This is a very quick and DIRTY hack I use when I need to deciding if I should try something or not. Most of the time this is to with some sort of software or service related, but I it can also be used for anything.

Below is a quick step by step of my question of:

Should I use Magento for a e-commerce project and what alternatives are there?

Step 1: Ask Google about Competitors

So I am interested in Magento, who is their biggest competition?

First, to make sure the result from Google isn’t effected by my Google Personalisation Search, Open up Chrome as  InCognito Window or Firefox in Start Private Browsing and just type in: Magento vs

Google will automatically show which other platform is most search along with Magento.  This along with Magento creates my first shortlist

Step 2. Does it do what you need?

Now you need to do a tiny bit of reading and find out if each of these platforms does the job you need them to do, My criterias are fairly simple.

    1. Open Source
    2. Designed for E-commerce
    3. Has Documentation / instructions

So now I would go to each platform’s homepage and scan for those key words. Anyone that doesn’t have those keywords automatically get removed from the list, which now looks like this:

    • Magento
    • Opencart
    • osCommerce

Step 3: Does it Suck?

Simply put, I would like to know how much people has been complaining about each of these platform. So I would type in each of the platform’s name followed by the word Sucks. Don’t forget to add the quotation marks for exact search

    • “Magento Sucks”: 3560 results
    • “Opencart Sucks”: 391 results
    • “osCommerce Sucks”: 349 results

Not looking good for Magento right? But don’t knock it just yet!

Step 4: Is there Love

Just because something is getting hate doesn’t mean it’s bad. Maybe it’s just been around for a long time and therefore get a lot more attention. Which is why we need to look at how many results there are for Love too, again with quotation marks.

    • “Love Magento”: 9,230 results
    • “Love Opencart”: 3,380 results
    • “Love osCommerce”: 1,320 results

Now we can see Magento get a lot of love too, so maybe it isn’t so bad?

Step 5: Compare

Now for a small amount of number crunching to balance out how how long each of these platform has existed. All you got to do is divide the Number of Love (Step 4) by the Number of Sucks (Step 3) for each platform. The higher the end number the better it is.

Number Love / Number of Sucks = Overall love

    • Magento Score: 9230 / 2560 = 3.6
    • Opencart: 3380 / 391 = 8.6
    • osCommerce: 1320 / 349 = 3.0


The clear winner seems to OPENCART, so that would be the platform I try first. I say try because there’s no way of really knowing if something is suitable until you get into it. This is just a quick and DIRTY trick to filter out the platforms that sucked more. Number of Love could be effected by the amount of money that company is willing to spend on SEO and paid articles and one single very unhappy user might have posted something sucks a hundred times on different websites. So try this method in your own risk

There’s plenty more you can do to get better results, here’s a few ideas:

  • Use different phases for additional love result, such as “Opencart Rocks” and “Opencart Rules”
  • Use different phases for additional sucks result, such as “Don’t use Opencart” and “Opencart is the devil”
  • Use other search engines. I think there’s a little company call Microsoft that does Bing and  Yahoo!
  • Twitter Sentiment, websites like Tweet Archive can provide data on #hashtag tweets for terms like #htcSucks
Do you have similar tricks? Drop us a line below



About Chi Wai LI

Happily accept I'm a #geek but hate to sit still all day. Digital Creative and Founder of #HongKong