Ouch! That Hurt

Matt Lombard, the author of the SolidWorks Bible, today laments on the poor reviews on his book at Amazon.com. I feel for the guy. As a software developer I am often dished out the same treatment. People review my software and sometimes post ridiculous reviews and comments. Like Matt, I do not claim that my software is divine and free of shortcomings. However, I would welcome well informed constructive criticizm.

Some comments can be short and sweet like “Don’t buy. Does not work.”, or just “Horrible”. Thats it. No explanation as to what the problem was.

I remember an instance wherein some wise crack “tried” to use my HPGL plot file (.plt) import plug-in for AutoCAD. As luck would have it, the plt files he had were not HPGL plot files at all. They were some other plot files with a .plt extension. My software is designed to give a warning in such cases, which it did. This guy then contacted me and I explained that the problem was his plt files and not the software. Apparently he was so unhappy with my response that he went ahead and gave a horrible review at the portal where he downloaded my software from. And, by the way, he didn’t even buy the software to be entitled to a review.

However, I would also like to say that there are some good souls out there who sincerely want to help others make an informed decision, while at the same time, send a message to the author to improve his product.

But I guess, you have to take in your stride. Who said life was fair?

  • Anonymous

    Deelip,

    Thanks for the comments. I know I have given poor reviews of products, but I thought (and still think) that the product deserved what I had to say. I wish the folks who didn’t like the book had something at least accurate to say, something I could have learned from, but instead no good can come of it because the criticism was poorly informed. Thanks for commisserating a bit, though!
    -Matt

  • Anonymous

    Deelip,Thanks for the comments. I know I have given poor reviews of products, but I thought (and still think) that the product deserved what I had to say. I wish the folks who didn’t like the book had something at least accurate to say, something I could have learned from, but instead no good can come of it because the criticism was poorly informed. Thanks for commisserating a bit, though!-Matt

  • ralphg

    There is a perception that if you give a negative review you are somehow more knowledgeable about the product — perhaps because you appear to know about its shortcomings, which is more difficult than simply perroting the positive items that can be gleaned from marketing material.

    Other times, negative comments are the result of ignorance. One Amazon user panned my ‘AutoCAD Quick Reference’ book because it was missing the “DesignCenter” command. Well, the command is named “ADCenter” and was indeed in the book. Sigh.

    The good thing about Amazon is that the author can rebut the ill-informed comments with corrective comments.

  • ralphg

    There is a perception that if you give a negative review you are somehow more knowledgeable about the product — perhaps because you appear to know about its shortcomings, which is more difficult than simply perroting the positive items that can be gleaned from marketing material. Other times, negative comments are the result of ignorance. One Amazon user panned my ‘AutoCAD Quick Reference’ book because it was missing the “DesignCenter” command. Well, the command is named “ADCenter” and was indeed in the book. Sigh.The good thing about Amazon is that the author can rebut the ill-informed comments with corrective comments.