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About the BPN Website

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > About the BPN Website


General Questions about the BPN Website Website Policies Reviews of Businesses on the Website


How do I add a review to the website?

BPN does not accept reviews for the website in the way that yelp.com and similar sites do. The BPN website is an archive of selected discussions from the BPN newsletters, which are emailed to subscribers only - more info Here. All of the reviews on the website were first published in a BPN newsletter in response to a question from a BPN subscriber. Later, these reviews were archived to the website. Note that BPN also does not accept unsolicited reviews for the newsletters - see this page for details.

See How does it work? and How do I post a message to one of the newsletters? for more information about posting reviews to the BPN newsletters.

Note that many reviews from the newsletters are eventually archived to the website, but this is not automatic. See Is there an archive for past newsletters? for details.


Where did the reviews and advice come from?

All the reviews and advice on the BPN website appeared originally in an email newsletter sent to subscribers of the Berkeley Parents Network. Members can post a question in a newsletter, and other members post replies in subsequent newsletters. See How does it work? for more info about this. Later, selected discussions are archived to the website in order to make them available to everyone.


Removing a review from the website

Once a review has been archived to the BPN website, we will only remove it for the reasons listed below. BPN does not remove reviews from the website for any other reason.

  1. The review contains factual errors.
    If a review is later found to be factually incorrect BPN will remove it. For example, a subscriber's review inadvertently described a business as providing a service that it does not actually provide.

  2. The review doesn't meet BPN policy.
    Examples of this include: a) A review that doesn't meet BPN's Negative Review Policy; b) A critical review that appeared to come from a client but was later determined to have been written by a disgruntled employee; c) A favorable review that is later determined to have been posted by the business owner.

  3. The review is for a type of business that BPN does not accept negative reviews for.
    BPN does not accept negative reviews for some types of businesses, for example in-home childcare and domestic services. So, a subscriber who previously posted a favorable review of their child's daycare, but who now has complaints about it, cannot post a newer post describing the problems. In these cases, BPN does allow subscribers to request removal of their older positive review.

  4. The review is for a business that is no longer taking new clients or has closed or moved out of the area.
    Please contact us if your business is reviewed on the BPN site and you'd like us to remove the review so people are not contacting you.

  5. The reviewed business does not want to appear on the BPN website.
    The business (or school, class, etc.) that was reviewed can request BPN to remove ALL reviews of them from our website and not accept further reviews. This is usually because of a negative review on the BPN website, but occasionally businesses do not want public exposure and ask to be removed. See the Negative Review Policy for more information about how to request the removal of a negative review.
    Note: the business itself must request this, not the person who wrote the review, because all reviews of the business will be removed, not just the negative review. Please contact us if your business is reviewed on the BPN site and you'd like us to remove the reviews.

Why we have this policy:

  1. Sometimes subscribers post a favorable review for a business or school, and some months or years later want to withdraw it. Opinions can change over time, but it isn't fair to the business or school to re-write the past and retroactively withdraw good reviews. If you posted a favorable review in the past, and it later turns out that the product or service was not as great as you thought, you should instead post a follow-up review the next time someone asks about this type of business.

  2. Occasionally, businesses and schools have pressured their clients to retract an unfavorable review from the BPN website. However, negative reviews can only be removed under the conditions of the Negative Review Policy. Any reviews removed under this policy must be at the request of the business itself. All reviews of the business will be removed from the BPN website. BPN does not remove unflattering reviews while retaining the good reviews of a business, except in the very uncommon event that the negative review does not meet BPN policy. Most businesses, schools, etc. that are reviewed on the BPN website have many more good reviews than bad reviews, and it may not be in the business' best interests to remove all reviews. Therefore, it is the business itself that must make a request under the Negative Review Policy, not the person who posted the review.

Note: If a review needs to be corrected, such as an incorrect business name or phone number, or a review that does not meet BPN policy, please send us an email. We do our best to correct errors on the website, but keep in mind that the BPN website is managed by volunteers, so we can't guarantee immediate response!


Is there an archive for past newsletters?

The BPN website is an archive of selected discussions from some of the newsletters. We don't archive entire newsletters to the website. But we do archive selected discussions from the following newsletters as time permits: Advice, Recommendations, Schools & Preschools, Parents of Teens. Postings from the other newsletters - Childcare, Announcements, and Marketplace - are not archived.

Our priority is archiving topics that subscribers ask about most frequently, and these are usually fairly up to date:

  1. Reviews of schools, preschools, daycares, tutors, and summer camps
  2. Reviews of pediatricians, ObGyns, dentists, midwives & doulas
  3. New questions posted to Advice, Recommendations, or Parents of Teens that haven't been archived recently

Other lower priority topics may not be archived for months or years. To find out which topics have been archived and which haven't, see the List of Topics. See What's New for recently archived discussions.


I can't find the most recent newsletter on the website

We don't archive entire newsletters to the website. See the previous question - Is there an archive for past newsletters? for more info.

Why isn't my recommendation on the website?

Recommendations that appear in the newsletters are not automatically updated to the website. We do archive the most asked-about topics as we have time. Other reviews may not appear at all, or it may be months or years before they appear. See Is there an archive for past newsletters? for details.

How can I get a listing on your website?

BPN is a parent-to-parent email network. We don't accept advertising and we do not maintain listings for businesses. The postings about businesses that you see on our website originally appeared in one of our email newsletters. They were reviews sent in by members in response to a question from another member. The website is an archive of these discussions (see How does the Parents Net work? for details about this process.)

If you're a local parent, or you work with children, you can join the mailing list here. Members are permitted to post some kinds of messages about their businesses that are geared toward parents and children. However, these announcements are not archived to the website. For more information, see How can I let local parents know about my business?


How can I add my school to your listing?

The reviews of schools and preschools on our website are not meant to be a complete directory of local schools. They appeared originally in one of our email newsletters in response to a question from another parent, and were later archived to our website. See How does the BPN work? for details about this process.

However, over the years, parents on our subscriber list have posted recommendations for most of the schools in our area. Because our archive of school reviews is now so close to being an exhaustive list of all schools in the area, we have begun to include local schools in our lists even though they have not been reviewed in BPN newsletters. Therefore, if your school isn't listed, and it is in the Bay Area, please send us an email with the name of your school, address, and website, and we'll add it to our website.

Please note!! this applies only to schools; it does not apply to extra-curricular activities and classes such as dance, music, art, martial arts, etc.


How can I contact the person who recommended X on the website?

We are sorry but we don't have any info about the person. Recommendations that you see on the website originally appeared in one of our newsletters, which are emailed to subscribers only. When people post to the newsletter, they often include their names, phone numbers, and email addresses so other members can contact them. However, when we archive the recommendations to the website, we remove all contact info and last names from the messages in order to protect the privacy of our members. Therefore, we have no record of the person who posted and we cannot provide anything more than what you see online.

How can I correct information about my business on the website?

Please be aware that BPN is run by volunteers, so our website is not updated with any reliability or regularity. We are not able to update reviews on our website that contain out-of-date information. However, we do try to remove reviews that are resulting in wrong-number phone calls (see the next question) or reviews for businesses that do not want calls from people who find them on the BPN website. If you are no longer in business, or you don't want your business recommended on the BPN website, please send us email with the URL (webpage address) that your review appears on, and we'll remove it. Click here to send us email. Please see Negative Reviews on the website if there is a bad review of your business on the BPN website.

How can I correct an incorrect phone number on the website?

BPN is a volunteer-run resource and we are not able to keep phone numbers and email addresses up to date for the many businesses that have been recommended over the years. We do try to remove incorrect phone numbers, though. If you are getting "wrong number" phone calls because of a phone number on our website, please Click here to send us an email.

Why aren't there many resources on your web site for people who live ouside of Berkeley/Oakland/Albany?

Few of our subscribers live outside of this area. When we do get requests for other areas, we rarely get responses. For details, see What is the geographic area for BPN postings?.


How do you know that business owners aren't posting good reviews of themselves?

We can't guarantee that all the reviews on the BPN website are really legitimate reviews from satisfied local parents. But this is our goal. We do make an effort to minimize self-promotion on our website. Here's how:
  1. BPN does not accept advertising or depend on grants or contributions from businesses, schools, etc. Therefore, BPN has no incentive to favor some businesses over others.

  2. Reviews can only be posted by BPN subscribers. We only accept subscriptions from people who live locally and are either parents, or they work with children's issues or parenting issues. Subscribing to BPN means daily emails, some quite lengthy, so there is overhead involved in being a BPN subscriber.

  3. All reviews must be posted in response to a question from another subscriber that has appeared in a recent newsletter. We do not accept Unsolicited Reviews in the style of Yelp and other consumer review sites. This means that we only accept a review for a business if a subscriber has posted a request for reviews of that type of business.

  4. Business owners who are eligible to subscribe to BPN may recommend their businesses in response to a request, but these are not archived to the website. We only archive reviews from BPN subscribers who have first-hand experience with the business they are recommending. We also do not archive reviews from friends, family members, and colleagues.

  5. It is technically possible for a business owner to subscribe to BPN, and then post a review of herself, posing as a satisfied customer. We do not think this happens very often, but we do occasionally receive complaints from subscribers or website users about this, and we always investigate. When we determine that a business has done this, we unsubscribe the person who posted, and remove all reviews of the business from the BPN website. We do not accept further reviews of the business.

  6. All postings are reviewed by a BPN volunteer moderator before they are included in the newsletters to make sure they meet BPN policy. Postings are reviewed again by the website administrator before they are archived to the website. Moderators and administrators read hundreds of postings a week, and most have years of experience on the BPN, so we can detect patterns that indicate questionable postings. Volunteers have access to names and email addresses even on anonymous postings, and may review past postings from the same name or email address if necessary.
BPN is a free, parent-run resource that depends on the selfless contributions of very busy parents. Therefore, we take mis-use of the BPN very seriously.


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this page was last updated: Sep 19, 2013


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