During Thanksgiving break in 2019, a group of us were complaining about the sorry state of reviews online. We were especially frustrated with reviews of digital subscription services, which are often big decisions because of their recurring fees and sometimes long-term commitments.
With so much riding on making the right choice, these kinds of reviews need to be amazing in every way. Sadly, we didn't find even one amazing digital service review, even on sites supposedly dedicated to this kind of thing.
The list of problems is long but as we talked through them, it became clear that the most serious one is a lack of transparency. We often don't know what made a reviewer put one service at the top vs the bottom, how/when/if there's a kickback, how or why a review or ranking changed from one update to the next, and a whole lot more.
Almost every site we used also had overwhelming amounts of advertising, annoyed us with pop-ups for newsletters and alerts, loaded dozens of cookies to track us around the web, had mind-numbingly confusing privacy policies, were slow to load, looked awful on our phones, were difficult or impossible to contact, and lacked any kind of helpful articles beyond the reviews and rankings.
Then one of us said "There must be a better way!" It's a cliché, for sure, but there's truth in that popular saying and, looking back, we consider this the moment that The New Review was born.
With a vision for what we wanted to do, years of collective experience starting and running businesses online and off, creating first-class websites, and building amazing teams, we set out create a new kind of review site.
In the 18 months that followed, we planned, invested in, and began creating the kind of review site that we wished we had found ourselves: one that respects your privacy, says goodbye to cookies entirely, ditches all advertising, is clear about how the business works, has strict editorial guidelines, is obsessed with speed, truly cares about accessibility, is easy to get a hold of, and, most importantly, is committed to radical transparency.
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The concept of radical transparency, a philosophy of honesty and openness, is part of everything we are and do at The New Review. We've built our business on top of this idea and it's visible across the site, from our Document History pages to our extensive policies and disclosures.
It would be an understatement to say that a lack of transparency is common with review sites. Frankly, it's a problem across much of the internet and business in general, but there's a particularly dangerous level of secrecy that's far too customary among sites that review and rank products and services.
This lack of transparency results in millions of people spending billions on dollars on "the best" of something or other that is often anything but. The desire to solve this problem is what first inspired us to create The New Review.
...continue on to our Radical Transparency page to learn more about this concept and why it's so core to who we are and the decisions we make.
You will never find advertisements on The New Review. Period. No advertising means we leave a lot of easy money on the table, but we're much more interested in building our business by providing you a real service, earning your loyalty, and creating a lifetime visitor, not by tricking or confusing you.
To be clear, "you will never find advertisements" means no traditional ads like banners or text ads, no paid placements (a big deal), no advertorials (another big deal), nor anything else of the kind.
...continue to our Advertising Policy page for more on these types of ads and why they're dangerous to have on review sites.
Modern privacy policies are a joke. Most are nearly impossible to understand thanks to confusing legalese that's purposefully crafted in a way that gives the company a legal "out" to mistreat you.
When you subscribe to a service using a link on this site, we may earn a cut of that sale. This is referred to as an "affiliate commission" and is the only way we make money. Unlike most sites, we don't also sell your data, show ads, or take higher commissions in exchange for better placements or reviews.
When you click a link on our site that goes to one of the services we're reviewing, a special string of characters in the link, usually at the end of it, tells that service that you got there thanks to something you read on The New Review. As a thanks for sending them a new subscriber, they send TNR a percentage of what you spend, usually from 3% to 5% although it can be higher or lower.
This arrangement has no impact whatsoever on our reviews. Our teams of writers function completely independently from our affiliate team.
...continue reading our Affiliate Disclosure for more about how we make money (and don't).
The New Review might just be a collection of words on pages about streaming services, or web hosting plans, or whatever else. We're certainly not curing diseases or solving world conflicts. However, we do believe that if you're going to do something then do it. Really do it. Do it right, and do it best.
That's why we took the time and trouble to build something truly different. Something you can trust. We've brought together a team of passionate experts in their categories to do what they do best: obsess over the topics they love and then talk to you about them, just like a friend would.
It's far too often assumed that everyone reading the words being distributed around the internet on webpages are all doing so in the same way. People who are blind often listen to the words on the screen using special software and services. People with low vision often read the words but at different magnifications or color schemes.
These additional ways of consuming information have to be considered when creating a website like The New Review, or any other, so everyone has equal access to what you're providing.
We've kept all of this in mind since we launched TNR:
- We craft our language and add special code to our pages and images so screen readers and voice assistants have an easier time speaking our words.
- To make our site as legible as possible for everyone, we use the Atkinson Hyperlegible font created by the Braille Institute.
- We chose colors that work well together and have a high contrast ratio so our site is easy to read.
Slow pages. Broken links. Unnecessarily large images. Contact pages that go nowhere. Buggy code. Needless over-design. Insecure connections. These are problems that are easy to let happen but difficult to gain control of and solve once out of control (especially site speed).
Yes, of course, we prioritized all the ethical, editorial, and business processes that come together to create "The New Review" but we didn't ignore the nuts and bolts. From the start, we committed ourselves to the idea that our site as launched, and every change afterward, should improve our ability to help you find the best digital services without making the site itself slower or harder to use. We've built these checks and balances into our business itself to make sure we stick to them!
You can see and feel this yourself as you move around the site. It's fast. The links work. Images load when you expect them to. Things just work. This wasn't an accident and takes constant effort. And we're OK with that.
Oh, our design? Yeah, not much of one right now, is there? We're OK with that, too. We believe we've prioritized the right things. We'll eventually play around with our looks, don't worry.
Questions? Comments? Need some 1-on-1 subscribing advice? Yeah, we do that. Really.
You can even write us a letter if you're in to that kind of thing.