Apple pulls all customer reviews from online Apple Store

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
On November 17, Apple removed the "Ratings & Reviews" section from all product pages on the Apple website. It is currently unclear what has prompted this decision, nor when Apple will bring back the option to read the opinions of other customers at the time of purchase.

Apple removes all buyer reviews from its product pages over the past weekend


AppleInsider received a tip from a reader who had noted the buyer review section was missing on Apple's online retail store page. The user also pointed out that the pages have been removed from U.S., U.K., and Australian Apple online stores, which suggests this is not simply a mistake, but rather an intentional move on Apple's behalf.

The reviews were pulled over the weekend, though it's not clear as to why this has happened. Apple had been known for leaving up even especially negative reviews, which demonstrated both transparency and integrity to their customers.

By removing the reviews, it's possible that Apple will be seen as less credible to potential buyers.

Utilizing the Wayback Machine, AppleInsider found that the reviews were pulled at some point between the evening of November 16 and the morning of November 17. The image below shows a capture of the sections on November 16 and 17, highlighting the missing "Rating & Reviews" section.

Capture of two different days, showing the missing reviews section


AppleInsider has contacted Apple for clarification over the feature's removal, and if it would be making a return.

It is possible to view the changes by looking at the Wayback Machine archive page for the original Apple Pencil.

A YouTube video offered as part of the tip was published by the popular photography account, Fstoppers, titled "Apple Fanboys, Where is your God now?" In the video, the host reads a selection of negative reviews of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro with the video published on November 16, coinciding with the removal of the website feature.

However, it remains to be seen if the video had anything to do with Apple's decision to remove the reviews, given the 56 thousand page views at the time of publication doesn't seem like a high-enough number for Apple to pay attention to the video's content. Other videos have been more critical about the company's products, and some with far higher view counts, but evidently Apple seemingly does not spend that much time involving itself with such public complaints.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    That Fstoppers review does seem sincere, and the reviewer certainly can't legitimately be called an Apple Hater. He makes some good observations about dongles and Thunderbolt 3, which by the way is problematic with Windows machines too tho I don't know of any that offer only TB3. To be honest I've never used the Thunderbolt port on my XPS
    edited November 2019 jd_in_sbmike54
  • Reply 2 of 46
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,337member
    I'm not sure they were exactly representative... Maybe Cook at. al only just noticed and thought it best to remove them. Not many first-party websites allow reviews of their own products. Pretty much everything on the Apple site has 3 star and below reviews because people only bother to review when their whatever breaks. And of course everyone thinks nothing should break ever, no matter how they treat it. I've never killed a Macbook charger but somehow 80% of the reviews for Macbook chargers are people buying replacements because the cable frayed. Macbook chargers aren't tough, but they aren't as bad as their lightning cables. My 10 year old Apple in-ear earbuds are still going... just!
    StrangeDayslkrupppscooter63cornchipbshankurahara
  • Reply 3 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    elijahg said:
    I'm not sure they were exactly representative... Maybe Cook at. al only just noticed and thought it best to remove them. Not many first-party websites allow reviews of their own products. 
    In actuality it's pretty common for first-party websites to offer reviews of their products. HP does. LG does. Samsung does. Before buying my Samsung Q80R last week I read thru a sample of them, along with looking at other online resources. I always pay particular attention to the 3 stars or less and don't even very rarely consider products where more than than 10% of the reviews are 1 star unless there is no other market option for something I just gotta have. 
    edited November 2019 80s_Apple_Guywaltfrenchmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 46
    The sincerity of reviews is certainly something to question. Since honesty is what is needed in reviews not agendas. But who needs a review to decide to buy? Or a better question who lets a review of Mac Hardware decide it? I've read reviews, but more importantly I read specs and try out the machines. If you buy it and don't like it, return it. You have 30 days, I believe, to return anything to Apple. But letting the nits who only want USB A ports or demand 3 headphone jacks or whatever tiny little issue obsesses them fill pages with comments and reviews that are a waste of time (I think an adult spending 3 grand on a laptop can decide what ports they want...I mean, seriously?) seems sort of a waste os time and effort. Most of these types all have YouTube channels filled with their obsessions. 
    chiapscooter63StrangeDaysuraharawatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 5 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    The sincerity of reviews is certainly something to question. Since honesty is what is needed in reviews not agendas. But who needs a review to decide to buy? Or a better question who lets a review of Mac Hardware decide it?
    Of course anyone buying an expensive piece of kit should look at reviews. Heck we have folks here who say they want to buy the latest Apple whatever but will wait on reviews from users before opening their wallet.  I guarantee if you are one of those who never reads reviews before buying you've had far more than your fair share of purchase regret. 

    Personally I dislike unpacking, setting up, using, not liking, then repackaging products and arranging for return shipping or scheduling another trip to the brick and mortar. Worse is when you look at reviews after-the-fact to see just the type of issue frequently mentioned that was what YOU disliked about it too. 
    edited November 2019 waltfrenchmuthuk_vanalingammike54
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Reviews are tough. 

    They are extremely valuable to learn from another’s successes or mistakes in buying a product before you do. 

    But there is also the difficulty of a number of things you’d never think would happen:

    1) fake reviews. Some buy weird internet trolls, Some by people who think they are “helping,” and some by people with invested interest in a product. 

    2) coded messages being sent through reviews in plain sight. Can be a significant law enforcement issue. 

    3) competitors using the data to target you in hostile communications. This ones ok though. If you’ve given them cause, then fix the problem. 

    Still, Amazon, etc. does it. And Apple is huge. They need to open reviews back up ASAP. especially during Christmas. Fix whatever issue existed and open the lanes of consumer to consumer communication back up. 
    emoellertallgrasstechiepscooter63toysandmeSnickersMagoobadmonk
  • Reply 7 of 46
    Something else worth considering is that they found a security issue or vulnerability with the reviews system and removed it until the problem could be triaged.
    coolfactorkayess
  • Reply 8 of 46
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,755member
    Online reviews have gotten pretty useless.
    Amazon and others have stopped use of thumbs down or the option to say a review was not helpful. Without that, there's no way to call out fan-boy, paid and troll reviews so they can all be downgraded and would go to the bottom of the list. It was a good way to flag useless or stupid reviews. Now, one can only click that a review was useful. It's like the participation trophy of online retail.

    Even AI, here only offers a "like" button for comments.
    coolfactormagman1979waltfrenchStrangeDaysaderutterrazorpitdysamoriahmurchisonroundaboutnowphilboogie
  • Reply 9 of 46
    The problem with reviews is when they’re used NOT to actually review the product but to vent about the company or something else. I’d rather have no reviews than moderated ones.
    magman1979lkrupprazorpitmonstrosityurahara
  • Reply 10 of 46
    mike1 said:
    Online reviews have gotten pretty useless.
    Amazon and others have stopped use of thumbs down or the option to say a review was not helpful. Without that, there's no way to call out fan-boy, paid and troll reviews so they can all be downgraded and would go to the bottom of the list. It was a good way to flag useless or stupid reviews. Now, one can only click that a review was useful. It's like the participation trophy of online retail.

    Even AI, here only offers a "like" button for comments.

    Agreed. AI needs to upgrade their "Like" system to allow down-votes.

    I have increasingly used reviews and ratings to decide if I'm going to buy something from a retailer.

    magman1979razorpitdysamoriaphilboogie
  • Reply 11 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Is this a case of the truth hurts too much or something less damming?   

    I look at it this way the new MBP is improved.   However that doesn’t mean that Apple really addressed the needs of “PRO” users.  In fact in some ways the improvements are rather minor and in some cases just address screw ups built into the last version.  

    Maybe Apple doesn’t want to hear this.   They do seem to be extremely butt hurt about it when it comes to interviews.  They work hard to justify their port decisions even though the noise from consumers hasn’t died down for years. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 46
    That group of employees has been moved to iOS14 development!!!  /s
  • Reply 13 of 46
    The reviews on the Apple site were sparse and generally useless (in my experience).  For example, there would always be a number of 1-star reviews of a adapter or cable complaining about the price or the need for such a thing.  That's different that a bunch of 1-star reviews of that type of product on Amazon complaining about reliability or quality.  Better for Apple to have no reviews than to be sparse and dominated by low-value reviews.
    StrangeDaysrazorpit
  • Reply 14 of 46
    I find some Products are reviewed unfairly. Like, every other Apple dongle is reviewed negatively because it was expensive or the user felt betrayed that they had to buy it. Which is fair but unrepresentative of the the actual product. 

    AppleTV remote has two stars! That is not representative of the quality of the product, but Apple is charging $60 for a replacement!!
    StrangeDaysrazorpitrandominternetpersonapres587
  • Reply 15 of 46
    HyperealityHypereality Posts: 58unconfirmed, member
    I guess App Store reviews will remain, one rule for Apple, another for third party software developers. 

    My app has 4 stars so I'm happy enough, but I do hate the many reviews that complain about the price of my app being as much as a sandwich and a soda, as though I somehow write and maintain the code in my sleep rather than sweating blood over it. 


    gatorguymatrix077
  • Reply 16 of 46
    Meddling with or “managing” comments is nothing new online and I mean beyond moderation.

    The NYT comments section comes to mind. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 17 of 46
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,274member
    I find some Products are reviewed unfairly. Like, every other Apple dongle is reviewed negatively because it was expensive or the user felt betrayed that they had to buy it. Which is fair but unrepresentative of the the actual product. 

    AppleTV remote has two stars! That is not representative of the quality of the product, but Apple is charging $60 for a replacement!!
    Some reviews like that are certainly less than helpful. Ditto the reviews that say ‘1 Star - arrived broken.’ On the other hand, when I last looked, there were plenty of reviews that described serious issues with them -poor function or design flaws (e.g. the USB C-A dongle had a socket that was too tight,) etc.

    The biggest reason online reviews are worthless is that many of them are fake - you can pay someone in China or India to write a bunch of reviews for your product to make it look good and most places don’t verify whether you’ve purchased the product or not. Amazon’s one of the worst for that. Of course half of Amazon’s products are fakes from china anyway.
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 18 of 46
    Maybe business customers buy directly from Apple, but consumers are going to go elsewhere.  Businesses don’t need reviews.  Consumers going to Apple are probably looking at specs and availability.

    Reviewing reviews is a waste of time for Apple.  Amazon (for example) probably has an extensive system set up to remove the trolls and verify buyers.

    If I went to a manufacturers website, I’d question the legitimacy of the reviews posted there.  I want independent reviews to help with decision making.

    Apple wants an uncluttered website and strictly controlled message, there is no place (in that) for reviews.
    aderutterrandominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 46
    elijahg said:
    I'm not sure they were exactly representative... Maybe Cook at. al only just noticed and thought it best to remove them. Not many first-party websites allow reviews of their own products. Pretty much everything on the Apple site has 3 star and below reviews because people only bother to review when their whatever breaks. And of course everyone thinks nothing should break ever, no matter how they treat it. I've never killed a Macbook charger but somehow 80% of the reviews for Macbook chargers are people buying replacements because the cable frayed. Macbook chargers aren't tough, but they aren't as bad as their lightning cables. My 10 year old Apple in-ear earbuds are still going... just!
    Any retailer confident in their offerings is open to criticism. Hopefully this is just Apple reworking the way the information is presented and are not trying to hide anything.
    muthuk_vanalingambloggerblog
  • Reply 20 of 46
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Reviews in general across the internet for all sorts of products, not just from Apple, are often useless. A customer has to know how to filter out the garbage ones from those that might be sincere. Somebody who is clueless or lacks knowledge will not possess the skills required to do this.

    There are some legitimate reviews to be found, but there are way too many garbage reviews that have very little to do with the actual product at hand. There are also numerous reviews that are plagued by issues that are caused often by user error or ignorance.

    When I read through reviews about a product that I am interested in, I quickly skim through them all and disregard all those that I find to be garbage for various reasons.

    If I'm interested in a product, I'll research it, I'll also check multiple review places and not just rely on reviews found on one site. I might also check a few youtube videos, if I want to see the product in action.

    Eventually, I'm left with some reviews that I find to be legitimate and I'll make my decision from there. I rarely regret anything that I buy, because I usually know exactly what I'm getting and if it'll work with my specific set up or equipment. Research pays off.

    I remember being at Costco a few years ago and I came across a suitcase that they had on sale for a good price. I hadn't planned on buying any suitcase that day, but I did need a new one and it looked nice plus the price was nice, so I went online while I was still in the store to check out some reviews of that particular suitcase and all I found were 3 reviews and they were all low star reviews.

    Using my wealth of knowledge and understanding of psychology of the ridiculous human mind, I quickly deemed them all to be garbage, as the reviews were merely ranting about some unrelated issue that didn't have much to do with the product at all. 

    So after reading those 3 very low rated reviews, I went ahead and bought the suitcase anyway, since Costco has great warranties, and I couldn't be happier with the suitcase I bought. I've used it on many trips and it still looks new and is as good as the day I bought it. Had I relied solely on those 3 garbage reviews, I would have never bought it.




    edited November 2019 pscooter63laytechkayessrandominternetpersonorthorim
Sign In or Register to comment.