone check out the product. I'm not sure if you could turn that into an effective compensation model for reviewers.
On the reviewer side, I'm much more interested in reviewing a product if I got a note from an actual human asking about it. And maybe a little harder to game, since generic review text can't be copy-pasted as easily.
I'm partially interested in this product and also very interested in the TK-01. I'd really love to have that machine but I don't want to pay $800 for a lemon.
I am sick and tired of wasting money on buying products that last a year or two. It's also very bad for the environment. It increases the pill of trash that we're going to have to deal with someday.
That seems to be the fate that has befallen the various other "quality products" forums, subreddits, etc.
I had somewhat similar idea for a site like this, but only for negative reviews. This kind of a site stops the incentive of forging fake review, like who wants to forge a bad one, but this still has to be protected from defamation attempts. That's why I was thinking of making the post somewhat complicated, but not impossible to make the system enough hard to protect it low efforts, which is at least 90% of the attempts, and the rest would be up for a moderation team. The credibility system could work only over protection
I mean, I am a guy who still uses his 8 year old smartphone on a daily basis, so durability is relevant for me, but when I buy something, I want something good. So just because it is made of plastic and can be used for the next 350 years, doesn't mean I would enjoy using it for a single day.
Duration is just one aspect of a high quality product, but so is ease of use or overall functionality. High quality is what I want to buy. Nevertheless, I appreciate the undertaking to develop a platform that is not just about the price and has a higher goal in mind.
Personally, I assign a higher "durability" to a product if it is easily repairable. Parts and schematics/instructions are readily available, at reasonable cost for generations. Ideally seven generations or engineering blueprints released once parts are discontinued. If necessary, I can Ship of Theseus-repair such products over time, which I'm okay with as long as the time between repairs is roughly about the time for less-durable products to break into irreparable junk (without an extensive fabrication shop, which I'm oh-so-ever-slowly building up but could never justify the cost of on that repair capability basis alone).
Most products I select on this durability basis tend to have been in the market for a long time and have a lot of thought refined into their design over that time. I suspect durability raising the cost means the manufacturer has to compete on other axes like usability, functionality, listening and incorporating customer field/operational experience, and overall value by marketing uses it can be put to. Functionality tends to take a hit, especially with commercial-grade gear (compare a commercial restaurant microwave to a consumer model), so I go in with that expectation; sometimes more features is just more fiddly bits to break.
Mostly I do this because I'm utterly fascinated by the shape of design decisions that stand the test of time, and I'm compensated sufficiently to pay for it. Partly I do this because our species faces an energy cliff within an absurdly brief blink of geologic time, and I wish we could keep increasing amounts of stuff out of landfills.
Also don't let pissed off people derail product ratings because they are unhappy.
I'm thinking of a Wirecutter product research methodology and wiki below to list breakdown of materials, where they were sourced, changes in materials by manufacturer in later product updates, etc.
Let the users duke it out in the discussion section.
Basically avoid being Yelp and full of amateur reviews and people gaming the review system.
I would love for this to be an open source 'consumer affairs' product quality watchdog/authority. Too many times do manufacturers do a bait and switch where the first version has durable parts then subsequent versions are tweaked with cost cutting measures and you have inferior pieces that breakdown when they've captured a large market share of customers.
Unlike software, there is no 'what's new in this update' readme overview and you never really know if the manufacturer decided to cut corners by using a factory in Shenzhen that mass produces cheapo materials when they were previously made in a factory in middle America with a higher standard of quality, etc.
Speaking strictly to that, I cannot agree more. This is exactly how I look at purchases, especially larger ones. I'm sure many others think the same way.
* They will not last forever. Batteries die, wireless specifications change; some day I may buy a phone that uses GreenTooth instead of BlueTooth.
* In the event that I like this new (to me) product category (I had never owned noise-cancelling headphones before), I will always want to own such a thing, that does what this does, and is compatible with my device.
Because it has a limited lifespan, and the product may be something i want to continue to own for the rest of my foreseeable life, I am now signing up to pay a certain amount for life to own such a thing!
Cheap boots are more expensive....
On the topic of boots, let's say we're talking about high-cut hiking boots. I'm not an avid hiker. I do casual hiking sometimes so I just wear regular shoes to those. When I do slightly more strenuous hiking, I wear a specific pair of high-cut hiking boots that I own. I get a chance to do this maybe once a year, or less.
I bought a pair of Denali ones from Big5 for $40 for this purpose. It has been with me for 10 years now with barely any wear. If I don't use it often enough, it makes almost no difference to me to get a $400 "more durable" pair. The $40 pair is not going to get worn out in another 20-30 years at least. I probably won't go through more than say 2 pairs of these in my lifetime.
Is that an uncommon example? Maybe, but I'm not sure it's as uncommon as one would think. How about a travel backpack? I used to travel multiple times a year. Now that I have a young kid, I don't anymore. I go with a $20 backpack that I've used for a number of years that is still in decent enough condition to keep using. I'm probably not going to get much use out of it for the next 10 years before my kid is old enough to travel around the world with me.
How about a cast iron pan? They aren't dishwasher safe, and as a parent, I save time whenever I can. I don't own a cast iron pan, but even if I do, 99% of the time I'll pick up one of these non-stick sauce pans I bought from Costco as a set for a decent price of good quality that is dishwasher safe, when cooking. I've only owned these for a year but based on my experience with past sauce pans, one usually last me a good ~10 years, and that's with very regular home cooking. The iron handle skillet on this site costs $180. The set I got from Costco costs about that much, for a set of 4 pots and 4 pans.
Overall, I'm not sure I buy this entire idea of "buy expensive durable things because it'll cost less in the long run". That just hasn't been my experience in most cases, other than some very specific examples.
And for occasional-use things, higher quality doesn't help as much, as you've seen.
Finally, having an item that fits you well can be better than an item that'll last longer. 10x so for occasional-use items.
For instance, I had a spatula that I loved. I have never found an better one, and every spatula that I've owned since then has been quite inferior. I bought that spatula at Walmart on impulse for just a few dollars. Someone broke it, and I've been searching for a replacement for it for years.
But I agree with sibling comments, you don't need to buy quality for the stuff you rarely use. And/or, you may be able to not buy it at all. A high quality set of basic knives (chef+paring+serrated) and the acquired skill to use them can replace many kitchen gizmos.
I have trouble finding reliable floor lamp like [this](https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/c38e8535-2ee2-477d-9e9a-836...). The base is almost always coming off after using for a few years so the whole thing is unstable.
> the longer you own something, the longer you own
> something, the more you save
List of more durable items:
Stainless steel frying pan instead of nonstick frying pans where the non stick coating wears off. Cast iron even better.
Plain bicycle without electric parts easier to recycle metal.
Durable quality Screens drivers.
Non electric espresso maker. Bailetto.
Corded headphones no batteries that wear out. Changable parts. No wireless protocol that go obsolete.
LifePo4 lithium iron batteries instead of lithium cobalt chemistry. Cobalt is a conflict mineral mining that puts out dangerous pollutants. Lifepo4 can take more recharge cycles than cobalt chemistry and are safer.
Reasoning is if the product last for life it’s more environmentally sustainable.
Cell phones are on the opposite end of the last for life spectrum.
They're called nonstick for a reason; stainless steel does not compare. You'll have more sticking problems cooking eggs on a steel pan drowning in butter than on a (new) nonstick pan with minimal grease.
I do own an 18th-century cast iron pan and it has pretty good seasoning. I use it for many things, almost daily, but I'm still glad I own nonstick pans too.
For me personally, my most-used pans in order are my 12" cast iron, my 10" cast iron, my 12" All-clad stainless steel, my 6" cast iron, and my 6" non-stick is last, mostly for eggs.
Stainless is excellent for anything like a pasta sauce where you're starting with sautéing onions and such.
We use a cast iron and a nonstick - that's it. You can cover 95% of use cases with that.
Each of these (non-stick, stainless, cast iron) are great for the appropriate application, while also having downsides (like ANY tool). Knowing what to use, and when, comes from experience.
Cooking eggs in a stainless steel pan is a bad example because you shouldn't do that. They are useful for different jobs. Stainless os great for other things, like cooking a piece of meat (try getting that fond in a non-stick pan!), or frying some potatoes... etc
I stay with cast iron, for decades now. No problems.
that's misleading if not outright wrong.
the counterpart to nonstick is not cast iron or stainless steel -- it's carbon steel. carbon steel pans compare well to nonstick when seasoned (good woks are still carbon steel, and you can still find good carbon steel skillet pans, just not by lodge).
Seems like you only take the photo here? So that's a good mitigation of point #1. What about point #2? Curious to know if you have a good plan to deal with that :)
I really appreciate your attempt and wish you the best because I want this.
Do you have plans to monetize this in the future? How do you expect to sustain it?
Would you be open to pressing the content cc-by-sa? That would make me more interested in contributing reviews.
Also, I went looking for your terms of service (to see if they mentioned licensing already), and all I found was a link to some Google page, even when I clicked to sign in "by email".
For example, take the Salomon Quest boots that are listed. I own a pair of them. While they're good boots for the price they do not deserve an A- score. They are not BIFL. The soles are glued making them not resoleable. The sole on one of mine has started coming unglued too.
The same can be said for the Victorinox Fibrox knife that has an A+ rating. I also have one of those. It's a great knife for its low price but it does not deserve an A+ since it isn't full tang and is very thin and easy to damage.
This is a common issue with "BIFL" discussions. People overrate something because they don't understand that parts will wear out from use, something isn't repairable, or they don't have experience with a higher quality item.
Do you have any thoughts for dealing with this issue?
What's needed is to turn it all upside down: rather than reviewing new products, review broken products.
Make a site about how things break -- review broken and worn-out products to teach how to identify cheap products (where are the stress points, what manufacturing techniques exist to alleviate those). Then compare those with used products well past their warranty period that haven't broken, and look at why they haven't.
Repairability also comes to mind. Everything breaks eventually -- can't cheat entropy -- but when it does, can you easily repair it? Right-to-repair movement would get in on the action.
It would be so hard to maintain repair guides with how frequently products update these days. Everything from vacuums to laptops to shoes go through frequent enough revisions that guides might be invalidated often.
I went to repair my vacuum last month and discovered most of the guides out there cover an revision which uses a totally different latching mechanism for the door to my intake filter. The doors look identical, but the internal latch works differently. Overall that would have been fine, but I got blocked on the door part because the procedure didn't work and I assumed I was going to break it if I tried something else, haha. Turned out I just needed to push in and slide down.
I’m realizing now that they’ve actually got way more content than I thought. It isn’t review format, but they rate how difficult different components are to repair on most items which is a step towards what I want.
Weird that I thought they only did phones/tablets/computers.
So what is a rating system to do when people have very different ideas on BIFL?
For this existential dilemma, it would be helpful if the top DIMENSIONS of quality were explored. In this case with a knife: tang, bolster, handle material, riveting, metal type, hardness, grind angle, etc are all variables that have either a PREFERENCE scale or a DURABILITY scale. I don't think a simple NoSQL-comment-style database is sufficient to define what elements need to be considered to rank a product as high quality vs. low quality.
You must know about AvE's YouTube channel, yes? He's an engineer who deeply understands metallurgy and machining and industrial design, so he can explore these vectors of quality for power tools:
This kind of professional analysis is needed FIRST, to determine what the key metrics are. Then the rating system should grade based on this, rather than 5-stars.
Five star reviews are dead. Long live multiple variables!
> So what is a rating system to do when people have very different ideas on BIFL?
Objective vs subjective is something that's hard to overcome without a complex system like you suggest. I agree it's at the heart of the problem I described and I don't know if there's a practical solution, especially for a side project.
There's a famous story that I believe Henry Ford scavenged junk yards for broken Model T's. Every time he found one, he recorded what was broken. After finding enough of them, he figured out the part that was never broken was something like the front axle assembly. So he went to his axle engineers, told them they built it too strong, and find ways to cut costs.
Your overall point, however, is important. I find reviews of outdoors gear (even professional reviews) especially tilted toward light-use buyers, which is frustrating.
or rock climbing
The former cost in the ball park of 200 USD to resole, the latter about 30 USD.
Unfortunately, I don’t think sneakers, running or approach shoes can be resoled.
My dad, however, always carries a pocket knife (for fishing purposes), and I've seen them get so much wear, the inside of the blade starts getting worn away from being sharpened so often. What's a "lifetime" for someone who sharpens a knife every other week? That's going to wear out even a "BIFL" pocket knife much sooner than "life" would lead you to believe.
There needs to be a way to incorporate the duty cycle of the thing being reviewed, and length of time owned, but then you're just back to the problem of people gaming a review system, and the commercial internet has ruined everything.
But pretty much anything off-the-shelf I would have to see some extraordinary evidence.
BUT, you're still going to need (probably) multiple resoles, patching, and what not.
Take a look at the shoes Prince Charles is wearing - they're bespoke shoes from the 50s.
But you need to ask yourself - at what point do you just scrap them, and buy a new pair?
Some people love the vintage "relic" look - but every resole and patching is going to cost you money. Purchasing a pair of $1000 shoes, and then spending $1000-$2000 on maintenance the next 50 years will make sense for some, but not for others.
I personally, would much rather just buy a new pair of $500-$1000 shoes every 10-15 years, and discard the old ones when they start to look too shabby.
I live my guitars old and reliced, but shoes ? No thanks. When / if my shoes need patching, I'm throwing them.
Dr Martens also had, at some point, sold a "for life" line that came with an extensive guarantee:
> The guarantee covers the failure of any component, such as upper leather, stitched seams, eyelets, soles, welts, linings and reinforcements which has been subjected to normal wear and tear from non-industrial abuse and not unreasonably abused. The guarantee will be active from the day on which the original owner activates their guarantee, to the end of that person's natural life.
I have had several of these that I still wear after 20 years. They have been refurbished.
The problem is I find BIFL communities often can't distinguish between just more expensive, or rando add on features / durability ... from actual utility / quality.
The ratings could then be weighted by that.
1 upside down - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24710832
2 default reviews - https://gist.github.com/iL3D/59df64947d42828d848ebfc1651a312...
Of course it's much easier to buy this year's model of something hyped & shiny without thinking and then post on a site like this to prop up your ego and mislead everybody else. I'd venture to say that if something hasn't been in production for the length of a lifetime, there's no justification in labeling it as "Buy it for life"
Meanwhile my SO bought some fashionable expensive sneakers that broke in the sole after a few days of wearing. SO took them back to the shop and they just gave SO another pair. That’s just sad.
The carousel is simultaneously too slow and too fast. The visitor has to sit and wait to see a brand they recognize, and then when they do, they only have a second to recognize and click.
Scroll works well on all modern devices and empowers the visitor. There's a reason so many landing pages are tall.
The home page is the product so it should have a big search box, a list of categories, and then some top items. Ideally, all three of these will fit above the fold on mobile and desktop. Don't do infinite scroll. At the bottom, have a bigger category list, another search box, and a site map footer. Later, you can use session recording to see how strangers use your landing page and then make it really good. Make your call-to-action button "Add Review" bold.
Show ownership costs in meaningful units: $/100-washes for clothing, $/100-miles for footwear/socks/cycling gear, $/year for business equipment, $/100-meals for kitchen equipment. Put the ownership cost on the search results page and product page, not the item cost. When receiving a review, ask how many times/miles/washes the person used the item every month, when they bought it, and when did it break. When showing the review to others, show the calculated ownership cost as a single number.
Some products are so good that they take many years to wear out. Reviews for products that haven't broken can be misleading. For these kinds of products, your review submission page can explicitly ask if the product wore out or not.
Another problem to solve later: Companies sometimes change a product without changing its name or version number. Usually they make it cheaper. The cheaper version is a different product. The review site should list it as a different product and separate the ratings & reviews. You could use year numbers, eg. "DrTung's Smart Floss (2006)" and "DrTung's Smart Floss (2019)".
People give wildly different responses when asked for star ratings. So don't do that. Instead, ask a concrete question and use that to calculate a rating. Examples: "Will you buy this again when it wears out?" "Would you recommend that your family/friends buy this?" "Do you use other products that do the same thing as this?"
Most folks can't keep track of their purchases & uses so here's your paid product idea: Make an app that lets me record when I bought something, how often I use it, and how much it's costing me. Give me the option of sharing my anonymized usage data with others. Make it super easy to add an item, for example, let me forward order confirmation emails to your service or copy/paste chunks from an email or a product page. Sell the app super cheap: $5/year, $1/month.
It'll be a crowd-sourced Consumer Reports. I pay for Consumer Reports now because I think they really help society. They just need to modernize. Now is your chance!
I've found a huge problem with products is that their quality changes over time. So, a product may be named the same but the SKU changes or the products from a couple of years back were much better made for whatever reason while the company has gutted them and continues to sell on reputation. I've wondered if there's a way to track product changes (user reported maybe?) between revisions of products on a wide scale. Can you convert the "years owned" to a purchase date somewhere? Are you tracking SKUs?
How will you handle fake reviews?
I dont know if the reason is that site isn't compatible with firefox or some other "measure" but those are the urls that were blocked, if it helps you fixing it.
https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=UA-154925745-1 (blocked by ublock origin)
https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.... (blocked by ublock origin)
https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat:400,500,6... (blocked by LocalCDN)
https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans&display=sw... (blocked by LocalCDN)
https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Cookie (blocked by LocalCDN)
But, how do we deal with product model or component changes?
A couple examples:
"Earthquake" impact wrench from Harbor Freight. Purchased ten years ago, used a lot--for an amateur (maybe a couple thousand high torque automotive bolts, sunk some cement anchors). This product is currently sold by HF, but is much changed.
The site's example of Lodge cast iron. I cook on cast iron 90% of the time and my older lodge pan is much better than a newish one. The newer one has a more coarse surface, is strangely lighter.
The problem with trusting brands is that manufacturers (like whirlpool and frigidaire) intentionally rotate which of their sub brands is garbage every few years to prevent people from avoiding planned obsolescence.
Better then, to go off of manufacturers / holding companies / design houses, but that varies by industry. (In computing, counting all the name brand computer companies as design houses would make sense. But then, what about ikea appliances? They’re mostly rebranded whirlpools...)
The other problem is that internal politics can tear down a reliable brand in less time than it takes their old stuff to fail. Various shoe brands in the late 90’s come to mind. They went from reliably lasting years to lasting 6 months (there was a trend where the hiking or leather tongue bottoms were replaced by tennis shoe style material).
Maybe now I'm yelling at clouds, but it feels like I have to do deep research on everything, now. Everything I read, everything I need to buy, everything. It's tiresome and terrible and is why a site like this could be...really, so helpful.
I like this idea and a lot of
similar information sharing sites but I find in today's environment, anything successful will be targeted by misinformation and gamed which makes it difficult to determine if the information was provided in an uninfluenfed manner from the product creator/retailer/etc. who have obvious conflicted goals.
The best efforts seem to be information sites that are successful enough to gather enough data to represent something accurately from a user base but not so successful it becomes a target for corporate advertising and marketing groups. Reddit communities still provides some of this but have become a target for advertising as well and also are more difficult to extract useful information from.
Amazon has "verified purchase" which is still gamed using other techniques. I've found the best model is still Consumer Reports for fair product assessments but they only speculate on durability since it would be incredibly difficult for their product assessment model (new products rolling out frequently, modified/re-released/etc and limited staff/personal time to keep up with).
Any bs is quickly shot down by the users, typically within minutes. It is a hard crowd for someone not posting a true bargain!
Sockpuppets are detected nearly instantly as some blessed members check the post history of accounts and flag and suspicious or new accounts that are posting things that don't pass the sniff test.
The site also tends to provide insight as to quality, longevity, issues etc of products .. I had a quick browse of OPs site and I applaud the idea but I will personally be sticking to ozbargain as it fulfils the same need for product info, plus many more such as bargains, discoverability, and a great laugh from time to time like https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/569582
I've found them to be great for getting up to speed on quality of products like snow blowers, some kinds of cars, etc. Their model seems like the only way to provide a service that good, outside of embedding with a community of enthusiasts enough to make yourself an expert consumer.
I wish there was some way to provide their service for free, but I don't think we should discount the possibility that there literally isn't a way to crowd-source here -- that the only options that work well are (a) their current model, consumers buy subscription to consumer reports, (b) some huge-enough-to-benefit-from-ecosystem-level-effects patron foots the bill for ConsumerReports or something like it.
Long shot, but maybe someday a marketplace like Amazon could be a patron. They struggle with lots of sub-par products being sold, so maybe being the patron of such a service could be rationalized as a PR move as well as a practical benefit to buyers/a way of providing stronger-quality signal.
I know that if I could see a pop-up link to Consumer Reports' info on a product when buying -- or, better yet, choose to restrict my buying only to things that are confirmed to be awesome by CR when I'm buying a BIFL type product, so I don't waste my time -- I'd buy BIFL stuff on Amazon more frequently.
I still turn to Wirecutter or Outdoor Gear Lab first when I'm trying to understand the landscape and feature set of major purchases because you're right, that's the only way to make a broad comparison.
Amazon does sponsor several review sites via their Onsite Associates program. The bigger challenge for me with buying BIFL from Amazon is that they seem to have real problems with counterfeit goods
1 - https://digiday.com/media/revel-keeping-messy-amazons-onsite...
2 - https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/amazon-counterfeit-f...
Out of curiosity, how resistant is that score to being gamed?
I love the idea for your platform, and would probably be willing to pay some amount for access, if there's a good way to verify that it's not being manipulated.
Also, how do you separate people who have a bad experience because they unknowingly bought a counterfeit? It's a tough problem to solve.
So I prefer to pay a premium for high quality durable products. If they can solve the trust problem, I'd be a customer.
I hope for a larger counter movement to the consumerism today. Reward companies for making durable products and punish those who don't.
When I'm looking to purchase something, the concerns are usually something like.
1. Minimizing the shared cost of throwing the thing away.
2. Maximizing durability.
3. Maximizing the actual efficacy of the thing.
4. Maximizing worker benefit - economical and political.
5. Minimizing animal suffering.
Not everyone is going to have the same mix of goals or order of goals and many have just one overriding goal: Minimizing up-front consumer cost.
So, for example, a "smart-fiber" shirt might be far more durable than a 100% cotton shirt, the throw-away cost is much higher so I'll pass. I'm not saying your site should account for this, but things are complicated, especially among conscious consumers which is an increasingly niche market anyway due to both preference and circumstance.
Edit: Oh I should also add somewhere in there
#. Maximizing ease of repair/cleaning.
eg. MacBook vs. Pinebook or Carpet vs. Hardwood etc.
This is probably on your TODO list, but I wanted to make sure you were aware in case it isn't.
a) Not linked to anywhere except the login screen in very small text. Seems to be part of Google sign in?
b) Clicking them goes nowhere. I suspect you setup Google login and didn't provide links to a terms / privacy screen.
If you're going to be collecting logins (maybe all you store is an email address?) you should probably throw something basic together. Kind of surprised Google doesn't require it when using their sign in.
I expected the review to be posted. If it's in a moderation queue I'd expect to see a message indicating that's the case. And if the review didn't get saved I probably wouldn't leave another one.
BTW for SEO juice you might want to change URLs to include the product slug. E.g. something like:
This brings to mind some considerations for you:
1. Professional tier tools are often much hardier than consumer, and often a pro tool would last a lifetime for a consumer user, but only a few cycles professionally
2. Warranty and replacement is very important here. Example is Osprey who _had_ an incredible no questions replacement, but they've changed it while keeping the "all-mighty-guarantee" name.
Elements to consider. I'll try add a Leatherman review.
Have you ever looked at the BIFL subreddit?
One user explained the problem with the BIFL community very well in his post:
"I joined this sub for the purpose of buying stuff like lifetime warranty backpacks (osprey), great tools, camp gear, kitchen wear ect. Yet this sub has basically became an Instagram for the old shit people find in they're grandparents house which offers no benefit to me now. I'm not going to buy, nor could I even find a kitchen aid mixer you grandma still uses from the 70s. Most stuff back then was made to last, we know that. I want stuff thats still made today with quality."
To be honest I was hoping it was even more like RottenTomatoes, focused on aggregating credible professional reviews of products (like RT focuses on professional critics, though they do also have user reviews).
I think there might be some value in keeping it a niche community with known usernames and maybe moderators. Amazon reviews are not a community, and I think Amazon might not want to fix the issue as bad as we think. In Amazon all the reviews are anonymous and it's not clear at a glance what kind of buyer is giving a review.
It doesn't of course, but (going back to the RT comparison) it would be a major scandal if it were ever discovered that a well-known professional movie critic were being paid off by a studio for biased reviews. A website that focused on this could keep track of and remove the special status of reviewers caught doing that. Given that obtaining the "professional reviewer" status is quite expensive (relative to making an RT account) and such people have much more to lose than a random user, I tend to trust the RT critic score much more than the user score.
If it's possible to establish a similarly robust reputation system for user reviews with no external source of validation (e.g. a newspaper/journal hiring someone as a reviewer) I'm definitely all for that! That seems much more difficult to me though. But maybe if it continues as a niche community as you say, it could work. I hope it does.
For what it's worth, this was the review:
> No logo on the hat, because the design is iconic.
There are logos on some of the hats, at least on my T3 wanderer there is. Mark Symons says no frills but, well, there are some. They're not cheap, which "no frills" tends to imply. They're pretty good quality, and overall, the best
- Registration via Google, even for a non-Google email address. I really don't want any third parties scooping up my address.
- The price should have a currency associated with it. You might not do much with it right now, but you could for example integrate with a third party to convert 1995 Yen to 2020 US dollars, allowing anyone to see the price in their preferred currency at this time. Country of purchase would also be useful in this case, since prices can vary a lot across markets and this would enable at least rough translation based on known ratios between countries for different product categories.
- The weight unit should be an enum, not a string. That way it'll be trivial for you to convert to the user's preferred unit (kg for something like 95% of the world).
- Searching for "backpack" returned no results, which is weird.
- It would be useful to have some help text for the BIFL score, to have a slight chance of people rating using similar criteria. I'm not sure the BIFL score is even going to be very useful; maybe it would be better to generate it based on how long people have had the item and its condition at submission time.
- The front page without any filters applied shows 43 products. After switching to brands it shows 157 results. Are there really more brands than products?
On a more general note, if the data is supposed to be community driven it might make sense to also make meta-reviews community driven, like Wikipedia and Stack Overflow.
All that said, thank you for building this! I desperately want a site like this, focusing on reliability ahead of cost, packaging, and design.
I think Rotten Tomatoes is not the site to copy here, but rather Criticker: if I can rate items and compare my ratingset to similar ratingsets, that would be valuable. It's more of a cornucopia of the commons , if you will, where contributing even a little will reward you epsilon (and everyone else, too).
 http://bricklin.com/cornucopia.htm just read about this guy a la the Visicalc thread, never thought I'd use the phrase
The links to company pages and storefronts is big bonus for this site over that community
The other rock it could founder on is green. I mean, if you buy something once, that's pretty green, but so often this sort of thing turns into sackcloth and ashes or absurd high fashion sackcloth and ashes that cost too much. The green variety is already a sort of consumer preference in Germany, but I think their idea has some "well made" meaning as well (nachhaltig? I dunno).
Here were a couple of places like that my German pals sent me early this year when I was thinking about it in earnest:
Anyway, it's just a bunch of disconnected thoughts in my mind. Good on you for taking it further. I had thought the sibyl problem would make a rotten tomatoes type thing too difficult if it ever got juice (even if it didn't; bots are everywhere linking trash products). I had also thought it would be very difficult to scale as a manually proctored catalog of carefully assessed things, and it would be real easy to corrupt if you don't scale to the right kinds of reviewers.
The world does need more stuff like this. People who make shitty products should be punished.
Nonetheless this site looks great for getting what info we can. Nice work and I'll be saving it.
One thing I have a concern about: is the country of origin related to the specific product or the company itself?
An example is the KitchenAid refrigerator. I think KitchenAid does make a lot of things in the US, like their mixers, but the refrigerator listed (according to other websites) is made in Mexico. This might be a little confusing as the listing makes it look like the fridge is made in the US.
Also the "made in" drop down specifically keeps the fridge in the list when set to "US".
If there are more resources about building durable products and lasting companies, please share. I’m very interested in this.