How should we do product reviews on

One of the best things about being part of TechTarget is that Gabe and I can spent a lot more time writing. In the very old days (of 2003), I did a fair amount of honest-to-goodness products reviews.

One of the best things about being part of TechTarget is that Gabe and I can spent a lot more time writing. In the very old days (of 2003), I did a fair amount of honest-to-goodness products reviews. We haven't really done too many (if any?) of these in the past few years though, mainly because they take so much time. (After all, you really have to use the product to be able to honestly rate it.) That said, we'd like to get back into doing product reviews, and we'd like to ask you how you'd like to see these?

I'm thinking that we'll create a blog on this site called "Product Reviews," so there will be a single page to list them all. I'll bet we'll be able to do one per week, so we'll have a pretty decent collection fairly soon.

But how should we structure the reviews?

  • Do you want to see them all follow the same template, with the typical sections like Overview, Management, Security, Price, etc., or do you want them to be more free form?
  • Should we devise a scoring mechanism, so people can say "This got an 8.7 on," or should we just keep them more free?
  • Do you want to see screen shots?
  • What about video? Any value to screen videos of the products in action? Maybe only when it's relevant? (Like the performance of a new display protocol?)
  • How long should each review be? Something you can read in a few minutes? Or really in-depth?
  • How will we decide which products to review next? Maybe some kind of polling / voting setup?
  • Any value in creating some kind of database to hold reviews and comments for products? (Think of Crunchbase, except for desktop and application products.)
  • What else?

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Nespresso What else? hehe.. couldn't leave that one out.

Wouldn't it be hard to rate a product from 1 to 10. it's your personal opinion how you think a product is might someone else thinks totally different about it?

I think a database for the reviews and comments would be very nice cause then you can dig back and also compaire newer versions of product X to the old version etc.

btw a friend of mine asked me Has Brian sold his soul to the devil?



Freeform seems to be the new way of doing things so why not design the review after the product? :)

As for a scoring mechanism, why not, but again.. same deal as when you write Awesome product "Brian said it was an awesome product" ;)

As for Screenshots, i would much rather have a few videoclips, so instead of 4 screenshots i would love to see 1 minute "youtube"-style video showing the same thing dynamically.

If you do in-depth reviews, i think it is important to have an overview available that one could read in a couple of minutes, and then dig deeper if needed.



I think ratings only make sense when reviewing several products of a category at one time, so I would stay away from that.

I think that a detailed review, with a quick summary up front, is ideal (but then I don't have to do the work -- you do!).  Most of the time I just want to see a quick summary to tell me whether or not I should be more interested in the product.  But if I am interested I want to find detail.

As to structure - a little will go a long way.  KISS!


I've always liked reviews from shots, performance graphs etc.  I know it's a little harder to review software that might relate to VDI/TS, etc iin that fashion, but I've always preferred that sort of layout.

If your going to do scoring, maybe have the score and an end user score similar to  Maybe you scored something well, but others had a different experience.


Perhaps if you are going to start reviewing cameras, hard drives, TVs, cell phones, etc this would be a good idea but there are too many considerations to take in account for this to work.  Each use case can be entirely different.  One customer might say,  we don't need Citrix EasyCall and we can't see the value of it while another customer says that EasyCall is the best thing that they have ever implemented.

Another issue is people in this community are too close to products sometimes.  It's a religion of sorts.

Scoring products would be difficult.  What would it be based on?  Whats the baseline?  What about products updates?  The industry is still evolving and will continue to evolve at a fast pace.

For the love of God and all thing holy, please do NOT do reviews like  20+ pages for an article that could fit in 2-3 gets old fast.  So does dedicating 75% of the page to Advertisement.

My advise?  Dance with the one that brung ya.  You already have a formula that works so why change it?



An overview with some key takeaways and then a deeper dive review for people who want to delve deeper into the product.

When comparing comparable products a feature/functionality matrix would be useful also.


Don't forget to focus on usage and let people know that 1 size didn't feet all... I'm waiting from you that you explain what the main use cas e of each (like RGS display protocol on the LAN versus ICA on the WAN)...


Free form, template only if comparing to other products, no scoring, screenshots when applicable, video when applicable, read in a few minutes,

Whether you recommend or don't recommend the product or product upgrade (see XenApp 5 blah) . Reasons you recommend or don't recommend.