My Review Process And The Criteria I Use To Review Products

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I take my position as an influencer and product reviewer very seriously. GetMySecret.com is my brand and I have worked hard to build that brand. Every successful brand requires trust and your trust is important to me. If you don’t trust me then I can’t help you. If I can’t help you then we are both wasting our time. In order for you to trust me, I need to conduct my business in an ethical, honest and open way. If you feel I am not being trustworthy then please let me know. You can use the comments form at the bottom of most pages or use my contact form. I will respond as soon as I can.

I value honesty and transparency, so I must disclose to you something about my review process. You need to know that I am a member of various affiliate programs related to many of the products I review. An affiliate program allows me to earn a commission when you use a link on one of my reviews and then buy a product. To learn more read my blog post where I explain what affiliate marketing is and how it works. Don’t want to use an affiliate link (mine or anyone else’s)? You can type the website URL into your browser or use a search engine to find it. I do not promote things because I am a member of their affiliate program. I join the affiliate programs for the products and services that I use and recommend to my readers. This is why I can say that my affiliate commissions do not change what I review or recommend.

WHY I REVIEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

The purpose of GetMySecret.com is to help you create a successful online business. I have spent several years and a lot of money building my own online business. I want to share with you some of the things that have worked for me and some things that have been a waste of my time and money. I do this because I want to help you save time and money while starting your business.

Every business needs various products and services to start and to grow. In the traditional business model, these products and services came from other businesses. these other businesses had reputations and histories that the new business could verify. Starting an online business is a little different. You will still need some products and services. How do you cut through the hype? Trying to find out if the company provides what you need and if the product is reliable can be impossible. The internet is full of fake reviews, hyped up marketing and general misinformation. Who do you trust?

My first foray into the world of online business started in 2001. When I needed to find a particular product or service I looked to the names I was familiar with. Companies that built their reputations by influencing business people before the internet existed. Unfortunately, the online versions were not as reliable as I expected. I made a lot of mistakes back then, mistakes that drove me away from my online business for a while. The plus side of this is that I learned to be far more careful of who I trusted. when I returned to try building another online business I still made mistakes, but I made a lot less of them.

I want you to succeed. One of the secrets to success is knowledge. You will need tools, products, and services that will drive your business to success. Knowing what you need and which companies can supply those things is very important. This is the knowledge I try to impart through the reviews on my site.

I ONLY REVIEW PRODUCTS THAT I USE MYSELF

One of the things I learned early on is that there are people reviewing products they never used. This boggled my mind at first. How can you offer an accurate opinion about something you have never even used? What’s worse to me is I have actually run across places teaching people how to do this. I was completely floored the first time I ran across an article showing how to use the product reviews on Amazon to write your own product reviews. I don’t even trust the Amazon reviews for things I am looking to buy on Amazon. I could never base my own product review off of that information.

I only review products that I have used myself. I base my opinions on my own experience with the product or service I am reviewing. This is the only way to write an accurate and honest review of any product or service. I could not in good conscience write a review based only on someone else’s information. I do gather opinions from others before selecting a product to buy. But, my review is always based on my own experience, not someone else’s.

FREE

I REALLY LIKE FREE STUFF

Free is always better right? Not true. I like to use free solutions when I can, but only if the free solution meets my needs. I am always trying to balance cost versus benefit in my own business and this is the same knowledge I try to offer you. If there is a free solution that might work then I try to mention it and often recommend it. There are a lot of free products and services that I recommend you use.

As your business expands there will be fewer and fewer free options that will meet your needs. at some point, you will need to move to paid products and services. If you don’t you will severely handicap your business. I encourage you to use the free solutions for as long as they will work for you but be aware of their limitations. Be ready to buy more robust solutions when the time comes.

Free sometimes comes with a hidden price tag. There are many free products that I have refused to recommend because of this. These products may have one or more of the following issues:

  • Hidden security flaws.
  • Limited functionality.
  • Proprietary systems that make it hard to move away from them.
  • Excessive advertising that distracts from your work.
  • Be unreliable or inefficient.
  • A host of other things that make them undesirable as a business solution.

I try as best I can to navigate these hidden costs and point them out in my reviews. If you are thinking of using a free solution be sure you test it thoroughly before you rely on it.

FINDING THE BEST SOLUTION FOR YOU

My reviews are my opinion about a particular product or service. There are times when something will not work well for my business but will work quite well in yours. I try to account for this while writing my reviews. This is when I May ask other people about their experiences with the product. I sometimes include their opinions in my reviews. I will read reviews done by other reviewers to see if they have a different perspective than my own. I have even asked other people to try the product and let me know if it works for them or not. This is all important to my review process but also to your selection process.

Your situation and your business are unique and it is not possible for me to predict what will work best for you. The choice of which solutions to use for your business is yours and yours alone. I offer my opinions, but I cannot tell you which solution or product is right for you. I do my best to clear away the clutter and make your decision making easier but the choice is still yours.

Please, do your own due diligence. Completely research every solution you use, especially if it will cost you money. Read a bunch of reviews, not just mine. Look at the company that is offering the solution you are considering. Are they reputable and do they stand behind their product? Look at what other alternatives there are, how much they cost, and how well they perform. You need more than my opinion before you spend your money.

MY REVIEW CRITERIA

I base every review on the merits of the product or service am reviewing. As I have already stated, I use everything I review extensively before I even start writing a review. I am constantly reevaluating the tools I use in my business. Are they performing well? Can I find a better solution? I use a very similar approach to reviewing. I start every review with a few basic questions like:

  • Is this product meeting my needs?
  • Could it work for someone who is starting out or is it a more advanced solution?
  • If it breaks, who will fix it?
  • Is it easy for a beginner to use or does it require more technical skills?
  • Could I teach my mother how to use it?
  • Is there a better option?
  • Is there a cheaper option?

Questions like these help to form the picture I will present about the product. These are not very technical standards but they help me to see the product in a broader sense. I ask myself the questions I would like to ask someone before buying a product like this.

Good and Bad

THE VALUE RATING

This is my opinion of the benefits versus the costs of the product. A free solution that provides a needed solution has a very high rating. An expensive product the only does an ok job will have a much lower rating. The lowest ratings are for things that do not do what they say they will do regardless of the cost. I try to include a comparison of similar tools into the value rating. Bear in mind that this is only my opinion of the value of a given solution. It’s value to you may be different.

When there is more than one level of paid services, I will base my value rating on the level that I am recommending. This will usually be the level that I feel is of the most value. There will be times I will recommend a level that costs more but that I think will provide the most benefit. This cost/benefit evaluation is always a balancing act. But, it is a part of trying to calculate the value of a particular product or service.

Value is one of the most important considerations in my own decision making and so I put it at the top of every review.

THE RELIABILITY RATING

Reliability and value go hand in hand. You can usually expect these ratings to be similar for every review. If a product or solution is not reliable then it has little or no value. I call this a reliability rating but it is as much a performance rating. This is my opinion of how well something does at filling the need I am using it for.

Durability is a big part of reliability. How well does it stand up to hard use or even abuse? If you are relying on a product to support your business you need to be sure that it will do its job. Even under extreme conditions. What happens if your website breaks right as your big marketing campaign kicks off? What if your ad network chokes as one of your articles goes viral? These are business killing disasters. You can often avoid them by knowing the limitations of the tools you are using.

Does it do what it says it will do? This is the ultimate question when reviewing a product or service. If a hosting company tells me they can handle 500,000 visitors a month then they better be able to. If they can only handle 50,000 then they are not reliable. Even if they can reliably handle 50,000. I take product claims very seriously. Any product that can’t live up to the claims made about it is not reliable to me.

What happens when it breaks? There is a big difference between something not working and something becoming destructive. I try to put everything I review through a pretty rugged testing process. I want to see when it fails but also what happens when it fails. Now I am not a technical guru so I will not be spouting a lot of technospeak and statistics. My interest is straightforward whether it works or not. If I find there are some risks associated with a product then I will discuss that in the review.

THE EASE OF USE RATING

Ease of use is not an easy rating to assign. I try to compare the product I am using with similar products that do similar things. A high ease of use rating does not mean that the product is easy for everyone to use. It means that it is easier than many of the other products like it. Because it is such a subjective rating, I try to cover this more in depth in the body of the review. I also provide a skill level in the product summary of every review. This is a better general indicator of how easy it is to use.

THE SUPPORT RATING

This is the rating that tells you how well a product is being supported by the company. I often give a product a higher rating if there is significant support other than the company itself. I call this community support. This comes from places like user groups, YouTube videos, online tutorials, and such. If I have done this I will include more specifics about this community support and where to find it in my review.

Things that impact the support rating:

  • Documentation and instructional material that is easy to read but also effective.
  • Troubleshooting help for those who want to fix it on their own.
  • FAQs that cover common issues users have in setting up or using the product.
  • How easy is it to reach their technical support department?
  • How well does the company stand behind their product if it is not doing what it claims to do?

Technical support provided by the company is the biggest factor in this rating. This is not a rating of how friendly the support staff are. This is how quickly and competently they can help you if you need it. How fast do lower level techs escalate a complex support issue? How quickly can they pinpoint the issue and how effective are they at solving it? Do they follow up to be sure the problem got fixed or do they bury it and hope it becomes someone else’s problem? These are all questions I try to answer and they all impact how I rate a product’s support.

This is the one area that I often rely on other people’s opinions for my review data. I cannot always produce situations where I need the company’s technical support. Sometimes, I have to rely on other’s to help me understand how effective their support is. I do interact with the support department for every product that has one available. There are still times where this is not enough information. I have to rely on other opinions to give you a true reflection of the company’s support.

Green Web

MY OVERALL RATING

The overall rating at the top of every review is a reflection of all the factors that I include in the review. This is my complete opinion expressed as a value from 1 to 10. Products I like get higher ratings while products I don’t like get lower ones. I support this rating by what I express in the body of my review and it is the briefest synopses of the entire review.

SKILL LEVEL

The skill level of a product shows how much technical skill you need to use the product to its full potential.
Easy skill level products should be easy to use. These are things that most adults should be able to use without any technical knowledge or skill.

Medium skill level products will call for some technical knowledge to use effectively. This is subject to the type of product. It is generally recommended that users have some experience with similar products.

Technical skill level products will involve more knowledge and experience. This indicates that you need specific skills related to the product. A broad technical level of skill will often be helpful.

Advanced skill level products are for advanced users. These will demand a good understanding of computers, the internet, and similar products. I rarely review products that have this level of skill requirement. I try to find products for those who are just starting to build an online business. Many of these people may not be highly skilled.

Specialty skill level products will demand specialized knowledge. These are only for people who know what they are doing. I almost never recommend this type of product. I do sometimes find one that some of my readers will profit from. Please, do not attempt to use these products unless you are certain you have the necessary skills.

WHO SHOULD OR SHOULDN’T USE THIS

These are two small sections in my review where I share my opinion about who will get the most and least from a product. This is in no way meant to be a definitive barrier. It is a guideline that can tell you at a glance if this might be something that interests you or not. This is often times a reflection of how easy something is to use and the skill level or set required. feel free to disregard this if you fall into the should not category but still think it will be a good solution for you. In fact, if this happens please let me know so that I can consider revising my opinion.

MY RECOMMENDATION

In this section, you will find whatever recommendations I have about the product. This is where I will offer alternatives to the product under review. I will let you know if I feel those alternatives are better than the product you are reading about. If there is more than one price for the product I will usually make my recommendations for this here. This is where I will discuss any add-ons and my thoughts about them. I will also include information here about who will get the most or least out of using the product.

THIS IS MY REVIEW PROCESS

This is the way in which I create m the reviews that you will find here on GetMySecret.com. I hope you have found this information to be helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, use my contact form or the comments section at the bottom of this page. As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. I look forward to helping you start your own successful online business.