How can I review a product without mentioning it by name?

I have long had ‘Squeezebox Envy’, when I would read other users rave about the internet connected stereo device. Logitech purchased the company a few year ago and really beefed up the product offering with some cool products for the general public, not just geeks or audiophiles.

TigerDirect had a sale on the new Squeezebox internet radio, and I jumped on the deal. The product was perfect for me. Even the wife and kids use it, which is usually my test for a gadget’s consumer appeal.

Product review

TigerDirect recently sent me a note asking me to write a review of the product. Since I was quickly becoming fanatical about it, I obliged. After typing in a short honest description about the services I connect to on it (Pandora and Last.fm) I pressed submit, and the trouble began.

My submission was immediately rejected because ‘We do not accept web links, the names of specific companies, or special characters in our product reviews.’ TD asked me to ‘Please edit your review and try again.’

At first I figured that I accidentally typed an upside down ? or other odd character. But alas, no special characters were used. No URLs either. Apparently the offending words were either ‘Squeezebox’ (the product being reviewed)  or Pandora (a music service carried on the device).

How does TigerDirect expect me to offer an honest authentic review if I can’t mention company names. Reading user reviews are a key part of most buying decisions, and the reviews need to be honest. I understand the need to prevent comment spam, but I had to register before entering a comment, so there was a strong element of accountability present.

If a company is going to tightly define what users are allowed to say, then users will check out of the conversation and not contribute. Less contributions means less product reviews for future purchasers to help in the decision making process.

Social Networking requires authenticity in its conversations to be accepted by all parties. Maybe Tiger Direct will revisit their requirements for these conversations to improve the value of their site.

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