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what else are they wrong about?
Published on January 18, 2007 By Sean Conners aka SConn1 In Business
Consumer reports has issued a retraction in regards to the trashing of 9 out of the 12 car seats they tested last fall and featured in a recent issue. It is the 1st time the magazine has issued such a retraction in almost a decade. The last time was over dog food in 1998.

Consumer reports has admitted that their methodology was flawed. They have conceded that the "38 mph test" they claimed was done was bogus. The test was done @ 70mph. And that they actually "outsourced" the whole study.

But much of the damage is done. Hundreds of thousands of seats were trashed by consumers and dollars flowed to the 3 seats they endorsed. Stores reported absolute sell outs of the 1 "good one" after the report was made public by the magazine. Consumer Reports currently has 4.5 million subscribers and an additional 1.5 million web subscribers. They claim to be the only "unbiased" source of consumer reviews on the planet.

This revalation was only made possible after the US government discovered the bad, outsourced data and forced the retraction.

This revalation brings up questions I have had about their honesty and supposed lack of bias simply because they do not allow ads in their magazine. I never bought that claim, and here's why...

* Consumer Reports doesn't allow advertising. So what? Are they claiming that no one has ever bribed or engaged in "payola" with a magazine? Are their "testers" so well paid that they are above any kind of "influencing" from outside forces with deep pockets? Hell, to a large corporation, a simple payoff may be more effective and possibly cheaper than actually advertising.

* Consumer Reports claims to do everything "in house." We now know for a definite fact, that is not true. Like any good attorney would ask, "if they lied about this, what else have they lied about."

* I, myself, have seen reviews that are just way out of sync with reality. And I've challenged many people who are "experts" in various fields to look at their reviews and see if they agree. 100% of the time, they have a much different view than the Consumer Reports "experts" have found. In a field I was in for a long time, consumer electronics, they would claim that "all CD players sound the same." That simply isn't true. They all are virtually noiseless (like tape hiss or a record "pop"). But the D/A converter, digital filter and quality of connections and other factors determine the overall tone and sound of any given player. And you don't have to be an audiophile to hear it. Some people might not care about the difference, but all CD players don't sound the same. They would use surveys and samples that aren't large enough to be at all scientific.

If I had the resources, I would truly like to investigate their claims in a more organized way. I don't , and therefore can't. But I am glad to see that maybe this magazine might get opened up to a little more scrutiny.

on Jan 19, 2007