Greetings from the war room. It’s mid-August and we’re fully immersed in another RV season here at RVReviews.net. As usual, rumors and conspiracy theories about defects and wonky engines are starting to make the rounds and the RV buying public is becoming a bit paranoid about who to trust. Every day we get e-mails from panicky people awash with indecision and mired in conflicting reports about the same RV.
One of the emerging problems with the internet is that is now has TOO MUCH information. Let’s say you’ve settled on a specific motorhome, the 2017 Megalodon 235RL from Kommander Koach, for example. (Don’t search for it. Fake name, fake model; used exclusively as an example.) An initial search at your keyboard produces a few comments that extol the quiet but ample power of the engine and the comfort of the beds. The fine folks at Kommander Koach, one happy camper gushes, were a delight to work with -and even had balloons for the kids. A few owners report that MPG is better than advertised.
Encouraged, you scroll down a bit and read another comment. Oddly, this one refers to an engineering flaw with the Megalodon that sometimes causes the slide-outs to jump their tracks and eject themselves during travel, not unlike a paratrooper leaping from a plane. One owner even posts the GPS location where his own slide-out was last seen (in his rearview mirror), cartwheeling its way across three lanes of traffic before disappearing over a guard rail. If found, he’d appreciate an update on the final resting place. His iPad was in there.
The more you read, the more confused you get. Some owners love their Megalodon, but just as many others are so angry at Kommander Koach they apparently can’t be bothered with punctuation or spelling in their comments. One level beyond that are the people who feel compelled to share their experience in ALL CAPS. They don’t voice their displeasure, they SHOUT IT!
Half an hour later you slump back in your chair, overwhelmed and consumed with doubt. How can a single RV be both highly recommended and widely reviled? Wouldn’t common sense imply it can only be one and not the other? And how can two new owners of an identical RV have completely different experiences as owners? Who do you trust?
Before the internet, the RV buying public often bought blindly and based their decision on the glossy brochures from the manufacturer and the input from their local RV dealer. Now, we’ve swung the other way. Buyers are being flooded with information –alas, much of it is contradictory and either unintentionally -or purposely- misleading. As a tool for the masses, the internet has given everyone a voice (at least in this country), and a place to use it. On one level that’s a great thing. On another level, it’s really not. Giving everyonea voice has shown just how many fools there are among us.
Not true, you say? Indulge me for a moment, if you will. We’re going to leap across the Atlantic to Jolly Old England for a brief visit to London’s Hyde Park –specifically, to a large open plaza known as Speakers’ Corner. Here, for almost 200 hundred years, anyone with a beef or strong opinion is welcome to mount their own soapbox and discourse at length without fear of censorship or arrest. This being Britain, profanity is the only verbal offense not tolerated.
Long popular with camera-toting tourists, Speakers’ Corner hosts an unending parade of conspiracy theorists, nut jobs, fringe lunatics, as well as plenty of legitimate speakers, knowledgeable and persuasive lecturers and not a few comedians. Initially entertaining, after ten or fifteen minutes most spectators have seen (and heard) enough. Too many voices and opinions shouting to be heard, and too many angry (and possibly unbalanced) people insisting they alone know the truth.
Why this sudden swerve in to popular tourist destinations of London, you wonder? Because –and I’ll bet quite a few of you already know where I’m going with this- the internet today is the modern version of Speakers’ Corner. Think about it: everyone talking at once and everyone convinced they are right. Credentials (or even knowledge) are not required to state your case, and there is no vetting process for anyone. An esteemed academic is given the same stage as a guy in a tinfoil hat. And this is the problem with reading comments from the public online. The written word can be persuasive and misleading –but you can’t be sure about the source. At least at Speakers’ Corner you can assess the person speaking. Online everyone has a voice, but it’s not so easy to tell which of us are wearing tin foil hats.
In a nutshell, take your online searches with a grain of salt. Read everything you can about an RV you’re interested in, but expect to read a lot of nonsense or biased propaganda. Learning to sift the gold from the gravel is a skill and an art form. Also, if I may be so bold, consider the RV comparison guides from RVReviews.net. For fifteen years now we’ve been reviewing RVs and their manufacturers for the buying public. Proudly independent, we NEVER accept financial payment, gifts, or gratuities from ANY manufacturer or dealer. EVER.
We’re aware that we are one of many here at Speakers’ Corner, but we’ve helped thousands and thousands of readers just like you to find the best RV for them –at the best price. And that should count for something. The fact that I’m not wearing a tin foil hat doesn’t hurt either.
Check those tire pressures, everyone. Your tires will last longer and your RV will handle like it should.