Circular Reporting and Golf Equipment Reviews

Every golf tries to stretch their hard earned money. As a golfer, many of us conduct extensive research to  find the perfect piece of equipment at the cheapest price. The internet is an invaluable tool, but I must caution you that circular reporting will skew our data and cause us to make an ill-informed choice. It is the nature of big data and should be considered when delving deep into the reams of information on any piece of golf equipment! Let me explain!


Circular reporting or false confirmation is a situation in source criticism where a piece of information appears to come from multiple independent sources, but in reality comes from only one source.

Wikipedia

Here is a great example of what we, as consumers, need to be aware of:

When searching for possible gifts to receive at Christmas, I looked at many sites and read a plethora or reviews before offering any suggestions to my loved ones. As is sifted through the various sites, I found it enlightening.

I think it is very important to read customer reviews because I hope to glean the valuable nuggets needed to sway my decision. When reading the reviews, I look for the following details:

Date written. If the review was written more than 3 years ago, it loses some influence. The reason is that in the golf industry things change so quickly that the piece of equipment I am reviewing now is likely not the same as the one the review cites. Fixes and different versions occur all the time.

Number of stars. If a look at the all the stars and the associated writing. Some of the reviews dealt with delivery, others cost, and some customer service. So the actual number of stars might not have to do with the product at all, but with the service. I pay attention to some of these reviews because they give an indication of how a company treats its customers.

Site credibility. I am sure that we all look at the reviews from the site we are making a purchase. If you look closely, the same review (word for word) will be on several products. This is an indication that someone is not actually providing a review, but trying to generate ‘review points’; being paid for reviews is a real thing. I often look at golf blogging sites for their view of the top rated equipment and I found that many sites do not do their own testing. They copy the test of someone else and then the circular reporting challenge starts. If it is not referenced properly (as I try to do at The Grateful Golfer) there is a chance that a certain piece of equipment will be rated higher than it really should be.

There are many valuable sites for reading golf reviews, but no matter which you choose be aware of where they get their information. I rely on some sites more than others and I try not to base my decisions on a single source being reported multiple times. Circular reporting is a real issue on the internet and we the consumer must be wary.

Have you ever experienced circular reporting?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

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