Expiration Reminder Testimonial Guidelines
Testimonial Program Overview
Reviews and testimonials (the same for this document) play an important part in educating potential software buyers by sharing the opinions of peers and others who have relevant experiences. Reviews not only help buyers make better informed decisions, but provide vendors with feedback and valuable insight about their software or service. We take each review seriously and focus on creating a site that is helpful and maintains high-quality, relevant content written by verified users and is free of conflicts of interest.
As a website operator, we display content generated by our community of software users in the form of software reviews. The opinions expressed in reviews are those of the reviewers and not of Expiration Reminder. We do not endorse any of the opinions expressed by reviewers or by vendor management in response to reviews. And we identify in these Community Guidelines the rules governing our reviews program for (i) the users of the site, (ii) those users who write reviews, and (iii) the vendors who are listed and/or reviewed on the site.
Quality Assurance (QA) and Verification Process
We’re committed to being a platform for high-quality reviews and have built a robust reviews Quality Assurance (QA) process in order to achieve that goal. 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.
It is our aim to safeguard against fraud by taking steps to verify each reviewer’s identity. We also seek to confirm that the reviewer has no conflicts of interest (such as being an employee or competitor of the product’s company), and that the review content meets our guidelines for publishing (listed below).
Here are the Three Keys of Reviews Verification
- Identity Check.
- Each reviewer is researched by our team of experts to find key identifiers such as name, job title, or email address to ensure that the review was left by a real person. If they’re unable to identify the reviewer, the review will not be published.
- Conflict of Interest Check.
- Each reviewer’s name and company is checked against the product they are reviewing. If they’re in any way affiliated with the vendor, or are identified as a direct competitor, the review will not be published.
- Content Check.
- Each review undergoes an evaluation to ensure it is original, authentic, and meets our quality standards. If the content does not meet our standards (which includes, but is not limited to, those listed below), the review will not be published.
What Else Does the QA Team Screen for?
- Inappropriate language, Violent or Hateful speech.
- If the review content contains profane or obscene language, or is bullying or discriminatory.
- Spam Content.
- If the review is SPAM, nonsensical, or self-promoting.
- Invalid Reviewer.
- If the reviewer is identified as fraudulent, such as a vendor writing reviews on behalf of a customer, or a reviewer paid to write fake reviews.
- Duplicate Reviews.
- If the review content has been previously published online, or the reviewer has already reviewed the product.
- The List Goes On...
- We use a variety of expert tools beyond a basic web search. A review that does not pass our checklist is given a deeper dive by management or disabled.
- Reviewers that violate our guidelines repeatedly, attempt to abuse our program, or are found to be spammers may have all of their reviews disabled, and may be subject to penalties, up to and including legal penalties. However, as a neutral reviews platform, we do not evaluate the merit of the opinions expressed on our site, and we do not fact-check content, when assessing which reviews should be published. We do offer the ability for third parties to flag reviews for investigation.
How to Read a Review
A review expresses the opinion of a single person with experience using a certain software product. When evaluating a software product’s reviews set, it is important to consider the following:
- Do not rely on a single review.
- Each reviewer’s experience is unique to their own situation. Wherever possible, take into consideration multiple reviews to develop a broad understanding of the software’s capabilities and support.
- Consider the response of the Expiration Reminder.
- There is always more than one side to every story. Take both a review and any response from Expiration Reminder into consideration.
- Evaluate reviews over time.
- It’s important to consider how reviews about Expiration Reminder have progressed over time to see if past issues are being resolved, and whether new issues are being addressed. More recent reviews are more likely to reflect a product’s most current set of capabilities and most relevant experiences.
While the posted reviews are not intended to provide readers a specific course of action, they provide software shoppers with an important tool to help them make informed decision. Use your judgment when evaluating a review’s content and make your decisions based on all information available to you.
Tips for Writing a Great Review
The software reviews posted on our site help guide millions of software shoppers to select the software that best meets their business needs. You should consider these tips when writing your review:
- Be specific.
- What features do you love? Instead of just saying that you like the product, explain why. Use clear examples of specific experiences - the more details, the better.
- Be readable.
- Reviews need to be readable for others. Use proper grammar, without excessive capitalization or punctuation, and be sure to check your spelling.
- Be objective.
- Try to highlight both positives and negatives in your review, even if your experience skews heavily in one direction.
- Be recent.
- The best reviews are those written about current software versions, and within a year of use.
- Be relevant.
- We provide an open forum, but please keep your review useful to other software buyers. Avoid off-topic discussions or personal opinions not relevant to your direct experience using the software.
NOTE: The above tips do not constitute formal guidelines, but rather are intended as best practices for generating a useful, well-written software review.
Reviews that do not meet the guidelines below may, at our discretion, be removed or not published:
- Reviews must be submitted with an identity we can verify.
- Even if you choose to display your review anonymously, we must be able to verify your identity. We encourage you to log in via LinkedIn to help facilitate this verification.
- Reviewers must not have a conflict of interest with the product being reviewed.
- Vendors, their employees, or anyone with a financial interest in the success of a product are not allowed to review their own product or a competitor’s product.
- Reviews must be posted by the actual reviewer.
- In keeping with our verification process, we do not allow reviews to be posted on another’s behalf or under a false or forged identity.
- Reviews must contain original content.
- We do not allow reviews to be copied from another source, including our own website.
- Reviews must not contain abusive, hateful, threatening, or harassing content.
- We do not allow reviews to contain personal threats, obscenities, or hate speech.
- Reviews must not include others’ personal information.
- We do not allow reviews to contain information that can be used to identify an individual or otherwise compromise their privacy. Personal information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other type of personally identifying information.
- Reviews must provide honest feedback about the product being reviewed and must not be used to solely promote or disparage another product.
- Reference to other product(s) or vendor(s) other than the product being reviewed is permitted only when the reference is intended to add value to the review.
- Reviews must not violate any legal agreements.
- A review must not violate any third-party confidentiality, non-disclosure, or contractual obligations. This excludes non-disparagement clauses prohibiting a software user from submitting an honest review.
- Reviews must not accuse or make reports of unproven criminal activity.
- Unless the activity has been proven by a court of law, we do not allow references to criminal activity in our reviews. An example of what we would not allow would be a direct accusation of theft (i.e. “This company stole my customer list”, or “We have a lawsuit filed against this company.”), but would not include spurious statements (i.e. “This company ripped me off”, “Beware of their scam-like practices”, or “They are fraudsters and not to be trusted”).
- Our team is not qualified to make a decision as to the truthfulness of a legal accusation.
- We will not publish reviews that will cause us to be in violation of the law.
- We reserve the right to not publish reviews that will place our site in violation of any laws or regulations.
As a neutral content platform, we rely on our reviewers to provide accurate and honest details about their software experiences. While we do not attempt to determine a review’s truthfulness, or endorse the opinions expressed, we may review a review’s content at any time and for any reason; and at our discretion, we may remove a review that we reasonably believe violates our guidelines and policies.
We strive to provide a place where Reviewers, who respect our Community Guidelines, can have the following experience:
- Free from harassment from vendors or other reviewers.
- A reviewer should never be subjected to harassment in any form from a vendor or another reviewer on our site.
- Equal treatment of reviews regardless of review rating or client status.
- All reviews will undergo the same verification and quality control processes, regardless of the rating or the product being reviewed. Reviews for client products are treated the same as non-client products.
- Reviews published as submitted.
- We will not edit or modify the content of a review in a way that changes its intent (e.g., we may correct typos). We may also hide sensitive data such as personally identifying information or private contract terms that are not intended for public disclosure. If a review does not otherwise comply with our guidelines, then we will not publish the entire review or will remove it. Reviewers may resubmit a review that meets our guidelines.
- Private information remains private.
- We do not disclose to third parties any personal contact information or communications shared with us (except as required by law to help facilitate legal investigations). However, reviewers may choose to display their name and company information next to their review to provide additional context for their review.
- Anonymous on request.
- Reviewers may opt for their review to remain anonymous to vendors and site users by logging in using LinkedIn and selecting the option to remain anonymous. In these cases, reviewer’s name and company details will be made available to our back office for verification purposes, but will be hidden from vendors and users of the site.
- Ability to update review content upon request.
- Any reviewer who wishes to change or update their review should contact our team. For verification purposes, the reviewer must reach out using the same email address submitted with the original review.
Flagging a Review for Investigation
We have a robust QA and Verification process designed to help ensure site guidelines are met, plus technology in place to further safeguard against fraudulent reviews. However, no system is perfect, and occasionally an inappropriate or fraudulent review may slip through the cracks. In these rare instances, reviews may be flagged by users for review and investigation by our team.
Along with the indication that you would like to flag a review, please provide a link to the product page, details about the review in question, and all facts that would help our team in their investigation. Our reviews team will evaluate the review to determine if it meets our site guidelines. If the team determines the review does not meet our guidelines, it will be removed from the site. If the review meets our guidelines, it will remain published.
Because reviews are not fact-checked for content, we cannot remove a review due to a disagreement about the opinions or facts stated. Moreover, because we are a neutral content platform, we will not change a review at the request of a vendor or simply because a review is negative. While we may investigate the legitimacy of a review if a concern has been raised, any decision about the review is made by the reviews investigation team alone, independent of the source of the request. A “flag” request will only ensure an investigation from our reviews team and is not a guarantee for removal. All requests will be evaluated in the order they come in, and no further action is required on the part of the requestor. After confirming receipt of your request, we will send a communication regarding the results of our investigation, once complete. Please be aware that abuse of our flagging system may result in penalties.
Reviews Investigation Process
When a review is flagged for investigation our support team will review it to ensure (i) it meets our Quality Assurance and Verification Process, and (ii) the content of the review does not violate our Reviews Guidelines. The team may contact the reviewer to obtain additional information and will use a number of tools to determine if the review violates our Reviews Guidelines.
Note the following:
- Because we are not able to validate private communications, including email exchanges and phone conversations taking place between a vendor and a reviewer outside of our site, these can be unreliable. Any evidence provided along these lines will be one factor among many considered in our investigation.
- As a neutral content platform, we will not make subjective decisions as to the intent and opinions expressed in the content of any review.
- We do not facilitate arbitration. We are not mediators and will not intervene in disputes between our reviewers and vendors.
Most investigations are concluded within a week but may be extended to allow for the research and outreach necessary to make an informed decision. During the investigation, the review at issue will remain published and visible on the vendor’s profile. In order to prevent false accusations from manipulating the overall reviews scores received, we do not remove reviews during investigation.
We do not disclose our investigation protocols, as doing so would help those looking to game our system. Be assured that we take requests for investigation seriously, and that each case is manually evaluated and discussed by our team in the order that the requests are received. At the conclusion of our investigation, an email will be sent to the requestor to communicate the decision form the investigation.
About Incentivized Reviews
Offering “nominal incentives” as a means of encouraging the submission of reviews is widely considered common practice these days. Simply put, incentives help motivate software users to leave reviews. We believe that the value our online community gains by having a greater number of reviews to consider far outweighs any potential downside, a belief supported by several of our studies. Were we to only publish those reviews that did not receive an incentive: (i) our online community would have less practical guidance to help inform their purchasing decisions; and (ii) there would be a risk that the incentive practice would simply move “underground” and not be disclosed. This underground activity would be nearly impossible to police.
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.
The “Reviewer Source” icon will indicate if a review was written in exchange for an incentive, even a nominal one such as a gift card. This is true whether the review comes from an invitation by Expiration Reminder, Capterra or its affiliate sites, Software Advice and GetApp, or from the vendor.
PLEASE NOTE: In our ongoing efforts to ensure a just and legally compliant Reviews Program, Expiration Reminder will not provide an incentive to:
- Reviewers who are employees of -or affiliated with- the company being reviewed, or a direct competitor;
- Reviewers who are employees, officers, directors, agents of Gartner, Inc., its subsidiaries and affiliated companies and their immediate families;
- Reviewers who are government and public sector employees;
- Reviewers whose company policies prohibit the acceptance of gifts in the context of business transactions;
- Reviewers that work in the same company as another reviewer that already provided an incentivized review;
- Reviewers who are (or who are acting on behalf of) individuals subject to, residing in countries or employed by organizations identified in the US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions list.
** If you fall under one of the categories listed above, you are welcome to submit a non-incentivized review directly.
INCENTIVE GUIDELINES: In order to assist vendors with their sourcing efforts, Expiration Reminder have created guidelines to which vendors must adhere when offering incentives to their customers in exchange for submitting a publishable review.
If Expiration Reminder opts to offer its customers incentives outside of our approved incentive program, the vendor must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Ensure your incentive is of nominal value (as required by the FTC%) and aligns with your company's and your customers' policies on accepting gifts. We have determined that the nominal value for an individual software review must not exceed $50 USD.
- Vendors may not offer more than one incentive to a reviewer for publication of an individual review nor may they offer an incentive in combination with an incentive offered by our site(s).
- Any non-monetary incentive offered by a vendor must not exceed $50 USD in value.
- Vendors may not host a raffle that offers the chance to receive an incentive that exceeds $50 USD in value.
- Offer incentives equally for all reviews, not just the positive ones, and must not selectively screen potential reviewers based on a desired attribute or previous opinion shared.
- When in doubt, check with your in-house counsel.
About "Anonymous" Reviews
Some reviews posted on Expiration Reminder appear without an accompanying reviewer name or company, instead simply noting they have been posted by a “verified user.” To be clear, while it may seem that these reviews have been submitted anonymously, these reviews have been submitted by people (logging in via their personal LinkedIn account) who have submitted their information, but have opted not to display their identity publicly for privacy reasons. While a reviewer may choose not to share personal information with the public, their identity is always verified by our Quality Assurance team before we permit their review to be published.
Once a reviewer has selected the anonymity option, it is against our policy to reveal to the public or other vendors any details about the reviewer, including their personal contact information. Our QA team manually verifies each reviewer in accordance with our Guidelines in an effort to confirm published reviews have been submitted only by legitimate reviewers.
Where Our Reviews Come From
Like all online reviews sites, Expiration Reminder sources its reviews from a variety of channels. Many reviews are submitted by software shoppers who visit our site in the course of their research and choose to leave a review. Other reviews are posted by members of our reviews community to whom we may offer an incentive in exchange for a review. Still other reviews may be solicited by a vendor that encourages its customer to leave a product review on our site. In all cases, regardless of the channel by which the review is submitted to our site, we apply the same rigorous Quality Assurance and Verification Process to all reviews.
NOTE: Expiration Reminder also displays reviews from Capterra across its affiliate sites, Software Advice and GetApp. While the reviews will be accessible on all three sites, the site on which the review was submitted will be indicated by “Source”.
About Our Reviews Team
Our reviews team seeks to evaluate each review submitted through our sites. We train each team member on our investigative procedures and task them with verifying the identity of each reviewer, identifying potential conflicts of interest, and making sure that submitted reviews meet our Guidelines. With tens of thousands of reviews submitted each month, we continue to develop and hone our team’s expertise in this area.
Our team is trained to be neutral and unbiased when verifying a review. We treat a five-star review sharing a positive experience in exactly the same way we treat a one-star review sharing a negative experience. As a neutral online content platform, we cannot remove an opinion or statement from a verified reviewer unless we deem, in our discretion, that it violates our site standards.
To reinforce this position, our reviews team remains separate and independent from our sales and relationship teams and initiatives. The reviews team treats all vendors--clients or non-clients--equally by ensuring that all posted reviews undergo the same Quality Assurance process. We take our legal and regulatory obligations seriously when it comes to our reviews program and continue to ensure that all of our policies and practices comply with the most current applicable laws and regulations.
Understanding Reviews Snippets
Review snippets are system-selected direct quotes compiled from user-submitted reviews that have been published to a product’s profile (see How are Review Snippets Selected). Snippets provide software shoppers with an easily digestible snapshot of “Pros” and “Cons” extracted from the user-submitted reviews for quick reference, and may be displayed where a summarized view of reviews highlights is required, such as a product’s reviews profile page, or product comparison pages.
Similar to the rules governing the reviews they are sourced from, snippets cannot be removed or taken down based on subjective challenges regarding their content. Only snippets that fail to meet the guidelines below may, at our discretion, be replaced by a new system-selected snippet:
- Snippets must quote product features accurately.
- Snippets mentioning an unsupported product feature, or a lack of a product feature that currently exists, will qualify for replacement.
- Snippets must be correctly categorized.
- Snippets featuring content that is clearly miscategorized as a “Pro” or a “Con” will qualify for replacement.
- Snippets must not violate our Reviews Guidelines.
- Because snippets are sourced from reviews content, they are subject to the same set of Community Guidelines. Any snippet found in violation of our Community Guidelines will qualify for replacement.
Understanding Video Reviews
Video reviews are user-submitted video testimonials about software solicited by our site from our existing database of reviewers who are selected through an unbiased process and meet an objective set of criteria. Reviewers submitting a video review will have i) been previously validated through our Quality Assurance process, with a history of submitting high-quality reviews content meeting our site Community Guidelines, and ii) have previously submitted a published text review for the same product.
Video Reviews Guidelines
Video Reviews vs. Text Reviews
As previously noted, a video review is submitted by a reviewer who has a published text review already published for the same product. Video reviewers are not required to read their previous review verbatim, and are not obligated to maintain the same opinions. With this in mind, video reviews:
- Are not included in any ratings calculations.
- Video reviews are not considered “second reviews”, and are not used to calculate average review scores, and will not influence the ranking of a vendor in search results or any category rankings.
- Cannot be solicited by or for a vendor.
- Our site requests video reviews from our existing database of reviewers who have previously passed our Quality Assurance process and have reviewed a product.
About Video Montages
A “Video Montage” is a moderated compilation of key commentaries clipped from previously submitted video reviews meeting our Community Guidelines to create an assortment of opinions sourced from multiple reviewers. A product profile may contain more than one Video Montage at a time, with montages showcasing opinions on why users selected a software balanced by montages of opinions on what users would like to see changed.
Because the clips Video Montages contain are sourced from submitted and approved Video Reviews content, they are subject to the same set of Community Guidelines as our Video Reviews. Any individual clip of a Video Montage found in violation of our Community Guidelines will qualify for replacement within the Video Montage, or disablement of the entire Video Montage, at our discretion as moderators.