GPS units: top sucky words

A recent article about people blaming GPS units for car accidents caught my attention (summary: driver blames GPS unit for leading him onto a MetroNorth train track). Based on the 8000+ reviews for GPS units we have in the HiS database, the word "route" tops the list of words/phrases appearing in negative comments (617 times). Other top sucky words in GPS reviews: "turn", "screen", "maps", "street", "car", "software", "directions". "Railroad" did not
appear, however.

Fun fact: "wife" appears in 40 positive comments about GPS units.

User reviews: too many, biased, funny...

There have been a few recent blog posts about user product reviews: there are too many, they are biased, they can even be entertaining.

Yes, there are too many user reviews. And yes, they are biased.

"Bazaarvoice trend analysis has shown that product and service reviews are very positive, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5," said Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice, in a statement.

For example, the distribution of reviews collected for HiS resemble a "J":

There just can't be that many good products!

This was one of the motivations for starting HiS - give consumers a way to easily view the negative user experiences of all products, even the stellar ones.

details about how a product sucks

Visitors to HiS can now click on a product and get more details about how it sucks!
For example, check out the product page of the TomTom One:

As you can see, we've added the ratings history of the product over the last 12 months and a way to wade through the negative reviews using a term cloud of phrases that commonly appear.

added sort

As many have pointed out, the site needs sorting capability. It was an oversight to not have this in the prior release (ah, how I suck). Anyway, it's there now. You can sort by suckiness (least sucky first or most sucky first) or popularity (least popular first or most popular first).

HiS: GeekSugar's Website of the day

"Do you ever find yourself sifting through the good reviews to find the bad? Let me guess . . . What you are really trying to find out is whether or not something sucks, right?"

I couldn't have said it better myself. I guess that's why HiS was GeekSugar's website of the day yesterday.

GPS manufacturers - ratings over time

I've been searching for the right analogy to show ratings and number of reviews. Both variables are important - a few positive reviews shouldn't have anywhere near the impact of a large number of negative reviews.

So I did a little experiment: For some major GPS manufacturers, I plotted both the number of reviews and HowItSucks (HiS) rating for Jan - Nov 2007. The results are pretty interesting:

Click for larger version of image.

HiS in apartment therapy

HowItSucks was mentioned in apartment therapy. They even pointed to this blog!

"Link of the Morning" on Blue's News

HowItSucks named "Link of the Morning" on Blue's News!

More feedback

Some comments about the site (from
danno writes:

quickly tell you how a product sucks based on previous users' reviews

christoph2005 writes:
Collection of negative voices about lots and lots of products

ekalvi writes:
Funny idea. Aggregating only the "sucky" product reviews. Perhaps confusing, but refreshing.

MelinaCross writes:
wow...better than consumer reports!

tekniklr writes:
Collects just the negative reviews for products on Amazon, and tells you how much (and why) they suck.

archangel77 writes:
This page generates suckage graphs from the ratings at

mohammadi writes:
Seems useful whenever want to buy a new gadget/software/game ...

And my personal favorite, by adirondacks:
Uh, oh. A negative review scraper. Things could get ugly. I can't wait to see a travel version.

HiS in Consumerist

HiS was featured in The Consumerist today! Lots of good comments too (including a few people who couldn't see the mouseovers... hm, sounds like a cross-browser compatibility issue that needs to be investigated).