LMS Independent Review
by Logan Smith
Once there you quickly discover that the site is filled with ads disguised to look like content. These sites use deceptive means to earn money and page views. The same thing can be said for many online “Review” websites. A number of these websites are not as independent as they would have you believe. In reality the reviews are nothing more than glorified ad placements and ranking. The restaurant or vendor typically pays these types of sites to be listed and ranked. The more money the vendor pays the more prominent ranking and placement they receive. I have been duped a few times by such sites and bought products based on their recommendations and rankings. I later discover the product I purchased was not all that good and wondered how it could receive such glowing reviews. Further research on my part led me to discover that many of these review sites are as I mentioned above glorified paid advertising firms posing as independent reviewers. One such site is http://photo-editing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ These sites are not doing anything illegal, but to me they are misleading visitors into believing they are reading independent product reviews or product ranking. In many cases the top 10 best products may not be the best in class but rather the vendors that paid the site owner money to be listed and ranked
The same can be said when reading reviews about learning management systems for elearning. I do not want to give the impression that anything illegal or dishonest is being done by these companies, but I feel that two of the larger ranking companies (Capterra and Brandon Hall) could do a much better job informing both shoppers and sellers that they are not truly “independent” when it comes to their reviews and rankings. These companies make tens of thousands of dollars charging elearning software companies to be listed on their site and have some type of review written about them. The more money the software vendor is willing to pay the better the review and ranking. I have worked with a few ranking companies personally and I can tell you from experience that not much effort was put into truly understanding our product and writing an unbiased review. Many of these same companies then double dip and charge clients that are looking for an learning platform hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have access to their list of companies they have reviewed.
A page like this Edudemic.com is designed to make the user feel that some type of real study went into the ranking. The sad truth is that many of these companies pay money to be ranked and listed and those that do not pay are not mentioned or are placed very obscurely on their website.
If you are truly searching for independent reviews then you need to be aware of these practices in the software elearning industry. There is an inherent conflict of interest when a “Software Review” company receives payment from the very companies they are supposed to be reviewing. This is why truly independent product reviews are written by companies like Consumer Reports who take no money from corporations when assessing their products. People reading the review can know for sure that they are reading a truly independent review of that product. Be aware of how the reviews you read are funded so that you are not duped into spending tens of thousands of dollars on a system that may not truly be the best in class learning system for your needs.
Depending on the size of your organization a learning platform can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several hundreds of thousands of dollars. When shopping for a learning platform take the time to view the vendors product demo, ask questions and call some of their client references. In the end it is you that will be paying for and using the product not the person writing the review.