Monday, Mar. 07, 2011

The Consumerist

The Consumerist's followers love to complain. Each of the consumer-advocacy blog's posts is inevitably greeted with dozens if not hundreds of comments from agitated us-against-them readers eager to bitch about Best Buy's questionable buy-back policies, the latest fee introduced by Bank of America or any move made by the site's favorite punching bag, Comcast. Consumerist readers even gripe about the Consumerist: since 2009, when the website (tagline: "Shoppers bite back") cut ties with Nick Denton's edgy, gossip-heavy Gawker Media and came under the control of the dowdy nonprofit Consumers Union — the same folks who run grandma-favorite Consumer Reports — the regular kvetch among commenters has been that the Consumerist lost its bite.

Even if that's partly true, the site, which doesn't allow any outside advertising, hosts an enormously popular annual March Madness–like "Worst Company in America" tournament (2010 winner: Comcast), features headlines like "Who Sucks the Most: AT&T or Verizon?" and still has plenty of attitude left. What's more, with its boring but respectable owners, the Consumerist now draws more attention — editors have appeared on 60 Minutes and the Today show — and the companies being complained about by the muckraking masses have no choice but to listen.