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Why is Still the Most Trustworthy Source for Reviews?

January 22, 2017 // In SR Help // By admin

It’s not a popularity contest.


These days, online reviews are everywhere.  From fake blogs to bogus news sites, Amazon to everyone has hopped on the review bandwagon.  This fad has raised the stakes for getting reviews, and brands are using every dirty trick in the book to accumulate as many as possible.  (Check out the Top Five Ways Brands get Fake Reviews)


Consumer trust in online reviews is at an all-time low, and for a good reason.  We estimate that about 1/3rd of the reviews submitted to our site are bogus.  (We say “submitted” because these reviews don’t actually get published).  While other sites are publishing every single review that gets submitted, SR takes a much closer look at each and every review in our system.


First off, we have a manageable amount of reviews to monitor.


At the time of writing, we have over 10,000 approved reviews.  In contrast, claims over 100,000 reviews and Amazon has 35,000,000.  When you have an unmoderated free-for-all, your data set turns into a popularity contest.  That’s not how we do things here on SR.


Every new review must be approved by 3 moderators.


There’s no “slipping a bogus review in” on SR.  Every new review is seen by at least 3 critical pairs of eyes BEFORE it is published to make sure they have written a thorough and convincing argument for or against the product.  


Here’s what our moderators are looking for when approving reviews:

  • Does the reviewer properly justify their rating with a detailed review?  We don’t care if you give a product 10/10 or 0/10 - as long as you can write a convincing argument why you felt that way.

  • Does the review has an obvious bias?  It’s easy to tell when someone is trying to sell you a product (eg: “The only side effect is explosive muscle gains”) and we don’t allow that kind of marketing-speak in our reviews.

  • Does the reviewer clearly demonstrate knowledge and experience in the supplement field?  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if this is your first time using supplements, we won’t publish your opinion on our website.


4 out of 5 reviews are rejected.


Most reviews do not actually meet our editorial guidelines.  The reviewer can’t just give their opinion, they need to explain WHY.  They need to prove their knowledge of supplements and experience in the gym.


The most common reasons for rejecting reviews are:

  • One or two sentence reviews that say nothing: “This product was the best!”

  • Clearly demonstrating that they know nothing about supplements: “I gained 15 pounds of muscle in one week with Soy Protein!”

  • Obvious bias: an undercover rep or member of a “Test Team” who is paid to flood the internet with reviews.

  • Didn’t finish the product: You can’t write a complete review without completing a full container.  We don’t accept reviews based on sample packs either.


Out of the accepted reviews, not all are seen as equal.


We don’t just take the average when calculating each products’ score.  We use a weighted average and take into account:

  • Age of reviews: Older reviews don’t carry as much weight as new reviews.

  • Member Trust: Reviews from established, reputable members count more than reviews from new and unproven members.

  • Number of Reviews: If a product has one review that is 10/10, that product does NOT automatically get a 10/10 overall score.  The fewer reviews, the more we dampen the overall score.


You can read more about our Weighted Averages for Overall Product Scores here.


We keep a close eye on industry Reps.


We take the time to investigate any reviews or accounts we find suspicious.  We use private data that we collect (IP addresses, email, etc) and can conclusively determine when a rep is trying to stuff the ballot - and it happens a lot: Check out our Hall of Shame.


We also have close relationships with many reps in the industry.  Reps have a massive incentive to participate in our Rep program.  If they sign up and play by the rules, they have access to extra features that allow them to get involved in a fair and transparent manner.  


We aren’t trying to sell you anything.


Unlike other sites, we aren’t trying to get you to click “Add to Cart”.  It doesn’t matter to us if you buy the product or not.  Our business model has nothing to do with selling you products.  Our success over the last nine years is due to our long-term vision to remain the most trusted source for honest supplement feedback.


We never accept payment to change reviews.


Not only is this extremely unethical, but it is also illegal.  See FTC 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising.  We have no interest in completely undermining EVERYTHING that this community has worked so hard to build over the years by doing a deal with the devil.  


Surprisingly, so far, no company tried to bribe us to change their reviews.  We assume this is because all companies know very well exactly what we would do - broadcast their shady offer to the world and do a public hanging in the hall of shame.


This is NOT a popularity contest. cuts through the marketing hype and leaves you with real information about supplements that you can trust.


Further Reading:



  • tlabs
    Rep: 0
    July 19, 2015

    This is a great mantra, Gentlemen! It provides the perfect environment to allow every brand's products to "do the talking"!

  • mhseaver670
    Rep: +6,502
    September 14, 2015

    Watching and being a part of the site is pretty special to me. Many would laugh at me for saying that but I am damn proud to be a ER member here.

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