Find Out How It Sucks

HowItSucks.com is an interesting project that scrapes just the negative consumer electronic productive reviews from Amazon.com. Search by type or brand, and a red bar shows you how much it “sucks,” based on the negative feedback. Pass the mouse over the item and the popup lists the essential statement from three of the reviews. Could be an interesting tool for comparison shopping. Negative reviews are a good starting point if you’re trying to choose between similar products. You always need to be a critical reader, though. I bought an iPod sports band once and on the Apple site were all these people complaining about how it was too big and was falling off their arm. I then thought about how a number of Apple users are very picky and have twig-like bodies, whereas I have chunky biceps. I bought the sport-band and it fit perfectly.

How It Sucks [Official Site]

Comments

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  1. nursetim says:

    If I were to use the same rating system that site uses, I would call it “really sucks”. When you look at the comments, there is no context to where the person said what they said, and the comments seem generic, nothing specific. Needs a lot of improvement before it would be something I would use.

    As an aside, your comment about the typical iPod user was funny.

  2. cmdr.sass says:

    I find negative comments much more useful in researching a product than any positive review. Manufacturers don’t advertise a product’s flaws after all.

  3. Joe_Bagadonuts says:

    I always like to read as many negative or “low-star” reviews on a product to balance sometimes the wave of positive and sometimes over-positive reviews on an item. As mentioned though, be critical of all reviews and don’t always take them at face value.

    So I guess that ipod case would be good for me to use at the “Gun Show,” eh? (Flexes arms)

  4. ElizabethD says:

    Of course you meant to say that you have “buff, sculpted biceps,” not “chunky” ones, Ben! :-D

  5. MercuryPDX says:

    @Joe_Bagadonuts: My favorite Amazon reviews are for movies and video games that haven’t come out yet… but somehow have 5 stars and Biff from Des Moines claiming “This is going to be SOoooo awesome when it comes out in four months!!!”.

  6. gniterobot says:

    I’m fat and I like apple…

  7. Sidecutter says:

    I personally don’t feel that the negative reviews are worth anything without the context the positive reviews provide.

    When I’m picking between items of similar price and function, I tend to look at the balance. More than 50% negative comments tends to make me lean away from a product. 30-50% negative comments will make me take the possibility of problems/failure into account pretty heavily. If it’s, say 25% negative comments, odds are the product is prather good. If there’s just a very few to an overwhelming positive number, it’s probably a winner.

  8. backbroken says:

    I’m skinny and I hate Apple.

  9. SaraAB87 says:

    I read both the negative and the positive, I want to know what people hate and like about the product. Sometimes a negative review is someone just complaining about a computer product that doesn’t work with Window’s Vista, and since I don’t have Vista that does not concern me. So you have to read the reviews to see what they are all about, a lot of people like to complain about things like color or things that do not affect the way you are going to use the item.

  10. DrGirlfriend says:

    My arms are only slightly chunky. But probably chunky enough to hold up an Apple ipod armband. Although, in my mind, no armband could wrap completely around them, but I’m pretty hard on myself, to be fair.

    The thing about negative comments is that they’re sometimes based on things that shouldn’t count against the product. “I bought this thing and it didn’t work in my house. This thing therefore sucks”. No, it just means you didn’t read the specs right.

    So much chaff-separating has to happen when reading reviews.

  11. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    My company makes software that we sell on Amazon. Our software only works on Windows because it’s not possible to make it work on a Mac. We would love to tap into the Mac market but we can’t. We make it very clear that it’s a “Windows only” program. But we still get 1-star reviews on Amazon because “this software doesn’t work on a Mac.” Unfortunately Amazon won’t retract these. And they definitely impact sales. At which point we have to have a dozen or so friends and employees write great fake reviews to drown out stupid negative ones.

  12. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @stanfrombrooklyn:

    That’s pretty lame, Stan.

    I’d really love to know why the software won’t run on a Mac, especially in these halcyon days of WiNE & Crossover. Is it a non-DirectX Windows application? Do you work for Autodesk?

  13. karmaghost says:

    I’ve found that most of the time, people only really leave feedback when a product really sucks and they’re mad, or if it’s really great and they’re happy. I’d also argue that if you spend a lot of money on something (say, an HDTV) you’re more likely to leave a positive review regardless of what’s actually going on because you want to justify your purchase to yourself.

  14. huadpe says:

    Also, depending on the item, the problems the negative reviews describe can be chalked up to user stupidity. For example I was browsing for a new external hard drive on newegg, and some of the reviews for a particular WD noted that it crashed after a few weeks, while others said it was stable for months (it was only months old at the time). The default file system? FAT 32, which becomes unstable and crashes above about 40 GB. This is a 500 GB drive. WD used bad defaults, but also this is something easily fixed by the reformatting I was going to do anyway (nobody sells Ext3 formatted disks.)

  15. jeff303 says:

    @Jaysyn: I’m a Mac user and programmer and what you say is true, but that doesn’t discount Stan’s point at all. Reviews such as those should be deleted, along with all the 1-star product reviews complaining about Amazon.com’s slow shipping, return problems, etc.

  16. HOP says:

    i couldn’t seem to get the comments…but i do like to see the consumer ratings…

  17. UpsetPanda says:

    I find that a lot of reviews (especially negative ones) are just a waste of time because they are from users who are so far below ‘average’ common sense, it’s hilarious. I was shopping for a new digital camera and laughed my head off when one of the negative comments on amazon was from a person unhappy that the internal memory of a camera only held a few photos and that he/she could not use it for very long before photos had to be deleted.

  18. megaradjenni says:

    I also couldn’t get the comments. The website says just to hover your mouse and that didn’t seem to work. Anyone know if I’m doing something wrong?

  19. UpsetPanda says:

    @megaradjenni: Not sure..I get the comments just fine.

  20. Sparkstalker says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint:
    No doubt…I was looking at the reviews for the Canon Rebel XTi. Being a DSLR, it’s sold as a kit with a lens, and as a body only. I kid you not, one of the 1 star reviews for the one that’s the body only was from someone complaining that the camera didn’t come with a lens and was therefore useless. That’s the problem with idiots – they’re much more likely to open their mouth (figuratively) without thinking a bit about it…

  21. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @megaradjenni:

    Javascript is turned off maybe? (A good thing)

  22. EtherealStrife says:

    Interesting site, but eh. I’d rather just wade through mixed reviews on Amazon. Some of the 5 stars give great info about the product, including its limitations.
    @Jaysyn: Nah, works fine with javascript disabled.

  23. yagisencho says:

    The problem I have with the site is that at least 50% of the negative reviews on Amazon are written by fanboys of the opposing manufacturer/publisher’s camp. And many of the reviews (both positive and negative) are written before/without ever actually having used the product.

    In short: Very nearly worthless.

  24. Trackback says:

    More times then not, websites provide you with both positive and negative product reviews. Do you ever find yourself sifting through the good reviews to find the bad? Let me guess . . . What you are really trying to find out is whether or not something sucks, right?