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.
This was a very early, and quite easy, decision we made for The New Review. This was necessary to maintain our integrity (building your trust is the only way we'll be successful long-term), to take a stand against being tracked as we use the web (often due to advertising), and to keep TNR fast (ads can noticeably slow down a page's load time).
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Let's look more at the two major types of advertising you'll find on other review sites and why you should be skeptical of any review that includes them.
The three most common types of traditional online advertising in use today include:
- Display: The most popular types of display advertising include banners of various sizes, usually horizontal (living at the top and/or bottom of the page) and vertical or square (living on the left and/or right margins). Display ads also often live right in the content area, interrupting your flow while reading.
- Video: This type of advertising plays either before the video (pre-roll), after the video (post-roll), or during the video (mid-roll). Oftentimes it's a combination of all three! 😡
- Text: Remember these? Before splashy display and video ads, those spaces were full of text-only ads. These are much less common today and are now often considered a type of display ad.
No matter what the format, ads are bought and sold either by a) real people, like dedicated salespeople, meaning the ad was direct, or b) by algorithms, meaning the ad was programmatic.
What does it say when a review is supposed to be honest and independent but then space is provided on the same page for the subject of the review, or their competition, to market to you with their spin, self-serving messages, and "gently massaged" statistics?
Intertwining this kind of advertising with an independent review creates the potential for confusion, distraction, and ultimately distrust. So we don't do it.
Far worse than traditional advertising is the shockingly common scenario where preferential treatment is exchanged for sometimes considerable commission increases and other payments. And they don't tell you about it. This is, by far, the biggest problem in this industry and was one of many reasons we decided to create The New Review.
Preferential treatment comes in two common forms:
- Advertorial: This is an advertisement disguised as an independent review. You think you're reading an honest assessment of a product or service but instead it's whatever the subject of the review paid the review site and/or author to say.
- Paid Placement: This is where the ranked position for a product or service among its competition (like in a list of the best something-or-others) is improved based on payment to the review site and/or author, not because it has a better feature or price. This is also sometimes called Pay for Play or P4P.
In either case, the result is the same: You were tricked.
You read an assessment that you thought was honest and independent but instead only learned what the marketing team at that company wanted you to learn. Then, assuming you were sufficiently swindled, both the company you bought from and the review site profited handsomely from their arrangement. And you? You now own or use something that isn't what you thought it was.
These aren't giant conspiracy theories. These deals aren't made in big, cigar smoke filled boardrooms like in the movies. They happen from big companies to one-person blogs. The root of the problem is pretty simple: it's just too easy to do the wrong thing, especially when it can mean quick cash. Imagine being offered huge sums of money to move a paragraph to the top of a page and not tell anyone. That's often all a review site or author has to do.
Integrity takes effort. Transparency takes courage. Here at The New Review, we're happy to trade easy, short-term wins for the opportunity to earn your trust over the long-term.