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Black Friday: Why Reddit is such a trusted product review site

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Black Friday: Why Reddit is such a trusted product review site

Do you know how many different high-quality yet affordable 4K TVs there are out there? Do you know, based on thousands of reviews across dozens of websites, how unnervingly difficult it is to tell them apart and pick the right one to serve as the centerpiece of your shoebox-size New York City apartment?

I do. With Black Friday approaching, it’s finally time to upgrade my home entertainment situation, and although I was once a professional TV reviewer, I’m not up to date on the latest models and features. Unfortunately, the internet is mostly full of terrible advice.

Many of the reviews on shopping sites these days can be both convincing and, thanks to advances in AI composition, actually written by bots. Others seem too glowing to be real. Even professional review sites, like Consumer Reports or Wirecutter, don’t feel particularly authoritative anymore.

And these problems affect more than just TV shoppers.

Whether you’re looking for a new TV or the best bagel in Brooklyn, you’re bound to come across online reviews, and it’s hard to find something that feels trustworthy. There are a lot of reasons why this is true, and it doesn’t look like the situation will get any better soon. Despite regulators and tech platforms’ best efforts, the billion-dollar fake reviews industry is too big and complex to stop, as the New York Times reported this week.

Meanwhile, professional review sites aren’t as useful as they used to be. More and more of them seem like they’re chasing search words and affiliate marketing revenue rather than serving the readers’ best interests. (Affiliate marketing represents the special links to buy a product in a review, which give the media company a commission when the reader clicks through and purchases that thing. Vox Media, which owns Vox, does this, as do many other media companies, including the New York Times.)

So in an absence of authenticity and authority, where does an industrious internet user turn? Reddit, of course.

Sometimes known by its old slogan “the front page of the internet,” Reddit is most valuable for the knowledge collected in its very specific, often obsessive communities called subreddits. This is where you’ll find lots of real people with helpful things to say about the stuff you’re thinking about buying or the bagels you’re considering eating. And it doesn’t take much to tap into the Reddit hivemind. Just try tacking “reddit” onto the end of a Google query (e.g., “best white noise machine reddit”). You’ll quickly find quite a few other internet users with the same question, dealing with the same set of frustrations over the lack of reliable information in the traditional product reviews ecosystem.

In case you have any doubts about how hard it is to find reliable reviews, try Googling “best 4K TV.” On the results page, you’ll likely find a list of lists, some of which come from big-box retailers like Best Buy and others from professional review sites, including editorial sites like Wirecutter. The reviews on most of them, one could argue, are effectively ads within ads, since the companies reviewing the products are also getting paid for recommending them, through affiliate links. (As someone who spent the better part of a decade reviewing gadgets online, I will admit that tech journalists often do their best to offer good recommendations, but the digital media business inevitably rewards the sites that win Google search results and convert clicks into purchases.)

Now, if you narrow down those results by searching “best 4K TV reddit,” you’ll find a long list of discussions about different TVs. You’ll also see that there’s a specific subreddit called r/4kTV, which is a treasure trove of knowledge based on real people’s experiences, including advice on what to buy and what to avoid. There are plenty of links to more information or worthwhile reviews.

It takes a bit more work to wade through all of the Reddit threads, but you can also feel confident that the person giving you the advice doesn’t have a financial incentive to point you one way or the other. They just really, really, really care about 4K TVs.

For my time and attention, Reddit is the best place to get help when I’m trying to buy stuff, especially if it’s something I don’t know a lot about. If I’m looking for a new kitchen knife, I can dive into r/chefknives. When I debated the merits of the latest Dyson model, the kind folks in r/vacuumcleaners told me everything I needed to know. I actually spent hours on r/goodyearwelt figuring out which leather boots I could polish and resole again and again.

Subreddits like these are very specific, which is the point. They’re run by enthusiasts with deep knowledge of footwear or home appliances or whatever, and they’re willing to share that information for free. If you can’t find what you’re looking for by searching a subreddit, you can also just ask in a post and wait for thoughtful answers to show up in the comments.

This seems like pretty rudimentary advice, and that’s the beauty of it. Today, Reddit still manages to function the way we’d hoped the social web would when it was born nearly 20 years ago. It’s a dynamic online gathering place, one that’s not so obviously consumed by maximizing profits as, say, Instagram is these days. Real people are sharing information without thinking of ads or affiliate links, while other real people are moderating the discussion and promoting the most useful tips to the top.

Of course, Reddit is not the only place online where you’ll find websites full of people sharing tips. You can find countless forums where communities nerd out about things they’re interested in. If you’re a bike person, you’ll find some interesting stuff on r/bikes, for example, but you could get lost for days in the minutiae of Bike Forums. The big difference between specialist forums like that and Reddit is a mix of size — Reddit is one of the most visited sites online — and SEO. Because Reddit is so big and its archives go back so far, you can easily Google just about any question plus “reddit” on the end and find a decent result, in a way that is more difficult in other forums.

Give it a shot. Don’t be surprised if you get sucked in and end up joining a community for frugal audiophiles or one for antique coin enthusiasts — or both. I did.

A version of this story was also published in the Vox Technology newsletter. Sign up here so you don’t miss the next one!

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Growing businesses around the world rely on traveling salespeople and representatives to fuel expansion. For those in the accounting department who are trying to make enough room for airline ticket budgeting, you can do them a lot of favors by hooking up yourself or a team member with this special deal.

Through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790). This deal gets you indefinite access to OneAir’s deals on business, first, premium, and economy class flights to and from destinations of your choosing and interest. These deals include mistake fares and advantageously priced ones that happen to pop up.

OneAir’s platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to scan the web around the clock for deals so that they are ready for your team when someone needs to hit the road. In addition to getting to choose up to 10 departure airports with deals, Elite users can also take advantage of OneAir’s one-on-one business and first-class planning support.

Conveniently, the OneAir Mobile App lets you access these deals, book trips, and complete bookings all in one place. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

One recent user, Ashok, who saved $1,080 on flights using OneAir, wrote, “I am so pleased with my decision to sign up with OneAir! Just booked a super cheap flight deal to Vancouver along with 5 nights of hotel stays.”

Remember that only through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson's voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? OpenAI has since paused the “Sky” voice feature, but Johansson argues that this is no coincidence. In response, Johansson delivers a masterclass for entrepreneurs on navigating the AI era successfully.

In today’s discussion, we delve into what this controversy means for business owners, highlighting five critical AI strategies they must deploy. We also explore essential methods to protect your intellectual property and leverage AI for a competitive edge—insights vital for keeping your venture ahead in the AI revolution to remain your competitive advantage.

Take the AI skills quiz here (available for a limited time) and equip yourself with practical knowledge by grabbing a copy of my new book, ‘The Wolf is at the Door – How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.’

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

More people are starting businesses now than ever before — and the reason could be that the opportunity cost, or what they have to give up in exchange for entrepreneurship, is lower than ever.

Data that the U.S. Census Bureau released earlier this month shows that the total number of applications to start businesses hit a record 5.5 million last year.

That’s half a million more applications than what was filed in 2022.

Related: Here’s What Millions of Small Businesses Have in Common, According to a New Survey

Census Bureau data from the first four months of this year show that the startup boom is still going strong, too — from January through April, the number of new business applications totaled over 1.7 million.

Why are more people filing to start new businesses?

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee told Entrepreneur that the reason could be the “unprecedented number of layoffs from big tech companies in the last several years, resulting in a large pool of talent freed up to pursue entrepreneurship.”

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee (left) and Co-Founder of Plum Alley Investments Andrea Turner Moffitt (right). Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Lee, the director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, also noted that “entrepreneurship has historically been counter-cyclical because the opportunity cost to start a company goes down during a recession.”

Related: Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

Big tech companies have been laying off employees in record numbers in recent years.

Tech layoffs last year affected 263,180 employees globally according to tracker Layoffs.fyi.

Amazon laid off the most people (27,410) last year, but Meta (21,000), Google (12,115) and Microsoft (11,158) also contributed to record numbers.

The unemployment rate has remained stable, in the 3.7% to 3.9% range in the U.S. over the past nine months, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.

Related: ‘The Employment Situation’ Report for April Shows Employers Are Taking Hiring Down a Notch, Employee Wage Growth Slowing

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