If you take the time to write what you think is an honest and well-reasoned review of a product you have paid good money for, you might understandably feel aggrieved when the company that invited you to write the review says it isn’t good enough to be published.
This happened to me recently on the Argos website after they emailed me to invite me to review a child’s bed I had bought. I wrote the review and then received an email a few days later to say, “Unfortunately we could not publish your review as it did not meet our guidelines.”
The Argos review guidelines are as follows.
To ensure your review can be published please avoid including:
- Personal information; protect identities by not including full names or contact details.
- Prices, offers, or links; which are subject to change.
- Mentions of other companies or websites.
- Profane language, personal insults, or unhelpful content.
- Customer service issues or safety concerns
Now I’m not that precious about the review that I demand it be published and neither do I expect the company to just accept 100% of the content people submit. I’ve written enough rejected articles or letters in my time for that not to be an issue.
As a customer of Argos, though, I am left wondering why my review falls foul of the guidelines when the website clearly says, “We display both positive and negative reviews.” Looking at the reviews on Argos’ website for a range of products, it’s hard not to be cynical when no review seems to have less than 3 stars and almost everything is positive.
So, for posterity, and just to annoy Argos’ censors, here’s my review of the Malibu Cabin Bed Frame.
Good budget bed, awkward to build
This is a good bed for the price, and it serves its purpose, but it is awkward for one person to build. You get to a point where you have to hold up a couple of pieces while fitting ends together. Also, the design of the frame is not very good because the board on the side, where the child climbs in or sits on the bed, is not secured, so there’s a danger of body weight ripping it out. That hasn’t happened yet but there are some elements to the construction that make you want to treat the bed with care in case something breaks. The bed board is a large piece of chip-board and it is not fully supported underneath, so there’s a danger that a boisterous child could break the board and then you have no bed. It’s comfy and useful and daughter likes it but it is not as sturdy as it looks. You need to look after it.
I gave it a mid-star rating. I would still recommend it because it is a good budget child’s bed.
Anyway, my reason for sharing this story is because it highlights the difficult area of user-generated content that brand owners face. Open the door to published customer feedback and you can open a can of worms. What if people start criticising your products or your company? Do you let the world see those criticisms? If you are seen to be hiding just the bad stuff, will that encourage more criticism?
Addition: Since enquiring as to why the review was not published, Argos sent this reply. “I can confirm that this review was rejected on the basis that it is more of a customer service issue. After looking into this on our website I can confirm that we state that it is recommended for two people to put the bed up, so we would not want to include your review because you put it up by yourself.”