The Importance Of A Credible Mattress Review Site | Are Mattress Reviews Real Or Fabricated? What Happens To Me Long After The Sale?

The short answer is, unfortunately, that virtually all popular mattress review sites post biased mattress reviews that heavily weigh mattresses with higher review scores because they are connected with mattress companies by one of the following ways:

  • Mattress review sites typically sign up for affiliate marketing programs and cut deals to make enormous commissions for each sale- up to $500 per mattress. This means that if you buy one of the popular brands, even though you may think you are getting $500 off during a sale, for example, you’re really paying an overinflated price, and the review site earned $500 right off of your back.

  • Many mattress review sites have been in bed with mattress companies since the beginning. Most mattress review platforms are not operated by mattress or bedding industry experts but by digital marketers who hire content writers or video actors who seem to be able to describe what they are feeling by bouncing up and down on a mattress, but have little knowledge of components, lamination, textiles, fabrication technology, and all of the the things that create the “cake recipe” of a mattress, whether great…or terrible.

Here’s a graphic that presents a tightly woven web of intrigue about some of the larger mattress review sites that you may want to avoid. It’s incredible how interconnected many of the mattress review sites that thousands of potential customers read are with the very mattress retailers they “review” products for.

  • A few mattress companies actually create their own mattress review sites, and funnel traffic that has been fed supposedly stelar reviews directly to their shopping cart. This is called “grooming” in digital marketing, and most of the big powerhouse “bed in a box” companies are masters at this notorious scam. They create their own fake “third party review platforms”, make them look official, and control the ratings, fabricate the customers, and create the script for the so-called customer “comments”.

  • Many review sites pay for glorified or enhanced reviews, using free gifts, gift cards, incentives for additional mattress purchases and subsequent reviews. This process is fairly common, and is actually used by many industries. We’ve all seen examples of solicited reviews, comments, or suggestions, which are then rewarded, especially in restaurants. Fill out the survey, enter in a contest to win $5,000, etc, or get that free appetizer if you come back in 7 days. Are you going to write a negative comment or give a lousy review? Probably not.

There are a few completely aboveboard mattress review sites that are not owned by digital marketers and the easiest way to identify them is by taking a look a their “scoop”. In marketing terms, and especially with review sites, this refers to how many products, int his case, mattresses, the site it reviewing or recommending. 

A dead giveaway that a mattress review site is really just in it for the money and not to educate you and help you navigate the mattress buying marketplace, is to recommend every single bed in a box mattress out there. There are at least 250 online mattress companies competing for your business, and it is a hack and slash, knife fight to the death to get you to hit a buy button.

A lot of mattress review sites literally give 4-5 star reviews to hundreds of mattress products, rather than make it simpler for you by eliminating the deadwood, and say, reviewing and recommending a handful, maybe 50 or even less. The problem with this theory is that Google likes to see quality content on web sites, and the more backlinks, the more articles and blog posts, and the more pages a site has, the higher it will likely rank to the top, where you are likely looking for a mattress review.

Even worse, if you click on the paid ads to mattress review sites, you can be pretty much assured that it’s the mattress companies that are keeping that enormous Google Adwords advertising budget afloat, and when you click on one of their ads, a lot of the cost of your mattress is paying that bill.

Also, many of the digital marketing firms that write so-called third party reviews for mattresses also own and operate other product review sites, and will write content, set themselves up as affiliate marketers for the mattress companies paying the higher commissions, and work to get top organic positioning. 

These companies are writing lots of content to keep ranking high, and often change the copy to keep it fresh for Google’s algorithms, and ranking high is their only genuine concern.

Our site for example, does use affiliate marketing to pay the bills for site expenses and staff, but is owned and operated by a mattress industry professional who actually owned online e-commerce “bed in a box” mattress sites, and was doing so long before the mass producers like Casper, Purple, Tuft&Needle, and others were even conceived. 

Our senior editor is actually a components expert, with academic background in chemistry, extruded and poured foam technology, adhesives and lamination, and has helped many of the companies we actually review get started, by developing and refining packaging and shipping technology early on. And, he limits the number of mattresses that the site recommends to literally a handful of about 40 beds or so. 

Other mattress review site editors have little or no experience with mattress design, construction, industry best practices, or components life cycles, and generally use arbitrary descriptions perceived by lying down on the products they review, bouncing up and down on them, or dropping objects on them. It seems surreal, but a lot of consumers buy a mattress after watching crazy videos, rather than try to understand how a really great mattress is made.

If you don’t see a mattress on The Mattress Buyer Guide, it’s probably because it simply did not make the cut for consideration, as we are highly selective.

Why Is A Credible Mattress Review Site Important?

At first glance, we know that when you are on a mattress review site, you’re there for just a few minutes, if that. You might quickly glance at a few options, and go with a brand you’ve already heard of, or the brand that friends and family have had for a year or so. And that is there the heart of the problem lies.

Because of stiff competition, and that knife fight we told you about, almost every mattress company want to make sure they have a shot at your business. Almost all bed in a box companies offer long trial periods, like 365 days, even lifetime warranties, and often give you a false sense of security about the mattress you are buying. 

Many consumers don’t view a mattress purchase like their parents did- a major family investment- mainly because prices have become more competitive and you can score a pretty decent mattress for under $1,000, instead of the relative cost of a mattress 20 years ago which in today’s dollars would likely be around $3,000. So, the risk factor is not as steep going in, and there’s less anxiety about it at the time of purchase.

But here’s the catch. Modern technology allows the typical mattress to be neatly compressed and rolled, and then placed inside a manageable box for shipping, and culminates with a fairly theatrical box opening process in your home, that is fun to watch and kind of cool, actually. 

Once that mattress is out of the box, you’re pretty much on your own if something goes wrong. Now, up front, the mattress retailer and the site told you that you have a year long trial period, a lifetime warranty, and gave you plenty of stellar reviews about how great the mattress is. 

What they won’t say typically, though, is that the typical return rate is 10-12% on most mattresses, returned simply because consumers did not find their purchase comfortable or suitable for their needs. And how do you get that mattress back, or even downstairs so that a pickup service or charitable organization (that you will likely have to find on your own) can pick it up and remove it from your premises?

If you didn’t get on a chat and ask a lot of questions about the mattress with the fantastic reviews and what will happen if you need to return it because you don’t find it comfortable, or it has a warranty problem (indentation, soft spot, hard spot), you might just find yourself living a nightmare trying to comply with the fine print on the warranty or the trial period terms, often nestled neatly at the bottom of a web site, completely out of view.

On our site, for example, before we recommend a mattress on our Trusted Dealer page, we make sure we know the back story and the fine details about just such a contingency. How a trial period works, who is responsible for picking up the mattress if you don’t like it, is there a fee, who is going to get it to the edge of my driveway, will someone come into my house to remove it (better check that closely to, especially during a pandemic), does the company have a COVID-19 protocol for in-house removal or setup, and on and on.

Even if you decide to keep the mattress after the trial period expires, and you really love it, and trust it’s the most awesome mattress ever, what exactly will the procedure be to get the defective mattress out of your home and what will happen when the new mattress is delivered. Does it all happen at once, or with different events, what?

List Of Questions To Ask Before You Buy A Mattress Online

Once you have decided on a brand, you should have every one of these questions answered and explained to you in detail. Get online with a company rep in a chat, or send a contact email to get the answers. There is an 85% chance or so that you won’t ever have to worry about this, but one person out of 6 will be dealing with some kind of an issue after the fact.

  1. If I decide I don’t want to keep the mattress during the trial period, who will remove the mattress from my home? Will I need to handle it in any way, roll it up, etc., or will a removal service do all of the physical handling of the product? 

  2. When the mattress is delivered, will it be brought to my door, to the curb, or inside of my home? If brought inside, what kind of PPE and precautions does the delivery crew use in the process?

  3. Do you offer white glove delivery service as a standard part of the free delivery service, or is the option for delivering and installing my new mattress an add-on purchase and what is the fee? Note: Typical White Glove Service runs around $149, and in New York City, with a walkup scenario, can run up to $300- you may be able to negotiate this fee.

  4. If a problem develops with my mattress during the warranty terms, and I believe the defect is covered, what kind of evidence do I need to supply to support my claim to insure I will get a replacement? Be very specific about asking just what the company will need as proof of a defect. For indentations or depressions, you will likely need to take a photograph  of the mattress with a straight level or continuously straight object and place it across the mattress so that it transverses the dip or gulley, and you will need to remove all bed coverings, sheets, and make sure the mattress is sitting on an approved foundation.

  5. If my mattress is deemed defective during the warranty coverage timeframe, who will pay for both removal of the defective mattress and any associated costs with getting my new replacement mattress to my bedroom? Make sure you have a clear understanding of these costs, since they vary, and often customers are left having to perform tasks such as rolling up and tying off their defective mattress in plastic, hauling them to an approved disposal site on your own, or paying a removal service to pick up and dispose of the defective unit. Costs can quickly escalate if you don’t have up front knowledge of what be involved just to get a replacement.

  6. Forget about donating your mattress. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and also because of the nationwide bedbug problem, especially in larger urban centers, very few, if any, charitable organizations will pick up or accept a used mattress, once removed from its original container. Don’t let a retailer convince you that you can donate it…because you cannot.