November 4, 2004 12:43 PM PST

Apple store takes reviews--but not of its own stuff

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Customers visiting Apple Computer's online store can now post their own reviews of the products they buy--unless it's the latest iPod.

That's because, though users can offer their takes on a variety of Mac and iPod gear from other companies, Apple automatically gives its own products a top "5-Apple" rating.

Apple allows customers to assign their own ratings, from one to five stars to products from other companies, such as iPod cases and speakers. In a frequently asked questions page, Apple explains its thinking.

"We give all Apple products a rating of '5 Apples' because we think they're great," the company said. Apple went on to say, "Would you trust us to display less-than-perfect ratings on our own products? We didn't think so," but deleted that line Thursday afternoon.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the reviews policy.

Customer reviews have been an important feature on independent online stores for some time., which has long had such reviews, recently expanded the feature so that customers can also post photos of the products they buy.

But the idea of customers reviewing products on a company's own site is more novel--and indeed a bit trickier. Hewlett-Packard and Dell, for example, sell a variety of accessories and software from other companies, but neither offer customers a way to review either their own, or third-party, products. By making its own rating in apples, rather than stars, Apple does somewhat distinguish the difference in the ratings methods.

Apple has been trying to build a community around its sites, particularly its iTunes Music Store, where customers can post their own playlists, or iMixes.

Most of the initial reviews appear to be for accessories for the iPod digital-music player. Apple last week launched a separate online "iPod Store" within the broader shopping environment on its site.

Those who want to review products need to register with Apple. The company examines the content of reviews over a few days, posting the comments to its site if they meet the company's terms and conditions. Apple requires that the review not be obscene, threatening or defamatory, among other conditions. The company also reserves the right not to publish any review.


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This is news?
A company providing a way for customer feedback on third party
items sold via their own site is news? Shouldn't we be thanking
them? I mean come on, if Apple (or ANY other company)
provided allowances to provide less than the maximum "Apples"
for their own stuff, then they might as well say, "We're not sure
it's the best". A company would never EVER allow that.

This "story" is quite silly.
Posted by socokid (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Other companies aren't scared of their users
Are you serious? This story isn't news?

Just about EVERY other company that provides this kind of service doesn't restrict you from reviewing their products. Leave it to Apple and Mr. Megalomaniac Jobs to disallow reviewing Apple's own products.

What surprises me is that a biased news site like CNET even carried this story.
Posted by (127 comments )
Link Flag
Good catch...
That's why I prefer to rumage through sites like Microsoft,
Intel, Dell, Oracle, HP, Gateway, Sony, Cisco, Sun, Palm,
Toshiba, etc., because they actually let us state an objective
opinion of their wares. When I need a review of a Microsoft
product I go to the Microsoft site and simply look up their
product site, read the posted reviews, cut and paste and I'm
ready to turn in my review.

I'm wondering if we could start a grassroots law suit to
address their truth in advertising violations. Unless they
start modeling their Web site like the rest of the industry
we should stick it to them - pronto!

Good catch , CNET. That's the award winning reporting we
have come to expect from you.

Wait a minute, this review may not get posted because it
isn't a CNET statement. Now what do we do?
Posted by sunergeos (111 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why the Heck Not!
I have to say, Apple's choice to rate their own products may sound misleading but I think it makes a ton of sense. If I own a company that puts out a product, why would I say that it's anything less than perfect? It's good business sense if you ask me. We know that nothing is perfect but it's intelligent marketing. Besides, by way of comparison, Macs are incredible and I have been using Windows for 12 years and I've only had my iBook for about 6 months. By far, the best purchase I've ever made...
Posted by TekSavvy (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Talk about one sided!
hehehehe! This is rich... Any negative comments could be seen as defamatory and obscene.. ;-)
Posted by nzamparello (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tired of CNET's bias against Apple
Someone in CNET's editorial staff is blatantly anti-Apple. For a
comprehensive electronics news/review web site this behaviour
is completely inappropriate. I've been a loyal reader of
for ten years and i'm absolutely tired of bi-weekly anti-apple
stories plastered all over cnet's front page. Bias such as this
should be limited to fraudulent sources of information such as
CNET, you should be above this.
Posted by montgomeryburns (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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