The age of the roundupIntroduction
This article is unusual as it does not cover the technical aspects of hardware but rather looks at the business perspective. It explores the potential effects roundups have on hardware companies and how they can be useful to those firms. It also gives reviewers some hints about their roundups.
A roundup is a review of several products in the same product class. Madshrimps began to offer such comparisons in 2003 where the term roundup was first used in this comparison
of 4 CPU coolers. These roundups have become bigger and the most recent one
involved 23 products.
Other examples :
Roundups sometimes get put into databases like the one from Madshrimps for CPU coolers
or from Digitalversus for Monitors
On the review side the scale and the scope of roundups are increasing. Frequent readers of the Madshrimps WebNews
may have noticed that roundups are now available for more types of products and that the number of products compared in each roundup is rising. This trend will continue due to the demand from readers visible in popularity of group tests compared to single product reviews.
But more interesting are changes in the readership of those roundups. A potential indicator for the importance of roundups is the percentage of buyers who have read a roundup or are searching advice from someone who has. At least for hardware, a state could be reached where almost all buys are influenced by roundups:
- The internet access and internet usage are increasing. Internet access is a requirement because most roundups are available only on the internet. Usage is important because it increases the possibility of contact with a roundup. Here the statistics per generation show a more accurate picture as much of the population that currently keeps the averages down will not exists in 10-20 years.
- Internet reviews today are mostly used by the maximizers due to the time needed to find the good roundups. Because once found, roundups are a very efficient and time saving way to compare products, (just for the specifications alone, which are sometimes hard to find on most manufacturers websites), they do appeal to satisfiers. The challenge for roundups is to be easily found in the internet so they can appeal to the greater number of satisfiers. Some already succeeded like the webcam example which shows up as first hit in Google when searching for the words “webcam” and “review”.
- A roundup is attractive for word of mouth advertising in the internet. It is much more likely to be posted in a forum, sent via e-mail, put in a blog etc. than a single product review. This is due to the often scientific nature of roundups and the sheer power of large numbers which make the person advertising the product appear much more credible.
- E-tailers promoting the best selling items. Roundups can help less known products to reach the critical mass needed to appear on such “best sellers” listings.