English 105: Testing Internet-Based Information

        The following are hyperlinks to several useful sites for students writing the Product Purchase Recommendation assignment.  In each case, the proficient student researcher would check the site to determine its suitability for use in an academic paper.  The primary concern in a case like this might be a product reviewer's exposure to intentional or unintentional influence from the commercial sponsors who pay the bills to keep the site running and to pay the reviewer's salary.  How can you tell whether this is possible for sites on these topics?  Follow each of the hyperlinks below.  Determine who is running the site and by what rules the site-owner is playing.  Can you think of any reasons to doubt the quality of the advice you receive on the site?  Remember, the Internet is a dangerous place, and only the skeptical users who read web site information carefully can avoid being deceived.

  1. automobiles,

  2. nutritional information,

  3. consumer profile information,

  4. general consumer reviews sorted by topic,

  5. general consumer reviews sorted by quality of review.

How do these web-based resources pay for their servers, software, content, etc.?  How does that potentially affect their reliability as an unbiased source of information?  What is accurate, expert evaluation of commercial products worth, and can you afford it?          For a sample attempt to determine this for the "automobiles" site, click here.

Why should I be worried about "customer reviews" at sites like Amazon.com?  Click on the link for an explanation.