Beware of Biased Reviews

by Wesley Vaughn

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A Bed and Mattress article on Beds.Org discussed the importance of impartial bed and mattress reviews. Finding honest, unbiased, impartial mattress reviews and bed reviews is vital if we use them to determine which bed or mattress to buy. But while looking for impartial reviews, we need to be wary of those which are slanted, especially those which are fraudulent.

What is the purpose of a review?

A review is usually considered a careful, honest evaluation. Reviews of products are used by many shoppers in deciding whether to buy a certain product, such as a memory foam mattress. Therefore, they depend on having an honest evaluation of the item in question.

Why would review be biased?

There are both positive and negative reasons for a biased review.

Positive: A reviewer wants to promote a model or brand of mattresses, and does it with a favorable mattress review. If the reviewer is someone who owns and uses the mattress and really likes it, that’s OK.

Negative: A reviewer wants to slam a manufacturer or a mattress model. Even if this is from a genuine dissatisfied user, anger has a tendency to exaggerate the faults of the mattress.

Some reviews are fraudulent

If the reviewer is a retailer or manufacturer pretending to be a satisfied user, posting a favorable bed or mattress review to steer the public to their models, it’s deceitful, fraudulent. This may be on the manufacturer’s own website. Most manufacturers don’t do this, especially if many customers post reviews. But they can be selective as to which reviews are published and the order in which they appear. For this reason, I’m careful when reading customer reviews on manufacturer sites.

Companies have been caught planting favorable reviews of their products on bed and mattress review sites. The manager of this site discovered submitted reviews that came from a manufacturer’s employees, and he disallowed them.

In another example, one person posted positive, 5-star reviews for four Amerisleep models (3 were identical) on Amazon. Another person noticed this and commented, “How many mattresses did you buy? You reviewed 4 models by Amerisleep. All 5 star reviews, I might add.” So we also need to be careful when using reviews on a retailer’s site.

Impostor Review Sites

But what if an “independent” mattress review website is really run by a mattress manufacturer? Many consumers, unaware of the connection, can be convinced by the “expert” reviews to buy that brand. One manufacturer has several such sites. In fact, Amerisleep (part of One Mall Group, an online marketing firm) is affiliated with eleven* of these bed and mattress review sites. Their reviews and comparisons of products seem genuine at first. But when it comes to memory foam mattresses they favor Amerisleep. Reviews of latex mattresses favor Amerisleep’s affiliate Astrabeds, and those of water beds favor affiliate eSleepmasters.

These sites do not acknowledge their affiliation with Amerisleep and Astrabeds, nor with each other. They do quote the other sites, with links to them. As consumers follow the links, this boosts them in search results. So a search for “mattress reviews” or “memory foam mattress reviews” or “mattress reviews, memory foam” has two to four of the sites on the first search results page, and one or two (or more) on following pages. This dilutes Google, Yahoo or Bing search results.

In spite of slanted mattress reviews and adjustable bed reviews, there are places with unbiased reviews of beds and mattresses, including Beds.Org. But if an “expert” review site seems to keep favoring one model or brand, beware.

_______________________________________________________

* These are the 11 mattress review sites affiliated with Amerisleep:
1. BestMattress-Brand.org
2. BestMattress-Reviews.org
3. BestMattressOnline.com
4. Consumer-Mattress-Reviews.com
5. MattressJournal.com,
6. Mattress-Inquirer.com
7. MemoryFoamMattress-Guide.org
8. SleepJunkie.org
9. TheBest-Mattress.org
10. TheSleepyShopper.com
11. WhatsTheBestBed.org

 

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 at 7:21 PM and is filed under adjustable bed reviews, adjustable beds, latex, mattresses, memory foam, reviews . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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