Where'd You Get That Gear? Identifying Incentivized Reviews

5:59 p.m. on October 3, 2018 (EDT)
1,684 reviewer rep
4,363 forum posts

This thread is for comments on the article "Where'd You Get That Gear? Identifying Incentivized Reviews"

In addition to knowing how a piece of gear has been used, we at Trailspace think knowing how a reviewer got that gear is important too. So, here's what we're doing.

Full article at https://www.trailspace.com/blog/2018/10/03/identifying-incentivized-reviews.html

9:34 p.m. on October 3, 2018 (EDT)
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4 forum posts

I think your efforts will be well-rewarded. Thanks for trying to keep things real. I'm a retailer and gear tester/designer and appreciate knowing who is "compensated" for their review via free gear or whatever.

12:25 a.m. on October 4, 2018 (EDT)
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15 forum posts

I worked as a professional in the ski industry for about 20 years as a National Ski Patrol member, a Professional Ski Patrol member, and as a ski instructor. We received a lot of "pro form" gear but were never asked to write reviews as that was before the time of internet and social media. The companies wanted their brand "out there" being used by those that the skiing public held in high regard. 

I read every review I can find on any piece of gear that I am contemplating purchasing. If there are a lot or reviews I tend to read the "one and two star" reviews first to get a feel for what might go wrong. That said, most of the gear I own, use, and review really doesn't have a lot of cons or I wouldn't hang on to it and review it. 

2:22 p.m. on October 4, 2018 (EDT)
1,066 reviewer rep
714 forum posts

I celebrate Trailspace's revised reviewer policy.

Recently, on another backpacking site, I was accused of being an "incentivized" reviewer because I was very enthusiastic about a stove reviewed here. Nothing could be further from the truth. The accuser actually implied that Trailspace reviews were just advertising and that Trailspace was the "incentivizer".

With this policy you keep Trailspace well above such accusations. 

Eric B.

9:26 a.m. on October 5, 2018 (EDT)
1,684 reviewer rep
4,363 forum posts

Thanks for the comments. It's helpful to get feedback on what we're doing, and also on issues we should be considering and addressing.

I think most people want the same basic thing—useful reviews they can trust. That means the more info and transparency the better. Increasing the prominence of disclosure (where'd they get the gear?) and a reviewer's experience (how much they've used the gear) are important components of that.

These are our Review Rules. They may get some minor updating during this process, but the general principles remain the same: be honest, be yourself, be transparent, don't be a spammer or scammer.

Also, to clarify, we don't allow any sponsored content in reviews. We routinely follow up on any reviews and reviewers of which we're suspicious and take actions as necessary.

Nor can advertisers affect the prominence or visibility of their brands' reviews on the site. Nor do we remove negative reviews. And, yes, I have been asked, many times, to do all of these things.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. We'll keep on listening and improving.

February 22, 2020
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