TrustRadius Reviews and Ratings Integrity Manifesto

At TrustRadius, we’ve created a community where software buyers can identify the right product for their company based on authentic in-depth insights from their peers.

We’re committed to being the most trusted and useful site for software buyers. Once in a while, someone will try and game our system by posting a fake review. Occasionally someone will attempt to review a product that they have not used recently or for which they just saw a demo or used a trial version. Sometimes, a vendor will try and inflate ratings by only asking known “promoters” to review them.

Here’s how we prevent or adjust for these activities to make sure TrustRadius is the most trusted and useful site for software buyers.

  1. We believe that the best software insights come from verified, thoughtful software users
  2. We believe objectivity and well-reasoned opinions are critical
  3. We believe vendors have a right to respond to reviews
  4. We believe software buyers should know where reviews come from
  5. We believe that simple average ratings don’t tell buyers the real story
  6. We believe in a level playing field that allows software vendors to embrace transparency
  7. We offer a free review verification program for vendors
  8. We believe in a common-sense approach to transparency
  9. We believe that small thank-you items encourage broader, more representative participation when used appropriately
  10. Where can I learn more?

1. We believe that the best software insights come from verified, thoughtful software users

All TrustRadius reviewers authenticate via LinkedIn before writing a review. A reviewer is asked to answer a series of questions about their product experience, including both pros and cons, and a discussion of how the product is being used at their company. This ensures an even handed and thoughtful commentary. The average reviewer spends 18 minutes writing their review and the average review is 400 words. A member of the TrustRadius research team reads each review and verifies that each reviewer has recent experience with the reviewed product prior to publication. We reject about 3% of reviews either because we believe that they are fraudulent or because they do not meet our quality standards.

2. We believe objectivity and well-reasoned opinions are critical

While every reviewer has a distinct individual point of view, TrustRadius will not publish any review with a clear bias or conflict of interest. TrustRadius excludes vendors’ current and former employees and those of their competitors from publishing reviews of their products. We also do not publish reviews that merely endorse or bash a product without providing helpful insights.

3. We believe vendors have a right to respond to reviews

Vendors and other community members can comment on a review. We require authentication, and vendor comments require a public profile. There is no charge for a vendor to list their product, drive reviews and to respond to reviews of their own products via a comment. Vendor staff may not comment on reviews of their competitors' products.

4. We believe software buyers should know where reviews come from

TrustRadius reviews are from a variety of sources. Most reviewers are invited directly by TrustRadius to review software as an unbiased representative sample of users (marked "Invited by: TrustRadius"). This includes sources like:

  • TrustRadius Outreach – TrustRadius scours the Internet and identifies potential reviewers with experience in products of interest to our community. We reach out to them directly to ask them to contribute.
  • Community Contributions – Many of the professionals who use TrustRadius for software research give back to the community by writing their own reviews.
  • Review Programs – TrustRadius partners with some vendors who have embraced transparency to solicit reviews from an unbiased sample of their customer base (often their entire customer base).
If we don’t know what prompted someone to write a review, we ask the reviewer and mark their review accordingly. If the vendor asked them to write a review, we mark the review “Invited by: Vendor”.

5. We believe that simple average ratings don’t tell buyers the real story

Simple averages for ratings like likelihood to recommend which sum all values and divide by the count of ratings have two principal limitations. First, software products evolve, so simple averages based upon reviews collected over time do not always accurately reflect current customer sentiment – more recent reviews are more likely to reflect current sentiment.

Secondly, vendor-led efforts to artificially inflate average ratings by principally inviting known promoters to review them put the authenticity of average ratings and rankings on software review sites at risk. Not only does that distort reality for the product in question, but it also renders product comparisons untrustworthy.

We’ve developed a more meaningful, weighted average that we call the trScore. The trScore accounts for three key factors:
  1. Review Date – More recent reviews and recently updated reviews are weighted more heavily, as they more accurately reflect current customer sentiment.
  2. Review Source – TrustRadius monitors the source of all reviews. Reviews provided from a representative, random sample of customers are weighted more heavily. We also correct for the cumulative effect of vendor-led positive bias.
  3. Rating Type – Where applicable, ratings given as part of an in-depth review are weighted more heavily than single-click star ratings that are not part of an in-depth review.
We calculate a trScore for every average rating we publish on TrustRadius (overall averages, product feature and attribute averages, etc.).

6. We believe in a level playing field that allows software vendors to embrace transparency

The trScore removes vendor-led review solicitation positive bias so that vendors do not face a “ratings arms race” where the only way to “win” is to continuously attempt to inflate their scores by asking only their “best” customers to leave a review.

On TrustRadius, vendors who believe in their product and trust their customers can openly invite everyone to contribute ratings and reviews without being at a disadvantage.

7. We offer a free review verification program for vendors

To encourage and reward vendors for embracing transparency, i.e. inviting reviews from substantially all or a representative sample of their customers, TrustRadius has a free Review Verification Program. Verified vendor sourced reviews get equal trScore weighting, i.e. they count the same as reviews that TrustRadius independently sources from its community and outreach efforts.

Vendors may apply for verification on TrustRadius in three simple steps:
  1. Schedule a free, 15-minute call with our research team to go over best practices for collecting authentic, unbiased reviews. Vendors must have a published product listing on TrustRadius before scheduling this call. There is no charge for a vendor to list their product on TrustRadius.
  2. Place a "Review Us on TrustRadius" badge in a place that is accessible to all customers (e.g. a customer portal, customer community, corporate blog, or similar web property) and send TrustRadius a link and/or screenshot.
  3. Acquire 20 or more reviews on TrustRadius, at least 10 that are have been published or updated within the past 12 months, using any of the following methods:
    • Send targeted invitations to random, representative subsets of customers
    • Send open invitations to all customers as part of ongoing customer communications (e.g. newsletters)
    • Send one or more stand-alone invitations to all customers
    • Send invitations to the members of a product affinity group on LinkedIn (membership must be open to all customers)
Vendors in our verification program agree that they will not:
  • Qualify individual users for review invitations based on internal customer satisfaction survey results.
  • Selectively offer review incentives and thank-you items based on internal customer satisfaction survey results.
  • Send a one-time invitation to all customers (or a representative sample) and repeated review invitations only to individual users who qualify based on internal customer satisfaction survey results or membership in an exclusive customer rewards program.

8. We believe in a common-sense approach to transparency

It’s not always realistic for vendors to ask every customer to share their opinion on TrustRadius. We reasonably expect that vendors will sometimes:
  • Exclude customers who are in the midst of implementing a product or who have been fully implemented for less than three months.
  • Exclude users who have opted out of customer marketing messages and programs.
  • Exclude users based on geography (TrustRadius only publishes reviews written in English).
  • Exclude customers who have given notice that they do not intend to renew or continue a service.
  • Exclude customers who have not accessed or used a product within the past 12 months.

9. We believe that small thank-you items encourage broader, more representative participation when used appropriately

Consumer review sites like Amazon and TripAdvisor do not allow the use of incentives to encourage reviews. B2C marketplaces have the advantage, however, of very large numbers. Even when a small fraction of consumers participate, it’s still possible to achieve representative samples. Most B2B software companies do not have hundreds of thousands or millions of customers.

Both TrustRadius and software vendors sometimes use incentives to encourage users to write reviews. When used with a random, representative cross-section of users, TrustRadius has measured that incentives increase participation by users who are neither strong advocates nor detractors. This yields more diverse and more accurate ratings. Moreover, the use of incentives often motivates reviewers to write more comprehensive reviews.

TrustRadius has taken a leadership role among B2B review sites by tracking and disclosing the use of incentives. This not only provides transparency to software buyers, but also ensures FTC compliance for reviewers and vendors. The FTC regulates the use of incentives for public endorsements and customer testimonials.

TrustRadius uses its best efforts to determine and disclose the use of incentives. The legend "Incentive: Yes" on a review indicates that the reviewer was offered an incentive to write a review. Reviewers are prompted to disclose whether they have been offered an incentive to write a review (per FTC regulations) during the review authoring process. TrustRadius also marks reviews with an incentive legend when we determine after-the-fact that a vendor has used incentives to encourage their customers to write reviews.

Incentives may be used to motivate reviewers to participate. However, they may not be used to bias or drive a particular response. Reviewers are required to confirm that any incentive received is not contingent upon the ratings given or the language used in their review. TrustRadius will not publish any reviews driven by vendors with incentives tied to particular responses.

10. Where can I learn more?

If you are a software buyer or reviewer with questions about TrustRadius, please contact us at support@trustradius.com.

If you are a software vendor and would like to learn more about the TrustRadius Verification Program, please contact us at research@trustradius.com. If you’d like to learn more about how TrustRadius can help you scale your review program and get more value out of your review content contact us at vendors@trustradius.com.