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Web Site Review

An Ultimate Source for Product Reviews

 by David Cotriss (davidcotriss@wwwiz.com)

           When you're ready to buy something new, you want to know what others have said about it, but you don't want to spend days trying to find out.  You want to get reliable information as quickly as possible.  You've no doubt noticed when surfing the Web that the amount of information out there seems endless.  Trying to find good information among millions of Web sites can be a challenge.  Whether you're shopping for that new digital camera you've had your eye on or need a new refrigerator, you can go to Product Review Net for reliable product reviews.

          This site has been featured on TV newscasts and Web sites as well as magazines such as Yahoo! Internet Life.  Rain Corp., a firm specializing in organizing information about the Internet, developed the site.  Information-industry veterans Fran Berman, Bob Genovesi and Connie Massey started the firm in July 1996.

          PRN collects and organizes product review information from reliable sources including major magazines and eliminates outright promotional articles so you won't be looking at ads.  Product categories cover a wide range from stereos to computers to sports equipment, even CDs and books.  Publications indexed include titles such as PC World and Rolling Stone and Web sites such as the popular online magazine salon.com.  Links to actual articles are provided wherever possible.

          You'll find PRN very well organized and easy to use.  The site isn't cluttered with many ads or graphics so it loads quickly and is easy to navigate.  The main page features a search engine where you can search by keyword or category.  You'll find the search results impressive and thorough.  A search for ``digital cameras," for example, returned 61 matches from publications such as Macworld and NetGuide.  The most current reviews are listed first, giving you the latest information on what you're looking for.

The archives are not updated daily, so the most current reviews might not be found in your search.  Recentness also appears to vary by product category and type.  So if you want the very latest reviews, you might need to look elsewhere.

          When a search for reviews is returned, you are also given an opportunity to search for prices on specific products or product types.  Thus, if you decide on an item based on the reviews you find, you can find the best prices immediately.  You'll find this feature handy and a real time-saver. It also finds related items in addition to the specific product you search for.

          The main PRN page also gives you an opportunity to tell the site operators if you can't find a review you need.  They may be able to find it for you, but they are clear in saying that many products are never reviewed anywhere. You are also given an opportunity to submit your own reviews, and if it's responsibly written it will appear on the site within a few days.  However, the vast majority of the site's reviews are from major magazines and Web sites.

          You'll also enjoy the list of buyer's guides linked on the main page.

These are useful if you need more guidance when starting to shop.  These provide general information on product types by linking to specialty Web sites all over the Internet.  For example, the ``appliances" category contains links to articles about shopping for such items as dishwashers, ceiling fans and microwaves.  The buyer's guide feature is great for providing additional background information to help you make an informed buying decision.

          Also included is a Frequently Asked Questions page in case you need help with commonly asked questions.  However, given the simplicity of the site you shouldn't have any problems.  You can also send your feedback to the site's operators and provide suggestions for future site improvements. Overall, you'll find PRN a well-organized and highly informative site you'll want to use over and over.  While Consumer Reports is always a popular choice for reviews, PRN gives you a broader range of feedback that can only help in your efforts to make informed buying decisions.

 

  David Cotriss specializes in marketing/advertising, about which he's published dozens of magazine and Web articles and offers consulting services. He can be reached at cotriss@inow.com.

 

 

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