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As I don't see a site feedback or contact link...

by quillion / March 21, 2011 2:33 AM PDT

...I guess I'll just post this here.

http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-and-smart/verizon-motorola-droid-solar/4505-6448_7-33887902.html#reviewPage1

Is not a review. It is a simple item description with less actual information than you get on any merchant sales sites. As a user who has relied on CNET over the years for product related information posting this sort of thing is a tremendous disappointment. The product in question is a solar charger, so trivially a review should give data on:
How long this takes to charge a device?
How long the charger takes to store a full internal battery charge...from the sun? via its USB charging capability?
How it compares to similar products available on the market?

Ideally it would add data regarding device compatibility. Does this work with the Droid X or other Motorola handsets? Could you use an adapter to use it with non-Motorola products? (As Motorola products are often compatibility impaired these are non-trivial questions that would cost a typical user time and money to answer for him/herself.)

Unfortunately you are letting the quality and value of your site slip. Shame on you.

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You're right, that's not a review...
by John.Wilkinson / March 21, 2011 8:15 AM PDT

Usually, editors post a "full" review of a particular product, which includes covers all of the key points, includes a rating breakdown, etc. However, they will occasionally post a very brief description of the product, typically if it's related to a product they did review or is something they've used in passing but aren't actually reviewing. In such cases they'll call it an "editors' take" as opposed to an "editors' review." I too find the content to be minimally useful at best, but it's not supposed to be a review and it is better than nothing at all in some respects. Perhaps it would help if they better differentiated a "review" from a "take" so you know what to expect?

John

Note: This post was edited by forum moderator on 03/21/2011 on 3:16 PM PT

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I see...
by quillion / March 21, 2011 10:06 PM PDT

It is good news that a distinction is made and upon knowing what it was I could find the mentioned text "editors' take" of course the page refers to it as a review in five different places that I count. Plus two in the title. I can appreciate having something like this for the purposes of completeness within a catalogue for the advantage of users accessing the page from an internal reference who are familiar with the format used. If this were some small site accessed mainly by hardcore members the current setup could be fine. The trouble is that cnet is a high page rank site and a lot of users are accessing this from an external references. In my case this is how it played out.

Google search on the terms: solar charge droid
2 top listings then the shopping then this:
"Verizon Motorola Droid Solar Charger Review - Cell phone and smart ...
Nov 23, 2009 ... Submit a User Review, watch exclusive videos, compare prices, research specifications, read product guides, and more for the Verizon ...
reviews.cnet.com/...droid-solar/4505-6448_7-33887902.html"
Oh, a cnet product review might have the info I'm looking for. Let's check it out...and I get that. I look over the page hoping to spot a link to additional relevant information, but there's nothing. Instant loss of creditability. I go on to some of the other links thinking oh well, cnet pages these days aren't worth viewing. Next time I'll just skip those listings.

I only went on to make this post afterwards because in the last year I've become very conscious of how much that's wrong with the world around me could be fixed if people knew of the issue and cared. So the last few months I've given feedback like this to people in the hope of raising awareness, six months ago I wouldn't have bothered.

Ideally these should be under a different heading and especially a different subdomain. I recognize that could take a lot of effort though as they are likely using a form posting through a reviewing system which would have to be duplicated and reformatted. What wouldn't be hard is a significant change to this:
<title>Verizon Motorola Droid Solar Charger Review - Cell phone and smart phone accessories - CNET Reviews</title>
That sort of change would make a visible distinction on both the page and its search listings.

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Differentiation...
by John.Wilkinson / March 21, 2011 11:07 PM PDT
In reply to: I see...

Using different subdomains would be a lot of work, especially considering that most products 'officially' exist before they're actually reviewed. That would mean moving it from one subdomain to another upon review, potentially breaking links and confusing users even more. Plus, to me, it just doesn't seem right to base the subdomain on whether a particular piece of content's available. (I feel like it's a slippery slope where someone could also argue a different subdomain be used depending on if it has user reviews, if it's no longer available for purchase, if specs for it are unavailable, etc.)

The title change, along with the "reviewed by/on/etc" tidbits, though, sounds like a worthy consideration to me. I'm not sure how they'd clarify a editor's review vs an "editor's take" vs no review/"take" but pricing/product specs/user reviews, but it would certainly provide a clearer picture of what to expect before following the search result link.

John

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