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Do Retailers Often Screen User Reviews?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the four-and-a-half-stars dept.

Businesses 454

Mechanist.tm writes "I recently purchased a NAS from a well-known online computer component shop. I have purchased several items from the website and have never had much trouble before. That was until I realized what I had bought was a terrible NAS. All the reviews on the site from users seemed very good. After a little research, it became clear that the product in question was indeed terrible. After finding the product pretty much useless for its intended purpose, I proceeded to write a review for it on the website to inform other would-be buyers. After about a week, I noticed that the review never made it up there, so I wrote another one just in case. After several attempts to leave a negative review for the product, I realized that the website was screening reviews and only posting the ones that made the products look good. All the reviews on the website are positive; I've only found one at less than 3 out of 5 stars. Is this legal? Ethically speaking, it's wrong, and it's intentionally misleading to the customer. Is there a good place to report behavior like this? How common is this among online retailers who provide user reviews?"

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Their site... (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635093)

It is their site, they are free to publish what they feel on it. Now what -is- illegal and misleading is if you were to write a negative review and they make it be a positive review. Similar to Engadget and Monster Cable.

Re:Their site... (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635241)

Moral of the story: Don't trust reviews on shop sites unless they also post the negative ones.

Amazon post all reviews, with the exception of those that use profanity or have links to torrent sites etc. There was a story on /. about it years ago. Apparently it's a major pain the arse for them but it makes the site on of the best places to buy stuff too.

Re:Their site... (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635275)

Exactly, I'd never trust a retailer or product that only has positive reviews.

Re:Their site... (5, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635307)

AnalPerfume (1356177)

Just don't write any perfume reviews please...

Re:Their site... (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635357)

I would consider it illegal advertising. The site misleads customers to believe they are reading actual user reviews (ALL reviews), which is simply not true. It's misleading and deceptive.

If I found a site like that, I'd report them to consumeraffairs.org, FTC.gov, and any other site I can think of which screens companies. Hopefully the FTC would act to fine that company, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Re:Their site... (4, Insightful)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635537)

Why is this illegal? Why is this any different than a commercial from a movie pulling only the good quotes from Roger Ebert and Gene Shalit? The retailer is under no obligation to publish unfavorable reviews on their own website, whether written by professional reviewers or the public at large. Assuming the company is based in the US, from a First Amendment standpoint, the government cannot force them to publish bad reviews on their own website.

Re:Their site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635381)

Amazon deletes negative reviews at the author's request.

Re:Their site... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635245)

The submitter must just be a fucking moron.

Who the hell trusts the reviews at a manufacturer's or vendor's web site? I mean, really. It should be clear as day to anyone with even a fetus-sized brain that such companies are going to paint the products they manufacture or sell as being of high quality.

I guess the submitter has never heard of independent reviews or only buying products on recommendations from people he trusts.

Re:Their site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635283)

Except the submitter was asking about the retailer (ie an Amazon, NewEgg, etc). They aren't making the product, only selling it.

Re:Their site... (-1, Flamebait)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635319)

^dbag

Re:Their site... (5, Interesting)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635289)

It is their site, they are free to publish what they feel on it.

Not so sure about that. If they are misrepresenting the nature of their review site, and further misrepresenting what they're selling by censoring reviews, then that would seem to be a form of fraud. What you are suggesting is that fraud is legally OK if done on the property of the party that perpetrates it. IANAL, but this strikes me as an odd notion.

Re:Their site... (3, Insightful)

fbwhrdpmtajg (1452033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635569)

They cover that in the TOS that nobody ever reads.

Re:Their site... (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635517)

It is their site, they are free to publish what they feel on it

Hmm. I don't think so. A pattern of this sort of behavior is fraudulent.

C//

The real question is... (5, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635095)

Which shop?

Re:The real question is... (0)

outZider (165286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635099)

Probably something brand new out of a chicken.

Re:The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635133)

Cluck you!

Re:The real question is... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635233)

I doubt that the site in question is "something brand new out of a chicken". I see negative reviews on that site all the time. In fact I almost always read the negative reviews first. If there is something truly bad about a product I am considering buying I want to know immediately.

Re:The real question is... (5, Insightful)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635493)

+1

Newegg even lets you display only the bad reviews. I've also seen reviews suggesting you purchase products elsewhere when shipping might be an issue. It doesn't seem like Newegg does much screening at all. Probably has any prices listed with dollar signs stripped and any URL's or competitors stripped automatically and then goes with that.

One thing to keep in mind when reading reviews at any site though is that the ratio of positive to negative reviews differs wildly. Websites that make the review process difficult are likely only going to get reviews from people very strongly opinionated and probably have a higher negative ratio. Websites that make the review process very easy will have more reviews.

Re:The real question is... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635309)

No, NewEgg have lots of negative reviews [newegg.com] .

Re:The real question is... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635557)

i have better results with purchases from NewEgg than i ever did from TigerDirect, after getting burned with bad motherboards from TigerDirect i just wont buy from them anymore.

Re:The real question is... (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635189)

I agree. This only stops when you name names and shame the bastards into transparency.

Re:The real question is... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635231)

Yep. Posting that review to slashdot will get it red far more than on that site as well!

Re:The real question is... (3, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635293)

Yeah. We should do a Microsoft article so we can show the world how shitty they are and make they bastards straighten up!

Re:The real question is... (5, Interesting)

cojsl (694820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635353)

Newegg did something similar a couple years back (not claiming the OP refers to Newegg, just posting my personal experience with something similar Newegg did). I posted a negative review of an item, shortly thereafter Newegg emailed me asking to resolve my complaint about the item in exchange for removing the negative review. To their credit, Newegg resolved the issue, but the net result was to artificially alter the reviews of the product.

Re:The real question is... (2, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635405)

I rather like what Newegg does now - if there is a complaint, and it is resolved, they leave up the bad review but attach the manufacturer's response (usually "send it back, we'll replace it and pay both ways shipping").

Re:The real question is... (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635529)

I posted a negative review of an item, shortly thereafter Newegg emailed me asking to resolve my complaint about the item in exchange for removing the negative review. To their credit, Newegg resolved the issue, but the net result was to artificially alter the reviews of the product.

I don't get it; they resolved the issue, so that you had nothing negative to post in the end. Let's say that instead of posting the negative review, you had contacted them of the problem to see if they would resolve it. If they hadn't, you would have posted the review; if they had, you wouldn't have, since there was no problem. The latter is what happened.

a well-known online computer component shop (3, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635387)

a well-known online computer component shop

Yea, it is absolutely absurd to have made this post and not identify the seller in question. The poster questions if a seller can get away with this, and them demonstrates that they can by failing to even say who they are or what the bad product is. The whole post is extremely pointless. If the original review was this void of information then maybe there is an alternate reason it was never accepted for listing.

At least we can see that the Slashdot editors can not be accused of editing, or making informed choices about which stories to post.

Re:The real question is... (5, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635499)

The real question is... which shop?

Apparently this guy's summary had that negative information removed.

How about some details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635101)

What was the product?

Where was the website?

What was your write-up?

Talk about an uninformed jury.

Are you sure you're not a lawyer?

It's fairly common (2, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635109)

Unfortunately a lot of retailers do this, this is one of many very good reasons not to use a retailer. If there are no "1/10 - This --- fucking sucks, it broke after a week and was barely usable before that" reviews then you know they're screening (or just sell great products but that isn't very likely).

/Mikael

Re:It's fairly common (1, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635201)

> Unfortunately a lot of retailers do this, this is one of many very good
> reasons not to use a retailer.

No, it's just a reason to assume that everything on a retailer's site is there to sell product. You go there to get price and delivery information and to place an order. You go elsewhere to get disinterested opinions.

Re:It's fairly common (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635239)

The fact that they manipulate what customer feedback they are willing to show in order to increase sales is enough for me to take my business elsewhere, and there are plenty of trustworthy businesses that don't censor user reviews.

/Mikael

Re:It's fairly common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635339)

Maybe the other sites are just too stupid or lazy to police their forums.

Re:It's fairly common (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635379)

I find that unlikely, and if you want to avoid such retailers just go for the ones that have both negative reviews and no review spam about "V1AGR4".

/Mikael

Re:It's fairly common (3, Insightful)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635259)

I usually look for negative reviews first when considering a product. I will google for "$product sucks". I try and see why people think it sucks. If I don't see any negative reviews, I know that no one is actually buying the product.

Re:It's fairly common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635445)

Good point. People always leave bad reviews even for the most perfect of items because they happened to get one DOA and decided to gripe and moan instead of testing a replacement.

I've got plenty of karma (-1, Flamebait)

dword (735428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635495)

Slashdot sucks. Go away.

Re:It's fairly common (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635545)

I usually look for negative reviews first when considering a product. I will google for "$product sucks". I try and see why people think it sucks. If I don't see any negative reviews, I know that no one is actually buying the product.

Definitely!

I would add that I pretty much ignore 5 star reviews. They're the ones where someone gets it on time and that warrants a 5 in their view. I really hate the dumb asses on Amazon who post +5 I haven't finished reading it yet but it's great! Or some of the 5 star reviews are plants - shills. Then they're the +1 stars that say something like "I haven't gotten it yet!" or they preach.

As far as equipment goes, no one has a rating for durability. Many products are great right out of the box but tank in less than a year.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635113)

Is it Newegg and the Drobo?

Because I recently got a Drobo, and I've had nothing but problems, but New egg has largely positive reviews.

Re:Hmm (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635163)

"Because I recently got a Drobo, and I've had nothing but problems, but New egg has largely positive reviews."

A useful method is to give a bad product an outstanding rating which won't get looked at then slag it in the comments section.

Re:Hmm (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635415)

In general I find NewEgg to have a good range of reviews, positive and negative. There are quite a few products rated at 2 or 3 stars out of 5. And most with more than a handful of reviews have one or two "I got a dead part" reviews. Now, I do believe there to be some brand management shills posting positive reviews for their own products, but over time it should even out.

Re:Hmm (1)

fatalwall (873645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635191)

last i checked they also has some highly negative reviews.

some filter because they need to hide the truth about a product, others filter because of poor grammar or inappropriate things said in the review that could upset younger or older customers.

Re:Hmm (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635253)

others filter because of poor grammar or inappropriate things said in the review that could upset younger or older customers.

You mean you can't say "This product sucks like a 14 year old crack whore" to kids?

Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635491)

Is that a good or a bad review?

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635221)

I've posted more than a few negative reviews on newegg over the years and I've never had one filtered or modified. A couple of times the manufacturer replied to my review directly and offered to remedy my problem.

Never (3, Informative)

tukang (1209392) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635127)

rely on reviews or testimonials that are posted on the sellers website. Reviews on third-party websites are generally more reliable as there's usually less of a conflict of interest but even those aren't always real so buyer beware.

Re:Never (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635447)

I agree - the place where i do my online shopping has a fear about reviews of linux on common hardware products - its like microsoft pay the retailer to remove those reviews.

Windows users are not a good guide to a product either its either easy, or some idiot with windows finds x too hard to use.

I stick with them since on the whole they are cool with returns and dead items, and the prices are good. The thing is that if the L word was tolerated by them they might pick up more sales, but far be it me to suggest that to them,or for me to post reviews either.

Its no different (2, Insightful)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635129)

Than a newspaper editor not running political stories about things he or she doesn't like. Not ethical, but also not illegal. That's the reason why I normally look for unpaid third party review sites for hardware or software, or at least someone in the industry that can recommend something they have used personally.

Seriously (2, Insightful)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635135)

After a little research, it became clear that the product in question was indeed terrible.

That's your first and most important mistake here. Never ever trust a single source, especially if they're the ones getting your moneys. I always check several sites and try to have feedback from actual users before making any tech purchase. That shit's usually expensive enough, if it also blows up in my face two days after I buy I'll be pretty pissed...

Re:Seriously (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635383)

I'm going through it with eCost right now. I guess I'll file a BBB claim, because they're not getting back to me as promised. They sold an amp with text that made it look like it did component to HDMI upconversion when it doesn't. Now they don't want to take it as a return. (I know lots of people have problems with eCost, but I've been buying from them for some time with no problems. Have even done a return before.)

Who was the retailer? (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635147)

Who was the retailer? We need to know, so we can avoid them.

A comment on Amazon (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635149)

At least with Amazon.com, one of the best-known websites with user reviews, I can attest that they welcome negative reviews. I've been reviewing there for the last nine years, more to focus my own thoughts on what I read, listen to or use than to guide others in purchases. Still, sometimes I've been scathing about a product and encouraged all and sundry not to buy it, and my review continues to be visible as the years go by. Rare situations where a review was not posted usually occurred because I tripped some keyword meant to discourage profanity, and a simple rewrite of the sentence in question was all it took to get the review up.

Re:A comment on Amazon (3, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635345)

newegg.com doesn't seem to be biasing their reviews. For any given product, even if it's good you get some people who get one that shows up DOA or has some other manufacturing defect. The interesting thing about newegg is that they allow the manufacturer to write a response to a review. Most of the time it is just the manufacturer stating that the customer who bought the bad item should contact customer service, but it is interesting to read which manufacturers actually respond. EVGA in particular seems to pay close attention to the reviews on newegg (my personal experience, since I bought some EVGA components, I read the reviews even after I bought it to see what people think).

Re:A comment on Amazon (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635349)

Agreed on amazon. I go there for reviews even when I'm going to purchase something locally.

Laws? (1)

forrie (695122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635151)

I recall hearing about a law that requires a public company to keep all this information and make it available --- darn, I can't think of what the law is, however sites like amazon.com may be subject to it. This doesn't apply to "forums". For example, discussions.apple.com has a bad habit of deleting any posting that is critical of them in any way. It's a different can of worms in that case (worms in apples? lol).

Anyone out there familiar with the legal ramifications?

Oh yes.... (1, Insightful)

mercury7 (212316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635157)

I have long suspected newegg of this practice. Some of the reviews are very similar, all very positive, look like they're written by the sales staff. In the non-computer world, Yelp has lots of fake reviews, too.

Re:Oh yes.... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635331)

Err...no. There are tons of negative reviews [newegg.com] on NewEgg.

Are you really that thick? (0, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635165)

> All the reviews on the site from users seemed very good.

A retailer who has only good things to say about his own product. Amazing.

Re:Are you really that thick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635507)

A retailer who has only good things to say about his own product. Amazing.

Are YOU really that thick? The retailer doesn't make the product at all, so hence it's not "his own product". They only sell it.

Re:Are you really that thick? (1)

fbwhrdpmtajg (1452033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635621)

Unless it's a house branded product.

Bad customer experiences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635171)

Simply spread what the site is doing via word of mouth, people often ask for other peoples experiences with internet shopping, there's alot of sites where people can inform eachother about the good and bad internet shops. I often advise people that go internet shopping for the first time to be very careful about where they shop. And I remind them that they should check what other users have said about the internet shop, preferably from a source that doesn't have any connection with the internetshop in question.

Unethical, but seems typical of most sales person (1)

No Eye Deer (1377323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635183)

I realize that the website in question is supposed to take user reviews. However, it seems a little strange for anybody to fully trust (or expect) a vendor website to provide unbiased opinions.

Almost all sale persons that I have met will hype whatever they are trying to sell. Most of them will rarely willingly let us in on the negative side of their products/solutions. Considering that the website is probably in the position to want to sell their merchandise, they would favor good "user reviews".

I'd imagine most people will search for information/reviews from various sources. I doubt most stores will start listing "how this product sucks" if they are trying to move inventory.

That's a bit cynical (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635521)

I think there are a lot of salespeople that would prefer that this sort of behavior was penalized because it undermines their profession as a whole. Will they give you a hard sell, try to give you the positives? Yes. But to out and out lie is something the best salespeople that I know would never do. They might be aggressive, but they are honest. Besides, the easiest customer to get is the one you already got. If you, as a salesman, lie to your customer, you will not get repeat business from them.

http://www.resellerratings.com (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635217)

http://www.resellerratings.com/ [resellerratings.com] - post your honest review there.

Apple doesn't (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635247)

Apple doesn't screen user reviews, never has. Buy from Apple.

Re:Apple doesn't (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635461)

Steve, take care of your health first. At least don't post on Sundays, for fuck sake!

Come on... (5, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635251)

...when you're trying to expose unethical behavior or deceptive practices, the phrase "a well-known online computer component shop" is hollow and flaccid.

Overstock.com does not publish negative reviews (5, Informative)

jestill (656510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635255)

I have had my reviews not published on Overstock when they were negative. I tried multiple times to get the review online, and I quit buying anything from overstock without first finding external reviews. I have never had a review not accepted from Amazon, even when they were negative.

Stupid retailer (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635273)

This is a very self-destructive practice for an on-line retailer that stocks a range of products. If a user is put off purchasing a product because of poor reviews, that's OK, so long as you have alternative products to sell. More often than not, that better product will come at a higher price, and more profit. Honest reviews are an opportunity to up sell. Dishonest reviews are an invitation for the customer to never buy from you again.

Amazon does reviews right. It's done them no harm!

Overstock.com heavily screens reviews (2, Informative)

fbwhrdpmtajg (1452033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635329)

I have written many reviews of varying content and rating for a couple products on Overstock.com and whenever the review has a possibility of impacting sales negatively it is never posted. Not ethical but it's their prerogative as they are the ones publishing it. There is a conflict of interest but making this type of thing illegal would be a slippery slope. Just take it as a matter of course and get on with it.

Re:Overstock.com heavily screens reviews (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635473)

There is a conflict of interest but making this type of thing illegal would be a slippery slope.

A slipper slope to what? A market where consumers are properly protected from corporate abuse?

What brand? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635333)

Don't keep us in suspense - what brand/model NAS ?

Cue worthless accusation (2, Insightful)

pantherace (165052) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635337)

Post the site and product, or shut the hell up. Seriously, Isn't what you are doing, deliberately obscuring the site, and hiding useful information, the same as what they are doing. By presenting it the way you have, you've essentially attacked the reputation of all well-known online computer component shops. Could be newegg, NCIX, ZZF, amazon, tigerdirect, buy.com, bestbuy You've provided no specifics, and as such no valid evidence, even in your anecdote. I'm all for tarring and feathering companies *if they deserve it*. Your post makes no particular case for your review being rejected because it was bad, and not for using profanity, or something similar. Post the site, product and your review. Otherwise, if you aren't willing to name the site or product for the benefit of all, I hope that one of the others sues you for slandering their reputation.

Lawsuit? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635615)

Remember that online pet store owner that was suing everyone who left a negative review about him? I don't remember the name - honestly. He got a lot of people to settle out of court for thousands of dollars by threatening them with spending tens of thousands in legal fees defending themselves. He eventually screwed his lawyers.

If the poster of this story is wrong, and posts the company's name, he could be in up to his ass in legal fees and in this economy, the last I'd want to do is spend a dime on legal fees for mistakenly or rightfully accusing a business with unethical behavior.

The poster doesn't have any real concrete evidence - just a couple of test posts and who knows exactly as to why his posts didn't make it. He's doing the right thing in asking others if it has happened to them instead of going off half cocked with accusations. That is the fair and ethical thing to do - even if he's is 100% correct and this online retailer is doing what he thinks.

Rule of thumb, always check more than one source (2, Insightful)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635343)

I've come across sites that seem to post only good reviews (which always makes me suspicious), and sites that choose to sort owner comments by number of "stars" given so that the good comments bubble to the top. It's always best to check product reviews from multiple sources before buying.

Aria (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635361)

Aria in the UK have modified a few of my comments. I've written something along the lines of "Nice product, but ..." and the negative part never makes it to the site, making it look like I was nothing but happy with it. I don't buy from them much anymore.

buy.com (5, Informative)

danpritts (54685) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635371)

I've had this happen at buy.com - i bought this:

http://www.buy.com/prod/ifrogz-iphone-3g-3gs-luxe-soft-touch-case-red-black/q/loc/101/208441113.html [buy.com]

and it was a piece of junk, finish ruined after a couple days in my pocket. It broke in pieces after 2 months.

I posted reviews to buy.com (where i bought it) and they magically never appeared.

I won't shop there anymore. Amazon rules.

What if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635417)

When services are involved, the quality issue is a bigger problem. Think of an education service provider (read: junior/high school) who advertises themselves as excellent but faces certain service quality problems. Think of the situation where they can use copyright laws, defamation laws, or just about any means to silence public discussion of the quality of their service. Their argument: Negative reviews could blow away the carefully crafted PR image (on which they may have spent millions of dollars!?). Now, do the public have a right to know the TRUTH in some of these matters ?

Re:What if... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635509)

There are some affirmative defenses against claims under defamation laws...

  1. The information is true
  2. or.. The information is opinion

And as for copyright laws: fair use, which using some material for criticism is considered.

The money spent on PR is irrelevent, it doesn't negate the public's right to free speech and free expression.

Sometimes just user error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635425)

I've seen several times negative reviews at newegg for products I've had good personal experience.

The DOA type negatives could indicate poor production control and I was just lucky to get a good unit.

But more than once, I've seen people write detailed accounts of spending hours before proclaiming some piece of h/w sucked but never having checked for a firmware or driver update.

I've seen this with burners and media types. NAS storage and media servers. And routers and wireless networking.

Some people can manage to spend deductive powers on banging their heads against the wall and others of us have learned through the years to never trust what the manufactures put in the box that may be upgraded.

Yes. (5, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635429)

Home Depot "approves" reviews and failed to post a negative review I gave for an air conditioner recently.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635441)

***This post has been removed***

Probably shouldn't blame the seller (2, Interesting)

FloydTheDroid (1296743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635453)

The company I work for uses a third party (bazaarvoice) for our reviews so we cannot do such shenanigans. Since we don't just sell one brand we actually want the customer to know which product is the best so that they continue to buy from us. I'm sure this is how all resellers operate so what I suspect actually happened is that the review did make it to the site but the manufacturer probably had someone log in as a bunch of separate users and mark the review as objectionable so that it was taken down.

As others have already mentioned; you can't trust reviews. My personal policy with this is ignore the 1 star - "was broken when I got it" and the 10 star - "changed my life" reviews since they don't actually have any useful information. Also, a lot of sites track user submissions so you can guess that if a person writes an unusually long review about how great their new $30 vacuum is but they've never written another review that it's probably bogus.

unethical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635455)

totally unethical. i have for a long time been sceptical of revues on shops, pricegrabber etc but this confirms it. name and shame the store and product! i beleive a certain level of screening is appropriate, not just swear words, but more to prevent stupid users doing stupid revues: eg buying a urinal and trying to use it as a handbasin.

News Sites also do this. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635459)

Many websites have begun to select and censor comments in order to support their agendas.

I once tried to post a comment to an obviously biased fox news column and behold it never made it there, despite intelligent presentation and links to the relevant data.

Welcome to the brave new world of information manipulation and astro-turfing.

How we do (1)

Racing_Turtles (1063498) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635463)

Our site is fairly "big" in terms of UVs, visits, etc., generating over two billion dollars per year in revenue. When we implemented ratings/reviews a couple of years ago, our requirements included the ability to approve or reject any posting prior to publishing it, but we never modify anythingï. Nor do we specifically reject negative product reviews. What we do, and I'm sure this is common among major 'e'tailers (sorry for the 'e' cheese there), is reject any posting that contains profanity or vulgarity. Colorful commentary about our company specifically, or our site, rarely makes the cut. We essentially limit the feedback we publish to the products we sell.

Shame the retailer on other sites (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635465)

And post your negative reviews on other retailer-neutral sites.

There are even sites called 'resellerratings.com' and 'bizrate.com' that permit you to rate retailers.

I suggest you post your review of the product and separately post your review of the retailer, discussing how they apparently censor product reviews.

Also, please don't hide them post their name in this article. Along with the review they rejected, so the readers can have an example of what said retailer might censor.

Hiding their name is almost suggesting that what they do is OK. After suppressing all your reviews about your poor experience, you still want to protect them?

Stop going out of your way to protect the retailer and start shaming them for what they do and what they've done.

Sidewiki (2, Interesting)

ziggy_az (40281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635483)

The easy answer to this is http://www.google.com/support/toolbar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=157109 [google.com] Google Sidewiki. *IF* users start using sidewiki for reviewing products on vendor sites, the vendor has no ability to moderate the reviews. Doesn't mean they won't start astroturfing the sidewiki but it would make it more expensive :)

quality filter (2, Informative)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635501)

Some sites have a default where the most favourable ratings (5/5 etc) are the ones shown by default - a link at the bottom allows viewing all reviews. I can think of one that has no apparent incentive to dupe the viewer, and personally if I was manager of the others I would certainly be more concerned about repeat business, and how costly returns are.

My assumption is that less favourable reviews tend to be the least accurate, a guess held up by viewing the negative comments which repeatedly complained about issues that were obviously completely unrelated, were laughably unrealistic expectations for the price, the product was not designed for or were addressed in the description. People use the reviews system as a forum to ask questions, giving a zero rating.

Good reviews meanwhile filled in any blanks in the description (often these would be major issues for some people), noted the build quality etc and gave a personal opinion on the product in the context of price. Personally I found these much more informative.

No doubt some sites use it just to make sales, but I think there's an element of filtering for quality too.

Shooting themselves in the foot (3, Interesting)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635503)

According to an article that I read [economist.com] , a mix of negative and positive reviews makes the product more attractive than only positive reviews. It seems that this retailer is probably preventing sales by not letting negative reviews through.

Use likeorhate.com (1)

brunobg (739486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635511)

Use likeorhate.com [likeorhate.com] . They don't screen or remove bad reviews.

Communism will solve this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635525)

There should be no surprise to stories like this when we believe the lies an deceit of capitalism. Greed and lies like this will cease once we embrace communism. The USians, however, will not like it too well due to their sheep like following of capitalism.

Signed,
The Rest of the World

legal system (5, Interesting)

camgirlshide (1649725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635543)

Part of the problem may be the legal system in the US. I once ran a review site where users were allowed to post comments. In one case, I was getting a ton of negative comments posted about one particular other website. I assumed (and still do) that these comments were legitimate due to the sheer volume of different users posting them and I never edited for content. Then, I got a lawsuit for defamation. Yea, I was protected legally and won, but it costs a ton of money to defend yourself against frivolous lawsuits. The best thing for most of these retailers is probably to just not allow user submitted reviews at all which is what I do now.

It's not just screening... (1)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635577)

There's something else going on as well. A few years ago I was looking at buying a particular product (I don't remember what now) so I Googled the product name to see what reviews I could find. There were a lot of reviews out there, but when I started looking at the specific reviews I realized that many of the reviews were just copied between reviewing websites. It wasn't just the positive reviews--the websites actually seemed to intentionally copy the reviews posted on each other's sites, most likely to pump up the number of reviews on their own sites. I ended up only being able to find maybe 10 reviews of the product, but they were copied over and over between sites. After that experience I don't trust the reviews on random websites nearly so much.

They probably have a clause somewhere in their ToS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635581)

saying that reviews are for entertainment value only, or might not represent the actual product or user experrience, or something like that. Since everyone reads the entire ToS, line-by-line, for every website they visit, that means you are expected to have read it before doing business with them...

seriously though, if it's available, they can reasonably assume you read it, which means it's (barely) legal, as long as they have enough links to it.

No weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635583)

I give user-reviews very little weight if any when researching a product, since the huge majority of them are always one of two things. A 5 star review that is either an un-discerning fool or an obvious astroturfer (but I repeat myself), or a 1 star review from someone who either suffered malfunctions due to user error, or forgot that they were on Amazon/Newegg/etc and not Ebay and decided to give the product 1 star because the etailer shipped it to the wrong address (or some other error obviously unrelated to actual product quality).

I already boycott newegg... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635601)

Newegg sucks. They have slipped far from their once high throne of the king of online tech retailers. Now with thier new shipping policy of no PO box allowed anywhere on the label, they have effectively blocked me from making any purchase at all if I wanted to (I don't get residential delivery from any of the shipping chains, it just gets dropped at the post office and I go pick it up).

Down with Newegg.

Future Shop/Home Depot worst offenders (1)

y2imm (700704) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635603)

I've submitted negative reviews to Future Shop which at times have gone unpublished, no apparent reason, while positive reviews abound. But the worst offender I've found is Home Depot. Yeah, not tech but a big online retailer. Anyway, they rate products positively based on reviews but the reviews are negative. Retailer-run review systems are more or less useless to me.

Just be dilligent when it comes to research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29635617)

Internet censorship is nothing new. I posted a legit response here on slashdot not too long ago it was arbitrarily removed. Negative reviews are great. Always check more than one source.

You need to name the retailer and the NAS (1)

lopgok (871111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29635623)

You need to name the retailer. Some retailers are great, and some suck. I have reviewed many, explaining the details of my dealings with them.

You also need to name the NAS and what is wrong with it. The way the internet works, everyone gets to benefit from the experiences of others. Saying some nameless NAS sucks doesn't help anyone else. Saying XYZ NAS sucks because of a, b, and c means something.

On my personal web site, I have details of my dealings with many computer hardware and software vendors. Some are really good, and some are really sucko. I had some serious problems with Netgear, and someone else read about it and asked Netgear why their support was so bad, and not getting a decent answer, ended up getting $10k of gear from a different vendor.

If you want to see all my computer related reviews and comments, check out http://www.weasel.com/comp.html [weasel.com]
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