How I read an Amazon review

*** This is a very unusual event for me, a cross-post to my other site. this is my main site, I am, and the other site which is just my music writing. I have been doing both for about 15 years, and have only done about 5 cross posts.


If you aren’t using amazon for everything, you likely will soon. I have a serious tip for reading the reviews. In short, only read the 2 through 4 stars. Never read the 1 or 5 stars. I’ll go on to explain why, but if you want to stop now… that was what you needed to know.

Here is the why: 5 star reviews seem too much like propaganda. They don’t offer value. I think they come from 2 types of folks

1) A planted review. I was looking at vacuums and a 5 star reviewer said something like

‘it’s 30 watt engine putting out a potent 8 ohm potentiometers. I found the integrated oscilloscope was a big help’.

These are things no consumer would know, or care about. Obviously, I threw some other words in there for comedic effect. But, the review just had tons of shit that only a manufactured would know, or care about

2) Fanboys. I buy a lot of music on Amazon. Let’s look at Rush (because I was). I wanted to know about a dvd/cd combo set. Lots of the 5 star folks were like “Rush Fucking Rules”. That was it.

Listen kid, that is no help. We all know Rush rules, that is why I am here. That tells me nothing about this specific product.

1 star reviews

Haters. Almost all of the 1 star reviews were things like ‘Rush Sucks’. That is fine if you hate Rush. But… why oh why would you take the time to go to this page and then this product and then log in and leave a review? I am a music snob, so there is a LOT of music I think sucks. But, my life is too short to log in and put reviews in for any album I deem sub-par.

So what to read on a product that has 300 reviews? I like the 2s and 3s. Threes are often just right. They generally like the product, but usually have a specific beef which is always helpful. Like; vacuum worked great, but furniture/chair attachment piece was cheaply made of brittle plastic. Already had 2 break on me, but company was good enough to replace’. There is a lot of gold in that content. Not just that the attachment piece is shitty (most are, sadly. So much so that we never use these. It’s not a deal breaker for me. What I am excited about in this review is their impressive warranty policy. That is super important to me when buying online.

Mostly, I just come home to this, anyway.


Now, for the 3 star music review on the Rush product (it was the R40 package) the three star reviews had things like ‘packaging was great, by Rhino. Audio mix was more muddled on CDs than blu ray dvd’. This was helpful. About the Rhino comment; Rhino is AMAZING. They specialize in re-issuing older collections, or freshly issuing older content (remasters, box sets,  concerts, and the like). They handle a ton of stuff for the Grateful Dead, and every single time it is beautiful. You get a thoughtful and well written booklet, a ton of great pics, cool-ass picture CDs, and a jewel box that is collectible worthy. It’s always a paper stock instead of plastic. I credit Pearl Jam with singlehandedly changing that aspect of CD packaging.


The comment about the muddled audio, I believe it. Same thing happened with my Grateful Dead ‘Fare Thee Well’ DVD/CD combo set. The Blu is just beautiful, and the sound is amazing. I have a really nice hifi and really nice TV, so I can take full advantage of the perfect sound mix. The mix on the CD, though, is… muddled. Nothing is terribly clear. I have a theory why. At the show (and I was there, so I am qualified to discuss) you have 7 dudes playing their dicks off. NO ONE is working in the background in the Grateful Dead, musically. Not just 7 guys playing their dicks off, a bunch of them are singing, too. Plus, Mickey Hart probably has no less than 20 mics on his drums. A CD just doesn’t have the bandwidth to push that much musically complexity. I am not sure if any format, other than bluray can handle that much going on.  Or, maybe it was my hi-fi that did all the heavy lifting.  Lastly, a 3 star guy likes the setlist on a concert, but doesn’t love it.

*** In case this looks like I am promoting any product or web service… you over-estimate my  influence and readership.


1 thought on “How I read an Amazon review

  1. Pingback: Hot Damn! I was Correct… again! | I am Correct

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s