Monday, September 12, 2011

October 12 - Editors Choice PC Magazine – The Wisdom of Crowds

Neil Rubenking from PC Magazine has named his Editors Choice awards for best Free Antivirus 2012, paid best Antivirus 2012 and best Internet Security Suites 2012 solutions.

• Free Antivirus – AVG Free Anti-Virus 2012, AVG Technologies
• Paid Antivirus – Norton Antivirus 2012, Symantec
• Paid Antivirus – Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012
• Internet Security – Norton Internet Security 2012, Symantec

To see PC Magazine’s rankings of the Best Antivirus 2012 and Best Internet Security 2012 solutions, go to and respectively . Additions will be made to these sites.

Go to,2817,2392456,00.asp for the Norton Internet Security review.

Go to,2817,2393678,00.asp for the Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus review.

An ouch for AVG Technologies is a false positive in the latest VB100 tests from Virus Bulletin. . Nice streak of 21 VB100 awards in a row prior to the August test, though.

Wisdom of Crowds - James Surowiecki – You Have to Remember the Conditions

“The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations” is a great book written by James Surowiecki. In the book, he argues that “under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them."

This may work for crowds designing internet search engines, guessing the weight of a wild boar, or guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar. It may not work for selecting the best antivirus or internet security solution. There are four conditions from Surowiecki not mentioned by people for this to work. The “wise” crowds need:

(1) diversity of opinion
(2) independence of members from one another
(3) decentralization
(4) a good method for aggregating opinions

Fan pages on internet security solution providers don’t represent a diversity opinion in selecting a “best internet security solution” or "best antivirus solution". Gazillions of the fans have never met a like button they wouldn’t push. They’ve self selected onto a fan page. You could argue that they are decentralized. However, they are receiving constant reinforcement from their fellow Facebook friends on the wisdom of their decisions. Avoiding buyer’s remorse is another topic. Internet surveys on voting for the best solution are a popularity contest with people able to “dial in” multiple times.

In the end, should one need surgery, want advice on an automobile, or want advice on the best internet security, it may be best to rely on the wisdom of a relative few qualified pundits who are given free reign to express their opinions. Web sites that list “Top 10 Somethings” may not be the most objective if participation requires pay to play.

Another great book – “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer.

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