Addicted to novelty since 2001

Abandoning the Wisdom of Crowds on Big Ticket Items

Anyone paying attention to the web over the past five years ago is aware of the rise of crowd-sourcing and all its permutations. Whether it’s the amateur editors at Wikipedia or zillions of reviews on Amazon, it’s become commonplace to rely upon the wisdom of crowds.

I do this all the time. Before going to the cinema, I consult aggregated reviews at Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. When booking holidays, we’ll check hotel reviews on Travelocity or Expedia. And when I want to dip my toes into what the web’s talking about, I visit popurls or Techmeme or twitt(url)y.

We Need a Lot of Stuff

As regular readers know, we’re building a house. And, as you might expect, that house is going to need a lot of stuff: fridge, stove, dishwasher, TV, stereo, washer/dryer, etc. No matter how you slice it, the cost of this stuff adds up.

So how to choose the right stove or television? We’re pretty ignorant on this front, and I don’t fancy visiting a ton of showrooms. We could rely on the wisdom of crowds, but in this case, that seems a bit insufficient. Instead, we’ve bought a subscription to Consumer Reports. My family has relied on this publication on and off for as long as I can remember. I can picture the photocopied and highlighted pages, complete with dense little graphs, that would kick around my father’s desk.

It’s $25 a year for a subscription to the Consumer Reports website, but really it’s $25 for piece of mind. I’ll still google for opinions of the stove or TV we choose, but I’ll do so with the experts’ opinions in my back pocket.

I guess, at the end of the day, I can’t place all of my trust in the crowd.

4 Responses to “Abandoning the Wisdom of Crowds on Big Ticket Items”

  1. Lincoln

    $25 for piece of mind? How big a piece? Damn, how much for the whole thing?


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