How To Properly Utilize Anti-Virus Software Reviews

As with several of my blog posts, this post is derived from my experiences providing volunteer support on AVG Technologies’ Facebook Community. Recently, I’ve noticed that some people, most notably a trolling community member who would return to post the same content each day, have started posting reviews and ranking lists of AV products from blogs as evidence that AVG is superior or inferior to other products.

Of course that same troll did bring us "AVG SOCKS!!!", so we can't really stay mad at him.

There are a couple of problems with this logic though.

  1. First of all, these are not necessarily reliable sources. It’s just some guy and his blog. There is no editorial oversight, there is no rigorous fact checking. These are not sources that you could turn in even to support your 8th grade essays, there’s a reason for that.
  2. Bloggers are people too. They are influenced by their own biases. A review or a product comparison is just the opinion of the person reviewing/comparing. The reviews will focus on the aspects that are important to them. They may focus on things that matter to them, but not to you. In the case of product comparisons, they may (even without knowing it) root a little too hard for their personal favorite product to get the top spot in the rankings (the very reason that I don’t do reviews on this blog, I have a bias, so it’s of little value to my readers.)
  3. Many of these people mean well and try hard, but have no idea what they’re doing. I touched on this in point one, but there’s no oversight. If these guys get something wrong or make a mistake (which from what I’ve seen happens quite frequently) then you don’t get the full picture of the product being reviewed, and that does you a disservice as a consumer relying on this source for accurate and unbiased information.
  4. In the case of YouTube videos of guys “testing” AV software, there is no utilizing the scientific method, a lack of testing standards (such as failing to use the same hardware and software environment, set of malware, etc to test each product), tests which don’t represent real world applications of the product, “It’s great that you can show me how this product would hold up in your controlled lab testing environment. It’s not so great that the controlled environment you created does not represent real world methods for how computers become infected, and therefore means nothing outside of your controlled experiment,” and generally a lack of common sense altogether.

I’m sure I could take this further, but those are personally my biggest issues with the logic of “I read this product sucks at *insert unknown, unemployed basement dweller’s blog*, so it must be true! They have tests and everything!”

So, where does this leave you as a consumer looking for information on what product to choose? Well, here are a few more points to consider.
  • Online reviews and comparisons can have value, but be sure to look at a large sampling to weed out inconsistencies and/or false claims. If you see something that doesn’t pop up often in reviews, or seems inconsistent, but is still a deal breaker for you, then try doing a bit of research to verify the claims in the reviews before making a decision.
  • Whatever you do, don’t base your entire decision off one bad (or good) review. Understand that no matter how great something is, there will always be someone out there that it didn’t work for, or that it didn’t meet their expectations (or in many cases, they misused it and therefore didn’t get the desired affect from, but I digress), and even beyond that some companies pay individuals to pose as unaffiliated consumers online, to either boost the reputation of their own products, or decimate the reputations of their competitors, so you can’t just base your entire decision off what one person has to say. Like any data set, this information only has value when it is analyzed as a whole, giving you a full picture of what you’re really looking at.
  • My top suggesting for figuring out if a product works well for you or not, is to try it for yourself. Nothing you read elsewhere is worth your own personal experiences with a product. You can’t please everyone, so someone will always have something bad to say about anything, rather than basing your opinion off of what someone else tells you to think, try out the product for yourself, and decide if it works well for you based on your own opinion. Luckily with AVG you have the option of free trials or even a completely free version to decide if you like it before you buy!

This advice can serve you well beyond just choosing an Anti-Virus product like AVG, much of it applies to any buying decision you might base off of unverifiable reviews, comparisons, and other opinions.


2 Responses to How To Properly Utilize Anti-Virus Software Reviews

  1. Be Free says:

    I read your comment. But do you know exactly why they are doing these kind of testing job by wasting their time. I am not targeting a particular one. Everybody is like this. I have said this because I have evidence from an antivirus company. You are always thinking that I am a fool and writing foolish things. Sometimes truth will not be accepted by everybody.
    You are selected as a VIP on AVG so you will always with AVG. But I didn’t say about AVG except they are providing 3rd party license. It is OK, because a word of Antivirus provider cannot be trusted by a user. So they accept the words of Testing organizations. So to verify their product they are Giving money to testing organization and these are they sources of income of Do you have any other idea about this?

    • Zachary says:

      Actually I didn’t outright disagree with you. I just said that your argument doesn’t hold much weight without some solid proof to back it up. You were very general in your post.

      I was not “selected” as an AVG Community VIP, actually. It’s not like winning the lottery, or as if we hold an election. I earned that title after months of helping people who had problems resolve them on the AVG page. I’ve helped over a thousand people in the last year and 9 months, expecting nothing in return. I am not a supporter of AVG because I was awarded AVG Community VIP status. There wasn’t even an AVG Community Award program before I started helping people on the AVG page, I did this to help people, there were no rewards offered when I started. I am a supporter of AVG because I have used it since AVG 7.5, and have always been pleased with it. I tried out many different programs, and in the end, I came back to AVG, because I genuinely thought it was the best. There is no other reason that I would trust AVG to protect my computer, my friends and family’s computer, and my client’s computers. I stake my reputation, both personally and professionally, on my recommendation to use AVG, and it’s not because anyone offered me an incentive to. There is no incentive great enough for me to stake my reputation on. I support AVG because in my experiences, it is the best anti-virus solution on the market.

      Furthermore, I didn’t disagree with you because of my affiliation with AVG. As you said, your post had nothing to do with AVG. Believe it or not, I’m an intelligent human being, with thoughts and feelings that extend beyond AVG, and my opinions are my own. If I feel compelled to share them with you, or anyone else, I will do so. I don’t think I’ve written anything foolish in response to your ridiculous and inflammatory posts. If you thought my comments were so foolish, I would not think you would spend so much time and effort in responding to them. 😉

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