Oly USA review rejection - update

Started Mar 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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NZ Scott
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Oly USA review rejection - update
Mar 22, 2012

Hi guys,

In an earlier thread, I promised to update the situation that I have experienced with Olympus USA. I'll do that now, as I've had some correspondence with the company.

To briefly recap, there are two user-reviews on the Oly USA website for the 12mm 2.0 lens. Both reviews give the lens five stars, and both said the lens has "amazing edge-to-edge sharpness". In my opinion, these reviews are overly enthusiastic, so I wrote what I considered to be a more balanced review from a user perspective. I said the lens was quite sharp and generally good overall, but too expensive. I gave it four stars for image quality, but only three stars overall because of the $800 price tag.

Versions of this review were rejected twice. I speculated that it was rejected because Oly USA is filtering out negative reviews in order to give a false impression of the quality of its products. Both times, Oly sent me a generic email saying my review "failed to meet guidelines".

Anyhow, here is a short email I sent to Oly USA:

Hello,

I have looked at my review and cannot see how it might have failed to meet your guidelines. Can you please be more specific?

Regards,
Scott

Here is Oly's response:

Good afternoon, Scott,

Thank you for writing and giving us this opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Please let me explain about how our review process operates. Due to the volume of submissions that we receive, Olympus uses an automated program to perform an initial filtering based on various criteria that we specify in our guidelines. For example, if any obscenities are detected in the review, the review will be flagged for rejection based on a violation of guideline #5, which prohibits offensive language. Reviews that are flagged for rejection are not deleted or discarded; rather, they are forwarded to a staff member who then evaluates whether or not the filter was applied appropriately. The staff member will either overrule the rejection by approving the review or else let the rejection stand.

When a review arrives outside of Olympus' business hours, as yours did, the staff evaluation of the review occurs on the next business day. I received two reviews from you this morning that had been rejected. Here is what I found:

The first review was rejected because it violated two of our submission guidelines (#2 and #4). Specifically, we could not publish the review because it contained details about your purchase price (you mentioned that you paid $600 for the lens) as well as references to specific manufacturers of competing products (Panasonic / Leica). The conditions for publication are stated on the review submission form, and the rejection stands.

Note: I mentioned the competing products and my purchase price as part of my supporting argument that the lens is overpriced.

The second review does not include references to other manufacturers, and it does not reveal the price you paid for the camera. The dollar amounts quoted in the second submission refer generically to the MSRP for the lens and your estimate of the price you would have liked to have paid for it. This information is acceptable under our guidelines. Unfortunately, because the review arrived outside of business hours, the automated filter again flagged the review for having violated guideline #2 (pricing details). You see, the filter is not able to understand the intent behind the content it is evaluating; it can only determine whether prohibited content is present. In this case, the filter rejected the review because it detected the "$" character.

Having read your review this morning, it's clear to me that the second version of the review does not violate our guidelines, and I am prepared to approve it. Before I do, however, I want to make absolutely sure that I publish the correct version of your review as you intend it to be seen. I noticed that we received three reviews for this same lens this weekend. Although one of them uses a different username, I suspect it may also be from you because it covers most of the same points and because the username includes the name "Scott." Did you send a third version of your review yesterday? If so, please let me know which of the reviews you would like me to post. I can use either the second version or the third (if the third is, in fact, from you) because both of these versions fall within our guidelines.

Please let me know at your earliest convenience which version you would like to use, and I will see to it that your review is published.

Thanks for your time and for your understanding,

Jim Wechsler
Olympus Imaging America

Here is my response to Oly:

Good morning Jim,

Thanks for your reply to my email.

Yes, I did supply three reviews. Each review was a watered-down version of the previous review (I did this in an attempt to get a review accepted), and yes I did change my user-name for the third review. In general, I prefer my first review. As this was unacceptable (because it compared the lens to other lenses and mentioned my purchase price of $600), this leaves the second and third review.

Of those two, I would prefer the second review to be published.

Thanks again for your reply.

Regards
Scott

Let's see what happens.

I have to say, I found Oly's reply to be interesting. It was a very long, detailed and carefully considered response. I wonder if they were aware of my earlier thread?

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