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Unsolicited Reviews on BPN
An unsolicited review is a review for something that was not specifically requested by a subscriber in a recent BPN newsletter. Current topics that can be reviewed are listed in the "Reply to a previous question" menu on the posting form, such as the one for the Recommendations newsletter. Once a topic ages out of the topic list, we can no longer accept responses for that topic. We also cannot accept responses to or comments about topics that have been archived to the BPN website. (Please write to the moderator if you think there is incorrect or misleading information in a review on the website.)
Previously BPN did accept unsolicited reviews, but we discontinued the practice in 2007 because of multiple problems over the years: 1) people recommending themselves (or having friends recommend them) to boost their business 2) people getting back at former employers or competitors by posting damaging reviews 3) people posting extremely critical reviews "in the heat of the moment." These kinds of posts conflict with BPN's mission of parent-to-parent support. Although these problems can come up in solicited responses too, we have found that they are much more likely in unsolicited reviews.
We know that most unsolicited reviews are posted with good intentions -- they can be a good way to put in a plug for a valued community resource. However, BPN's main goal is to give local parents a forum for supporting each other, not to provide a venue for reviewing local businesses. Since BPN is volunteer-run, we must focus our limited resources on the mission. If you don't see a request in the topic list for the type of business you want to review, just be patient -- sooner or later someone will post a question about the service you want to review, and you can respond in the newsletter. Or, you can post to one of the many other sites that accept consumer reviews, such as Yelp, Amazon, Tripadvisor, and the like.
There are a few specific types of unsolicited reviews that are accepted because of their high value for BPN subscribers:
Negative unsolicited reviews are not accepted, even for the exceptions noted above. Negative reviews are accepted only in response to a query from another subscriber specifically asking for the type of service being reviewed, in accordance with BPN's negative review policy.
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BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during 2015: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org