why we ditched saying tested

Why We Ditched Saying “Tested”

Rex Freiberger Avatar

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Updated 5:56 am

At Gadget Review, we pride ourselves on being people advocates, but transparency is equally important to us. So it’s time to come clean about our past.

Frankly, a past version of Gadget Review was not as people-centered as we strive to be today. We admit that in the past, we were focused on profits to sustain and grow our business in a fiercely competitive market.

A Little History Lesson

Gadget Review started in 2005 as a blog run by Christen da Costa who tested products himself and then published legit online product reviews, putting GR on the map. Here’s a screenshot of one of our tested product reviews below:

legit tested toaster oven review screenshot on gadget review
We used to test products in the past, like our old Panasonic FlashXpress toaster oven review. We provided real images of the toaster oven plus our test results like heating speed.

In 2015, Rex Freiberger joined the team and GR began its testing department, starting to produce comparative product tests for best-of lists like the best wireless routers.

Eventually we had published around 1,000 tested reviews. GR has been in the game for a long time and knows what a real and tested product review looks like.

As the competition grew, so did the GR family. We hired more writers and evolved from a small blog into a publication that produced even more tested product reviews. 

It was a race to keep up with the big guys, and the in-depth testing and review process became costly and time-consuming. 

And despite this effort to show our work, Google didn’t reward us with the traffic we felt was deserving of the effort. In fact, our traffic declined despite this effort. Eventually, our reviews took a turn down a path that we’re not proud of.

By mid-2018, we took the shortcut of writing reviews about products we didn’t actually test while claiming we did. Then we’d drop an affiliate link in the content and start making revenue without putting in as much work as the old tested reviews required.

We know. We got greedy and gave into the temptation of taking shortcuts.

So We Made Some Changes Around Here

We stopped this practice in January 2022, but we faced the problem of reviews between mid-2018 and January 2022 still saying “testing” or “tested”.

A sudden hurdle we ran into was that we couldn’t leave the problematic terminology in our old content. That’d deceive our readers!

So in the summer of 2023, we took it upon ourselves to fix every review where we didn’t actually test the product.

Our Process to Remove Fake Reviews

It took several exports and hours of scrubbing our 1,203 published guides and 5,506 reviews using a Google Sheets script to find all the testing mentions we wrote over the years.

Then we reimported the revised content with a few WP All Import uploads. 618 guides and 310 reviews were changed to say “researched”. FYI, I performed some test imports before recording, which is why it shows I’m importing 617 guides and 309 reviews.

Here’s a video that recorded the actual imports where I changed any false mentions of “testing” to “research”:

Here are some screenshots we took during the Google Sheets scrubbing process. This part took the most time with finding every variation of the word “test” and making sure I changed every single one:

We had several instances of our content saying we spent hours testing these products.

Find-And-Replace quickly became ou best friend given how almost 1,000 pages needed to be edited.

We said “tested” several times.

We were searching for the word “test”, which helped us find every variation we had written, from “I have tested” to “we tested” to “hands-on testing”.

We often ran into longer words that contained “test”, like “latest” and “shortest”, so we had to be careful not to change those specific words.

Any mentions of “hands-on testing” got changed to “research”.

After all the scrubbing and finding-and-replacing, WP All Import made implementing the changes very easy. We eventually fixed every guide and review from 2018 to 2022 where we didn’t actually test the product(s).

Passing On The Torch

If you run your own blog or publication, are in the same boat, and want to change any mentions of “testing” in your content to “researched”, here are instructions on how we did it.

We believe in second chances if someone strives to make an effort to improve themselves, and we hope you’ll give us one to make this mistake right. Everyone has to start somewhere, and that’s where we did.

We want to make sure the old GR is not swept under the rug by documenting and publishing this process. This is our history, and it has provided lessons for the latest version of GR to learn from.

We are now the site’s latest evolution, and we want to genuinely improve people’s online shopping experience by being a trustworthy and reliable source for everyone.

Rex Freiberger Avatar