A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Clearing up the confusion

For those of you, including myself, who remember Jackie Gleason, my favorite line of his was “How sweet it is.”

So it is with the several companies whose products were recently ranked a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest magazine.

But like anything else, miscommunication can often lead to confusion. And I believe that is what happened here.

Recently, Soundings Trade Only received several press releases from companies, touting
their “best buy” rankings in Consumers Digest.  Good stories, I thought. And I got
to deliver some positive news.

After the second story ran I received an e-mail from someone in the industry telling
me that companies pay for those rankings.

That raised a red flag for me. So several e-mails and conversations later, I learned what was going on. 

The companies who ranked a ‘Best Buy’ did not pay for that ranking. 

According to the editor of Consumers Digest, the editorial team looks at several factors when ranking the marine products. If they are ranking a boat they look at its construction, its performance, features and price, among other criteria.

Once Consumers Digest publishes its rankings, the magazine’s marketing gurus get in touch with the respective companies, telling them of a licensing opportunity, which allows them to use Consumers Digest’s Best Buy Seal for one year in their advertising and/or promotional materials. If the companies agree to that offer, then they pay $35,000 to Consumers Digest. This price includes Internet use. If the companies do not want to use the Internet, that price drops to $25,000.

Companies, however, can write a press release touting its ranking from Consumers Digest and that does not cost the company one dime.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

– Lois Caliri


3 comments on “Clearing up the confusion

  1. Jim

    Not sure about this one Lois; how about the “ability to buy” or “promise to buy” the extra promo items? If there is money involved, someones hands may be dirty!

  2. Bill Hipple


    I recently subscribed to Consumers Reports and shortly after cancelled the subscription over the exact situation you discuss.

    I was looking for information on a clothes dryer. After going thru all the listings Consumers Reports had, I was leaning toward a “Best Buy” unit. Luckily, I read the customer reviews on Consumers webpage about the dryer in question. A full 50% were poor reviews and would not recomend buying the dryer. Several people returned the unit and several questioned how it could still rated as a “Best buy” when so many reviews were negative.

    The lack of response from Consumers Recearch leads one to believe that there is a more beneficial way of being rated a “Best Buy” than the actual opinions of the people who used the product.

    When Consumers Reports sent me a survey, I told them why I was cancelling and never heard from them.

    When I checked with 2 local service companies, I was told that the “Best Buy” brand is their #1 service call.

    So much for “unbiased reviews”

  3. JR Goodman

    I think there is alittle confusion going on. Consumer Reports and Consumer Digest are 2 several animals and completly differant in thier process. The only thing simliar is the name to confuse the public. Consumer Reports takes no money from any company and its profits are from subscribtions and other services they offer. Diegest on the other hand is just a magazine which is for profit. The Consumer Reports is a great publication and has complete and trulthful results on the products they test. I do not work for them, but I am a fan of Consumer Reports

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