I recently visited Download.com to see if there was a new Web Editor out there that might compete against Dreamweaver (my editor of choice), when it struck me… Most of these reviews looks like they´ve been written by the developers!
While browsing the list of Web editors and reading some user reviews I got the stinct impression that more than 50% of all reviews seemed to come from the developers themselves. Some of them even looked like they were randomly generated by a computer. Paragraph after another without any real content, just line after line of bragging about groovy functions and super-easy menues and error checking.
I would think some of the negative reviews are written by the competition, but it seams like the majority comes from the other side. Even though this shouldn´t come as a big surprise I was thinking to myself how on earth will the average consumer be able to make a choice that benefits them?! Well, I suppose there isn´t just one simple answer to my question;
First, always perform a quick Google and read some reviews from user forums around the globe. When someone states something very positive or negative try see if they can back up their experience with some concrete facts.
Second, take a look at the number of downloads, both total and last week/month. If a program/application is very popular it´s normally either free or very good or both even.
Third, try the installer. If the developer cares about its customers there shouldn´t be any errors or problems when trying to install it.
Fourth, give the functionality and layout some consideration. Does it do what you expected it to do? Is it easy to operate? Do you think it will be better than whatever you used before? Is it easy to get used to? Etc…
Finally, is it worth your money? Well if it is grab it and tell others why. Doing so makes the reviews more objective and others may (or may not) grab a new program/application they´ll be happy about.