CEviews presents a fresh, noncommercial slant to the familiar reviews-and-ratings site. It features balanced customer reviews of consumer electronics and closely related products. For example, a digital camera review would be followed by mini-reviews by others who have used that product; or it could be a book review, or that of a carrying case for a camera.

CEviews is the brainchild of Ash Nallawalla, a digital marketing consultant to several well-known global brands and a freelance columnist for Australian Personal Computer magazine. Having spent nearly 30 years volunteering in and running computer user groups, he has been thinking of a 21st-century equivalent for them.

The traditional user group model peaked in the late 1990s, by which time most manufacturers had built fairly useful websites and online tech support mechanisms such as bulletin boards and Usenet newsgroups. The big search engines matured. Third-party help mechanisms also emerged, in the form of forums and Google/Yahoo/Microsoft newsgroups.

This trend continues in the Oughties, with no end in sight, with new forms of social networking such as MySpace, Facebook, specialist blogs, Twitter etc. They make it easier for users to get answers quickly, sometimes within minutes. Computing is no longer limited to desktop PCs – smart phones, digital cameras, camcorders, GPS navigators, laptops, etc are all computers in one form or another.

Hundreds of traditional user groups have closed, or are in steep decline. Rather than continuing his 20-year involvement with the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (an umbrella body that serves traditional user groups), Ash has come up with the concept of “CEviews” – consumer electronics reviews as an “un-user-group”. It has no governing board, no committees, no elections, no voting, and best of all, no subscription fees.

CEviews is not a replacement for existing user groups. Instead, it is just a website with a community feel. It will appeal to 20-year-olds just as much as 80-year-olds. A discussion forum is available through its Facebook page, but if justified, an industrial-strength forum might be installed here.

Anyone can register and submit a fair and accurate review, positive or otherwise. Reviewers have the option to add an affiliate link to the product being reviewed. A suitable disclaimer is generated automatically, so that the reader can make an informed assessment of the reviews and ratings.

Please participate here. The more, the merrier.

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