Why our Reviewers do what they do

We have 63,935 reviewers dotted across our global network. That’s an awful lot of opinions ripe for publishing. But first, there’s something you should know. About us …

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Here it goes: our business model isn’t typical. There, we said it. The truth is that these thousands of people have signed up knowing that they will test a high-quality product for just a month – with no incentives – before returning it. ‘’Where’s the catch?’’ you’re definitely, no way not, 100% thinking. People don’t just give up their time and energy for nothing. So what’s in it for them, and why do they do it?

Our investigation

Back in September, we did some soul-searching and decided to get reviewers to review Reviewclub. After getting our head around that tongue-twister, we designed a targeted survey for 228 of our most regular reviewers over 6 countries – the ones that know us best. The questionnaire – Why I Review – was beautifully simple, and asked our reviewers to do what they do best, get real with us. We asked them to reflect on their motives for joining our Reviewclub community and the results, well, they’re eye-opening. There’s still a lot of goodwill in the world folks…

Nearly a third of everyone asked, solely reviewed to advise fellow online consumers. Bearing in mind that said fellow consumers are faceless, infinite in number and will never be met in person by our reviewers (unless some rare romance bubbles up from Amazon’s Ratings & Reviews section) it’s pretty altruistic of these people. The reviewing community that proved itself to be most generous in spirit was Germany. Of the German reviewers asked, the majority said that the main appeal of testing a product for Reviewclub was the opportunity to help other consumers with their purchasing decisions. YES Germany!

Other motives

Reviewclub Netherlands, along with our newer Scandinavian members from Reviewclub Sweden, both voted ‘’trying something out before I purchase it’’ as the prime reason for testing with Reviewclub. For both the pragmatic Dutchies and savvy Swedes, this was 50% of each of the portions of the two communities surveyed. In our English-speaking communities (the UK and the US) as well as in Reviewclub France,‘’experiencing products from my favourite brands’’ won very narrowly. It was certainly a mixed bag, but we truly expected ‘’experiencing products from my favourite brand’’ to be the uncontested winner, and the altruistic motive of helping other consumers fall by the wayside. How wrong we were, and how happy we are with the outcome; we base much of our work on the belief that consumers are thoughtful, and not just mindless spendthrifts, and this survey confirmed that.

No incentives

These three reasons for participation being offered, we started to push our reviewers to think deeper. The next stop in the survey was asking them if they knew why we had them return products after 4 weeks of testing. 75% already knew, straight of the mark, with many of them later commenting that this policy was the salient characteristic of Reviewclub. For everyone – including those that already knew why – we explained the rationale behind having tested products returned, and emphasised our belief in honest feedback:

‘We don’t believe in incentivising reviewers; it makes reviews biased and inauthentic. We therefore don’t pay you for reviews or let you keep the product (unless a client allows it – in which case, we will tell you this only after reviews are submitted)’ 

September 2018 Why I Review survey, which was translated into four other languages.

THE VERDICT

We were apprehensive to say the least, but as it turns out, our reviewers overwhelmingly embrace our approach, affirming it a ‘’reasonable’’ policy, ‘’fair and upfront’’, ‘’spot on’’, appreciating that it ‘’ensures honest reviews’’ and – according to Brian from Fleetwood – something he would do if ‘’he ran the company’’. The overall sentiment is unanimous; we have built a unique system in which everyone benefits, and our reviewers (being ordinary consumers themselves) are particularly aware of the importance of honest reviews. A 100% honest review cannot be incentivised. Simple as. Here’s how some of our reviewers reacted:

I think that’s great. I don’t want to purchase an item based on some fluff overboard feedback that hasn’t come from an unbiased tester like myself. If there is someone sitting there in an office getting paid for every feedback they write of course it’s going to always look good. I think that would be called ‘job security’.” – Brenda, Riverside

‘’I feel a lot of reviews online are biased because most people only review if they really hated it or if they REALLY loved it. So it’s good to get the mid-level opinions too.’’ – Janis, Las Vegas

‘’It makes the most sense. With the (Samsonite) suitcase, I may have been more likely to write a positive review if I felt I was getting it for nothing.’’ – Marc, Brighton

We enable ordinary people to make a difference, for both brands and for their peers. Ultimately, our method empowers consumers to make well-balanced purchase decisions. Is it time to get yourself some honest reviews? Get in touch, and we can find you reviewers like Brian, Brenda, Janis and Marc to put your products to the test!

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