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We Don't Want Your Reviews: Why NOT to Send Your Fans to SR for Reviews

February 26, 2015 // In SR Help // By is NOT a popularity contest.  It doesn’t matter how many die-hard fans you have on your test team, or how well your facebook marketing campaign is going.  The only thing that matters is the quality of your products.  We are dedicated to providing the most honest, unbiased and thorough reviews on SR, and this is why we ask company representatives NOT to send their fans to review them.


You might be thinking “hey, isn’t that kinda like free exposure and content for SR?  Why wouldn’t you want that?”  We understand we’re making a small sacrifice, but there are simply too many side effects of allowing this to happen.  Here’s why:


1. Selection Bias


The first thing you learn in statistics 101 is importance of having a random sample.  Without that fundamental principle in place, everything you do with the data you collect becomes a complete waste of time.


Wikipedia defines selection bias as:

Selection bias refers to the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis such that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed.


Sending only your loyal fans to post reviews on your product is the definition of selection bias.  We appreciate that you wanted to promote our site to your fans, but we kindly ask that you do not encourage them to post reviews on your products.


Sadly, many company reps still choose to ignore our polite request and flood our site with low-quality, one-hitter-quitter reviews for their products.  We have a few methods in place to prevent them from ever seeing the light of day.


Defense #1: Manual Review Approval


All new reviews that are submitted must be manually approved by 3 of our top members before they are published on the site.  Our members are keen on review trends and can easily spot when loyal fans are posting reviews that a company rep asked them to.  These reviews are flagged and disapproved, never making it to public viewing.  


The authors are then required to “prove” themselves on SR by writing quality reviews for other products before they can re-submit the original review.  Most never bother, validating our theory that they had never intended to become long-term, established contributors to our site anyway.


Defense #2: Member Trust and Weighted Averages


Even if a bias review slips through the cracks, it won’t count towards a product’s overall score.  All new members start out at 0% Trust.  The Member Trust % is used to determine how heavily we weight each members’ reviews.  With a trust of 0%, your reviews don’t count at all towards the product average.


In order to increase Member Trust %, a new member must stick around and participate on our site.  This means posting several reviews that are well-received by our community, engaging other members on the forum, discussing other’s reviews, etc.  


Someone who signs up, posts a single review and then never comes back will have a Member Trust of 0%.  Their data point is effectively ignored by our scoring algorithm, so it does you no good as a company rep to have them post a review anyway.


Defense #3: Expert Reviewer Team


One of the reasons a company will send their army of fans to post reviews here is because they don’t have any reviews yet.  This sounds like a great idea until you realize that this will create a selection bias on 100% of the sample.


Fortunately, there is a way to get reviewed without having to resort to backdoor methods.  You can get your product in the hands of our Expert Reviewer team (for free) and they will write you a quality, unbiased and very thorough review.



2.  Review quality is lower.


Take it from someone who has read every single review on this site: reviewers who were sent by a rep to post reviews typically write lower-quality reviews, fail to list any negatives about the product and rate the product much higher than reviewers who were not sent by a rep.  It’s no wonder that our manual approval process will weed out most of these reviews.


Even if the rep explicitly asked for an “honest review”, we still see the same bias come through.  This type of review can be spotted from a mile away and completely compromise the integrity of our community’s trust.  Readers who see low-quality reviews published on our site will lose faith in us.  We work really hard to maintain our trusted status, and allowing low-quality reviews to be seen on our site is a huge step in the wrong direction.


3.  Our community members take it personally.


We have a lot of dedicated men and women on SR.  They are aware of the shady business that goes on in the industry, and have spent a lot of time contributing to a site they call their own.  They are passionate about keeping the site honest and get offended when they see outsiders try to manipulate something they have worked so hard on.


As the site administrator, I have very little control over how our community members receive your brand.  I can only give you advice on how to engage our community and hope that you decide to follow it.


4.  Incentivized reviews are not allowed.  Even if the incentive is karma.


We very strictly forbid incentivized reviews.  All too often, we see company reps promote:

Leave us a review on SR and be entered to win a free month supply of product X!

Send us a link to your review on SR and get a 5% discount code!


The bias in the previous examples is obvious, and it is easy for anyone to see why we don’t allow these reviews on our site.  But what about the incentive of “doing someone a favor”?


This intrinsic incentive is arguably far greater and more powerful than any physical one.  Since you aren’t getting something tangible in return, the value of your “favor” is now determined by your review.  10/10 = big favor.  7/10 = not as big of a favor.  0/10 = opposite of a favor.


So should we hide SR from our fans?


There are more reasons to share SR with your fans than to just leverage their reviewing powers.  You want to show that you are dedicated to customer satisfaction and transparency.  There is no better way than to proudly show your status on the most trusted source for unbiased product reviews.


Insteading of asking your fans a “favor”, you can give simply give them another reason to continue to trust and follow your brand by showing off your SR status.


Further Reading:


  • RichMyers
    Rep: +2,282
    February 26, 2015

    This is absolutely excellent.

  • Wolfhawk46
    Rep: +180
    February 27, 2015

    Ack, I just reviewed as being a great site. They do, however, have a section on their site listed as Coupons and Discounts. This section states that people can get a 5% discount by writing a review of their web site on this web site. This section clearly breaks #4 on your list. I figured you guys should know as I had no intent to write a review to receive 5% off. I found that coupon online without writing a review before my order. Too easy, plus 5% is pretty weak.

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