Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.
This week, a site that is an outgrowth of the consumer culture, which is so much a part of the American economy, where we buy a lot of goods and services, and where we sometimes think we're not getting the value we deserve for our purchases.
"Consumerist.com is a daily blog that is dedicated to empowering, informing and entertaining the everyday consumer as he navigates the murky and bloody waters of the marketplace," says Ben Popken, editor of Consumerist.com, where buyers of products and services bring their complaints and post them online.
There are a wide variety of topics that consumers want to talk about online, but Popken described the typical issue this way:
"The basic formula for a lot of the complaints is: I bought something from the company, the good or service wasn't up to the standard that I expected, and when I contacted them, they didn't care. And that happens over and over again."
And if that's the typical complaint, the classic example was the user who tried to cancel his account with AOL, at one time America's largest Internet service provider. The company was notorious for making it difficult for subscribers to cancel, so one persistent customer recorded a frustrating 20-minute conversation with AOL. Consumerist.com posted it online, prompting the company to change its policies.
"So after we posted that," Popken said, "it very quickly went viral, and it ended up fast-tracking AOL's — basically disintegrating the subscription-based service they had been known for and making them a lot more responsive to peoples' requests to cancel their account."
Consumerist.com also includes a variety of consumer news, including notable bargains every day and, more often in this economy, news of retail chain businesses reducing operations or shutting down entirely.
out a different side of American consumer culture at Consumerist.com, or get
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