Why Apple Removed Reviews From Their Website

On November 17th Apple quietly removed all
ratings and reviews from their online store, with no official justification as to why. And this left many people wondering what Apple’s
motivation was. After all, about 90% of consumers read reviews
before buying a product online, and considering the Apple store offers exclusive items, it
can be difficult to find the relevant information customers need to make the right buying decision. So in this video I’m going to share some
interesting discoveries I made while investigating this topic and help solve the mystery behind
Apple’s decision to remove reviews from their website. This is Greg with Apple Explained, and I want
to thank Squarespace for sponsoring this video. If you want to help decide which topics I
cover, make sure you’re subscribed and voting polls like this one will show up in your mobile
activity feed. Now I want to start this video by emphasizing
how unusual it is for an e-commerce store to not allow user reviews. Virtually every online marketplace has them:
Amazon, eBay, Etsy, B&H, Micro Center, even small Shopify stores offer user reviews. And although they’ve been the source of
some controversy for websites like Amazon, who used to allow paid reviews, allowing for
honest user reviews has pretty much become standard business practice in the world of
e-commerce. And there’s data to explain why. Not only do most people read reviews before
buying a product online, but simply allowing for reviews on your website boosts sales by
18%. It doesn’t matter how many are negative
or positive, the simple act of demonstrating transparency and honesty builds trust with
customers and makes them more likely to purchase your product. And things get even better if most of the
reviews on your store are positive, with customers trusting those comments twelve times more
than the product description from the manufacturer. So considering how many benefits there are
to allowing reviews on an online store, why would Apple suddenly remove them? Well, there’s one reason that I thought
of right away. And it’s something many of you may be familiar
with if you’ve followed Apple for a while. When a new product is released, there’s
usually some controversy surrounding it for one reason or another. With the MacBook Air it was the removal of
the CD drive, with the iPhone 7 it was the removal of the headphone jack, and with the
MacBook Pro it was the removal of all other ports except USB-C. And with each of these
releases, customers expressed their frustration in various ways. By writing articles, contacting Apple directly
through support, posting on social media, or starting threads on the Internet. But another common way of complaining was
through reviews on Apple’s website, and it usually went something like this. Apple would release a product like the MacBook
in 2015 which opted for USB-C charging instead of MagSafe, a certain percentage of customers
would be upset about that decision, and leave reviews for something like this USB-C charging
cable, since you couldn’t leave reviews on anything except for accessories. Here’s a good example that I managed to
find on an archived webpage with Wayback Machine. “MagSafe was a part of what made Apple computers
feel so premium. Quick on/off, reversible, and doesn’t take
your computer with it if you trip over it. Now you need a bulky magnetic USB-C aftermarket
dongle to recreate the functionality of what was one of my favorite MacBook features.” So that review talked about Apple’s old
MagSafe charging cable and mentioned third party magnetics you can add to USB-C cables
to recreate MagSafe, but it said nothing about the USB-C cable itself, like how it works
or how reliable it is. And that’s a good reason for Apple to remove
reviews from their website, since there were so many of these so-called reviews that don’t
actually help customers make informed buying decisions. Instead, they just complain about design decisions
Apple made on an unrelated product. But there’s another side to the story, which
I’ll explain right after I plug my new website. If you guys haven’t noticed I do have a
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you’ll get 10% off your first purchase, you can find that link in the description. Alright so now for the other side of the story,
although many meaningless one-star reviews litter the product pages of Apple’s online
store, there are also many legitimate reviews that bring important information to our attention. Some of them positive, and some negative. Let’s start with the negative. This review left on the same USB-C cable I
mentioned earlier said, “I really want to love USB-C – it’s such a versatile connector,
truly a technical marvel – but it’s shameful that this cable only supports USB 2.0 data
speeds and that it’s not included with the purchase of a USB-C charger.” This review is very helpful to customers since
it details the products limitations, something Apple doesn’t mention in the Product Information
section, as well as making it clear that power adapters and charging cables are no longer
sold together. Which had been the case with previous generations
of MacBooks, when their cables were actually attached to their chargers. A good example of a helpful positive review
would be this for the same USB-C cable as the previous review. This one says, “This cable is solid. They redid the jacket of the cable so I suspect
we will see a lot less pealing and fraying like old mag safe. The cable supports USB device and 100 Watt
USB-C PD. This is huge for a 20 dollar cable. This cable is one of the few things apple
priced lower than the value it delivers. The cable is also already the max length supported
by USB-C PD.” By reading that review, we found out that
Apple potentially made the cable more fray-resistant, and that it supports a much higher watt speed
than the average USB-C cable. With that extra information, which Apple doesn’t
mention on the product page, customers might be more likely to buy the product. So overall, it appears that it’d be beneficial
for Apple to keep reviews on their website. Especially when most customers ignore irrelevant
one-star reviews anyway. But then I stumbled upon this video by Fstoppers
called “Apple Fanboys, Where is your God now?” And despite the hostile title, it included
some great information. It opens by saying that the entire class of
USB-C technology including USB-C 3.1, 3.2, gen 2, and Thunderbolt 3 are all inherently
unreliable. He also makes it clear that this isn’t just
an Apple problem, but an issue with any device with USB-C ports. The difference is that Apple’s MacBooks
offer USB-C exclusively, whereas most other notebooks have USB-C in addition to USB-A,
HDMI, and other ports. That also means MacBook users are forced to
use dongles and adapters, which tend to amplify the unreliable nature of USB-C. Now what does all of this have to do with
reviews? Well, it turns out that many customers had
serious problems with Apple’s USB-C adapters, and they left countless negative reviews on
Apple’s website detailing their experiences. Here are some examples I pulled from the Fstoppers
video. Apple’s USB-C to USB adapter had two and
a half stars, and featured reviews like this: “Works when I plug my USB receiver for an
external mouse. Will not read a USB flash drive so pretty
useless for any type of data transfer.” “Unfortunately won’t work with USB 3.0,
but works very well with USB 2.0” “This USB-C to USB adapter can’t even read my
USB 2.0 flash drive.” Now there are dozens of these reviews and
I recommend watching Fstoppers video if you want to see more of them, but it reveals the
fundamental flaw of USB-C. It’s responsible for doing so much, it often doesn’t do everything
successfully. I’ve actually had this issue myself when
connecting my MacBook Pro to an external TV with Apple’s Digital AV Multipart Adapter. Some ports deliver the HDMI video out, while
others don’t. And it seems to change on a daily basis. But there were more adapters on Apple’s
website that had similar reviews. Here’s what some people had to say about
the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter: “Problems with chained displays waking up
from sleep and restarting” “Similar to most reviewers, I too have been plagued with
problems.” “As a bidirectional adapter, it can also
connect new thunderbolt 3 devices to a Mac with a thunderbolt or thunderbolt 2 port and
macOS Sierra. Except it doesn’t.” Here are more reviews about their USB-C to
SD Card Reader: “Didn’t work. The adapter never worked for me. I’ll have to take it in for an appointment
and hopefully get a replacement that works.” “Does not work with iPad Pro 3rd gen”
“Does not work most of the time. Will not mount 90% of the time and when it
does decide to mount, it takes several minutes.” So it’s undeniable that Apple has a problem
on their hands by going all-in on USB-C without ensuring the technology’s reliability. And again, this problem has only been magnified
with he use of adapters that may or may not work as advertised. But here’s the part that surprised me the
most, this Fstoppers video which was the first I found to reveal Apple’s adapter problems
to a wide audience, was published on November 16th. One day before Apple removed all reviews from
their website. Now could this be a coincidence? Of course. But could it also be Apple doing damage control
to try and prevent this information for spreading even further? Yes absolutely. And the most revealing aspect of this whole
ordeal is that Apple has always received irrelevant one star reviews on their accessories for
as long as I can remember. But only recently have people been leaving
a new type of review that exposes their adapters as unreliable and exposing Apple of false
advertising. And I believe it’s that phenomenon that
motivated Apple to remove reviews from their website altogether. Instead of doing the right thing, which would
be at least acknowledging the problem and committing to solve the issues in future product
updates or with new, more reliable adapters. Alright guys thanks for watching and I’ll
see you next time.


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