Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

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    Senior Member alka1's Avatar
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    Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    I can't remember where I first read about this. it was either here on these forums or a beauty blog.

    people were commenting on how most products on sephora.com have very high ratings and mostly positive reviews. if you compare the reviews of a certain product on sephora.com to the ratings of that same product on a separate site (makeupalley), you'll notice that the sephora ratings are always much higher.

    I didn't think much of it at first. A few weeks ago I looked up the ratings for the NARS concealer duo. There were two reviews listed - both users had given the concealer really low ratings (2 stars) and said it was dry, caky and that it didn't work for them. Fast forward to a couple days ago, and those reviews are gone. They've been replaced with three perfect reviews with 5 star ratings..?!

    It's unfortunate because it proves to me that their rating system is not very reliable. When I buy a product I want to hear both the positive and negative feedback. only then will I know if the product fits my needs. It's their website and they're free to do as they please..but I know that I will look elsewhere for product reviews.

    any thoughts/opinions?
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    Senior Member anita22's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if they do delete some of the negative reviews. In fact, I would pretty much expect them to... I always use the product reviews on Makeup Alley as my general benchmark instead.
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    Senior Member astronaut's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    Well, I do know there are certain guidelines when making a review on Sephora. For example, you can't refer to another product, at all. I did that once. It was never approved.
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    Senior Member darkishstar's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    I don't think so. I think the disparity in the scores between Makeupalley and Sephora is because most people who bother giving reviews on Makeupalley are more serious about makeup/makeup junkies. They are going to be much harsher on a review because well, they've used a lot of products and have something to compare to/criticize.

    On the other hand I think people who give reviews on Sephora... there probably are a few hardcorse make-up junkies, but you have to remember that probably a lot of these people are less into/inclined to make-up so they are less likely to be harsh, or give a better review, so the score ends up being higher. At least, that's what I think anyways. Because I have seen plenty of bad reviews as well, just not as many because a lot of times I think the less critical stance is taken from regular Sephora customers vs. hardcore makeup users/critics on Makeupalley.
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    Member NANA's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    I don't know if they tamper with it but I know they won't approve most negative reviews. One evening (I was very bored!) I decided to write reviews on some products I had purchased and some had negative feedback. All of the ones that had anything negative about the product wasn't approved.

    For example, I had purchased Benefits Just in Case from Sephora and thought it was the biggest waste of money and decided to post a review on Sephora's website with the issues I had with the product. The issue was that the product was difficult to get out of the tiny vials and only has about 3-4 uses in it. They were smaller than a most samples! Well, after I completed a very detailed review on it they denied it because it had to do with a "Customer Service issue". WTFudge?!?!

    Shoot, all I wanted was to inform my fellow beauty junkies about it so they can possibly save $32 I know times are tough and I thought my review would've helped at least one person. All in all, I was very disappointed that Sephora wouldn't post my review and will NOT be reading any of their reviews in the future. I would much rather read reviews from my Specktra family!!!

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    Senior Member TSIZ's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    This is policy, and I understand it. They wouldn't want anyone to led AWAY from their site to a "competitor's" site, probably being the main issue, and there are some disclaimer/legal issues, but whatever.

    A woman was asking a question about the glycolic acid index of a certain philosophy product b/c she loves it, but knows she can only handle so much or whatever...doesn't matter. Sephora is not going to know the answer to this. Really.

    I have submitted inquiries at the philosophy.com website (they have a GREAT customer care system - it's awesome). For example, I had a question about LACTIC ACID. I've been using HIAJ and love it. I "went vegan" March/April 2008, and reevaluated my diet and beauty product diet (hello? skin is your body's largest organ). HIAJ's "magic" ingredient is LACTIC ACID, which is typically derived from animal sources (cow milk?), but certain chemicals can be derived and then be synthesized from plants to mimic lactic acid.

    Sephora is not going to know the answer to this, so I didn't bother, I went straight to the source. And philosophy confirmed that they do NOT use animal-derived LACTIC ACID for their HIAJ products. And they even went into more detail than I can remember right now. But whatever - my point is, they know their stuff.

    So, on Sephora's website Q&A section, I directed her to philosophy in a way such that I wouldn't think Sephora could possibly have a problem with it. I didn't "copy/paste" their URL straight on Sephora's Q&A, but I told person asking the question that it would be in her best interest to contact a person that is an expert in skin care and chemistry, for example, the people that manufacture the product. The chemists (or chemists' reps) really do a great job of answering questions THOROUGHLY. Boom. No problem right? How can Sephora argue with that?

    Well, the answer never got posted (poor woman - I hope she figured it out for herself), and Sephora.com wrote me an email informing me that they could not post my submittal b/c I didn't follow rules/guidelines/blahblahblah.

    Now, that's not necessarily "tampering" with the rating system, but I think it's worse to keep potentially vital/critical information from the consumer. I checked back, and the woman's question went unanswered, so I'm guessing Sephora didn't bother calling philosophy. Which means they really didn't bother to help this woman.

    Is everyone seeing a theme to my posts? I have issues with 1) customer service and 2) disclosure of information. Well, 1) is b/c if you're trained by the best, you'd want it from others (1st job outta HS, while at university: Nordstrom SF Centre, whoohoo!) and 2) b/c my whole life I've had "reactions due to sensitivity" and "allergic reactions" (2 different things) to EVERYTHING. Food: fruits, chocolate, dairy, wheat...hello? what's left for me to eat? And then everything that touched my body: laundry detergent, softener, shampoo, soap, etcetcetc. SO I NEED TO KNOW, PEOPLE!
    Anyway...what was my point?
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    Senior Member alka1's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    darkishstar - I understand your point, and it's something that I thought of as well. Sephora is a store, whereas Makeupalley is a review-based website.

    However, that still doesn't explain why the 2 reviews for the NARS concealer were deleted. They did not make a reference to any other product or do anything that violated the rating policy, afaik. They simply said they did not recommend the product because it was hard to blend, caky, and looked dry on the skin. I remember clearly because I wanted to try these products myself and didn't when I saw the 1-star total rating.

    I understand they want to sell their products and they have a right to regulate the reviews.. But other websites don't do this as far as i'm concerned. QVC.com has a rating system, and they allow very low 1-2 star reviews. Paulaschoice.com, drugstore.com, operate the same way.
    NC30-35, MUFE HD 123/128

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    Senior Member BRosa's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    Wouldn't be surprised, many of the big companies could decide not to do businness with them if they see their product trashed in the review section.
    Bedalyz

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    Senior Member hawaii02's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    I had recently considered this the other day, so it's funny you mentioned the topic. Obviously, bad reviews are going to put Sephora as a company in a bad light. I read their reviews to see how others like or dislike a product before it's bought. I ALWAYS compare it to MUA though. I'm sure many of us are "forced" to write reviews. But its a big disservice to customers if the company is going to delete every bad review because Sephora did ask for it in the first place, no???
    NW 20/blue-gray eyes/RED hair

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    Senior Member alka1's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRosa
    Wouldn't be surprised, many of the big companies could decide not to do businness with them if they see their product trashed in the review section.

    I understand that but, as I said before, other major online vendors allow reviews with little to no censorship. QVC.com carries popular makeup brands (Smashbox, Shu Uemura, Bare Escentuals,etc) and their products are not always rated with positive comments. Same goes for Amazon.com and their review system.

    yes, Sephora.com does allow low-star ratings. they don't delete every single one.. but it seems to me like they accommodate the ratings so that for every bad review there is 10 good ones to weigh things out. Which is my guess as to why they deleted the concealer reviews. Two bad reviews total = not good. Two bad reviews + 20 good reviews = good!
    NC30-35, MUFE HD 123/128

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    Senior Member BRosa's Avatar
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    Re: Does Sephora.com tamper with customer reviews/ratings?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hawaii02
    I had recently considered this the other day, so it's funny you mentioned the topic. Obviously, bad reviews are going to put Sephora as a company in a bad light. I read their reviews to see how others like or dislike a product before it's bought. I ALWAYS compare it to MUA though. I'm sure many of us are "forced" to write reviews. But its a big disservice to customers if the company is going to delete every bad review because Sephora did ask for it in the first place, no???

    Totally agree. If reviews are filtered, what is the point then?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alka1
    I understand that but, as I said before, other major online vendors allow reviews with little to no censorship. QVC.com carries popular makeup brands (Smashbox, Shu Uemura, Bare Escentuals,etc) and their products are not always rated with positive comments. Same goes for Amazon.com and their review system.

    yes, Sephora.com does allow low-star ratings. they don't delete every single one.. but it seems to me like they accommodate the ratings so that for every bad review there is 10 good ones to weigh things out. Which is my guess as to why they deleted the concealer reviews. Two bad reviews = not good. Two bad reviews + 20 good reviews = good!

    And I couldn't agree with you more on this issue. My previous comment is about me don't being surprised about situations like this because in the end, it's just businness and they need ways to assure client companies that their products will be sold at the store. Not honest, but it happens. That's why I prefer MUA to get reviews from consumers, just for that reason.
    Bedalyz

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