How to Spot an Untrustworthy Mattress Review Site

Untrustworthy mattress review websites are abundant and can be hard to identify – except for a few sure-fire clues that give them away.

GoodBed has identified more than 75 of these fake mattress review sites. While many of them come across as professional at first glance, very few of the people behind these sites have any real mattress expertise to offer. Some of these websites are even owned or operated by mattress manufacturers. Here's a list of over 20 mattress review websites backed by mattress brands.

What is far less obvious to the average consumer is that that most of these reviewers are the proverbial ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ – outwardly claiming to be unbiased but really just pushing you toward the mattresses that make them the most money. Put more simply, they are the digital equivalent of the classic sleazy mattress salesman.

This article will show you exactly how to spot mattress review sites that cannot be trusted.

What makes a mattress review trustworthy?

Let's start by defining what makes a mattress reviewer trustworthy in the first place. In our opinion, a trustworthy mattress reviewer must have these two qualities:

  1. Expertise: A real mattress expert understands the various needs and preferences of many different types of sleepers and is able to assess how well a given mattress will meet a given person’s unique requirements relative to the universe of available options. Simply trying a bunch of mattresses does not make someone an expert in mattresses any more than trying on a bunch of clothes makes someone an expert in fashion. 
  2. Objectivity: Being truly objective means placing the core focus on considering and representing facts, rather than personal feelings or opinions. This doesn’t necessarily mean withholding opinions altogether, but an objective reviewer will always distinguish their opinions (eg, how “comfortable” it is) from the factual attributes of the mattress in order to avoid any possible confusion on the part of the reader.

We believe that a mattress reviewer should be able to clearly demonstrate through the way they present information that they are both expert and objective.

How can you spot a fake mattress review website?

Even the sleaziest fake mattress reviewers have nice-looking websites that rank highly in Google results. Fortunately, most give themselves away when you know what to look for. 

If you come across a website with one or more of these traits, you'll immediately know that they are untrustworthy — either they lack expertise or they have a hidden sales agenda, or quite possibly both. Either way, you will know beyond any doubt that they cannot be trusted.

Clue #1: They publish lists of the “best” mattresses.

The single most basic thing to understand about mattresses is that everyone requires different things from their mattress — based on factors like weight, body shape, predominant sleep position(s), comfort and feel preferences, physical conditions, and more. This means that the best mattress for one person can often be a terrible choice for the next person. As such, any list of the 'Best Mattresses of 2018,' 'Top Picks,' or the like is inherently misleading – no list could be remotely suitable for even a majority of people.

Even lists that include a single filter like 'Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers' or 'Best Mattresses Under $1,000' are still far too generic. When choosing a mattress, a single consideration like sleep position or budget will simply not narrow down your options that much. The reality is that mattresses have a variety of characteristics that will make only a minority of them a truly great match for any given person – with the remainder being a relatively poor match.

Unfortunately, the idea of these seemingly simple lists is extremely appealing for many consumers, a trick that the sleaziest sites know all too well.  This is why they often put these lists right on the home page.

In the end, any website that publishes these deceptive "top mattress" lists has clearly revealed themselves as a site that cannot be trusted.

Clue #2: They feature an “overall rating” with their review.

When it comes to mattresses, people’s requirements vary quite widely depending on personal factors like weight and sleep position, as well as a litany of subjective preferences about what feels most comfortable and what features are most important. As a result, a mattress that deserves 5 stars for me could very legitimately deserve 1 star from you. So, when you see that an “expert” reviewer gives a mattress ‘4.8 stars,’ you should instantly recognize this as one of two things: a) a complete lack of expertise about mattresses, or b) a subversive tactic to sell you that mattress.

Clue #3: They provide a mattress comparison in which one mattress is declared the “winner.”

When comparing any two mattresses, no one mattress will be universally better because with mattresses, everyone has a different set of needs (spinal alignment, pressure relief), preferences (softness, responsiveness, cushioning depth), and priorities (price, motion isolation, temperature, edge support, natural materials, adjustable base compatibility, return policy, durability, and many more). As a result, there can never be a general "winner." The bottom line is that anyone who makes a claim that one mattress is categorically "better" than another is either not an expert or trying to sell you something (or both).

Clue #4: They assess a mattress as having “good support.”

Good support means maintaining proper spinal alignment. Because people have different sizes, shapes, and sleep positions, no mattress can provide proper spinal alignment for everyone – and thus, no mattress can have universally “good support.” A true expert will explain how back support on a given mattress will differ for different types of people. Unfortunately, most mattress shoppers don’t know this, so are unwittingly misled when a reviewer describes a mattress as having generically “good support.”

Clue #5: They rate the “comfort” of a mattress.

Comfort is highly subjective, meaning that the mattress you find most comfortable is not likely to be the same as what I find most comfortable. The trouble is that many people don’t think about this when reading a review, so they find it very alluring to hear a reviewer gush about how comfortable a mattress is. Think of ‘comfort’ like you do ‘color’ – would you buy a car because an "expert" says it has a nice paint color? Of course not – we all know that color is strictly a matter of personal opinion. For this reason, an expert and objective mattress reviewer knows to avoid or qualify their feelings about comfort in their reviews. By contrast, an untrustworthy reviewer can easily emphasize such assessments in order to get more people to buy that mattress.

Clue #6: They promote their “favorite” mattresses.

As explained above, mattresses are highly personal. So knowing one person’s favorite mattress – no matter how expert they are – should have no bearing on your choice. Of course, this is often a favorite tactic used by untrustworthy reviewers to push you toward the mattresses they want to sell. 

Clue #7: They only review mattresses that can be purchased online.

Only about 25% of mattresses are sold online, yet most fake review sites only 'review' beds you can buy through a click. That's because they make money each time a person buys a mattress through one of those links (this is called affiliate sales). We don't think that affiliate commissions in and of themselves make a website not credible. Rather, in their failure to review the 75% of mattresses available in stores, they fail to represent all options to the consumer.

Clue #8: They have corporate ties to a specific mattress company.

Many mattress review sites hold themselves out to be independent and unbiased information sources but are actually owned, operated, or are otherwise affiliated by a specific mattress company. See a list of such websites here.

 

How is GoodBed different?

GoodBed is perhaps the only mattress information website that does not do any of the things listed above. Here’s what we do instead in order to provide trustworthy guidance to mattress shoppers:

We provide you with a personalized list of best matching mattresses for you.

Rather than generic and misleading rankings, we created an intelligent matching tool that generates a personalized list of mattresses that are best for you, based on all of your unique needs and preferences. By taking our simple Mattress Match Quiz, you can search across brands and stores – both online and offline – to see a list of mattresses that best match your personal requirements, along with info about the stores where you can buy them, online or in a store near you.

After taking the quiz, you can also see a personalized list of all online mattress models or all local brands in your area. These lists are sorted with your best matches at the top and can be further filtered by type, price, available discounts, free delivery, etc.

Rather than giving each mattress a generic overall rating – which is an inherently flawed concept – we provide you with personalized match scores for each product, showing you how well that mattress matches your personal needs and preferences. In many parts of the site, you can even click on the match score for more details on how it was calculated.

We create in-depth reviews based on our hands-on testing.

In addition to more than 100,000 ratings and reviews from owners, we select some mattresses (based on reader requests) for in-depth scrutiny from our editors. We run them through our standard tests, take them apart, sleep on them for weeks, then create a video and written review with our findings. Our Expert Reviews cover a lot of the most advertised mattresses you've seen online, and in mattress stores.

We show you unbiased reviews from hundreds of thousands of real mattress owners.

For many aspects of a mattress, feedback from real mattress owners can be extremely helpful. Better yet, ratings and reviews on GoodBed can be filtered so that you can find feedback from people who are most like you. This is something you can't do with mattress reviews anywhere else on the internet.

We are truly independent.

GoodBed has always been a completely independent information resource, and has never had any corporate ties to companies in the industries we cover. The fact that we have never had an investor or lender who comes from the mattress, bedding or furniture industries means that our first and foremost obligation is to you, our readers.

Mike Magnuson 


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