Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


System Mechanic? Fishy reviews give it the boot

May 1, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

I've enjoyed Iolo's System Mechanic software, which fixes many of the infirmaties of Windows, for a couple of years. As a reviewer myself, I usually pay little attention to reports others give. They tend to influence me subconsciously, something I try to avoid.

But something looked fishy when I happened upon some search results regarding System Mechanic. I wanted to check what others were saying about some of the new features of System Mechanic and was greatly surprised to see warning flags on the listings for some of the sites brought up by the search.

The warnings came from the Web of Trust, an almost essential tool that warns you when your browser might stray onto a dangerous, deceptive or malicious website. (Search Google for WEB OF TRUST to find the free plugin for your browser.)

I left my Windows PC and opened those red-ringed sites on my iPad, which, so far at least, is immune to malicious intent. I was dismayed to see fake reviews and fake comparisons involving System Mechanic.

By "fake" I mean reviews intentionally designed to deceive you. When I write reviews, I'm trying to help you, but if I were paid by Company X to tout its products over all its competitors' offerings, regardless of the facts, I would be writing a fake review. Seeing one fishy review would be suspicious; seeing a lot of them is a different matter entirely. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck … you know what I mean.

I'm not going to try to determine if Iolo set up those fishy reviews. It's hard to imagine otherwise, but you and I have better things to do than chase down this kind of nonsense.

What we can do, and what I recommend, is to vote with your keyboard. Don't buy products that are hawked that way. Don't reward that kind of behavior. There are other good Windows fix-up utilities. I'll review two of them next week.