FAQs for Review Verification and Publication
Who determines which reviews should be published?
All reviews are manually examined by our team of experts in an effort to ensure published reviews are from verified sources and provide helpful content. All reviews are treated equally during the verification process, regardless of rating or vendor. During this process, the team verifies the reviewer’s identity, checks for conflicts of interest, and evaluates the review against our site guidelines. For a more in-depth overview, please see our Quality Assurance guidelines.
Does your site publish negative reviews?
Simply put, yes. We treat one-star reviews no differently from five-star reviews. Like all online reviews platforms, our sites are intended to provide a forum for honest discussion between vendors and software users. By remaining neutral, they can host a wide array of opinions that help software shoppers make informed decisions. For this reason, and also to ensure compliance with applicable laws, we do not modify content or remove an opinion or statement from a valid review. For a detailed overview of our Quality Assurance process, click here.
Why was a previously published review disabled after being published?
The reviews program is continuously evolving. As we improve our methods, we periodically audit previously published reviews as they are flagged by our system. If a past review does not meet our current standards or our current guidelines, it may be removed by our team.
What happens if a fraudulent review is found?
If a review is found to be fraudulent by our team, it will be removed from our site. In addition, the reviewer may be subject to removal from any outreach campaigns, and/or banned from leaving future reviews from our site. If a vendor is found to have participated in fraudulent activity, their account may be subject to future penalties such as a publically visible warning about suspicious activity.
What is considered fraud?
Capterra is committed to providing our visitors an unbiased reviews catalog with content from other community members. Though every reviewer is entitled to--and encouraged to share--their own opinion, Capterra is vigilant against attempts to deceive others through their review’s content. Any reviews found to be fraudulent will be removed, and the submitter of the review will be subject to penalties.
Fraudulent activity may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Paying for the services of a third party, such as a marketing agency, to post reviews
- Submitting reviews of their own product, or of any software (such as a competitor’s product) in which they have a financial interest
- Submitting reviews on behalf of an actual user, with or without their consent
- Encouraging reviews to be posted based on false pretenses
- Discouraging users from posting negative feedback
- Harassing or bullying a reviewer over a review in an attempt to force its removal
Vendors should also refrain from reviewing a competitor’s product or paying for reviews to be submitted to a competitor’s account.
- Writing a review of a software product without actual experience using the product
- Writing a review of a software product after being solicited by a competitor
- Copying content from another source, including our own site
- Allowing a third party to post a review on your behalf
A reviewer should not review a product for which they have a conflict of interest or a financial stake in its success.
What is considered a “Bad” review?
We believe it is important not to focus on the star rating alone. Our research has shown that people actually find reviews of products more believable if they have a variety of star ratings. In addition, a detailed review, even if a “lower” score, provides a much clearer picture of an experience than a five-star review with few details.
We encourage our vendors to respond to all customer reviews, regardless of rating given. We believe (and research shows) that a vendor’s willingness to address critical reviews builds credibility, shows responsiveness, and generally creates a more favorable opinion of the vendor and product.
Can a review be submitted by a competitor?
No. When our QA team verifies each reviewer's identity, we take steps to ensure that they are a real person, not a scammer, and (among other items) do not have any conflict of interest (financial or competitive) with the vendor they are reviewing. Please see an overview of our Quality Assurance guidelines for more details.
Are old reviews removed if a product's features have been updated?
If a review was submitted for a version of the product which was active and being supported at the time the review was submitted, the review will remain published. It is an accurate reflection of what the user's experience was at that point in time.
As a product evolves, it is typical to see a shift in the nature of the reviews listed, and we believe this helps increase the value to software shoppers visiting our site. Older reviews can help a software shopper see how things have changed over the long term, and help them gain confidence that issues are being addressed and updates being made over time.
How can I flag a suspicious review?
We take several steps to safeguard against fraudulent reviews. We have technology in place, as well as a team dedicated to moderating reviews. But no system is perfect, and occasionally an inappropriate review may slip through the cracks. In these rare instances, you may flag a review by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing as much information as possible about the review, and the reasons you believe it should be investigated.
Vendors may log in to their vendor portals for instructions as to how to flag a review. For more details about our process, please refer to our Reviews Investigation Guidelines. What evidence do you consider while evaluating a review flagged for fraud?
While our internal investigative processes are confidential and all decisions are subject to our discretion, we have outlined some key factors that we consider during our reviews investigation process. Click here for an overview of our investigation process.
Do you require proof of use when evaluating a review?
We’ll request proof of use from users when investigating reviews, but it‘s not required. Our experience has shown that “proof of use” is a valuable piece of the puzzle, but not a reliable source of proof on its own. It’s just one aspect among an array of considerations we use when evaluating a review. Faking proof of use through doctored screenshots or images taken from web searches is a method favored by those looking to scam our system. Moreover, with tens of thousands of products listed in our catalog, it is simply not feasible for our QA team to become experts in verifying proof of use across all products. In our ongoing efforts to treat all vendors equally, we consider “proof of use” as one aspect among the many that make up our investigation.
How is it possible for fraudulent reviews to pass inspection?
We have technology in place, as well as a team dedicated to moderating reviews, to safeguard against fraudulent reviews. Every review is manually verified with care and consideration to ensure a high quality of content is published across our site. No system is perfect, however, and with tens of thousands of reviews submitted monthly, occasionally an inappropriate review may slip through the cracks. In these cases we rely on our vendors and our reviewer community to alert us of potential fraud by “flagging” a review for further review “flagging” a review for further review.
Why are some reviews accompanied by a notation stating they were incentivized?
We have implemented an "i" icon on our site, which will indicate the reviewer was offered an incentive to leave their review. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Endorsement Guidelines require online companies to provide clear notice when a review has been submitted in exchange for a nominal incentive (whether invited by the website or by the software vendor). See https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking. Our policies require that any such incentive must be made available to all reviewers who submit honest reviews, regardless of the rating they ultimately give the product they are reviewing.
Does Capterra fact-check reviews for accuracy?
Our team has analyzed hundreds of thousands of reviews across the tens of thousands of products listed in our catalog. It would not be feasible for our QA team to become experts equally across all products or to spend an equal amount of time verifying the details of each review. In our effort to treat all vendors equally, we must not fact check the opinions submitted by our reviewers. Instead, our Quality Assurance team focuses on verifying the identity of the reviewers and ensuring that reviews posted meet our site guidelines. Please find more details about our QA process, and our Reviews Guidelines.
May a foreign language review be published on your site?
At this time, we do not accept reviews submitted in languages other than English. Any review submitted in another language would need to be translated into English and re-submitted to our site by the reviewer. We will only accept a translation from the reviewer themselves, as we need to ensure the review is authentic.
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