Can you trust the reviews on the Microsoft Store?
Stephen Pate – Microsoft may not allow you to express your real opinion about the products sold on the Microsoft Store.
As long as Microsoft censors their user reviews, I take them as public relations fluff.
Free speech is a cherished value on the internet. For vendors like Microsoft, free speech is their only way to create authenticity.
Microsoft is rejecting negative comments through moderation. Reviews of the new Lumia 950 XL and 950 are almost all positive while Amazon has refused to sell it for quality reasons. Tech blogs are full of complaints about Microsoft’s new flag-ship smartphones but the Microsoft Store sites are populated by 5 star praise.
Microsoft has unique rules about what you can say. They are enforcing censorship on negative comments about their services or products. Acceptable reviews must be:
- Only product focused
- Not include comparisons with other products and prices
- Not have comments about Microsoft service
Here’s a screen shot of one of 4 reviews I submitted over the past 2 weeks.
The negative service comment is ironic since Microsoft is deeply committed to selling software and hosting as services. Service is a major component of the consumer purchase since you can buy most products from several stores. For instance, how does the service at Microsoft compare with Best Buy on the same products.
Four reviews I submitted over in December were rejected, with a terse email shown above.
Lest you think I don’t know how to write a review that passes muster, I review products and services regularly on Amazon.com in the US, Canada, the UK and recently in Germany.
Censorship is not new to Microsoft. They used the DMCA to take down a Windows 8 discussion site, according to Betanews.
“Something’s fishy here. A message board thread where developers unanimously criticized the Windows 8 tile interface has been delisted from Google, thanks to a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown order issued by none other than Microsoft itself.”
Reseller Ratings gives the Microsoft Store a 1 star out of 5 – ouch!
“AND probably most importantly 3)… it looks like they censor reviews that don’t say what they like. I realize that one anecdote about MY review getting deleted a case for systemic censorship does not make, but I cannot believe that this app has 1870 five star reviews and 133 one star reviews,” reports one person on Reddit.