National Advertising Division Recommends Smarter Reviews, a Product Review Site, Discontinue or Modify its Rankings and Review Format

Feb 27, 2024 4:00 AM ET

New York, NY – February 27, 2024 – Following a challenge brought by BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division as part of its routine monitoring program, the National Advertising Division recommended that product review site, Smarter Reviews:

  • Discontinue its rankings and reviews format, or
  • Modify its advertising to avoid conveying a message that the review and rankings webpages and the reviews and rankings themselves are unbiased, genuine, and independent and on an unbiased and objective review site.

 

In a Google search result, the claim, “2023’s Top Eye Treatment for Refreshed, Youthful-Looking Eyes: We reveal the top 5 products for reducing & preventing the look of aging skin around the eyes,” appeared as part of an article on Smarter-Reviews.com.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) inquiry focused on whether the challenged claims in both the Google Search result and the eye cream rankings on the Smarter-Reviews.com website reasonably conveyed that they were independent and objective, when, in fact, they are advertisements.

During the inquiry, Smarter Reviews modified its webpage to add several disclosures that the webpage is advertising for TruAlchemy’s Eye Elixir, the #1 ranked product, including “owned and operated by Scale Media, Inc.”  

While NAD appreciated the changes made by Smarter Reviews, NAD determined that it was not sufficiently clear that the content is advertising, noting that the reviews and rankings on the webpage appear to be the product of a dispassionate, independent analysis conducted by an editorial team.

NAD concluded that when advertisers control review websites, a disclosure, even if clear and conspicuous, may not be sufficient to alert consumers that the review is created or sponsored by the advertiser and advertising websites. Further, NAD found no evidence that Smarter Reviews has the expertise it purports to have in reviewing and ranking products, nor is there evidence that the endorsement is based on the expertise the website purports to have.

In its advertiser statement, Smarter Reviews stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations” although it “believes that the content and the disclosures on Smarter Reviews clearly and conspicuously explain the nature of the relationship between the products advertised and Scale Media, consistent with the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive. This press release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.  

Contact Information:

Name: Jennie Rosenberg
Email: jrosenberg@bbbnp.org
Job Title: Media Relations