In 2004, Expo TV launched its initial website and video on-demand service. But by March 2005, it had expanded into digital cable and began its 24/7 television channel devoted solely to product reviews, purchasing tips, and consumer reports. Smaller mainstream companies like Bare Minerals and About.com began to broker deals for their products’ visibility on the channel. Cable providers like Adelphia Communications saw the network as a profitable opportunity to advertise products without having to sell traditional commercial time, since the sponsored product reviews are mixed with the unsolicited reviews which are usually sent in by viewers (consumer reports in the truest sense of the phrase).
While Expo TV’s television network combines original programming with videopinions (reports recorded and submitted by pleased and disgruntled consumers), the website’s content focuses entirely on videopinions submitted by members. The categories range from Arts & Crafts, Baby & Kids, Health & Wellness and Clothing & Accessories to Cars, Office Products, Toys & Games, and Video Games & Players, and the ubiquitous Everything Else. Each category has several subcategories, which all contain an abundance of user-submitted videopinions, usually involving webcams with little range to their amateur qualiy. There isn’t anything you can’t find criticized or vaunted here, though the site is at its best when discussing items you can physically use like cars, exercise equipment, and electronics, so you can see them in action. It’s pointless to watch one video review of an album or a novel when you can go to almost any other retail website and find 20 to 50 written reviews of arguably better quality. Expo TV also has a forum for member feedback about the site, a blog for the Expo staff members to write their own product suggestions
If you’re looking to purchase any consumer product, the videos here are worth checking out. More so than with written reviews, you really get the feeling that the reviewer was sincere (keep in mind they did go through the added effort of filming themselves to share his/her opinion) and you can easily gauge his/her credibility if he/she does or doesn’t perform a demo with the product to illustrate his/her point.