Why most mattress reviews are a scam


Mattress reviews online are supposed to offer insight into the experiences of consumers and help in the buying decision process.  So why are most mattress reviews a scam?


  • Most online reviews are moderated.  This means that they are reviewed and a determination is made as to whether or not to make them live on the website. This is both good and bad. Good because it may eliminate competitors creating false reviews, bad because there is nothing stopping a brand from simply eliminating reviews that don’t reflect positively.  For example, if a company has a product selling online, and a review is submitted that says the product smells bad, they can choose to simply not show that one.


  • Some companies incentivize the production of reviews. Basically they pay people to write reviews through some kind of incentive or kick-back, which means the reviews are not unbiased and are probably skewed in the favor of the brand paying for them.  For example, they could be offered a disount, rebate, or free gift item once the review is complete.


  • Reviews are rarely the complete picture due to the fact that most reviews are written within a short time of purchasing. Often customers experience product failure or issues with their experience sometime thereafter. Customers are less likely to write feedback about the product several months or several years after their purchase. Therefore, the review scale tends to weigh heavily on the positive side. 


  • Customer experiences vary by many factors. Often people reading the reviews will associate themselves with a similar experience, when the customer writing the review may be of a different size, gender, ethnicity, or age that may factor into whether or not the product worked for that person. It is usually assumed that the person is of similar physical and mental characteristics when often times that is not the case.


  • The number of reviews is relative to the number of people who purchased, and the number of filtered reviews. “This mattress has 4700 5-star reviews” sounds really great, but if they have sold 250,000 units and filtered out 13,000 1-star reviews, then it’s going to make their overall score sound really great, even though the numbers are very skewed.



When using online mattress reviews to make decisions, make sure to take into consideration these things and the ways that reviews are obtained. Third party reviews such as on Google local listings or Yelp local listings tend to be more accurate, and less skewed. The problem is that they are usually for local businesses and not for the products themselves. And even these can be muddled by competitors or people who are just trying to increase their Google Local Guide status. Don’t put too much stock in the feedback of strangers. One person’s firm is another person’s soft.  One person's too expensive is another person’s cheap. Also be aware of something that just sounds too good to be true, because it usually is.