again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative
online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.
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
"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.
are a wide variety of topics that consumers want to talk about online, but
Popken described the typical issue this way:
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
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.
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."
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
the link to this and more than 200 other
Websites of the Week.