Comparisons, or What's the best tool for the job?

>> Thursday, September 13, 2018

Digital tools are different than regular ones, especially in one aspect.  You don't necessarily even know what's OUT there, to consider as an option.  Searching only gets you so far. So, what tools are available for helping you find what tools are available?

First, let's jump back to that searching thing. You can enter whatever particular tool that you know of and append "vs" to it.  So, like you can just type in something ilke "Bizplan vs" and sift through the results to see what else is available. Ultimately, through using this technique, you'll probably come across sites that purport to do these kinds of comparison for you.  There are ton of such review sites, naturally, because not only can they place ads for revenue while you compare, but they might also have affiliate revenue gatherered from recommending one of these to you.  Don't worry too much about that - they are indeed providing a good service to you.  Well, worry a little.  Some of them go about it in the wrong way, like trying to capture your data for further sales.  You don't need more spam filling up your inbox.  Here are a few great comparison sites to remember:

GetApp.com - Based in Spain, this site has a clean, modern design and ultimately gets you to a point where you can see your comparisons of Saas offerings, listed side-by-side in a chart.  That's sweet.  No registration is required, but you can create an account and start adding your own reviews, bookmark apps that you like, or get recommendations based on the type of industry you are interested in.

Slant.co - Any product. Any category.  It's like a socially-driven mashup of a question site, and a product review site.  It's a bit like an "anything goes" review site for anything, but it works.  Registration is NOT required, but you can create an account to remember your favorites, add reviews, and so forth.  There's a karma system in place for building a reputation.

AlternativeTo.net - A very reliable source for finding popular OR little-heard-of options for software of varying type, either Saas, downloadable, mobile, plugin, or many other types of digital products.  No registration required, but it is available for organizing your activity on the site; lists, likes, comments, and so forth.

ConsumerReports.com - A well-known product review site, this one is basically a for-profit company that puts out reviews of anything and everything.  They started as a physical journal and migrated successfully to the web.  You can pay for a membership or use the site for one-off searches, for free.  Membership will allow you to keep ongoing searches with notifications for updates, that kind of thing.

Amazon reviews - Amazon sells anything, or allows people to sell anything and takes a cut.  Y'all know that.  And y'all know there are product reviews on there.  The problem with all this is that you can't explicitly TRUST these reviews.  There are so many ways to artificially inflate or deflate the value of an Amazon product review; some people are paid to go out and review stuff. Some companies send customers free merch for nicer reviews - and some do it legitimately, just sending stuff without asking/demanding a good review, but that kind of action usually DOES influence opinion.  So sure, glance at the product on Amazon but savor it with a grain of salt.

Appstore reviews - this is one trick that I don't always even think of... if a service or website has a mobile app, then DEFINITELY go check out the reviews posted about it.  These are, like the Amazon reviews, probably easily malleable, AND they can go out of date easily, if the developer updates but the user doesn't change their review. However I have found it's a good place to get a feel of how the user is treated by the company, which is an important sign.

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