There's No Such Thing as a Bad Review


The terms "good review" or "bad review" get bandied about a lot by audiophiles and audio manufacturers. I maintain that in the hands of a good PR/marketing person there is no such thing as a bad review.

Contrary to popular belief, reviews don't sell products. What reviews actually do is start and stimulate a dialog between manufacturers and customers. Since very few, if any, products are perfect, a savvy audiophile products manufacturer should expect that every review will have some criticism which they will want to address. That's a good thing because it allows a manufacturer to show customers how they respond to negative issues.

The Absolute Sound and Stereophile have always provided space for manufacturers to comment on completed reviews. Most websites also have provisions for comments and feedback. Smart manufacturers should comment, even if it's only a "thank you" to any and all reviews of their products. It shows a manufacturer is paying attention.

By way of illustration, I'll lay out a couple of scenarios and what I think would be the best way to turn them into wins for the manufacturer and their customers.

Problem - The review points toward several "issues" in the ergonomics of the product

Solution - The manufacturer's comments should include a mild rebuttal with illustrations of why each ergonomic design choice was made and why the manufacturer feels they were the best options.

Problem - The reviewer finds an advertised feature does not work.

Solution - The manufacturer should determine if there was a failure of the individual sample unit or a universal problem. Once this is established beyond a doubt, the manufacturer's comments should explain what the problem was and how they have fixed it.

Problem - The review sample does not outperform verses similarly priced competition.

Solution - Discontinue the product...just kidding - but I can count on both hands the number of times I've seen manufacturers do exactly that. The manufacturer should examine the reviewer's reproduction chain to see if anything in the system could be negatively affecting their product's performance. The manufacturer's comments should focus on possible reasons for the performance issue.

Problem - The reviewer simply hates your product.

Solution - Call them an incompetent wanker in your comments. No, no, no! This will definitely NOT work. It will also make an enemy, who, at best won't touch any of your gear ever again, and at worst may go out of his way to trash you in future reviews.

Never, ever, blame the reviewer for a bad review, even if they are completely and utterly at fault. Instead show examples where other reviewers had opposite opinions and let the customer decide who is right...

comments powered by Disqus

Audiophile Review Sponsors