Repeated my search on Youtube to find reviews or unboxing. Most video search results were basically "Youtube SEO" again - the most viewed/top-ranked videos did never show a single actual print run or even the printer available. It was mostly marketing websites turned into video (slowly scrolling/moving over product description or pictures clearly taken from the web). And of course, affiliate links in the description.
The web has become a crappy place to research products as long as money can be made with those through affiliations. I wonder if outlawing affiliate marketing would make the world a better place.
P.S: Whats most ridiculous about my Youtube Printer research experience, the best and most helpful video was a sales video from a home shopping TV station , where they actually showed some printing action and handling of one of the models I was interested in.
It also makes me think that part of the problem is not only that Google's results are getting worse, it is that much of the population goes to the internet for all problems. Whether it is googling or asking on social media... the "front-line" information on the internet is simply not reliable anymore.
As an example, I used them for moving services for a state-to-state move. Turns out the top three or four moving services are merely dispatchers run by a single company, run by a convicted felon out of Florida under a rotating number of businesses and cutouts.
When I contacted Consumer Reports to let them know about the many tens of thousands of complaints about the companies they were ranking highest, they referred me to their attorney.
> Sorry I have to weigh in here and say that Consumer Reports is a pay-to-play service now, where often the worst products & services are not the best, and often times criminally bad.
> As an example, I used them for moving services for a state-to-state move. Turns out the top three or four moving services are merely dispatchers run by a single company, run by a convicted felon out of Florida under a rotating number of businesses and cutouts.
Honestly, "moving companies" is not a category that seems like it would be in Consumer Reports' wheelhouse, and I'm surprised they offered any recommendations in that area at all.
Also, your anecdote doesn't really support the notion that they're "pay-to-play, just that they did a bad job in some category.
Are you actually thinking of the Better Business Bureau but got it mixed up with Consumer reports? I would expect the BBB to rate moving services and I've heard that they have some kind of membership program for businesses that seems to allow better control over complaints, which is pretty close to "pay-to-play."
CR doesn't review this category and a search of past CR review categories doesn't yield moving services. In general, they don't review anything regional.
They have articles on how to avoid dodgy ones but make no recommendations.
And--- I appreciate Consumer Reports' accuracy, but I doubt that they are 100% accurate. There are probably recommendation sets that end up as garbage for one reason or another (incorrect weighting for my use case, statistical noise, evolution in products since survey experiences, etc).
There's also times where I have personal expertise or preferences that outweigh CR's rankings. CR rates computers, after all, and I would probably not weigh them very heavily in my choice.
AAA guidebooks do exactly this. I remember using them to pick hotels in the 90s.
CR do not and have never recommended moving firms.
They in fact have articles on how to avoid being scammed by firms and best practices but make no recommendations.
I think the burden here is on you or others making this claim to link some evidence.
CR's freelance writers have written general advice articles on moving services, like https://www.consumerreports.org/moving/how-to-choose-a-relia..., which might be useful to some readers but certainly aren't very deep. These articles aren't the same as CR's actual reviews, which have scores and detailed ratings for each product metric.
Agreed. As a PSA do not use the True Car services that are "included" in a membership. It's basically a free pass to sell all of the contact information CR has on you to any dealership that's paying them for leads. You will be hounded for weeks if you try to use that service. I recently found out, through a family member, that the deceptive practice still exists when they were trying to get actual dealer invoices (which CR used to provide, but no longer does). I cannot not recommend CR enough.
From wikipedia, I gather they've tweaked their compensation models and exec team since then, so no idea what they're like now.
Effectively, everyone is AutoTrader though, and you should never give any insurance or auto quote company a real phone number or non-spam email.
That is the point. Given the reputation CR tries to uphold and their relationship and integration with True Car there is not much warning (if any) using that feature in CR will result in dumping your contact information to many dealerships and is a dark pattern one wouldn't expect from CR given the end user is paying for the service. For most non-technical folks I can't imagine this experience is positive after they've handed over their actual phone # and email.
They had a nice histogram, showing the range and most common price and how far off msrp it was.
I don't know how accurate it really was, and if it was accurate, someone might have "gotten to them" in later years to inflate the statistics and preserve profit margins.
But it seemed to me really valuable information for negotiating a new car purchase. The special True Car price and "services" and all that seemed like a diversion to me.
It's like some other things on the Internet - a sensible person subsists on the free "teaser" information and never ever engages in any sort of relationship.
Apart from an indication of what a fair price is, the histogram showed relative discounts between models, and there's frequently/always ones that are being disdained by the public that are very good cars and dealers are desperate to move, versus ones that are in high demand that they won't discount.
It's pay-to-access, but as I understand it they don't make money from ads or from borderline extortion.
I'd describe Which as a good starter for 10, these days, but no more.
They do a decent legal angle and always have done, ie consumer rights - that's their forte for me.
I find independent YouTubers significantly better.
To a point! There are a number of obvious non-critical flooded reviews for lots of products.
I suppose in closing CR is garbage and you have to do relevant research commiserate with how much you want to spend/care.
If only we had a review organization we could trust!
> I find independent YouTubers significantly better.
Could me extremely skeptical. "Independence" on YouTube is very cheap and easy to fake.
IMHO, YouTube is mainly useful for video of someone poking at a product, because for some reason retailers and manufacturers don't provide good enough media on product pages to get anywhere close to substituting for seeing something in person.
YouTube isn’t even a similar product. I assume all reviewers are paid and have no idea their methodology.
I like CR because their methods are defined and they don’t have any competing agendas (ads, sponsored posts, product placement , etc)
GE’s quality also tanked, but the power thing is worth looking into.
Do you mean to say that they receive money to issue reviews (which would be alarming)? Or do you mean to say they charge fees to access review information (which has always been the case AFAICT)?
LG tomorrow: "Announcing LG Microwave model G8A867FL2-B! Also, model AX7J3498-2 will no longer be available"
Consumers two days from now: "Well, there are no bad reviews for model G8A867FL2-B when I look it up, I guess it's ok to buy"
I like the idea of Consumer Reports or in depth reviewing but manufacturers have learned to game it too.
No, the retailer-specific model numbers are requested or required by the retailers, who either want a slightly different featureset, or just want to avoid people doing price-matching. The manufacturers don't really like it.
Sometimes those retailer-specific tweaks are kinda questionable, but sometimes, if it's the right retailer, they're actually pretty thoughtful.
Their people will tell you all about doing that too.
The set I got for $650 (and again, not exact, just representative numbers here) had the faster video processor and ran at 120Hz, which means the 3D capability ran at a full 60Hz for each eye, and game mode was low lag. Both very nice options, and finding them together sometimes meant buying another expensive model that comes with other fat margin, mostly useless features.
I have no doubt it's all about the price matching, but sometimes, depending on the retailer and their business model, it can be about differentiation, like actually having something better in some distinct way. The Video Only people cater to the home theatre crowd and tend to stock sets that are high technical performers at great prices.
Seeing it in the other direction, WalMart tends to have their special edition of whatever it is, and it's almost always price / performance, and or some extra pack in, or size change.
> Turns out each major chain gets their own model number for certain products like TV’s and refrigerators. Just to fuck with consumers trying to make an educated choice.
> No, the retailer-specific model numbers are requested or required by the retailers, who either... or just want to avoid people doing price-matching.
I mean, I don't see the difference. both of you are in agreement it's to fuck people trying to price match. I guess the fact that the retailers insist on it makes it okay in your mind??
Meanwhile, I doubt there are any real featureset differences for most things with model numbers. There are cheap versions of clothing for Walmart, but that's ironically going the other way and trying to confuse the customer by making them think they are the same items.
Model numbers seem to mean little these days to a lot of manufacturers.
They just mean very little to sales, who typically get their way for major chain account.
They can delete reviews, they can keep the reviews and start shipping a slightly different product instead, they can ask certain customers to write positive reviews for incentives. The list goes on and on.
It's asymmetric warfare and manufacturers hold all the cards. That's why there generally are consumer protection laws, and not the other way around, e.g. protecting manufacturers from consumers (lol).
The semi-good news is that for most consumer goods like microwaves, it doesn't really matter, because they are all "good enough".
And if you use the scale that if a manufacturer produces one bad microwave that all their microwaves are bad, I suggest cooking over a fire as no manufacturer is going to meet your judgement scale.
In general, for very large appliances (large fridges; double-stoves; double ovens) you can just ask them to keep an eye out at the local restaurant auctions. My house came with a 48" prosumer fridge. When my fridge died I got a 10-year-old exact replica from a warehouse for 3500$, rather than 18000$. It's worked flawlessly for 8 years, now.
Reviews? Have pretty much ignored them for many things. It has been hard to see the value, frankly. There are always a lot of them, and the information quality has been high noise and dubious in many cases.
I just ask them which models are coming back to the store, and or for a recommendation.
My last washer, dryer, dishwasher and stove were all purchased this way and have ran for a long time now. Needed a new element for my dryer and stove a while back and both were available, easy to install.
And that's the last question: Service. What's available and can I get parts, etc...?
I recently came across a YouTube channel where a guy does various thorough-seeming tests of a medium range of brands for a bunch of product categories (think spanners and scissors and suchlike) and he’ll talk quickly and provide lots of numbers but when you think a little more, it seems that there isn’t much reason for the test results to correlate with a good product (eg maybe if your Phillips head cams out it is because that is what it’s meant to do and not because it’s bad)
Then other times I take a chance on Amazon, like the ~$700 Viribus mountain e-bike I got a few months ago. E-bike enthusiasts seem to say that price range is universally junk, but it's been treating me great on trails and the road. Oddly can't find anyone else talking about it online but the Amazon reviews were good.
The reason nobody is talking about the bike you got, is because it is simply so bad, nobody who rides remotely seriously as a hobby or otherwise would even consider it as part of the category of mountain bikes.
I know you probably have fun riding it around on some dirt or gravel or something - but really, it's not a mountain bike.
Disclaimer - I'm not even that wild a rider at all.
I would have those breaks burned out in less than one decent, and probably tear the drivetrain apart on my first or second climb (tripple front derailleur? really?)
The geometry is whack and the tires are trash. That thing that looks like a front fork, is not. I would blow that up first day too, without a doubt.
I don't think you appreciate the world of difference between something like this, and even a cheap 2.5k ebike. (Yes that is cheap. You have the dollar store equivalent of an ebike.)
You should have saved your money and gotten a nice second hand kona hard tail or something, rather than buying and rewarding chineesium scrapheap contenders.
You're probably familiar with laptops and such to some degree.
This is the equivalent of someone buying the top reviewed amazon promoted laptop, sorted by cheapest, with some kinda piece of shit 1152×648 screen, 4gb ddr2 ram, 2.xGhz celeron processor, and telling people it's a gaming pc because it says gaming on the box. Then commenting how you find it odd nobody in the gaming space is talking about it :)
Harsh I know but... that's life. Sorry. I hope you enjoy riding and upgrade your bike soon. I just wish that such a e-waste disaster wasn't your stepping stone.
You're looking at this one, right? https://viribusbikes.com/products/emb-a277-rd?variant=406754...
I have no illusion that it's the best bike in the world, but it certainly works for my combination of roads and bike trails. I wouldn't put it on some crazy steep obstacle course or huge jumps but I wasn't looking to do any of that anyway.
But what's the big deal about a triple front deraileur?
Take the time to actually read and understand before criticizing.
Suggesting OP not buy anything or spend 3.5x as much isn't helpful.
Is there a specific model you're thinking of?
 requiring a reputable manufacturer, even accounting for second-hand bikes. Conversion might be an option, I don't know what those run.
Not to mention not knowing how well the electric part is done, especially the battery. I'd be ok taking my $200 commuter on some light trail because I'm mechanically inclined and I've got the measure of it. I have no idea about how to assess the electricals but given the cost-cutting, bad workmanship, and bad design I can see in the rest of the bike's build, I'd be really concerned about that.
"Whether you are a professional athlete" lmao
> If it lasts me a year that's good enough
I don't like this attitude because it is wasteful. That's another thing I was taking issue with. Worse because it's an ebike. If it was just some aluminum it wouldn't be nearly as bad, but still kinda bad.
> But what's the big deal about a triple front deraileur?
More moving parts, super unreliable, always low quality.
Modern mtbs use a 1x11 or 1x12 drivetrain (no front derailleur at all, never mind 3x).
... which creates much more chain wear from chain crossing ...
> More moving parts, super unreliable, always low quality.
I have a 35 year old Shimano Deore XT front derailleur. I raced the bike hard in the 80s during "the prehistory of UK mountain bike racing". I then rode it for another 8 years, doing several multi-thousand mile tours on it (before the name "gravel bike" had come along). Then I used it as a city commuter for another 5 years.
The derailleur has never failed me, has always been reliable and is built better than most contemporary equivalents.
The fad for 1x setups illuminates some of the pros, but because it's largely a fad, fails to shine a similar light on the cons. For crazy downhill racing, 1x is an obvious choice. For ultra-distance events, long distance off-road touring and general gravel duty, the choice is not quite so obvious.
It's got 5k miles on it and works fine. Just needs little tweaks every once and a while and you can't do full crosses like Big Big. But it goes as fast and as torquey as you could please (or can buy).
These things work pretty well. Just learn to tweak em or get them tuned up.
Why are you comparing your name brand derailleur from a reputable company (from a time when there was basically only x3) that you say is still better than contemporaries, with the absolute worst of those contemporaries, as a way to somehow imply this particularly bad contemporary is worthwhile?
Wild train of thought.
Interesting how you assert 1x setups as a fad for mountain bikes, and then go on to talk about how it's not a clear choice for... long distance touring? Gravel biking? What are you talking about lol
I guess you've not ridden the Great Divide? Long distance mountain bike touring. You could do it on a gravel bike, but it would be much more comfortable on a mountain bike.
Gravel biking ... mountain biking ... the difference is mostly in the eye (or saddle) of the beholder.
> I guess you've not ridden the Great Divide? Long distance mountain bike touring.
That is the most easy going barely off road biking on earth. Thousands of miles of fire and access roads, with a few miles of zero difficulty single track.
> You could do it on a gravel bike, but it would be much more comfortable on a mountain bike.
"A mountain bike". The overwhelming majority of mountain bikes are unsuitable for this. You wouldn't use any of the most popular types: trail, downhill, enduro.
Gravel biking and mountain biking are world's apart.
The closest thing to gravel biking or other long distance off road biking in mountain biking is cross country - but even then xc is _way_ more demanding than gravel. You can't ride gravel bikes on xc routes. Gravel biking is not a form of mountain biking. There does not need to be any elevation change of any kind to gravel bike. There are no features on a gravel trail.
Anyway, sure, a hard tail xc bike is probably the best bike for that trip just due to the comfort of the larger tires. I bet you'd actually be just as happy with a fatty gravel bike though.
You know, I just went and searched to see what people ride on that trail to confirm my suspicion about big tire gravel bikes. Would you look at that - I'm right. Hard tail xc / gravel bikes with fat tires.
Additionally, the vast majority of them are running 1x front chainrings.
Surprise surprise, I know what I'm talking about, and the people that seriously ride the trail you're trying to use to one up me made the same choices I recommend. What a "fad".
> Gravel biking ... mountain biking ... the difference is mostly in the eye (or saddle) of the beholder.
Absolutely clueless. The difference is stark.
Because the GGP -- you? -- didn't specify "the absolute worst of those contemporaries" but just complained about how "front triples" -- which implies all front triples -- "suck". So the GP quite reasonably showed that they don't.
It's not him moving the goalposts; it's you.
Is that a fairer statement, or would you like to just say I'm once again moving the goalposts by clarifying?
No it isn't and yes I would: Now you're trying to move the conversational goalposts by calling your moving of the goalposts "clarifying".
This conversation simply never was about your snobbish True Mountain-Biking Scotsman perspective, and no amount of your attempts at obfuscation will make it have been so.
I doubt this bike is going to be ewaste soon though. I know a few people I might give it to who might use it. And I drive old cars into the ground instead of buying new so far, so I think I have a good track record on waste.
Even if I wanted to just throw it out, the battery and frame are recyclable.
In other words it's a sign that the bike is built to a price, and maybe to a list of features and not actually to a quality standard.
Not necessarily bad (I'd trust any 3x Shimano drivetrain assuming it's installed correctly) but it's a sign to watch out.
To go with your analogy, if someone bought the laptop you're describing and was having fun playing games, can't we see that as a good thing? We don't have to get them hooked on more powerful more expensive options.
Sometimes you don’t understand what those things are until later. Sometimes the shape is weird and you don’t know how poorly you’re treating your body until you switch to a reasonable bike (and oh, random pains go away). Often the parts are substandard or nonstandard… some part wears down and then you can’t easily repair the bicycle.
It’s hard to trust comments from random consumers because I see so many bicyclists out there which very obviously lack the knowledge, skill, or will to set up or ride their bicycle reasonably. I see people on the road with horribly maladjusted seats, or people who ride a geared bicycle but have no clue which gear they should be in.
With a low-quality bicycle, a bad setup, or poor technique, you end up putting more strain on your body. It’s not necessary to go to more expensive options but you should take some care in choosing & setting up your bicycle.
GP could have been gentler, but they're right to say it's not a mountain bike, and shouldn't be ridden like one.
And that sucks. The things we buy should be fit for the advertised purpose. Mountain biking should be more accessible and there should be trails that GGP can ride on a safe budget bike without requiring that much fitness.
Can you show me an example of technical terrain where this line would be drawn?
I'm not sure where the line is, but here is a video of a local mtb park I used to ride a lot and it might give you a good idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFYcnQTcmrw
It's pretty rocky and you can carry a ton of speed in some parts. It will definitely eat up cheaper bikes if you aren't careful.
If you want to find more examples of why cheaper bikes struggle to handle that type of stuff, I'd look up "walmart bikes vs mtb trail" or something along those lines on youtube. Lots of videos and they are usually somewhat entertaining. That said, your bike looks better than those and if you respect its limits, then it should be okay. The trails you describe sound fine for that type of bike, just be careful on hard bumps and stuff.
Another problem with buying such a lowend bike online is they are very often badly assembled. You might find quickly that it becomes noisy because some parts were installed without enough grease, or components may become nearly impossible to remove because of oxydation when it will become time to replace them, and it may just be unsafe because something hasn't been torqued to spec. I once had a thorough look at these kind of bikes and a sticker on the fork clearly stated it was not really rated to be used off road. Thanksfully the CE norms have been done so that bicycles do not explode on potholes filled roads so even a bike not made for off-road is made to survive common abuses on and off the pavement.
My biggest issue with these kind of cheap e-bikes with stupid barely functionnal gimmicks such as (badly) suspended fork and chinese low end electric system is they often turn very quickly to the landfill because something end up being non functionnal and the owner do not know how to fix it himself and which component to replace wit. So to the eyes of many what you really bought appears to be waste (or soon to be) which would have been better replaced by something that might last better. Take the same bike, replace the suspended fork with a steel rigid fork and remove the electronics and you have a bike that can be ridden for years with decent maintenance. But how many people will do that instead of sending it to the landfill and replacing it with the same shit when it gets to this point?
Having said that the good thing with cycling is you don't have to have the newest more expensive bike to enjoy riding and as long as you do it within the capabilities of the bike. And suprisingly a bike can be operated for long while being in a very bad state as long as speed is kept low, squeaking and grinding his way to your destination.
This terminology difference might be meaningful in biking circles, but the places I go are designated as "trails" both colloquially and often by various governments.
> Take the same bike, replace the suspended fork with a steel rigid fork and remove the electronics and you have a bike that can be ridden for years with decent maintenance.
Wouldn't it be too heavy as a normal bike? From what I understand, ebike frames work out cheaper because they don't have to care about not making them heavy.
As for your other question it really depends on the kind of e-bike.
Well integrated e-bike from bigger companies have the engine in the bottom bracket area so you can't remove that and the battery is usually so integrated inside the frame. Most cheap e-bike like yours, if it is the same as the one I see on the viribus website, are regular cheap alu frame on which they have strapped a battery on the standard 2 bolts usually dedicated for the water bottle holder cage and the engine is on the rear wheel. So the frame is pretty standard in that regard. Remove the battery and swap the rear wheel for a regular rear wheel and you have a conventional very entry level hardtail.
Sometimes you can't afford the thigs you want.
I made a good and realistic recommendation for the price range, that would leave OP well off in the long run.
I understand that you could say the ebike part is a hard requirement but, well, I don't think someone who knows so little about mountain biking or biking at all is in a position to make that kind of hard requirement in an informed way.
I also understand that you could read this as really pompous, but please consider what someone saying otherwise amounts to:
"I NEED an ebike mtb, but I also know nothing about mtbs or ebikes"
I used to ride a road bike occasionally but the difficulty turned me off. If I'm stuck with an unpowered bike I just won't ride.
More (or less?) power to ya.
To everyone else, it’s a category of vehicles capable of off-pavement riding on trails. They should be referred to off-pavement bikes.
But the same can be said for most bikes. Very few folks actually run the tour de france or any other competitive race. People get all excited by capabilities or let those who do know and use those features influence their buying.
You presumably are not actually knowledgeable about mountain bikes and riding them?
And yes, I used to cross trail several times a year in MO and mtb park (duthie hill) downhill (stevens) when I moved to Seattle, then watched several people get massive concussions and stayed with snowboarding.
If a thing becomes mainstream it gets diluted. The top 1% definition of a thing is not the thing exclusively.
Pal, come _on_. Read my initial comment, and any other comment thereafter. I was very clear and explicit that I was giving this criticism from the perspective of not "anybody" but rather someone who actively mountain bikes.
You're still not understanding. Those bikes you were talking about - while they may be marketed as 'mountain bikes' (a term anybody can use for anything) - are not fit for the purpose of mountain biking (a set of well establish sports and related types of riding).
You have now moved on to confusing the way marketers lie in their descriptions of bikes in order to sell to the ignorant, with the actual and established sports that comprise mountain biking and the bikes used therein.
> The top 1% definition of a thing is not the thing exclusively.
Everybody who mountain bikes (more than once har har har) does so on an actual mountain bike. It's not the 1%. It's more like the 99%. People don't repeatedly take these wallmart bikes down trails. Nobody survives that setup long enough to make it in to the group you can by any good standard call mountain bikers.
Go to your local trail that isn't some fireroad or featureless single track, and tell me how many people you see on shit bikes like this.
You know, I'd normally agree with you about this diluted point as it relates to many other things, but I can't here. For example - car racing is not just formula 1 or other top tier engineering categories. The vast majority of car racing is amateur and hobby stuff in comparatively low or very low spec vehicles. The difference is that you can "technically" compete with a formula one car on a racetrack in a 1997 nissan micra with 40hp. The micra can cruise around the track basically indefinitely, stopping only for fuel - and complete the race days after the f1 car. A road is a road.
This is not the case with mountain biking. All non mountain bikes basically explode on contact with mountains. It's self selecting such that people who continue to mountain bike past the first outing or two, must do so on a purpose built good quality bike.
It is in this distinction, that you are missing the point.
It's unacceptable to me that when I have _clearly_ been talking in the context of real mountain biking, you are now deciding, it seems, to take the totally walked back, side stepped, and frankly revisionist approach of only now saying "well technically these bikes are labeled mountain bikes so I'm right". Nuh uh.
Yeah, and everybody else was pretty clear and explicit that that perspective is irrelevant to, like, 95% of people.
Edited to add:
> You have now moved on to confusing the way marketers lie in their descriptions of bikes in order to sell to the ignorant, with the actual and established sports that comprise mountain biking and the bikes used therein.
That's not the problem. The problem is that you started out by confusing the "actual and established sports that comprise mountain biking and the bikes used therein" with this discussion, which was an ordinary amateur consumer talking about ordinary amateur consumer products and reviews thereof, and every time someone tried to steer the discussion back to the topic at hand, you've gotten more and more snitty-snotty about your irrelevant No True Mountain-Biking Scotsman perspective.
It's okay to buy something cheap with the understanding that its a stepping-stone to something else. After all, if the hobby doesn't "take" and you move on to a different hobby, at least you haven't wasted too much money.
> This is the equivalent of someone buying the top reviewed amazon promoted laptop, sorted by cheapest, with some kinda piece of shit 1152×648 screen, 4gb ddr2 ram, 2.xGhz celeron processor, and telling people it's a gaming pc because it says gaming on the box.
But if the buyer of this laptop was happy with the games he was playing on this laptop, why are you getting bent out of shape? Sure, he can't run the latest AAA game in HD, but it's clear that it is working for him.
Now I actually get this attitude from gamers often because I have a 1st-gen i7 (from 2011) with no SSDs but a modern video card (GTX 660ti), running Linux of all things.
I say I use it for work and gaming, and the response I get from gamers is very similar to yours - that my "gaming" machine is trash; I should throw everything out (maybe keep the video card) and get a new machine.
The thing is, it works for me - I play mostly Starcraft 2 and have played Far Cry [2/3/4/5] on it. Those are demanding AAA games. It works for me.
Same with OP - his bike works for him, and you are recommending a different product as an alternative, which frankly is a stupid thing to do (Harsh, I know, but someone had to say it).
You'd understand if you ever needed a lawnmower and someone recommended a pair of scissors as a replacement for a lawnmower.
For the "Did you start with a 55k bmw".
No, but for mountain biking I started with an entry level hardtail cannondale that if it was given to someone today, 15 years later, would still be a fun and safe bike to take down your average mtb trails. (Roughly the same cost as this person's bike, new.)
The analogy is bad though. Learning to operate something in the category of cars is not analogous to starting what you believe to be mountain biking.
More apt, would be to ask me about starting a subset of driving as a hobby - like rally driving.
"If you were going to start rally driving would you start with a 200k race spec subaru, or a 1.5k ali express golf cart car with the word rally written on it?"
I would answer, as I did - neither. I'd get something second hand and more appropriate at the same price point.
> It's okay to buy something cheap with the understanding that its a stepping-stone to something else.
If you are ok with 1) rewarding the scam artists that make these 2) contributing to a culture of low quality throwaway goods and 3) using unsafe and inappropriate tools for the job - go ahead.
> You'd understand if you ever needed a lawnmower and someone recommended a pair of scissors as a replacement for a lawnmower.
Again, no. It would be like if someone offered me a dollar store lawnmower that would break in x mins, or a scythe. You might get farther initially with this piece of shit lawnmower, but I'll get all the way with the scythe. And I'll be fitter. And it will last a lifetime.
> Same with OP - his bike works for him, and you are recommending a different product as an alternative, which frankly is a stupid thing to do (Harsh, I know, but someone had to say it).
I bet you wouldn't give this advice about your own hobbies.
> Again, no. It would be like if someone offered me a lawnmower that would break in 10 mins, or a scythe. You might get farther initially with this piece of shit lawnmower, but I'll get all the way with the scythe.
Firstly, OP said it lasted a year, not 10m. We aren't comparing something that lasts for 10m with something that lasts a lifetime, we are comparing something that lasted for a year with something that lasted longer (not a lifetime).
Secondly, does it matter if it is possible to get further with the expensive tool if you're not going that far in the first place? If the cheap tool lasts long enough to never require replacement because it isn't used for the entire distance that the expensive tool would be used for, why bother?
Thirdly, a scythe is not a replacement for a lawnmower that lasts 10m. If you're mowing a green at the golf course, a lawnmower that lasts 10m beats out a scythe that lasts a lifetime.
Fourthly, pros in a field generally don't give out the crap advice you're giving out (I have an impressive list of hobbies, which put me in contact at various times with pros from different fields). The only time I've seen the advice you give is when it's given by newbies in a particular field. They don't know any better, because they have not been in the field long enough to notice that its only a minority of first-time purchasers who will go on to want the best. The majority of people entering a new hobby don't stick with it.
> I bet you wouldn't give this advice about your own hobbies.
You'd lose that bet, because I give it all the time. Here's the advice I gave out, and how it turned out.
(To a nephew, wanting to learn guitar, at start of pandemic) "Why a $500 Yamaha? Buy a $50 guitar if you've never laid hands on one before." He only lost $50 before realising that it was not as easy as he'd thought. He would have lost even less had he simply accepted one of my old guitars.
(Acquaintance who wanted to learn to weld): "Don't get a $1000 welder; why not take some classes first to see if it's something you want to do?" After three lessons he decided that woodworking is more practical. Saved $1000 dollars there.
(To my brother-in-law thinking about getting into DIY, four years ago): "Don't get a top-of-range set of tools: Buy a cheap set and then replace the tools as they break with expensive tools." He's not yet replaced any tool in the cheap tool set, because he found that he didn't really enjoy fixing his own stuff. Good thing he didn't spend $1000s on tools.
If you were to stop and think about it you'd realise that the majority of first-time buyers in any hobby field aren't going to stick with it long enough to make the more expensive option worthwhile. If you were in the hobby for any length of time (i.e. not a newcomer) it'd be obvious as you see people join and then leave. The fact that you haven't seen this tells me that you're still quite new to it. Or maybe you just don't have that many hobbies.
In fact I still give this same advice wrt all of my hobbies: pay entry-level money to participate before paying pro money in case you don't want to continue with it.
My hobbies include playing music, painting/drawing/sketching, auto repair, metal-working and wood-working, household DIY (plumbing, plastering, etc), gardening, writing (fiction), electronics (including embedded software), basket-weaving, sewing, cooking ... and a few more that I forget.
In every single one of those hobbies I meet new people who started with the expensive stuff that would last a lifetime, but they only needed it to the last the 3 weeks it took them to decide that they do not like it. Most hobbies are abandoned before even the cheapest kit breaks.
Gotta heavily disagree with you on this point. Not about the sticking to a hobby, you're spot on about that, but about the advice given being "crap".
If you walked into an an actual bike shop and asked them if a $700 hardtail e-bike was a good first choice, they would tell you something like: "oh, that's far too cheap for a hardtail e-bike.. they must've cheaped out heavily somewhere to get it at that price point and trust me, you don't want to be on it when you find out what they cheaped out on. If you want an entry level hardtail e-bike, you'll probably need to spend x dollars more or you can spend about the same for a non-e mountain bike that is a decent entry level one. Just depends on what you are looking to try. If that's too much, second hand is probably your best bet."
Granted, the advice would be different if you already bought it. They would simply warn you that it's probably not strong at all and to be careful taking it on any trails.
> pay entry-level money to participate before paying pro money in case you don't want to continue with it.
Great advise. I fully agree. The thing is, entry level hardtail e-bikes typically go for much higher than $700. Ask anyone into biking about this and they will be concerned about the integrity of the bike at the price point for that style of bike. E-bikes are expensive. You are looking at entry level mountain bikes at that price point, not entry level mountain e-bikes.
I see the rest of your comment is nothing but accusing me of giving bad advice, followed by examples of exactly the same kind of advice I gave or would give, mixed with a dose of bragging about being in touch with pro... welders, cooks, gardeners and other normal jobs that everyone has contacts in. Except basket weavers. I'll give you that one.
Way to totally miss the mark.
If you drop the basket weaving and gardening, and add mountain biking, machining, and lockpicking - we're about the same on being over-hobbied individuals.
It seems far more like its someone buying that cheap laptop, primarily using it to surf the web and play solitaire (or FPSes from 2001) and talk about how great it is. And it is great for what they're doing. Who needs 8 cores and 32 gigs of RAM? The answer is some subset of people between "everyone" and "no one".
This was my first ebike, so I wanted to test the waters with something cheap. If it starts falling apart, I'll probably build a custom one or two and spend more money since ebike riding's been working great for me to get consistent exercise and go on trails more conveniently.
I think your strategy is totally valid, and I do that with most power tools in my shop. Buy the cheap one, and when it breaks, make a call on how to upgrade.
For me, I actually side-graded to a Onewheel electric skateboard (https://onewheel.com/) at the very beginning of the pandemic.
As a commuter vehicle, it's less practical than an e-bike. You can't carry as much (limited to a backpack), and it's almost certainly an order of magnitude more dangerous (but more fun!). The biggest downside for me us the inability to take my dog with me (I used to tow him in one of those bike trailers for kids). But all of these don't really apply in WFH pandemic times.
On the other hand, being able to pick up and carry the Onewheel opens up a lot more commute options that aren't as easy on an e-bike. In particular, pairing it with public transit is powerful. It's difficult or impossible to load a bike into crowded light rail car, but trivial to fit in with a Onewheel.
Where I live in Seattle, I can Onewheel 1.5 miles to the nearest light rail station in SoDo, take the train 7 miles north to Greenlake, and then Onewheel another 1 mile to my friend's house. The whole trip takes 40 minutes. It's 30 minutes by car.
I also go grocery shopping with it. In the store, I just stow it in the bottom shelf of the cart. This makes grocery shopping super frictionless, because I don't have to lock up a bike or anything. I just don't get more than 2 bags of groceries at a time. Grocery shopping is so frictionless for me now, that is not a big deal. It's a 5 minute ride (1 mile) to the store, I'm in and out in 10 minutes, and then back home in 5 more.
The only times I drive anymore are when I'm not traveling alone or when it's raining heavily (I am fine to Onewheel in the typical light Seattle rail).
It's really revolutionized mobility for me, much more than the e-bike ever did.
I believe popularized by Adam Savage of Mythbusters, if I'm remembering where it hit internet-widespread from.
But an excellent point, because people don't realize the % of things they're not going to use regularly. Or the fact that it usually takes (time for the cheapest version to break) to figure out if you're going to use it frequently.
(Also, side note: absolutely no professional review site has any incentive to remind you that cheaper, used, or previous model gear exists or is viable)
Early in life, my uncle Ray suggested doing that and showed off an impressive collection of tools. And he was that fix it uncle that had a big influence on me as a kid. We tore into basically everything and I never saw him without some book or other close by. One thing he liked to do was stock the car trunk in addition to the shop stuff. Road tools get lost, loaned out, abused, whatever it may take to deal with a scenario on the road. To that end, I've put some of those cheaper high count sets that come in the fold up containers. Perfect for the trunk.
And a diverse collection is really the other side benefit. Gives a person a lot of options. Most of the time they all see light use except for a few. Going expensive limits the collection unnecessarily and that limits what one can do, or might attempt to do, again unnecessarily.
The value from having a broad set of stuff generally exceeds the replacements that will come along the way. And that's mostly true, even when there are periods of inactivity. Others may benefit. Doesn't hurt to lend a tool, or a hand to help someone else get through a project.
And frankly, as people gain experience, learning where tool limits are tends to cut back on the wear and tear on even cheapo tools. It all tends to add right up.
The other strategy I would suggest is scoring tools every year at yard / garage sale time. Estates are often great for this too.
Sometimes I will see a collection and just bulk buy if I can. Over time I've lost some while moving and that was a great way to stock back up and have a lot of options for not very many dollars.
The only variation I would suggest is to avoid very rock bottom stuff, like dollar store, or that crap in the hardware store promo bin. Some of those might not even survive the first use! But, it can be hard to tell too, YMMV.
And yup! That was the math: (cost of cheap things) * (total number of things) - (cost to rebuy) * (% of things you end up rebuying) << (cost of mid-range things) * (total number of things)
Sticking with wood or plastic on cheap saws/drills/mills can be ok, but really limits the kinds of things you can fix.
In the bottom footer, I click on "Ad Choices". I'm presented with a list of advertisers in a TrustArc-branded dialog. To opt out of being retargeted by consumerreports.com, there are checkboxes for three vendors: Microsoft, LiveRamp Inc. and Google Advertising Products. For seven other vendors, there's no checkbox, just instructions to visit the website: Amazon Advertising, Bidtellect Inc, Comscore B.V, Facebook, Google Inc, Kibo Commerce, and Twitter.
Also in the footer (maybe only for California residents such as myself?) there is a "Do Not Sell My Personal Information" link. It opens a OneTrust-branded dialog with the option to disable "Share My Information with Third Parties on Digital". It also declares that "If you are a Print or All-Access Member and receive Consumer Reports magazine or Consumer Reports on Health through the mail, we may share your name and mailing address for direct mail purposes with selected companies offering products or services that we believe will be of interest to you." I followed a link to a separate page, which required me to copy-paste in my just-received membership number, to opt out of this.
1. They aren't often comprehensive enough in their product lineup to be valuable. Obviously a hard problem to solve on product categories like consumer electronics where the product choices can count in the hundreds.
2. They aren't often including the latest and greatest in their reviews either, so I'm quite often not confident I'm getting the best bang for my buck going with their reviews.
Also, the statement that Goggle doesn’t have the best information anymore seems objectively false. We can wish there were other players doing it better, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m open to the idea that Google is just riding their wave, but I’ve yet to see proof. I just see the search industry at large shedding quality results.
I think Google could step up its ranking game w/ ML eliminating a lot of bad patterns, but I'm not sure they have the will to do it, or are afraid of the consequences (every travel blogger selling an ebook will go apeshit about it for instance).
Google is not interested in serving us the "best" search results possible, they are interested in serving us their customers ads. In other words, Google search results are crap, because Google wants them to be crap.
Like I said though, maybe they are just riding their wave (dominance) at this point, but then I'd expect to see better results from a scrappy competitor already or soon. Here's hoping, but even as a discerning user, I haven't yet.
I'm confident that even if Google doesn't solve it, for whatever reason, someone else will eventually. In the meantime, results continue to degrade and the desire / reward to fix it will increase.
I have no idea if that's even possible. The number of people who (a) Google pays to be the default engine for and (b) aren't even aware there are other engines is huge. If the various google search domains went offline, the number of people who wouldn't even be able to find facebook is probably a double-digit percent, let alone those who cannot figure out to fail over to bing, ddg, yahoo, whatever.
That competitor simply doesn’t exist yet, and I think that’s because no one has figured out how to beat Google at search (which is why I think real ingenuity is required).
Not when compared to the trillions of dollars of e commerce revenue that is the reward for getting to the top of Google results - even if you don't deserve it.
Somehow I think Google with the ability to devote billions to solving the problem has more resources to throw at it than any ecommerce company. Except for possibly Amazon.
The point of google is to surface good content above bad content. If they can identify what good content is, surface it, by any means necessary.
Evidence for this? Is it just for stuff specifically tagged as paid content, or is there any evidence that their standard reviews might be tainted by money?
They claim the reviewers go in neutral, but I'm sorry, I just don't trust it. Thr fact that they only test a subset of products in a given competitive space alone makes this too tainted for my liking. (CR also doesn't hit every company in a space, but at least they're not incentivized to pick the ones that pay them.)
Whenever I visit them I get the opposite of Gell-Mann amnesia syndrome and remember how terrible their recommendations are on products I am familiar with.
However I do find the webcam recommendation article wirecutter did to be of worse quality than the others they had. Its a very room dependent item. Its certainly easy to look at that review having played with other webcams and say hey I think their methodology sucks.
But I recently bought a new toaster oven - I had already had a kitchenaid one that got fine reviews on most sites, but I found it to be really inconsistant. The wirecutter site had photos of the uneven toasting of the same model I had, in the exact same way that mine was. They also showed photos of their recommended toasters. I picked up their recommended one. It toasts exactly as they recommended. So its not a total loss.
Plus Amazon affiliate links are standardized and automated to such a degree that’s there’s no chance they would manually penalize or reward CR for editorial content.
However this only works for popular product categories, but less so for specialized equipment.
My impression is also
that affiliate links hurt consumers in the long run as they reduce the selection of products in reviews or blogs to those the authors can earn money with. This however leaves out potential alternatives. More often than not the winner of product categories (at least those I was researching) of independent tests were not available from
sites running affiliate programs.
For example a consumer-grade lawn mower from an otherwise professional gardening company or a tent from a Scandinavian brand.
I was reminded of this with their last test of 3d printers.
Their test results where far from what everyone with experience in the field would consider accurate.
Take washing machines for example. How do you know which ones are good and which ones are not? Public reviews from any website tend to only be a good indicator if there a lots of bad ones. I have 0 faith in the average consumer to accurately rate a product. Overwhelmingly negative reviews will clearly show a deficiency but positive ones are unfortunately more and more a gamble.
Stiftung Warentest isn't perfect, but they do, on most occasions, put in a high amount of effort to test products to the best of their abilities without any personal opinions. I don't know of a single other person/organization/website where that is the case.
Testing for reliability is expensive, so most likely Stiftung Warentest and similar companies don't do that.
I assume they only counted a sample of the the 500g, but it's funnier to imagine otherwise.
But then Basmati rice is judged on grain length too. Wonder if they report like "22 cm of broken pieces per km of grains".
It took me a while to understand what you meant.
Some would claim these old appliances waste energy. I am not convinced. We need to heat our buildings here from September to May. Whatever a very modern appliance warms the building less the heating has to substitute. It's all energy and losses produce heat.
Getting one great one that will last for a few decades isn't a bad call. That's what I do personally.
And there are still ways to save, reduce energy impact. Moderation is a big one. Just be frugal and prudent with the appliances. That has a major impact and everyone could do more and capture those gains right away.
I recommend their tests of headphones , I especially like how they measure breatability . They also have a page about printers .
Ended up with the OnePlus 8T due to good battery life, fast charging and reasonable size.
Still very happy with that purchase, which wouldn't have been as easy without that site.
On the other hand, it has the same problem as Consumer Reports: they only test and review a single model which will probably be out of production before you need one. On the third hand, if one manufacturer consistently gets good reviews (OXO Goodgrips, for example)...
Some of the purchases I have made with their guidance have been (trivially) life-changing.
But in any case, what you're asking for here is a prediction of your future satisfaction with a product. It's a non-trivial problem even for the most innocuous purchases.
Will I like Lysol or Clorox wipes more? Who knows, and the reviews aren't going to beat first-hand experience in any circumstances.
This message sent from a Thinkpad business machine that I use for gaming (and ML, theoretically).
The problem is finding a place that sells commercial things to individual buyers. That, and sometimes what a commercial kitchen needs is vastly oversized for a regular house; you're probably going to set off your residential fire alarm very often with a massive commercial range designed for woks, for example, unless you also upgrade the ventilation, etc.
The consolidation of router, switch and access point means you can't upgrade individual parts. It's the modern equivalent of the TV-VCR combo and most consumers don't realize they actually can be separated.
If you run your own controller, you can set up a small network (router, PoE switch, and AP) for less than $300. Hardware controller is ~$90. A controller isn’t strictly necessary, but I don’t recommend doing a standalone setup.
Downside? It’s business class equipment and you need some idea what you’re doing. It’s not plug-n-play. Also, it’s layer 2 only. If you want mDNS across vlans, you’ll need to run a reflector. (Not difficult. It’s built into avahi.)
Can attest. I finally ditched mine, got tired of it falling over multiple times each week.
Mine has worked great. The only issues I've seen are (1) the traffic stats don't count IPv6 traffic, and (2) there is something odd that sometimes goes on when a connection ends that can result in packets from the LAN side showing up on the WAN side without the LAN-side IP address being replaced with the WAN-side IP address.
The first is a bit of annoyance, and the second as far as I saw didn't actually cause any problems.
In the electric cars over $75k category, everything except the Audi E-Tron gets the tier between worse and average, including the Tesla Models S and X. The Audi gets the bottom tier.
This article talks about why the Teslas other than the Model 3 get low reliability ratings :
> Commonly reported issues from Model Y owners included defective sensors that had to be replaced, problems with heat pumps, air conditioning, body panels that didn’t line up and water leaks in the trunk due to missing seals, according to Fisher. Owners also reported a variety of electrical and hardware issues with the higher-priced, and less-popular, Model S sedan and Model X falcon-wing SUV.
> Older models typically fare better in reliability, as companies tend to make tweaks and redesigns to solve known problems, while sticking with the same parts and suppliers.
> But Tesla deviates from this approach, Fisher explained. “At almost random times during the year Tesla will switch major components, suppliers or sensors and other units. The more you change, the greater the chances you’re going to have some problems.”
The reliability data also is likely sourced from outside, such as the AAA, insurers, or any other place where car trouble data naturally accumulates.
Second time I request a retrofit a speaker from a newer models and hardware + work cost me $100 usd. Engineers did all the job at my home while i was working. I only clicked from the App open the car . Oh well, consumer report doesn't count this things that makes consumers happy.
Consumer reports also doesn't count that after two years of ownership i received tons of new features and my car still feels fresh. I can put here a huge list. Since I bought the car :
- my range improved
- winter regenerative brakes improved
- automatic blindspot cameras after turn
- improved climate control, especially automatic seat heat
- more music/video sources
- dramatically improved autopilot
- view cameras from phone
- updated for free hardware for temperature measurements during one of the
- improved charging time ( faster)
- charging network doubled
- automatically synced profiles to my second tesla
- better charging scheduling, that works well with my local electricity provider incentives, saved me ~600 usd already
- far better navigation included way points
- better security when backing up ( sound)
- improved auto wipers, that become 100% reliable( more a fix)
- i don't include tons of fun stuff like games, easter eggs etc...
This are only improvements that are useful to me. The actual list is waay bigger.
Oh well... someone paid this journalists to portrait it in a bad way. But that basically shows how vulnerable is the system. You pay 10-20 journalists and boom, you got your marketshare of people who trust to some bs like consumer reports.
Full disclosure, I have affiliate links on companies that have them too. But I also list companies without them and it has had zero bearing on any result in 10 years. In fact, when I launched I had to beg the CEO of the top rated company to create a special affiliate program for me. Why? Because he didn't believe in review sites and affiliates in the space. It took months, but I told him if he didn't create one, what I was trying to do would never have a chance because I'd never make a dollar - you're the top rated company. I want to do something different, but it needs to remain somewhat financially viable and if you don't have a program I'm dead before it starts.
So what happened in those 10 years?
Honestly, not a whole a lot. I have mediocre rankings (often page 2-5) on some of the most competitive terms on Google. I can't afford to buy the links my competitors do because they make 10x or more what I do pushing the highest paying affiliates and designing for conversion. The site has some traction within niche communities - especially the WordPress hosting space - because I also run annual performance benchmarks (https://wphostingbenchmarks.com) where I document and thoroughly test most of the meaningful players in that space.
It makes a couple grand a month, I've disclosed the revenue publicly on IndieHackers (https://www.indiehackers.com/interview/reviewsignal-e1ddcc26...) and it's gone down since then.
The data I'm providing is almost surely the most transparent data tracking the industry and maybe the least biased (the reviews work by analyzing Twitter sentiment at scale - everything publicly documented in terms of ranking algorithm and published comments).
But outside little bubbles in communities that care, nobody noticed. Google doesn't care. Google happily ranks affiliate sites spending six figures buying links off apache.org and other open source projects (look at those sponsor lists on a lot of open source projects - hosting/gambling is a bad sign).
I got excited when my work fighting against .ORG registry price increases and sale at ICANN (https://reviewsignal.com/blog/2019/06/24/the-case-for-regula...) got a lot of press, even getting cited by the California AG in his letter which effectively killed it. I got backlinks from a lot of large news sites and traffic. I honestly saw no meaningful improvement in rankings or traffic.
So I'm stuck, I keep the sites running - part time - mostly between other projects. I've moved back heavily into consulting and other projects because being an honest affiliate - I can't compete. Providing honest, transparent data and presenting it with the goal of informing versus pushing sales is a terrible business model. The majority of people simply don't care. A lot of 'in-the-know' folks read and get informed by my work. They advise their clients using it, and I never see any financial benefit from it. The broader world, especially Google, doesn't know or care.
Is the root problem affiliate links? It certainly skews incentives and pushes manipulation. If we removed them, what fills the void? Ads? Sponsored content? Something else? I don't think the problem goes away - there is so much money in some of these industries and the stakes are so high. Companies and people will take advantage of it one way or another.
How do we identify honest / good content from the garbage seems to be the bigger question. After 10 years, I'm don't have an answer and I'm certainly not being noticed.
Sorry Kevin I don't know what the answer is, but I'd thought I'd just say a huge thanks for the great work you do year after year. It might be VERY niche but perhaps some sort of annual premium membership for professionals in the WP ecosytem might be something that might work? I'd certainly be happy to support your work on an ongoing basis with access to niche "members only" performance reports on things like WooCommerce benchmarking tests etc.
It really does help motivate me to hear people get value from my work, because it definitely isn't financially motivated at this point.
I appreciate the offer of premium members only payments. I want my data to be public, I like open sourcing my contributions when possible. I think transparency and openness are the key to better reviews. So I've not ever approached that route. I've also avoided taking any sponsored money from web hosting for any sort of advertising because of even the potential conflict of interest (many have offered to sponsor those benchmarks).
There might be something in the works to help it financially this year, nothing really concrete, but I'm exploring some new options. Ultimately though, I'd rather it wither and die than just doing what every shitty affiliate ruining the space has done.
Break Google up. Course that will never happen as politicians like the power Google has over the internet in the hands of a US company.
I wanted to build something different and meaningful. I did. It just hasn't mattered in a broad context.
If making money was the goal, I'd put whomever wants to pay me $300/sale first and pimp them out as the best company in the universe. Fuck that. I hoped that I could make a reasonable amount (at least enough to keep it going and maybe scale it a bit) and create a more honest review space.
Winning in this case isn't defined by money earned, you're advocating a race to the bottom I wanted to avoid. Google needs a shakeup and so does search as a whole.
There is so much money being passed around in web hosting review space, by companies to affiliates. I still make thousands per month off these affiliate deals. If my site were to rank at the top of search engines, I would be plenty compensated. Having individuals sponsor the work and it continuing to languish is a position I'm not really a fan of. A single sale commission can range from a few dollars to high hundreds or occasionally a thousand+. I can't imagine enough people wanting to donate a meaningful amount that would change that equation. I'd personally feel bad for every Patreon sponsor putting in 5,10,20 dollars because I might feel like I'm not doing enough with it. If those people just sent one person who ended up purchasing via a link on my site, it would likely outweigh most donations, it would also spread the reach to places I likely can't get to.
That's just what is running through my head, I don't know if that makes any sense.
Make it a variation on the "businesses pay for business-class stuff, amateurs get the free stuff" model.
For the top say, 20% ranks, it is behind a paywall. People will know which vendors are members of the set of the top 20%, but not their ordinal collection. The bottom 80% members of the set's ordinal collection is displayed. If I'm looking for a site to store Grandma's cat pictures, the bottom 80% is probably good enough.
You could also tilt the paywall so free only reveals who NOT to do business with, and who ranks at the bare minimum acceptability.
You can have the paywall only enforce an embargo, instead of all historical results. Say some period beyond which the businesses that can afford to pay you will not care for the results, like a year or whatever.
You can have a "free hour(s)" once a review cycle just before when you publish where the in-the-know crowd can get the results for the newest review cycle, tied to a YouTube livestream, where you do a monetized Q&A.
There are lots more variations to ponder, but I can't help but think there must be more useful ways to slice and dice the valuation of the information here, and monetize in tranches like finance and entertainment do, instead of all in one go.
Does hiding some information behind a paywall fit with my goal of a better review landscape in the web hosting industry? Sadly, no.
Sure, I would come out financially ahead, but the industry basically wouldn't be any different. I'm not going to rank any better or have my information spread more effectively behind a paywall. The number of folks impacted would also surely go down as many wouldn't pay.
If the goal is simply profit maximization at this point, there are definitely avenues to explore like what you've suggested. That's boring to me honestly, unless it can have impact to along with it. I do appreciate your thoughts on the matter and suggestions.
Personally, if it gets to that point I'd rather sell it off and move on to working on something else. Most of us are software developers and entrepreneurs. I'd rather build something more interesting and with more potential. I can make money doing consulting work any day, after 10 years, the allure of simply trying to profit maximize on what I built by introducing barriers doesn't appeal. That might be part of the reason it hasn't been as successful as it maybe could have been. I suppose that's the hill I may die on - open, honest, transparent review data for everyone.
You already have an objective measure to flog, build a "council" or "board" around it, with the "Platinum" members being the providers who were most consistently in the top three ranks in all the past reviews. Get some good writers who can whip up some clickbaity articles that would find placement for some fun.
"You're getting cheated out of bandwidth if you don't use these web hosting providers!"
"Most Web hosting providers don't want to let you know this secret council!"
Make it tongue in cheek, self-parodying maybe to the clickbait industry.
Intermix with and reference to some more serious PR to avenues where industry people are likely to read it, where you lay out your concerns of improving the industry and the benefits to them. Make the report red-orange-green-easy to at-a-glance interpret for non-technical management for good-enough outcomes, then analyze the results into a historical trend for the aggregate industry's progress.
Honey versus vinegar, basically.
Your consulting expertise on designing projects to make it easy to transition between providers, and a calculator to compute when to pull the trigger to perform the transition would probably more than pay the bills.
I tried some more expose type stuff, revealing spam networks operated by hosting companies, publishing pay to play attempts, exposing fake reviews and even getting one CEO on record supporting astroturfing. Despite how outrageous this behavior is, it never gets much attention. That last company I'm talking about tends to be on all those affiliate garbage sites you will see and has popped up in the past few years (https://reviewsignal.com/blog/2018/07/22/hostinger-review-0-...). I make sure to let as many people know as possible anytime I see the brand. But their marketing/astroturfing campaign certainly dwarfs anything I can do. And most people don't care. The publishers take the money, the company takes the customers and funnels more money into deceiving poor customers via affiliates and search. The only loser is customers as a whole, who have little voice or power in the equation at any level.
In little bubble communities, I do have some traction and recognition. People may know, but they tend to be echo small chambers. Sure, some people flow in and get recommendations. But the majority of people, it's just who ranks at the top of search results. They don't invest in doing deeper research. They want to see 'X is the best product' and move on.
That's another problem, nuance. Is there a best web hosting provider? Not even close. Even with a very specific use-case, it's extremely rare to say, yes, this is the best company. I've been tracking 10 years of data and no company comes close to perfect reputation. The extreme top just crack into 80% range in terms of positive sentiment. The generally pretty good are in the 70's. That means 20-30% of people are having bad experiences with the best companies.
I've publish the review data with ranks based simply on statistical numbers, but I don't do ranking for performance benchmarks. I also encourage that it's one data point, simply being in the fastest tier or having the highest consumer opinion doesn't mean it's the best. There could be other factors which matter.
For example, Pantheon is the perfect company for has a great reputation but I wouldn't recommend it to most people to consider. First, they specialize in WordPress and Drupal. So if you're not on those platforms, it's not relevant. Even if you do, they are very opinionated hosting. If you have a development team and want strict Git workflows where code moves up and data moves down, they are fabulous. If you're a semi technical person who mostly does marketing, it's probably a terrible fit because you don't want to learn Git, have to push every change through testing, staging and then production to make progress. But their hosting in my tests were fast. They have great consumer reviews. For the people who it makes sense for, they love it. And I would recommend it to probably less than 10% of people who meet the basic criteria of using WP/Drupal for the reason stated above.
As far as consulting experience goes, I actually end up consulting more for the people who build sites. After running the largest benchmarks for WordPress for ~8 years now, people have brought me on to help test new WordPress products or scale existing sites. That's more interesting and rewarding honestly seeing direct results, being compensated to help them achieve goals. My compensation overall is okay, it's just not coming from reviews these days.
The biggest problem would be how to incentivize such people, but gamification and some monetary rewards from the community could probably solve this.
Tests usually have subjective criteria that determine the ranking.
Can we have some independent testing of web search engines?
It’s really hard to find legit review sites; at least Wirecutter seems to actually test things, but sites like SeriousEats, OutdoorGearLab, Carryology, DCRainMaker, SoundOnSound, Adventure Journal, Magnetic Magazine, The Loam Wolf, etc that are quite niche / domain-specific are where I go for actual trustworthy reviews.
I agree that Google seems to be dominated by clickbait ad-riddled BS SEO sites now more than ever, and I can’t help but think that Google is allowing this to happen because it pays the bills. I’ve posted about this before, but at the end of the day, Google and FB are advertising companies trying to be more than that. The difference to me is that I’m willing to reward actual reviews and effort with rev share if I decide to buy something reviewed, but I’m super unimpressed with all the irrelevant ads we still get in 2021 despite having so much personalization data about users.
Another thing that advertisers don’t seem to understand somehow: if I searched for a thing or even clicked through a FB ad and bought it, the chances that I’m also interested in buying a similar thing in the next few days / weeks are drastically reduced. They seem to be totally missing this signal, showing me ads for some category of thing I already purchased for a very long time after I don’t need any more suggestions.
Lastly, I would literally pay per month for an Amazon search that filters out all the fake brands. If I search for “webcam”, there are half a dozen brands I want to see, yet instead I’m forced to sift through piles of junk that I would never even consider purchasing to find what I’m looking for. I’ve heard that Amazon knows this is a thing but chooses not to fix it due to some psychological allure of sifting through the junk to find the nuggets of gold. In the worst cases, I have to use Google to find stuff on Amazon because their own search is so horrendous, with the categories being an absolute joke.
Looked at Netflix clicked on a movie that I though may be interesting, it was overdubbed in English since it was a Korean movie. I watched maybe 5 minutes of it then exited. Go to YouTube and suddenly Korean videos are being suggested.
At a car dealership with my sister she asked me to be there for support when she leased a car. At home same day hours later YouTube again it is plastered with "how to buy a car" videos. I hadn't been looking for a car, never searched for anything like that in the previous days ever.
A day after I started using an Android device: I cycled to work, and my phone gives an alert and asks me to rate X. WTF? Oh right, I cycled by X on the way. I immediately turned off what I could; no more popups like that but do I really think Google doesn't track my location any more?
Went to a doctor over issues with my feet. Got spammed with ads covering various health issues. Patient data tends to be protected in most countries, no one should have access to when I visit what doctor and I find it insane that Google gets away with using that protected information to sell ads.
Google is not that short sighted. They know that if people stop trusting it to give good results then they'll lose their market.
I suspect the problem is just harder than it seems.
Let's say I want to do a '10 best bikes for under $1,000' article. How am I going to do that well without actually going out and buying 10 bikes and being prepared to make hardly anything in return?
Even if you look for the top 10 trucks, they will end up showing all the major brands, because they will break it down for: 4x4, extended cab, full size, mid size, ...
Lists are mostly garbage because you dont care about the top 25, you really only need to know the best item and the next best at a certain budget
"Proton & Atom LT vs Nano Air: Key Points ([month_year])"
This is a comment sentiment (I’ve already bought a fridge! Don’t need another!) and it is a bit of a failure mode. But, I think value on advertising around recent purchases to people is super high. A recent purchase, although often wrong, is one of the best signals you can get. So much purchasing happens in clusters (setting up a space, picking up a hobby, etc) that a specific person is in buying mode for a specific topic is crazy valuable. And there’s splash damage on the wrong ads. Maybe you don’t buy a second rice cooker, but the ad reminds you to get a toaster.
This is a ten-year old talking point. Why people continue to insist on this falsehood is beyond me. Do you think these advertisers are stupid?
-> buy refrigerator. gets lost during transport / is damaged / “oh, I wanted the 550T, not 505T” / “works great, let’s also replace the one in the beach house” / etc.
You have to remember that these possibilities are competing with other ads that have extremely low rates of success.
> This is a ten-year old talking point. Why people continue to insist on this [...] is beyond me.
Because it continues to happen.
The only falsehood here is your claim that this is a falsehood.
> Do you think these advertisers are stupid?
Yes, apparently they are.
This also seems to be what Amazon is also devolving into. Amazon ads is the fastest growing part of amazon!
There’s a dramatic difference in price for 1T sizes. Some at $30. Others at $150. I couldn’t understand it.
One of the 0 star reviews said it was actually a 32Gb drive that somehow fools the OS to think it is bigger. Not sure how that happens but it steered me away from any of the cheaper options as I don’t need a headache.
Initially because I hate monopoly but also because looking for something decent on amazon is a major PITA I avoid amazon for nearly everything. If I need a computer, I buy direct to the vendor or to a computer shop. If I need new bicycle parts I go to an online bikeshop, if I want a new sampler groovebox, I go to a store selling home studio gears. Well this isn't totally true as I now favor second hand stuff but the reality is Amazon is not very effective at offering you the best things, and not even at the best price. Most online shops nowadays offer shipping time on par with what you get on Amazon.
In then end I don't see any good incentive to use Amazon. Some people will say centralized market place but if searching a decent product takes much more time than finding a good specialized store and getting decent product quickly you haven't really gained anything. Single account for all your shopping? Many shops offer buying without creating an account. Others will allow you to seamlessly create the account at ordering time and password managers make it easy to manage multiple accounts.
I see what you did there.
Ok, but how would they know that you already bought the product? As advanced as ads are, they still don't have the Amazon confirmation telling them you already completed the purchase.
that doesn't make any sense. By that logic they wouldn't want to do targeting at all, because targeting by definition reduces the amount of people you can show ads to.
And no, I don't care about the tiny, tiny number of legit reviews with links. I doubt I'd see them anyhow.
Of course disincentivizing ads would never fly at google and an ad-free search engine would have a hard time being economically viable.
Wirecutter has been pretty hit-and-miss for me recently. I have found my best product recommendations through a bunch of random blogs who have some particular expertise.
When I find a review site I like, I add it to mine. (https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=dc408db269da4e769) Then I have a bookmark bar button that searches just my whitelisted review sites.
Citation needed ;)
I am going to remind people that this happens because that's the internet (and world) we designed. If you aren't a coder and you want to earn a living online, blogging is a way to do that and Amazon links are a way to make it pay.
People use AdBlock and don't want to leave tips, support Patreon etc for a blog. Good jobs are hard to find. Telling someone "Get a real job" is often not a viable solution for various reasons.
If you want a better internet, you might stop and think about the fact that it is built by people and people need to eat. De facto expecting slave labor from some people and then designing an internet where those people can hijack your search results to try to eat gets you this.
I know no one actually wants to hear that. But I think that's the actual root cause of this stuff and you won't fix it if you don't address those issues.
I've tried for years to take the high road, to not have ads or Amazon links on my sites, etc. The result is starvation and intractable poverty and everyone telling me to get a real job. (I tried. They didn't hire me and continue to cyber stalk me and steal my ideas.)
Anyway, I know all replies to this comment will boil down to "Quit your bitching. No one gives one damn if you die on the streets of starvation and we are so bored with hearing about your whiny problems." Rest assured, I am not leaving this comment with any expectation whatsoever that it will in any way help me.
But maybe after I die on the streets someone will pause and think "Maybe she had a point. Maybe we designed a shitty system with bad incentives and we are getting exactly the crap we pay people to give us."
Because the "high road" where someone tries to add value and respect the fact that you folks don't want ads or affiliate links etc literally doesn't pay to the point of it will keep you underfed and either homeless or underhoused and then your poverty will be a new excuse to have no respect for your observations that "Hey, people, the system you designed is broken and this is why and how."
1. Good jobs are hard to find, so some people try to make a living instead by influencing what other people buy, in exchange for kickbacks from the sellers.
2. The sellers offering the largest kickbacks are never the sellers offering the best value for money, because if they are, a reseller can buy the products from them, charge a higher price, and spend some of the markup on kickbacks to product shills. This results in a systematic bias toward overpriced junk in heavily advertised products.
3. While some knowledgeable people do still take the time to share their knowledge and unbiased judgments, which is for example mostly how Wikipedia is written, Google and other search engines are increasingly directing search traffic to the product shills instead.
I agree with you that, given problem #1 and problem #3, problem #2 is sort of inevitable, and all three problems tend to mutually reinforce each other. But I think we could reduce either problem #1 or problem #3 by an order of magnitude without significantly reducing the other one. In particular, we might not be able to completely solve the SERP quality problem without solving the jobs problem, but I think we could improve it enormously just by writing a better search engine, which is an easier problem than fixing the entire economy.
I'm sorry to hear you're back on the streets, and I hope your situation improves before you die. I'm glad you're not dead yet because I often find your comments insightful. Happy new year!
I don't see surviving that a second time, for reasons I don't care to dig around in.
Making sure we have the basics available to people should be a top priority. And yeah, some would take advantage. I've reached the point, due to many people I know struggling, where I basically don't care. Let them.
The net good out of all that would be worth it, and maybe, just maybe a little less money is made, or efficiency or whatever crazy metric being looked at isn't peak optimized... Again, just don't care.
Given all we have and the smarts, tech, info available, we should not be facing this crap too many of us are.
That's all, just venting a little and I sure hope your situation can improve.
Happy Holidays and all that. You are one of the good people, and it shows.
That's off topic for this discussion, but deeply intertwined with why so many people are so desperate for money and throwing in the towel on ethics in favor of asking themselves "Does it pay enough?"
Deliberate social policy.
As for Wikipedia itself, I stopped contributing a few years ago, since I did not have the energy and the time needed to fight the systemic bias that the editors had (and have) on a variety of topics.
Also, 2021 was probably the first year in which I did not donate to Wikipedia.
I also think the blanket of “all affiliates are bad” is a bit much. I love supporting people who just do a good job. SEO spam is not what I call a good job, it’s a sleazy exploitation of the average consumer.
With that said, I have purchased many things based on what I consider honest good reviews who linked to affiliate programs and I do not regret this. I wish companies (Amazon for instance, as they’re rent biggest right now) simply policed their affiliate programs better to incentive good unbiased reviews sites that Specialize in high quality, and dropped the SEO spammers
1. Skewed incentives. A company that buys "organic" product placement wants to show it in the best possible light, and increase sales. They don't need an impartial review, so the blogger has a hard time to produce one.
2. Fragility and failures. Affiliate links expire and don't get updated. Ads point at things no longer available. Ads spend an inordinate amount of resources on the viewer's machine. Targeting is inaccurate, despite incessant attempts to track and correlate users' profiles.
3. Direct payment is rarely an option! I personally would greatly appreciate an option to pay $1-2 and read an impartial review of something I'm planning to purchase. Maybe even $5-7 for expensive stuff. But there are very few places that offer this. Those that do try hard to peddle a yearly subscription. Also, it appears that I'm the minority, and the number of visitors willing to pay directly is too low to sustain the authors.
I still hope that it's Patreon and direct support by consumers what the future looks like, not corporate sponsorship and ads.
But I also agree that I think we're in the minority, and that most people won't do direct payments. I think this is the reason for the aggressive push for yearly subscriptions, because they know that a) it's hard to get people to pull out their wallet for each transaction, and b) it's hard to get people to come back to spend money in future transactions.
As much as I want a general micropayments system, I know that even I will spend more cognitive effort than I should when deciding something like "will this article be worth 10 cents to me?" The difference between $0 and even $0.01 is emotionally very large.
That’s my concern as well: I like the idea in theory but al increasingly thinking the reason past attempts have failed is that it’s more of a mirage than a stable alternative. Advertising has worked better for people with no money, people who disagree about what your content is worth, people who want to see before they pay, people who say they want to see before they pay but will cheat, people who don’t want to be constantly asked to make financial decisions, people who don’t want potential surprises of their kid/roommate/etc. uses their computer, etc. That’s definitely not saying that the status quo is great but it avoids a lot of failure modes which immediately become roadblocks if you’re asking people for money.
This has real societal consequences, too: we’d be much better off if the average person got their news from the NYT, WSJ, Economist, etc. but those sites have paywalls while a lot of less principled journalism to outright propaganda is free. I really wish we had a more convincing story for how to support things like that but it’s still unclear whether we do.
Man I don't know about that. In some ways, yes I agree with you. But in other ways I can't.
None of the major entities produces news and commentary from the labor point of view, for example. It's hard to get them to talk about media consolidation, news for profit, and a whole pile of other issues too, and it all boils down to a couple things:
1) AD driven models favor those who can buy the products and services pitched in the ADS
2) Conflicts of interest abound! The massive media consolidation we saw after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 really did a number on one of the basic dynamics we depend on, and that is many owners, many models, competition all tended to work as checks and balances. A small, indie house could run a labor story, or talk about Net Neutrality without having a conflict rooted in a big corporation not wanting to publish news and commentary that would impact it's bottom line in a negative way. Just one example.
Today, we've got investigative journalism relegated to niche players who are doing good, often quite expensive work that isn't being seen due to suppression and a misinformation problem that is not easy or cheap to solve.
Your point isn't invalid. I am saying it's more complicated than that.
This is an easy way to get depressed wondering whether we can successfully navigate a global news environment.
Those sites run propaganda :( Access journalism, Iraq as you mention, Russiagate... There are other examples not hard to find.
Kind of a mess really. When I was a kid, we had some class segments on news bias, and actually had to find and identify news and commentary, differentiate fact from opinion, and find pieces written from various points of view: labor, big business, left, right, etc... My own kids did not see any education of that kind. I did it.
I suppose another angle might be clarity. There is a lot of low clarity "news" being put out there. Fact and opinion are not clearly, nor easily, differentiated. That's a problem, and a major feeder to Uncle Liberty posting on FB...
I do feel competing with FB would be effective given some entity somewhere can get funded in a way that allows for a labor and or not pro-war point of view, and that's just as an example. Any meaningful differentiation that can contrast with the majors might work.
On the upside, global is actually a benefit! One thing people can, and I suggest they actually do, is get news from abroad. There does remain some of the older dynamic between nations and their various news services. It's possible to get a diverse take on the US that way, and it's what I do personally.
we didn't design that - they did. I used the Internet in the 90s on my 56k modem and it was mostly ad-free. Stuff was still free, but mostly because people created content out of curiosity and because it was their hobby (yes, I had a website and was using frames and image maps heavily) or university sponsored (IRC, NNTP, Mailinglists). I paid 5$/month for a shell account, later shared the cost for a dedicated server with a couple of friends (we had a traffic limit of 50GB/month) to offer content and services to other people - expecting nothing in return.
Then companies realized how much money was in, and suddenly all good, federated and free services were overrun by spam (mostly NNTP). To this day, companies like FB, Insta, Google etc. try to lure as many content-creators to users their "free" sites, while they actually pay with their data or the data of your content consumers - while the data is used to steal attention to show you ads for stuff you don't need. The amount of GDPR violations by those Megacorps is immense as they very well know that presenting a "reject all tracking" button as demanded by the GDPR ruins their business model (less than 10% actually agree to being tracked when presenting them the choice).
My solution to all this is easy: Ban all advertising on the internet, or, at least advocate to as many people as possible to use adblockers. Only when ads are gone, will people spend money on products such as FB and Youtube, and only then can there be actually competition - because right now, you can't compete with "free" services with any other model than using ads+tracking yourself.
> If you want a better internet, you might stop and think about the fact that it is built by people and people need to eat. De facto expecting slave labor from some people and then designing an internet where those people can hijack your search results to try to eat gets you this.
Even if no one used ad blockers and tips were commonplace, we'd still have these problems with crap SEO and affiliate links. It's like with technology products: they say "if you aren't paying for it, you're the product not the customer," but even if you are paying for it you can still be the product (e.g. your TV manufacturer putting ads in your expensive TV's menus).
Ultimately the problem is greed and the ridiculous degree of tolerance of it, unchecked by any cultural expectation of quality or virtue.
I remember using online services in the 80s where they charged by the minute. CompuServe, GEnie, and even just my ISP when I first got internet in the 90s. Data of 1 but I know that gave me a "use it as little as possible" mindset.
Further, if some groups set out to charge and some other groups offered "free with ads" I'm pretty confident "free with ads" would win (see Radio, TV, Podcasts as other examples of "free with ads"). So, short of outlawing free (which would likely never happen), I don't see how we'd have not gotten where we are at the moment.
That isn't to say we can't do better now but I'm less confident we could have conscientiously directed ourselves to better. I think natural forces got us her and will take people experiencing better to get them to switch better.
To put it another way, without tasting the "free with ads" kinda sucks, few would be willing to fork over $ for better.
For a long list of reasons, I want my writing to be freely available. I got my very first Amazon payout of like $16 or something a few months ago. I also got an email reminder that I am legally required to very prominently display information telling people I have Amazon links on my site.
I took the links down and thought about updating my sites to comply with the requirement and so far haven't, in part because I suspect the $16 was from some local asshole unqualified for his job (the job I applied for) buying ugly bike racks and plopping them down in bad locations all over my lovely downtown area like little piles of manure as a daily reminder of how corrupt these people are, how much they have shafted me for no real damn reason other than pathos on their part and they are ruining the town I hope to improve.
I was unable to readily find (affiliate) links to bike racks I would like to see in this town and I'm angry at what is being done to this town by these immoral, incompetent cretins and it causes me to think that I might actively encourage their shit behavior ruining this town because I'm so desperate for money that $16 on that day meant I could afford a fucking coffee which put an end to my splitting headache.
I do not wish to make the world and town I live in a worse place because I'm so desperate for money and I think taking the Amazon solution potentially pushes me in that direction.
Anyway, I don't know how to fix this. I try to tell people what it looks like from where I sit because I know HN has a lot of coders, etc and they aren't daily exposed to the reality that "If you choose to not be a sell out, you go hungry." basically.
I just want my life to work. I don't actually want to make what sounds like "political" commentary to other people. If my life worked, I would likely be all "Meh. Not my problem. I don't want to fight with these fools and trying to point this out is not worth the drama. Moving on."
But it does impact me. It impacts me to the point where I literally fear for my life due to my intractable poverty and sometimes I feel compelled to comment, though I don't really expect it to help me. Maybe after I am beyond help, people will stop wondering what's in it for DoreenMichele and think "She had a point. Let's find a solution that incorporates these observations."
This is possibly rambly at this point. I'm posting it anyway and then will try to stay out of this conversation.
The problem is that the sane alternative, where people can get fed while selling quality a-la-carte content directly to the reader, doesn't really exist. If one or more review sites would work to develop a good reputation, I'd be happy to spend a one-shot $3 or $5 on their (for example) wireless earbud reviews. But this thing basically doesn't exist (or at least I can't find it, because of all the aforementioned shit-quality search engine results). Someone upthread mentioned a German site that does this, but then someone replied saying their expertise is limited and their reviews in many product categories aren't that great. Then we have things like Consumer Reports in the US, but I've found the quality of their reviews to have declined over the past decade or so; I've read some of their free content for product categories where I'm already knowledgeable, and I've disagreed heartily with enough of their findings to be skeptical of them.
When it comes to news and opinion pieces, I'd be fine paying on a per-article basis, but we have no established micropayments system, and I'm not paying $10-$20/mo for each of the 50 sites that come up in various news aggregators I read and have paywalls. There are a few sites and YouTube channels that I read/watch nearly daily, so I subscribe to their Patreon or periodically drop money in their donations bin. But the majority of the content I consume comes from various sources, from a list that changes nearly daily.
> Maybe we designed a shitty system with bad incentives
Who is the "we" here, though? I would love to change this, but I feel pretty powerless to do so. At least not without making it my life's work, with a very high chance of failing at it regardless.
Support Patreon or similar. Leave tips.
One of my first big successes on HN got 60k pageviews and made me not one thin dime. No one left a tip. No one supported my Patreon.
I have been writing for years because I am seriously medically handicapped but educated. Writing is something I can do.
People don't want to hire me for resume work or other freelance writing. I'm a woman and former homemaker and most successful business people are men. They rarely want to talk to me about my work or how to succeed. Most often, if men try to talk to me, they are hoping for a romantic connection and from my end the experience boils down "All you horrible people are watching me starve but you think I will sleep with you??? Seriously?!!!!"
Leave tips (or support Patreon or similar). Tell people you leave tips on sites with good writing. Promote the various means people can accept cash for their online writing.
I don't know what else to tell you. But saying you can't make a difference because you are a nobody is part of the problem.
You don't have to save the world. Just buy a writer lunch or a cup of coffee, so to speak. Spread the word.
It's not much, but I know very well it all adds up, and maybe a little positive energy plays out for you too.
What I did was quit buying my coffee. :D
And that worked out!! I have a little percolator, which I love when camping or something. That thing makes the best damn coffee. For the quickie at home, this is corny, but I got an Aeropress and it also makes a fantastic and kind of fun cup of coffee.
Or easier, adhere to the GDPR (at least in the EU) and provide a "reject all non-essential" button as demanded right next to "accept all" without any dark patterns, and their ad-business plummet and you have to demand payment for the service to be sustainable. So my point is, the whole thing can be fixed if Megacorps would abide by the law, and law enforcement would also not take >5 years to act on violation lawsuits (see noyb's lawsuits against FB which are going on 8 years and even date prior to the GDPR).
In all honesty, I haven't found a writer, or journalist, I'm giving any money to besides a few honest non-profits. (And yes it's hard to find a honest 501c3.)
I feel you should put the affiliate links on your writing. It's not selling out. It's selling out when you have good income, security, and a home.
I don't have any problems with average people putting up affiliate links, or ads.
It's the wealthy boys who can never get enough monetary praise I have a problem with.
People don't/can't pay for things anymore because trillions of dollars have been siphoned out of the holdings of the middle and working classes over the past 50 years. If not for piracy and subscription services, the music and film industries would have collapsed years ago. If you made people pay for the things they used to, they... wouldn't. Because they can't.
> I know no one actually wants to hear that. But I think that's the actual root cause of this stuff and you won't fix it if you don't address those issues.
I think the real issue, is, the world is much bigger than the first world countries. I would love to have a diploma, to get a "real" job as a programmer for some random company, to add that "value" to the internet, to design useful software for actual people, etc. etc. But I was born in Eastern Europe..
I tried freelancing a few times through gac, rac, and scriptlance which later got "globalized" (all acquired and killed by freelancer.com, yay capitalism).. and I just can't compete with indians on that site, way too many of them, somehow quoting 5% of the price promising double or triple of what I can do somehow...
So I tried looking for that "Real" job, except I was born ugly as hell with broken teeth, so nobody would even take me seriously. Even one of my professors in uni told me once: "See.. if you could do less drugs and study more, I bet you could get an A, it's a B- for now..".. I never even tried drugs, but apparently I'm so ugly half my profs thought I was drugged. As far as I can tell, It's just nepotism right and left, people only hiring other pretty-looking-people-alike for both normal and startup-like jobs where I come from. Zero chance for me.
So on the brink of giving up on everything, I took a construction job for 6 months, which allowed me to save enough money for a plane ticked and my first month of rent in UK. Now I'm a Reach Truck driver in a warehouse.. making >triple the salary I could make as a programmer in my home country, but slowly destroying my back and knees every d day.
Funnily enough, I've met quite a few programmers, lawyers, accountants, pharmacists and even a surgeon through my warehouse jobs in the last two years. Quite smart people, a few broken teeth here and there, a couple disfigured faces, husbands, kids, sick family, plenty stuff...
The internet is just bullshit, just like most of this society. Making money, jobs, starvation, HA! I don't even know what I'm trying anymore or why I still keep reading on this site.
Sorry for the rambling, your message just resonated somehow for me so I felt I should say something. Good luck to you!
If you have studied that much CS, then you likely have fulfilled many of the ACM recommended curricula  for at least an associates degree if not more. If that is true, then you have some options. Do not discount your dual fluency in English and your mother tongue. There is no shame in taking a good small-scale Internet business idea implemented in the Anglosphere and reproducing it in your mother tongue. There are numerous tiny ideas mentioned in comments here on HN that bring in modest sums, but fill a niche unlikely to have already been implemented in your home country. If it is enough to pay for a laptop upgrade once every 3-5 years, and maybe some beer money, then that's as good a start as any.
Bonus points if you find a Net-based business opportunity that also leverages your current UK geographic location.
Lift weights, eat right, sleep enough, and take good care of your body in the meantime, those warehouse jobs are no joke, and you are ahead of the pack by already recognizing that. If I was single, living alone, young, and working a warehouse job while working on my coding, then I'd abandon all real estate-oriented shelter, stealth vandwell, and digital nomad between free WiFi hotspots for my connection to free-tier cloud resources (CLI and tmux for the win on high-latency, low-bandwidth connections); rent-to-wage ratios are completely insane in developed nations' urban, suburban and exurban areas.
Stay out of the rentier trap. Trying to rent a room cost me a few years of unnecessary toil when I started out that contributed nothing towards my advancement, when for all practical purposes, I lived out of my car with the hours I was spending at a part-time job, on campus classrooms, labs, and libraries, napping in my car, and about every other day crashing back in my rented room that really was more a storage shed than used as an apartment. If I had a stealth van and student gym membership back then, then I would have been better off, but I was too stupidly proud to do that ("gasp, I'll be homeless!" was a complete red herring).
If so, then that's a very underappreciated domain at this time (much to our detriment, but that's for a different discussion). Not just in tech, but everywhere. The entire field has been aggressively monetized to near extinction; whatever writing doesn't directly impact revenue/profits, gets dumped onto line workers. And the results show.
The quality of writing and lucid ideas found in advertisements and landing pages is markedly higher than from say, in a somewhat-technical presentation to managers-of-managers. I've sat through more than a few quite underwhelming presentations that violated some of the most basic principles of presenting ("don't mumble hoping the slide will carry the presentation", "don't read the slide word-for-word", etc.).
There is a dearth of assistance for coaches to help improve those kinds of "writing". And a huge number of aspiring, gung-ho FAANG employees who are wondering why management won't listen to them. There's a gap to be filled here, and people with the disposable income to pay for outcomes.
Leverage your non-technical sphere as a strength (I liked your pull request journey, it is true that coders don't normally perceive and accommodate skill stratifications in our docs, a byproduct of the monetization of writing that killed too many technical writing/librarian positions in our industry). Perhaps look into positioning the writing assistance you offer to technical staff as a way to communicate to non-technical managers, where you help translate the technical concepts that have to be broken down to you due to your non-technical background, into ideas the managers readily grasp. It would help if you retained a lot of the corporate-speak that Rands in Repose sometimes writes about that you doubtless saw in your Aflac stint, and knew when to judiciously use it.
Maybe investigate some offer like helping coders write emails to managers. If that gains traction, offer small-medium-large presentation improvement coaching, based upon the length of the presentation (15, 30, 60 minutes). Where shorter lengths increase in cost. Then if that gains traction, offer coaching linked to an annual performance goal of "improve communicating with managers".
Often the answers are not the best. What can I expect? I paid nothing for them! When I want good information, I pay for it.
>Often the answers are not the best.
Well, which is it?
Have you tried making some content available only to subscribers?
Unfortunately DDG isn't much better.
It takes a lot of effort to finesse a search query such that I can get a good result, like a link to documentation or a personal website where someone wrote something up (which is often more thoughtful than what Medium and Dev.to offer).
1. Search for something
2. See the cloned issue but no results for the original
3. Copy some unique-looking text from the clone
4. Search the repo directly for that text
It's awful. Seems to be a very recent problem? Maybe the last few months?
But this blocks it:
higher than the actual GitHub wiki that all of the content was copied from
BTW, building my own interactive book was a great thing to do over Christmas.
GitHub blocks https://github.com/entropia/tip-toi-reveng/wiki/Languages and many other wikis from being indexed. In the case of the page you linked, GitHub serves the content with "X-Robots-Tag: none". The content of that page currently does not exist in Google at all. You can see the robot blocking header by looking at the Network tab in Chrome while loading the page in incognito mode or equivalent in other browsers.
As for having no link to GitHub, my service provides a huge button at the top and a direct URL to the original content. Please use those controls at the top to get to the content on GitHub. I do not selectively redirect to not trip cloaking detection or automatically redirect which risks the indexing helper being classified as a redirect in search engines.
If you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know.
GitHub Wiki Search Engine Enablement (GHWSEE) allows non-indexed GitHub Wikis to be indexed by search engines.
This site will be decommissioned to redirect old links once the block is lifted or GitHub produces some other solution to index GitHub Wikis in harmony with their SEO concerns.
I do not see any wrongdoing from github-wiki-see.page here. They don't even amke money from it. Quite contrary, I do think that this is a useful project.
I just don't understand why Google themselves allows this and doesn't rank these sorts of sites lower. They're clearly garbage sites with low utility.
It has already recently convinced/defrosted GitHub to gradually change their policy to not let GitHub wiki pages be indexed since 2012. For at least 9 years, people were writing content into GitHub and not realizing it wasn't indexed at all.
I'm happy to answer any questions or suggestions you have.
Unfortunately with smaller sites, it could be a few days till their search bot finds the content, and often the copycat sites have agressive scrapers so appear to have the content first.
From googles point of view, the copycat is the original, and the original is the copycat.
There are also some kinds of copycat content which users actually prefer. For example, sites which bypass paywalls, sites which quote other sites, sites that display decrapified content from another site, etc.
FWIW, GitHub seems to be letting some Wikis be indexed on a test basis and I am very happy to see they are outranking GHWSEE. That said, with the current guessed criteria, there are still many publicly editable wikis with many stars and publically un-editable wikis on repos with few stars but useful information out there that aren't being indexed.
it's funny because internet shopping became popular in the face of salespeople becoming corrupt under commission and performance schemes, now a big part of the commerce related internet is worse for pretty much the same reasons.
I still remember being in Best Buy and hearing the salespeople scamming less knowledgeable customers about how much computer they need or how important expensive cables are. I don't think there was ever a time when you could trust electronics store salespeople to sell you "the right stuff for you".
We had to go through all the certifications within something like six weeks of hire in order to be eligible for pay bumps and promotions. This even meant training on circuit components (at least knowing what they were, and how they were organized).
Any Radio Shack clerk that wasn't completely green went through this training, so we all knew our stuff.
One of the cool things about the job was getting to talk to "elder geeks" that would come in for components. One guy I helped had set up an old IBM 360 mainframe in his garage. The university he worked at didn't want it any more. He used it for messing around with assembly and as a space heater.
It was still a retail job, but it was better than most for a tech-head like me. I would've been flipping burgers or selling shoes (Payless was next door), so Radio Shack was a better stepping stone for me. It did nothing for getting me into a programming career, but it was a stop-gap to get there.
It was less about selling and more about people walking in knowing what they wanted or wanting to browse around and once in awhile someone with a problem that you had to piece together components to help. It was unlike other electronic stores I worked. You had to understand how invertors worked, rc cars and sell computers while trying to maintain an 80% names/address recorded.
You did sell. You entire got paid minimum wage or a % of what you earned for a two week period. 4% for name brand stuff 10% for store brand. My first two week period I sold computer after computer got highest sales in the district. For the next month or longer the minimum. Replacing the computer inventory took forever and I wasn't as good selling all of their other products. Great fun learning experience.
1. The only place around where you could go to buy a breadboard, or a transistor, or a resistor, or a headphone cable connector. Component selection unparalleled in the places where I lived. I don't want to exaggerate --- they had maybe ten kinds of transistors, not a hundred like Fry's, but I didn't live within 1000 km of a Fry's. And certainly not forty thousand like Digi-Key has today.
2. Salespeople who apparently didn't know anything but tried to get my phone number (!?) and, later, sell me cellphones. And cellphone plans. Jesus.
3. Stuff for makers getting gradually crowded out by worthless goods for mere consumers, stuff I could have bought at Best Buy or Sears if I wanted it. Things like TVs, VCRs, pagers, and Blackberries.
I still use a store-brand Radio Shack multimeter sometimes, and in the 01980s a lot of my early years of programming were on store-brand Radio Shack computers in my day care and elementary schools, both TRS-80 Model III and the CoCo.
I'd rather make software handle an unsigned long long as a year: I want our optimism to extend beyond the presumed heat death of our universe, and into, if not finding a multiverse, creating it.
Small local camera stores didn't carry much and were expensive. They tended to recommend something that they had in stock. Was still a pretty regular customer though because mail order wasn't as developed and you couldn't easily showroom gear locally.
And Radio Shack was certainly convenient for cables etc. and had often knowledgable employees. But most of the actual stereo equipment and other gear they carried just wasn't very good.
The challenge I have now in most product categories is filtering out the sewage-offerings from the genuine values. I don't mind lots of choice if presented with an adequate McMaster-Carr type information-oriented UI (as opposed to the ad-friendly UI's we suffer through these days). I mind when most of the choices are dumpster fire quality, and I have no way to filter them out.
But I don't really disagree especially for relatively commodity purchases. Yes, I actually looked up a spray nozzle for a hose on Wirecutter. But would I have been perfectly fine just walking into Home Depot and grabbing one? Probably.
That said. I'm probably better off researching thins like dishwashers rather than walking into a store (then or now) and picking one that catches my eye or that the salesperson recommends.
But you can certainly get into analysis-paralysis with any number of things from travel to cameras. And you're often better off just shutting the analysis down at some point.
Same goes for the connectors. All the IEEE and ISO standards out there in the world and the damn USB plugs stick out half the time (nevermind the Chinese-made ones I had that were 1.5x the normal length). In other instances 3.5mm jacks don't stay in or something or other becomes loose. And trying to find reviews or info about this online, or filtering it out to some level on purchase sites like Amazon is...tiring.
Initially I dealt with this concern by benchmarking the advice I got on a topic I do know a lot about. I haven't worried about that in a while; at least in the Towson store, the quality of advice and discussion has been such that the next time they steer me wrong will be the first.
Then when you try to pay, you get upsold warranties.
Agree sales guys pushing warranties is a real pain but I'm almost nostalgic for it compared to dodging Prime sign-up every time and other online anti-patterns.
I like my axon brand, very helpful.
Uhhh, you can still do that, you know.
Current vehicle is coming up on 10 years old, hoping to get another 10 out of it - not because I can't afford a new one (I can), but because I feel like I have to take a shower every time I walk out of a car dealer.
For a while, I was buying cars for people because they hated it. I would save them a ton, and get a nice spiff for each one.
What I did was work through their whole process and then work them, usually getting out of there at invoice plus a few percent. Average deal took 4 to 6 hours. And the work would involve a dry run purchase somewhere other than where the target buy would happen. Sometimes a second one just find where the pivot points are and what it takes to swing them in buyers favor.
Started the whole thing on a new Expedition purchase in the '00s. It worked well, the MSRP was something like $45K, and I got the rig for $32K and some change. Not all the deals were that dramatic. Depended on the target car and time of year, but there was always mid to high 4 figures that could come out of the deal.
I've never purchased a new car for myself since. And I quit doing it for others a few years in.
The whole thing is generally terrible. While it was a sort of sport, fine! Game on. But it got soul draining very quickly.
Many dealers have responded with a hard line, "no bullshit" kind of approach, being willing to push people away and just take the ones who will pay and appreciate a smooth transaction. And those people will just pay more and just don't generally care.
And no judgement. That's worth... about mid to high 4 figures apparently.
Right now? No way. Sellers have all the advantages, and even better used car deals are crazy due to the shortages and the impact all that has on car pricing.
Could not imagine attempting it again today. Would be a mess, and probably would get told to pound sand. Look at the Ford dealers putting the squeeze on people who pre-ordered the EV F150! Pay an extra $30k right now, or continue to wait for it... Brutal.
It's still annoying, but do it online and have your own financing.
Most dealerships are stupid, but a couple have figured out that if they offer a reasonable price online they can move cars with very little touch.
Having your own financing prevents idiocy from when you walk into the dealership to sign the paperwork. Unless the dealer has something special, you're never going to do better than your own financing.
Do be aware, buying a car right now is simply totally apeshit. Until the supply and demand equilibrate, things are going to be weird.
I would expect all cuts to be fully clamped in a store.
I think they used to hire people with industry experience - i.e. semi-retired or retired plumbers, electricians, carpenters handymen etc and that worked pretty well coming of the 2008 RE meltdown and economic mess at that time - but now any halfway qualified tradesperson can make close to or more than a six figure salary - so working at HD for $15/hr doesn't seem all that attractive anymore.
I don't even try to ask the employees any actual 'technical' questions - I am happy if they can just point me to the correct aisle to find what I need these days.
The bad news is that physical stores simply do not carry any diversity nowadays, so their knowledge is irrelevant.
Is that a "nowadays" thing though? At least in my location, the reason a lot of us flocked to the online option was the diversity of options available. Physical stores (for understandable reasons) stocked only the few top-selling options, knew about a few other options enough to say "no we haven't got that", and anything else would get a blank stare and a "is that a company's name?"
If you had put effort into your search and optimized the selection for your specific needs, you were much more likely to find the product online - the physical stores often forced you into a choice between different suboptimal products.
They never did, you just didn't realize they didn't before the internet exposed you to the options.
yes, that is why i was shopping online.
Knowledgable retail sales employees have completely vanished outside of niche "passionate enthusiast turned their hobby into a business". Homebrew shops, gun stores, marijuana dispensaries, comic and table top gaming stores, etc, but even many of those are plagued with the same cheap shit you can find on Alibaba or Amazon and a good chunk of the time if it's not the business owner you're dealing with you might as well skip asking questions. Outside of those niche interest stores there's often not even sales staff present, there are just people who stock shelves and operate the point of sale system but they don't even attempt to present themselves as knowledgable and can at best only point you to the right aisle of the store.
Don't trust. Ask questions. If the answers seem fishy, take your business somewhere else.
There's only a couple of nationwide exceptions that come to mind like REI and Microcenter but even then people might have to travel prohibitive distances to have those options and they might as well just buy online.
Small regional stores and mom n' pop operations trend towards having more passionate employees that might have an interest in the products (like a ski shop is generally only staffed by people who've at skied, bike shops tend to only be staffed by people who enjoy cycling, etc) but it's still pretty infrequent.
If you know enough to know whether or not the answers you might get are fishy, you probably already know more than the guy you are trying to get advice from.
It used to be (20-25 years ago) you could go in tell them what you were doing and they could tell you which brands to avoid, what other parts you might need, and any secrets that might help you get the job done faster or without having to remove quite as much stuff. These days, the people they hire are so incompetent if you asked them for Headlight Fluid they would take you over to the fluids aisle to look for it.
Retail is just about pushing a product these days. The moment they can fire the staff and still have a brick and mortar store they will.
When you use Google you are walking into their shop. That salesperson is very knowlegeable, but about you.
THAT is retail. The craptastic experiment we see these days, online and in meatspace are scams masquerading as retail. I miss Sears.
And even that might not last long. Warehouse demand is exploding across the world right now. We're in the midst of a massive commerce transformation where there are a lot of giants racing to establish JIT delivery footprints in the most high-margin MSA's containing 80% of every nation's population. It won't be long before we're in a Stephenson'ian Snow Crash-esque world where we're getting an ML-computed 80% of goods everyone orders within 30 minutes, 15% of goods in 4 hours, 4% of goods in a day, and the remaining 1% in five days.
Once that happens, I would be surprised to see supermarkets or even small groceries outside of very niche segments like ethnic and farmer's markets, or hyper niche high-end shops like butchers specializing in rare quality cuts, exist in brick and mortar form, unless you go to where 20% of the population lives in low-density areas not served by these logistical nets.
- Results 1-3 are ads
- Results 3-5 are blogs that get sponsored
- Results 5-10 are full of astroturfed user reviews
Finding trustworthy and consistent information is so hard that I mostly rely on Reddit for product research. There is a subreddit for literally every product category, and posting a request with your requirements takes much less time than cutting through all the noise on Google.
To make this whole mess a better experience, I'm now working on my own startup that tries to solve these issues.
- Let the community vote on the most trusted sources
- Include results from enthusiasts that have little incentive to write biased reviews (Reddit, HN, expert forums)
- Look at the ownership of the site and how transparent they are about it
- Regularly reassess these criteria
Curious to hear your thoughts on this.
At this point, I’ve had to resort to reading scientific papers on how some of these technologies work (and how some don’t work) just to avoid the bad information. Unfortunately, the more I research the farther I get from making a purchase. This is not where I want to be, however, since the water in my area is very hard and everything gets scaled up all the time. I’m looking to purchase an espresso machine to get into the hobby but I’m not going to drop the money in expensive equipment until I can get access to water which will not damage it in short order.
I had a project take me into an unfamiliar knowledge space. Up until... 2018? I could have relied on Google to find the meaningful information.
The reason people accepted Google was that it dramatically lowered information acquisition costs through the Internet. That benefit doesn't seem as common now. Back to webrings.
I also really like the Wirecutter but I know not everyone here agrees with me.
I'm not sure how this could be otherwise. Who's going to pay for someone to stay current on such things and publish an easy to understand summary?
Wherever there are engineers, there are academics who do engineering research. They have journals of their own to publish this research.
As to the question of reviews, I’m not sure any articles actually review specific furnace models. The point of reading the papers is to educate yourself on the principles behind the technology so you can read manufacturer’s technical specifications and avoid the non-technical marketing language.
I had been following Jim Shulman’s research which Hoffmann mentions in this video. It’s very dry and technical though and doesn’t provide much in the way of actionable advice on what equipment to purchase, instead recommending bottled water which I absolutely refuse to use (my household is already addicted to bottled water and I’m trying to break that addiction).
- affiliate links? Down ranked
- affiliate links to Amazon? Down ranked further
- page contains advertising? Down ranked
- page contains links to Social Media? Down ranked
- post _is_ on Social Media? Down ranked further
- page contains duplicate text, found elsewhere? Down ranked
- page contains many links? Down ranked
- page contains grammatical errors or bad sentence structure? Down ranked
But why would they do it, their whole business is built on these things to exist.
Let's look at some things for upranking:
- page uses a static site generator, e.g. jekyll, mkdocs, hugo? Upranked
- page has a balanced ratio of pictures/text and the text actually refers to picture (+ pictures are not stock imagery): Up ranked
- ... (you continue)
Perhaps you mean: a new incumbent could
Design a system of rules to rank content. Watch as highly incentivized participants work harder than everyone else to game the system to their advantage.
"But I can see these results are obviously bad, surely something can be done?". Leads to System-Amendment#5796 = Gather user feedback to alter results. Leads to highly incentivized users gaming the feedback system.
Like there is no reason to have a site like "https://gitmemory.cn/" in the index, ever. It is pure and utter spam. Ban the domain.
I swear there's an opportunity for an enterprising startup to create a search engine that leverages a friends/family/contacts network for consensus domain credibility, and scrubs "non-credible" domains from all results.
A system could very well have rules/guidelines and then have humans review & monitor the system and user-submitted complaints for any abuse, and harshly penalize such abuse with a temporary or permanent ban.
It could end up in a situation where it's technically possible to gain a slight advantage by gaming the system but no participant will risk a complete ban and the system ends up working well for everyone.
I should have prefaced that with "outside the United States": notably UK moves the bar to the middle, which will put Google in legal jeopardy (and libel cases!) there.
A hypothetical honest reviewer would genuinely be recommending products to buy, and if affiliate links pay, then why not?
Just like any other tool, it’s not the affiliate links, it’s the user.
product name review site:reddit.com
So the problem isn’t so much that blog spam people will read your comment, but that many ordinary readers will start using the trick, and thus make it worthwhile for the dark hats to address.
So the unfortunate side effect of kindness in information sharing is that it decreases the value of that information.
Therefore, I don’t think there’s a practical way out of endless arms races between $good and $evil
About the risk though: it's happened already. Remember the "to find any book free online just do "filetype:pdf book-name"" tips that were popular online a while ago? Now it's all just PDFs on public google drives with tons of book names and a single link leading to some sketchy site.
Google used to measure engagement to try to get feedback on the quality of the links, but perhaps clickbait has broken that as well.
For example. Most construction happening in india now uses something called M-Sand. I actually CANNOT find what the hell it is except from some company websites or random YouTubers blabbering non engineering garbage about it.
Most construction materials businesses sell locally by word of mouth, and if they paid for a website at all it's old and still using http. So Google drops them.
Edit: a quick search on Google Scholar brings up papers like http://www.kresttechnology.com/krest-academic-projects/krest...
Even in the tech space, while exceptions like Stackoverflow targeted google as an UI, lots of content is buried in unindexed GitHub issues, etc.
This. The web would be a much better place if Netizens didn't continue to monetize garbage like MKBHD, Unbox Therapy and others that provide absolutely no value in "reviews". They're all just shills for product placement at this point. And yet these paid for commercials rack up millions of views and get pushed to the top of YouTube results whether they're of value or not. YouTube doesn't want new creators - instead they've invested in a few that push the content they want based on the advertising dollars that are rolling in. Google isn't search comparative to the early days of the web. Now it's garbage results driven by SEO hackers. A world without Google would be a much better place IMO.
if somebody paid them to do the research otherwise you might have rely on heuristic 'pigment based inks are relatively lightfast' and that at least one other person who does similar work, has similar skills, and uses similar method gets good results. That still doesn't help with problems like '90% of instances of this Sigma lens seem to be pretty good but 10% have defective autofocus'.
I find online reviews are close to worthless because there are so many people who don't know how to use gear or have unrealistic expectations. At Best Buy I saw a review of a printer where somebody showed pictures of prints they made where they printed on the wrong side of photo paper and blamed the printer, for instance.
I feel like the fallacy here is assuming that the problem is that Google isn’t finding the good websites. There’s also a simple explanation that the content simply doesn’t exist.
I think the interesting question is this: why is this happening? There’s always been a battle between Google and SEO black hats, but I can’t remember the last time it got this bad. Is Google just temporarily losing, or have they lost the will to fix this at all?
I always observe what tools trades carry when they work on my properties, and chat with them over the drinks and snacks I offer them, on what they like and don't like. That figures heavily into my decisions.
Google's main purpose these days for me is non-mainstream, far niche searches. I've taken to looking into deploying my own ArchiveBox to just store my own curated search results that I like. When I initially noticed the SEO spam around 20 years ago, I began to prepare for it by manually saving into text files the page links off of search results that I used, and that has helped me a lot. Ironically, I'm building my own personal Yahoo Directory. I don't see any solution on the horizon to SEO pollution getting better, so I want to scale up my solution.
And the removal of the "Dislike" count so that you too can avoid non-informative content i.e. unbox spam, just furthers how shit this situation is getting.
Online advertising will make Google better and that will make you and the world better, too. Therefore, always support online advertising in every way you can.
Look for the helpful crafting printer ads (after you purchase a crafting printer).
In case the reader is unsure, this is sarcasm.
This should not be considered "especially sad" in my view. It would be worse if these links worked, thus generating additional revenue for these "web players" (pun intended).
I don't have a solution for this; I just think we're in the exact state we would expect.
Also note, probably none of these are actual strawberries. they are probably fake plastic representations for sales
The "front door" of the Web has become the gift shop. It's time to find another way in :-)
I'd say most people's interface to the web has become crappy.
Everything else for the first couple pages are typically review sites that are not really reviews.
YouTube isn’t much better.
I’m trying to addresss this in my own way by making long term product reviews of stuff I own, but I wish other people and companies did the same thing.
For common items it's kinda difficult, but still possible! (Printers had a pretty active subreddit/community for example.)
site:reddit.com + "search phrase"
At least if I want to hear from "real" people.
Also reddit can unfortunately be unsufferable.
Maybe buying more useless stuff isn't the solution???