|Dear Consumer Reports: an Open Letter
||[May. 10th, 2011|11:52 am]
The American Caliban
I have trusted Consumer Reports since I was a child for product ratings. Your policy of no advertising and no commercial use has been admirable and useful, and I've always been happy to pay for the service.
Now your website has a shopping section. The explanatory paragraph says that it's intended to provide a safe, unbiased environment for shopping, and that you've surveyed us customers and found just the right places to shop. It also says that it's "powered by" Pricegrabber.com.
So this means that you've cut a deal with Pricegrabber to send your members to their service. Pricegrabber is not a charity and anyone in the business knows how these things work. You have taken your very valuable membership as a commodity and rented us to an outside commercial service.
Your noncommercial use policy says: " We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org®, and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants."
What are the terms of your deal with Pricegrabber, exactly? What exactly are the criteria by which you or Pricegrabber choose vendors and products for the shopping site?
Consumer Reports is not BizRate.com. Neither are you AAA, or any of the other "organizations" that sell your membership to affiliates.
How much money will it cost you to dump this shopping nonsense, and when will you do it?
There's no way to maintain the fiction that you're following a noncommercial use policy at the same time that you're selling your customers to a generic Internet shopping portal.
Thanks in advance for your reply.
Note: This was also sent via their website as a Letter to the Editor