Effective Date: | Last Updated:
The Bazaarvoice Authenticity Policy (“Policy”) lays out the requirements under which a client’s content (e.g. ratings, reviews, questions, answers, and social content) is considered authentic. This Policy is incorporated into the services agreements between Bazaarvoice and its clients (the “Agreement”).
Bazaarvoice defines “Authentic Content” as:
- Written or photographed by a real person and featuring their honest, non-fraudulent opinions.
- Stems from real product experience (such as but not limited to: purchased, sampled, gifted, or other material experiences).
- Discloses any relevant contextual information that may impact the poster’s ability to be unbiased (such as but not limited to: staff member, incentivizations, partnerships).
- Maintains Sentiment Neutrality throughout. Sentiment Neutrality is defined as the practice of ensuring all content and processes are treated equally regardless of if the review is positive, negative, or neutral.
- Any relevant contextual information about the process is disclosed (such as but not limited to: syndication, translation, manner of collection).
- We put the above first in terms of how we do business. We stay focused on the mission of keeping shopping radically transparent and make the hard decisions to ensure that we and our clients are a trusted source for consumers.
This Policy applies to all forms of content submission to Bazaarvoice’s platform such as but not limited to:
- Content collected directly through the Bazaarvoice platform (both hosted or via API), or solicited through a review request, whether published or unpublished.
- Content collected and distributed from a partner platform, whether published or unpublished.
- Content collected via any incentivization campaign, such as but not limited to sampling, sweepstakes, or in-person events.
- Content collected prior to a relationship with Bazaarvoice and imported as a part of a new implementation.
- Content collected via a social platform and used on either an e-commerce site or as part of a social media campaign.
As further laid out below, failure to comply with this Policy may lead to actions including removal of any authenticity seals or badges, suspension of content syndication, or removal of content from display.
Collection and Submission refers to the process of collecting user-generated content. This can be author-led, from a consumer leaving an unsolicited review on an e-commerce site, or can refer to a deliberate effort by the client to gather content through methods such as review requests or sampling.
Imported Legacy Content
New clients may do a one-time import of Authentic legacy content. Imports must be completed within one year of contract start date. This content is exempt from the full list of data requirements found below but is still expected to have met the other criteria around collection and sentiment neutrality, as outlined below. Client is required to import all existing approvable content regardless of star rating. Additionally, imports should include original username, full review text, submission time and date, and any additional relevant contextual data as outlined in the display section of this document. If you do have access to any of the additional data sources listed, they should also be included, but an import will not be blocked for lack of inclusion. As fraudulent content is often cumulative and may be discovered at a later time, Bazaarvoice reserves the right to reject, at any time, imports found to be fraudulent. Ongoing imports are not allowed.
Review Submission Conditions
Consumers who submit content in the Bazaarvoice platform should be required to agree to a defined set of conditions. The client will draft these submission terms and conditions, and they should include but are not limited to: agreement that the content is a true and valid opinion of a user who has real product experience. Additionally, they should require the disclosure of any contextual information, such as if the reviewer is an employee, partner, member of a loyalty program, receiving samples, paid influencer, etc.
All new content collected during the relationship with Bazaarvoice should be accompanied by the data signals below. This includes content submitted through both the hosted and API configurations.
- Time stamp of submission
- Unique username and email address
- Submitter IP address
- Device Fingerprint
- Badge tokens for Incentivized Content, Staff or similar affiliations.
- Content Origin Disclosure (where the content was originally collected)
Content originating from any individual or entity with a known financial interest in the product or service upon which the content is submitted, (including, but not limited to: employees of the client, industry experts acting in an official capacity, manufacturers, agents, retailers, or any individual that requested, encouraged, or otherwise was allowed to submit content in exchange for monetary payment or other valuable remuneration (free samples, coupons, discounts, loyalty rewards, contests, sweepstakes etc.) (respectively, “Endorsements” and “Endorsers”)) must be disclosed as Endorsements by Endorsers. The Client must abide by the following:
- Clients must notify Bazaarvoice of any and all known Endorsements and Endorsers. Endorsements must contain either a full, easily-identifiable disclosure via text within the content, or a badge indicating the Endorser’s relationship with the Client;
- Endorsements must comply with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and regulatory guidance;
- Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the Endorser;
- The Endorser must have been a bona fide user of the product, service, etc., for which they are submitting an Endorsement.
- An Endorsement may not convey any express or implied representation that would be deceptive;
- If the Endorser is presented as an industry expert, then their qualifications must align with that industry’s standards.
- Content may be collected as part of an incentivization program (in exchange for something of value). In such cases the incentivization shall be transparently disclosed;
- The sentiment of the submitted content must not be directly or indirectly influenced by the incentivization or endorsement.
The method of content collection must be neutral as to sentiment. In other words, consumer sentiment about a product should not dictate who is requested or allowed to submit a review. Similarly there should be no attempt to alter collection methods, automated filters, email lists, etc. in order to target a specific review sentiment. Additionally, content may not be collected or displayed where the author was in any way coached or coerced into writing from a specific point of view. It must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the author.
After collection, content will enter the Bazaarvoice Content Management system as well as our vendor systems for evaluation. Content deemed appropriate and relevant will not be hidden, suppressed, edited, or deleted; additionally, spelling and grammatical errors in content will post “as is”, and not undergo any editing or correcting process notwithstanding this. Bazaarvoice reserves the right to reject any content deemed or suspected to be fraudulent.
- Bazaarvoice will moderate all content submitted to the Bazaarvoice Platform. Clients may not self-moderate their content.
- Clients are prohibited from rejecting content, or causing it to be rejected, solely on the basis of star rating or review sentiment.
- Content containing typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors will be approved, unless the errors materially interfere with other users’ ability to read and interpret the content.
- Neither Bazaarvoice nor client may edit the content in any way.
- Clients may reject content only if it violates agreed-upon moderation guidelines between Bazaarvoice and Client.
- Bazaarvoice will use a combination of text and data signals to identify and reject suspected fraudulent content.
As earlier established, consumer sentiment alone should not influence how content is collected, moderated, or displayed. Consumers have a right to read all valid and honest feedback for a given product.
All contextual information relevant to either the person submitting the content or the process from submission to display should be clearly disclosed to consumers. Examples of badges include but are not limited to:
- Employee or agent of the client, or of the product manufacturer, retailer or other in the sales or distribution chain
- Industry expert acting in an official capacity
- Any individual who was requested, encouraged, or otherwise allowed to submit content in exchange for monetary payment or other valuable remuneration (free samples, coupons, discounts, loyalty rewards, contests, sweepstakes, etc.)
- Influencer or Endorser receiving something of value in exchange for content
- Content that was translated should be disclosed along with translation methodology.
- Content that was originally submitted somewhere other than the displaying client such as a partner, brand to retailer, or import, should include the initial submission location, referred to as the content origin.
- Content collected via a paper survey that was transcribed.
Bazaarvoice recommends that the default display of reviews is a chronological display from the most recent to the oldest, based on the submission date.
If not defaulted to a chronological display, display should be sentiment neutral and clearly indicate what filtering methods are being used for display, and should make chronological display an option for site users.
The review submission date should appear with the review text.
There should be an overall star rating per product and it should follow the below requirements:
- Calculate the overall rating on the basis of principles of mathematical objectivity;
- Clearly inform consumers what methods have been used to calculate the overall rating;
- Ensure that the overall rating is continually updated as new reviews are published;
- Ensure the user reporting mechanism does not impact the overall rating calculation until the review in question is removed; and
- Ensure the overall rating for an evaluated product or service is accompanied by the total number of reviews.
Star Rating Only Reviews
If choosing to display star rating only reviews, rules must be standard regardless of sentiment. If you choose to convert content below a certain character threshold to star rating only, it should be the same rule regardless of star rating. When giving an overall rating, star rating only reviews should be included in the count.
Any time limits set for content display should be set regardless of star rating. If the decision is made to expire content, content should be expired based on date and nothing else, such as but not limited to star rating or collection type.
It is permitted to use snippets of a review elsewhere, for advertising, marketing, or other purposes. Where possible, link to the entirety of the review. Additionally, ensure any snippets used mirror the overall tone and sentiment of the review in its entirety. Ensure your terms and conditions allow for review use outside the product page where submitted.
- Bazaarvoice may, at its sole discretion, audit content that has been removed by client to confirm compliance with this Policy.
- In the event a client fails to comply with the provisions of this Policy, then the parties will follow the escalation process. The Escalation Process is as follows (the “Escalation Process”):
- For initial violations of the Authenticity Policy, Bazaarvoice’s Client Success team will notify Client’s day-to-day business contact to discuss the particular violation and provide any assistance needed to ensure such violations do not recur;
- For recurring violations, Bazaarvoice will escalate internally to the SVP of Client Services, who will endeavor to speak directly with an appropriate executive at the client with the authority to enforce compliance, and/or to the Bazaarvoice Legal Department.
- If the violations persist, then Bazaarvoice may, in its sole discretion, remove badging and/or content from the Bazaarvoice-controlled portions of the affected websites, including any sites the content may syndicate to, or terminate the Agreement.
This Policy is a set of best practice guidelines. The Policy does not absolve Client liability in respect of all regulations, such as but not limited to any applicable laws and regulations impacting your specific jurisdiction or industry in respect to the use of and the display of reviews. For the avoidance of doubt, all applicable laws shall prevail and take precedence over the contents of this Policy. You are advised to seek independent legal advice on the practices which impact your industry and the countries you chose to operate in.
Partner Policy Addendum
In the event a client’s content needs to be imported via a certified Bazaarvoice partner, for reasons outside a one-time new client import, such as but not limited to a technical issue prevented the content from being submitted in real time via the API integration, the following requirements must be met. Please note, Partners are expected to make their best effort to ensure all content is submitted through the API in real time where possible. All partner imports are done at Bazaarvoice’s discretion.
The content to be imported must contain the following data points to be eligible for import:
- Review Text
- Author nickname
- Author ID
- Submission time
- Incentivization disclosure
- Product ID
In addition to the above, at least two of the three following authenticity data points must be provided for the content to be eligible for import outside of the standard process:
- Author’s Email Address**
- Author’s IP Address
- Author’s Device Fingerprint
**This must be the author’s true email address, and cannot be any masked or anonymized email address.
The following data points are preferred, but not required for these imports:
- Review Title
- Other information submitted by the author with the review, such as:
- Additional Ratings
If the requirements for authenticity data points cannot be met, the content may still be eligible for import and display on the client’s native site but will not be eligible for syndication. You can find more information in the Native Content Import policy here.