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How to Write A Good Household Appliance Review

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Other users explain what they think constitutes a good dooyoo household appliance review.

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      15.06.2010 08:54
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      my thoughts on what makes a good HA review

      At the time of writing Household Appliances is a rather busy category. With the announcement of the new Tier system of payment, dooyooers have been busy hunting out hoovers, food processors and the like to review, spurred on by the knowledge that a Household Appliance review is now worth the princely sum of 60p + 2p per rate. This higher tier payment is, presumably, to recognise the fact that consumers are very likely to want to read a good quality review before purchasing an iron or an expensive cooker - who hasn't made expensive mistakes in these areas? I know that when I am looking to change an item I do tend to look on dooyoo. With that in mind, and considering that I think I read 99% of the Household Appliance reviews on dooyoo (hitherto referred to as HA) I thought it would be a good idea to pause, reflect and ponder what makes a good HA review.

      It's probably easiest for me to identify what a good HA review doesn't look like. If you have written about the hoover you borrowed off a friend, the ice cream maker that you just got out of the box, or a washing machine you had in your rented house 5 years ago, it's probably not going to be very helpful. That's not me being picky - it's in the rules.

      Likewise if your review is, at a basic level, very hard to read as it is peppered with spelling errors (and before anyone calls me a pedant we all make mistakes but that is what spell check is for), or looks like it has been rushed off in 2 minutes flat, realistically it's not going to give a consumer the advice they need. A description of the picture is no good either, and reeling off the specs without backing up with experience will not make anyone think that you know about the item and can say anything useful.

      For me that, in a nutshell, is what writing a good HA review comes down to - you can tell me what it is like to own the item and whether it is any good. Simple eh?

      By the end of reading a good HA review I have a fair idea as to whether it's worth parting with my hard earned cash, your experience and opinion has made that clear. I probably know what settings, speeds or extras the item has, or at least which ones I'm likely to use in practice, and I feel that I have a good idea whether the item is good or not.

      That doesn't mean, in my opinion, (which is only my opinion) that you need to be a technical genius to review items in the HA category. If you are writing about an iron, it might be useful to say how many watts it has, but frankly all I, or anyone looking to buy the item needs to know is if the iron is powerful enough, or if the fridge is very power greedy. I don't think either that a review necessarily has to be very long, but I do think the best reviews are the ones where the writer has really thought through what a potential purchaser may wish to know. You don't need to be a technical whizz to think that a buyer may want to know if a slow cooker is hot to touch when in use, if a crumb tray is easy to empty, or how noisy a food processor is. If you are going to write about your hoover or iron perhaps think about what you like or dislike about using them that others might want to know - it's the little things that can make all the difference to using an item, that iron cord that is too short or a juicer that is too tricky to clean.

      So writing a HA review doesn't have to be, in my opinion, too tricky or over complicated. When I read a good HA review it is clear, and when I read a review that despite being about the most banal of kitchen items has me gripped that's when I tend to hit the nomination button. Of course all of this is subjective, but as HA has become a higher paid category perhaps it's worth thinking that you wouldn't expect to get paid £1 for nothing (a figure that it looks will be fairly easy, in theory, to achieve with only 20 rates needed). With that in mind I come to my next point - rating...

      A good HA review deserves honest rating. When I, personally, read a review that is good it deserves a VU rate - too often however it seems that the community as a whole is keen to hit the VU button for everything. This in my opinion is either down to people not reading the review properly or wanting to be "kind". When a review is of U or SU quality in my opinion it's only honest and fair to rate it as such - I don't know but I would think that dooyoo are not going to want to pay out for some of the HA reviews that are being churned out particularly since the tiers changed, rating them VU is possibly giving the writers a false impression as to the usefulness of what they have written. I'd like to see more reviews being rated honestly, perhaps that would stop disgruntled writers thinking I am being harsh when really I'm not.

      I write, and have written, all kinds of reviews on all kinds of topics but at the moment I focus on HA having somehow ended up being a guide in this area. I hope that I have written some "good" reviews about HA - having been given really great advice by the guide at the time when I started on the site, and I also hope that HA is an area that dooyoo members can enjoy writing in.

      Since what I like to call "the change" I've seen a lot of comments that "I couldn't possibly write about white goods it's boring" - to paraphrase - and the site does seem to have become awash with items that are probably not really supposed to be in HA in the first place (a point I imagine dooyoo will address) but I hope to see lots more good HA reviews. If you own a HA item, and can tell us whether we should own one then that is a good starting point, and the rest should really follow.

      Happy HA writing!

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        10.08.2009 02:42
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        If you want to know my secret I've just told you!

        The following advice is really not what I should see in reviews as a Guide but from my own experiences an opinion of what you could incorporate if you are tackling any Household Appliance review on Dooyoo and how to make it better. This info can also be relied upon for other sites such as Epinions or Ciao. Certainly it is never easy to write about something like an appliance you depend on every day or something that gets used and most people have often relied on statistical data and sales-speak to get by.


        Instead of using the basis of someone else's review as the springboard for your chosen product (because ultimately that can lead to problems later on such as copying etc) here is a tactic I always recommend when it comes to writing your review and it is called the "Bird's Eye View." Take a step back and look at the product you are reviewing from an outside point of view. That way you'll get to see the product in a different light, against the sales speak, the promises, the marketing and see the product for what it is per the activity or use it provides. From the bird's eye of view what are the immediate plus points? What are the immediate negatives? Collect the info and save it! Then hone in the experience you have gained from the actual use of the product. There is no point in putting a review on if anyone else but YOU has used it: it will not strengthen your review and it will not make the argument or justification of considering the product a purchase any stronger.


        Recently members have relied upon stats to make up the bulk of their review and this can be dangerous. Stats are by individual choice however they can't always be relied upon, as some info supplied can be wrong. Short for "statistical data," stats come from the companies that sell or own the product. The info is then passed to sellers such as anywhere online and on the high street like outlets such as Comet/Argos et al high street shops. I've bought purchases from Comet in the past only to discover the stats list I wholly placed my trust in turned out to be an error on Comet's part and a lot of wasted money on mine! Recently I read about a ceramic cooker hob only product with ceramic rings (unsurprisingly!) that has a claimed ignition switch on it according to a certain seller website! (Ignition switches are only for gas, if anyone doesn't get this!) Tesco and Argos are continually putting apologetic messages on their websites relating to individual appliances where guarantees or certain features have been wrongly inserted. If they get it wrong then what hope is there is in putting on stats in your own review?


        The danger of putting stats into your review however can lead to further problems particularly if you receive questions from other members who read your reviews. If you don't understand the stats and can't back up what you have written, then don't bother putting them in. Why add salt to the wound? A simple link to the home website that represents your product in question will be enough to suffice any later enquiry pertaining to the product members are looking for. Entering the home website will not pose as what Dooyoo term as "selling," or "advertising sites," unless you go further into detail praising and trying to sell the product to the public.


        IF stats are used however it is better to reflect your own personal experience; if a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine's stats claim that it is quiet, add a short line after wards to show whether this is true or not. The same applies to other statistical information if it is not "quite" right with your own experiences.


        Another factor of making a good review is to make the review as fun and pleasurable as you can. Some members have adopted personas or told a little story along the way and in most cases it creates a better-balanced review of in depth experience rather than just mere usage. At the end of the day, if your review is fun to read and if other members who read your review share experiences, I'd say 8 times out 10 they're going to really appreciate what you have written even if some are not in the market for the product you have chosen to review. Although not solely a tip for improving your chosen product in the Household Appliances category it does help to make the challenge of reviewing an inanimate object all the more fun!


        Whilst Stats are a matter of taste in reviews, another aspect of Household Appliance reviews should not try and sell the product to those who read it. That is what sales people are for; buyers need information of the usage and experience of a product that you, the Dooyoo member has bought and relayed. Stating that it is "just great," and "you have to buy it," won't win much approval. However by delving into deeper info of say, for example, explaining that the last number of glasses and cutlery you could install in your last dishwasher doesn't seem to accommodate well in the one you are currently writing about gives that deeper info that Comet/Argos can never attain to. There are times when I have read reviews from members on cooker reviews for example where they state that using the cooker is easy enough to work around but fail to mention cleaning out the oven or the fact that it is at a low level where you need to bend down. How can it be easy? Whilst reflecting the information that buyers may be looking for (and there are so many variables out there it would take at least a page more for me to explain here) reflection to user experience is essential for any household appliance review. Even if you don't take on the advice offered here there are other factors to consider:


        Constant Reflection to the user manual doesn't constitute as personal experience.

        Thanks to the joys of the Internet user manuals are actually available to view if you know where to visit. I have two direct sources at my fingertips and I've often used them to get old manuals for old appliances or if a friend needs them. Although largely free I've only witnessed recently many members who feel that if they copy large screeds of text from the user manual, then their personal research of the content and it's associated use in their review constitutes as personal experience.

        Not quite.

        Relaying info is one thing in how to use the product but it doesn't have to take up a massive paragraph of copied user manual. What is more important is to know whether the user manual/instructions made any sense to you or if they have well explained content that you don't need to visit the official brand's website in order to obtain more info.


        Spelling/Grammar/Presentation

        Having been a Guide for two years now I have to say that I've been generally impressed with reviews from Dooyoo popping up in search engines to actual companies who are using Dooyoo reviews to support the products they are selling in the market. It is without doubt the intensity of in depth information that has led to the popularity of appliance reviews from Dooyoo that gives the general public incentive and beneficial usage info before they actually buy the product. However if you use a Microsoft Office Word software or Mac's Pages function you'll be able to use other facilities such as spelling and grammar check. If you don't have access then simply write your review into a compose message of any external email address server who offer a spell/grammar check and save the review as a DRAFT before submitting. I've been diagnosed as Dyselxic since I was 17 and I have always used a word processor or email server where possible to avoid mistakes. Avoid text language and write in proper English and you'll soon get the respect of other members on here in time.

        By all means space out your review and take some time if you want to add in individual headings. My past reviews on here have had sub-categories and little headings but spurned on by other reviews by established members I tend to write in continuous prose now rather than offering cut-and-shut sub-paragraphing. Of course this review is an exception and you'll find sub-category aspects here to make it easier to take in.


        Price/Guarantee

        Cost price and guarantee is very important. If you have bought the product at a cheaper price or more expensive price than currently listed it is important to add this in as well as stating whether you feel it is worth the price you paid at the time. Now, many members have disagreed with this fact in the past but although it may appear as filler info, I think it is prudent to put in the price and guarantee information because it helps the buyer at the end of the day. This may well smack of shopping around for other things like "cheaper car insurance," but in a recession, every little bit helps as Tesco would say!


        Build Quality/Cleaning

        Commenting on how stylish an appliance is will only get you so far. Some like glitter and matt paint whilst others don't so it is a lot more worthwhile to add in how the appliance feels in terms of its indestructibility, cleaning it, general fit and the general finish. If a very expensive fridge freezer has soft closing doors yet snap and click with a lightweight feel each time you access the control panel, be honest and relay it!


        General Design of Controls

        Adding info to a review stating that whatever appliance, for example a dishwasher has five main programs isn't really informative. If however you elaborate and state how the buttons feel, whether the decals and info on them is legible and easy to function you'll be giving more info than the stats could ever provide. If a control dial or slider feels weak then state it or if it exudes luxury and moves with an oiled precision, add it to your review. If a Dyson hose states that it is of "stair proportions" yet doesn't reach up your stairs, then state it. At the end of the day Dooyoo reviews have always been about personal experience. The more honest you are, the more you are giving info back to the consumer.


        Features / Use

        Features are a bit like stats. You can bleat all you like about the features of the appliance in question but it is more prudent to add in your realistic experience. The more important stats you can supply yourself is one of measurements; this is highly advantageous for those in the market who are looking at general household appliances such as small appliances to fridges, freezers, washing/laundry equipment and other associated large appliances as buyers can measure up quite literally what the product you have written about, offers. You don't need a tape measure but stating what size it compares to in relation to the model you have is worthy of knowing.

        This also coincides with noise levels (if applicable) weight of the product (again if applicable) and general features that you would use each time you use the product. Performance and Efficiency are two aspects that can be taken for granted but not many consumers will comment on both. For example, there have been some toaster reviews (much less to the joy of Michael McIntyre who recently did a comedy spot about them and other types of reviews) where members have stated what they do but very few mention controls like 'reheat," or "defrost," and if they actually work or not. Or if the sides of the toaster's exterior remain cool or hot in use. Cleaning is also very important with toasters and there are still some models on the market that don't have the obligatory slide out toaster crumb tray. Some have ones where a crosshead screw has to be taken out and some don't have any at all. It is essential to know about a food appliance when it comes to cleaning and whilst many include info in food processors or blender reviews, cleaning out a toaster is easily forgotten.


        Personal Experience

        Naturally personal experience of a product is perhaps one of the most important factors of Household Appliance review writing. If you have owned a product for a short time and haven't used all the features of the product then you may be rated as per the info or experience you have supplied. Now, this works in two ways; you can either be happy with the ratings you receive and be prepared for comments if you have uploaded a review just in order to get your first-to-the-post bonus of 500/1000 points or to avoid being stressed out, state how long you have owned the product and be totally honest. Honesty is the best policy and it is a phrase that seems to work well when it comes to telling others of experiences in general.


        Word count

        Recently this is a factor that I've become aware of from certain Dooyoo members who set themselves a challenge to write a review within 150 words. As a Guide I feel that whilst this challenge has been chosen for members, my immediate reaction to this is, why bother writing something like a review within the 150 word minimum limit? There are other sites online where you can do that, and one of them is Amazon. The difference is that Amazon doesn't pay for your time and if you want to read less info-based reviews of 150 words pay a visit to Reviewcentre, another site that doesn't pay.

        Generally if you are going to try and cram so very little info into a household appliance review you only get what you deserve and this also relates to constant rants, complaints, wrongly posted products because you can't be bothered to wait for the products to be added or use the search location bar (reading the model number may help you) and one sided reviews.

        Household Appliance reviews in my opinion don't need to be overly long but they do need high standards of balanced reflective experience if the facility to benefit buyers is within the core value of Dooyoo and what Dooyoo stands for. They don't feature a list of sponsors for nothing you know! I suppose in some ways if Dooyoo did offer an upload photo facility then perhaps describing info wouldn't be overly long. To justify 150 words in my mind is not enough to fully cover all the details needed in order to retain a "good" factor let alone reflect beneficial info that will allow or inspire future buyers to react to in a positive buying decision or manner.

        By all means state the positives and negatives of your product in an in depth stance rather than constant short sentences and lists. Less jargon means more information and less confusion. At the end of the day ask yourself how you would feel if you just read the review you have written and judge yourself BEFORE you submit if you would consider buying the product you've chosen. Good luck!

        Thanks for reading and massive apologies for this very long review! ©Nar2 2009

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