HP admits to fear of user reviews

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HP admits to fear of user reviews

Email addresses checked to make sure competitors don't post.

Managers at HP have disclosed that they were originally afraid of putting user reviews on their sales website after fears that the products would be discussed in unfavourable terms. 

Sam Taylor, senior vice president of online sales at HP in the US, had to convince people within the firm that the reviews should appear on the HP corporate website since they were already available elsewhere on the web.

"As I talked about doing this on HP.com, there were some people within HP that were a little concerned about unedited reviews," Taylor said.

"I said that they can go onto Amazon or Cnet and there are reviews of HP products out there and I would rather have them come to HP.com and HP Homestore instead of going to other sites."

Taylor added that if there was an issue with a product it would be better if the company knew right away from its own customers so that it could be fixed.

However, the reviews system is not completely free from moderation and a third-party company vets them to make sure they meet HP's posting policy.

"The reviews are submitted to the company to make sure the content meets our standards and then they get posted on our website," said Taylor.

"There is an opportunity if people want to manipulate, but the third party works with a lot of retailers and has a lot of tools to catch that."

Users do not need to log-in to the site to post a review but must provide an email address which acts as another filter.

"HP employees cannot post and we also gave the third party a list so that if they see emails coming in from one of our competitors we should not include them," Taylor admitted.

The biggest reason why reviews are rejected is that they mention a competing brand by name, even if it is in a negative light, because it is against the rules of posting.

"People's worst fears did not come true and it has actually been a very good feature on the website," Taylor said.

"We are now starting to incorporate those reviews into our marketing materials, so the July catalogue will actually use some of those customer ratings."
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