How important are online reviews? Are they real?
Online reviews are something that can be important, but they’re all over the board for most products. Having spent 25 years in vinyl window manufacturing in quality control I know most reviews are:
1. manipulated by an interested party
2. based on installation and product
An example of the former is many manufacturers have an employee address all negative reviews. It’s never clear that the person works for or has an interest in the promotion of that specific brand of windows.
An example of the latter is some national companies use a cheap window and sell it for a cheap price. They buy that window from a manufacturer that has five plants and produces both low end and high end products. Persons selling against the high end offering will use the reviews on the lower end product to confuse the homeowner.
What’s a homeowner to do?
We take the Shakespearean approach: Believe nothing you hear, one-half of what you see.
On reviews, if you know the review organization has a strict review authentication program, example, Angie’s List, then you can probably trust the reviews. Someone can place a Google review without ever knowing or seeing the company and it can’t be removed. It can only be answered.
It’s all in the Numbers!
The US government created testing standards so consumers can objectively compare windows and doors and not rely on opinions. There is thermal testing and structural testing.
Alside is one of the vinyl manufacturers LEGACY Window and Door represent. I also sell Simonton (this is where I worked) and Polaris. On wood windows we sell Andersen, Jeld Wen and Pella.
Alside is a large vinyl manufacturer with 5 plants in the USA. They offer 7 different windows. At LEGACY we represent the Mezzo series. This line was introduced in late 2014 and is a major upgrade in quality and look for Alside.
However most of Alside reviews focus on their lower end windows, not the Mezzo. Review cross over is used here to confuse the homeowner and degrade the Alside offering. Note Alside has 100 service centers in the USA and is one of the few manufacturers to offer field service.
The Polaris Ultra Weld and the Simonton 5500 have universally great reviews. With Alside you will find reviews all over the board.
Interestingly from our perspective, their is no difference on service issues.