While Ubisoft has spent millions marketing Assassin's Creed: Unity, it forced reviewers to hold their write-ups until hours after the game was released today.

3 Reasons Why Video Game Review Embargoes Are Particularly Anti-Consumer

One of the perks of my former life in the entertainment news business was getting early access to everything from books to movies to music to video games. On the down side, that early access often comes with the stipulation that you can’t say anything about what you’ve seen, read, played, or heard until the publisher says so. It’s an annoyance for all reviewers, especially when they want to tell the public that something is so bad they should stay away, but it’s particularly harmful in the video game business. [More]

Readers’ Reviews Of Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza Mixed, Mostly Bad

Readers’ Reviews Of Papa John’s Fritos Chili Pizza Mixed, Mostly Bad

Last week, we shared the somewhat terrifying news that Papa John’s is marketing a pizza topped with Fritos and chili. Yes, the snack chip Fritos. Yes, on a pizza. Yes, on a Papa John’s pizza. We asked whether any of you out in Consumerland had tried it, and some of you were brave enough to. [More]

Yelp’s Video Feature Is Now Live, So You Can Show Exactly What You Mean By “Ear-Splitting Music”

Yelp’s Video Feature Is Now Live, So You Can Show Exactly What You Mean By “Ear-Splitting Music”

If a picture is worth a thousand words — which it is, I just cashed in a picture yesterday — then a video must be even more valuable, right? So thinketh Yelp, as it says that it’s previously announced video feature is now ready for users who want to add short clips to their reviews. [More]

How Does A Negative Amazon Review Result In Threats Of A Lawsuit?

From the legal letter T. posted on Reddit earlier this week.

UPDATE: While neither Medialink nor its lawyer have responded to our request for comment on this story, the company has posted a lengthy note on its Facebook page in which explains the motives behind the cease-and-desist letter and says that its Amazon seller account has been suspended. [More]

Reader Review: Mountain Dew Cheetos “Not At All Unpleasant”

Reader Review: Mountain Dew Cheetos “Not At All Unpleasant”

Reader Aaron was intrigued. He likes both Mountain Dew and Cheetos, and learned from our site that an unholy hybrid of these two products was now available in snack food form in Japan. He knew what he had to do: order them and eat them. [More]

What If Yelp Had Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Reviews?

What If Yelp Had Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Reviews?

First of all, let me just say that it’s a darn good thing we don’t live in a world where houses are subject to Yelp reviews for Trick-Or-Treating purposes (yet). But it’s still pretty funny to think about all the possibilities for hilarious, cranky and otherwise informative reviews if that were the reality. [More]

Not the CF in question. (SA_Steve)

It’s About Time Someone Reviewed Cleveland-Area Cheesecake Factory

You show me someone who’s been to all 170 Cheesecake Factory restaurants and I’ll show you a liar. That being said, while we don’t have eyewitness proof to the contrary, they can’t all be that different, right? Regardless of whether one Cheesecake Factory is like visiting any other Cheesecake Factory, it’s still quite interesting that a Cleveland news site felt the need to publish a review of an area Cheesecake Factory location. Yes, I did just fit Cheesecake Factory in three times in one sentence. [More]

Your Review Isn’t Really About The Product? Don’t Whine When It’s Rejected

([RAWRZ!])

We often receive complaints from readers who have totally legitimate gripes about shipping or customer service issues at retailers, both online and in real life. Unfortunately, they chose to share these complaints with the world by writing about them in the retailer’s product reviews. The problem with this plan is that companies control which reviews are and aren’t posted. If they don’t post yours, it’s not because they hate free speech: it’s because you didn’t follow the directions. [More]

Now we know.

Someone Is Probably Working On A Coffee Table Book Of Hilarious Amazon Reviews, Right?

We’ve read our fair share of hilarious reviews for products that practically beg to become comedic fodder — remember the Bic Cristal for Her pen? It’s often those same reviews that make once irrelevant products relevant again, or at least bring to light the very many things for sale out there that make us wonder why anyone bothered selling them in the first place. [More]

( jennymcb)

Should You Take Back That GPS You Got For Christmas?

You might have ripped the wrapping paper off a shiny new GPS unit earlier this week, but should you keep it? A well-meaning loved one might have bought you a new one this week, but that doesn’t mean that they chose the best one for your needs or that you should keep it. How do you know whether the unit you have is the best for you? If only there were an entity out there that tested different models side-by-side and published the results…Oh, right, that would be our elder sister publication, Consumer Reports! [More]

The Tasty Lies Behind Your Favorite Convenience Foods

The Tasty Lies Behind Your Favorite Convenience Foods

There are a number of criticisms you can make about frozen meals and chain takeout: poor nutrition, factory farming, and wasteful packaging. Most Americans don’t care about that, though. What they want to know is: does this meal look anything like the photo on the package? Does it taste like beef-flavored cardboard? Is the portion big enough to keep me from running to the break room vending machine by 3:00? For them, the convenience food blog Tasty Lies exists. [More]

Banzai Slide 'N Splash Whale Pool Box Vs. Reality

Banzai Slide 'N Splash Whale Pool Box Vs. Reality

Three years after we first started pointing it out, Banzai continues to make kiddie pools that are disproportionately smaller than they appear on the box. The latest to enrage the internet is their “Slip ‘N Splash Whale Pool.” On the box it shows four children frolicking. In real life, those would have to be tiny munchkin children. [More]

Cornell Software Can Spot Fake Reviews

Cornell Software Can Spot Fake Reviews

It’s not always easy to sort out genuine rave reviews from online users from those made by company plants, but technology may be able to sort out what the gullible human eye cannot. Cornell University researchers say they’ve developed software that can identify fake reviews. [More]

Hotel Openly Advertises For Fake TripAdvisor Review Writers

Hotel Openly Advertises For Fake TripAdvisor Review Writers

It’s no secret that hotels put bogus user reviews of themselves on sites like TripAdvisor, but usually they’re more discreet than this. TripAdvisorWatch found an example of an owner of several hotels in Hanoi posting on freelancer.com under his real name asking “if anyone can teach me the way to write reviews on this forum in which my reviews can not be found as fake and be removed.” [More]

Company Retaliates For Bad Game Review With… Bad Reviews Of Reviewer's Novel

Company Retaliates For Bad Game Review With… Bad Reviews Of Reviewer's Novel

Writer Mike Murdock published a fantasy novel in 2008 that had a sudden uptick in reviews on Amazon.com a few weeks ago. Why the sudden popularity? Was it reviewed somewhere prominent? Made part of Oprah’s Book Club? Tweeted by Roger Ebert? Not exactly. Murdock also reviews video games, and recently published a very unfavorable review of the new Sega/High Voltage Software Wii game Conduit 2 on Joystiq. A High Voltage employee then sent a link to the book’s Amazon page to co-workers, urging them to read Murdock’s book and “return the favor.” Well, if a one-star review calling the book “below fan-fiction garbage” is a favor.
[More]

White Castle's BBQ Menu: Hot Or Not?

White Castle's BBQ Menu: Hot Or Not?

As we wrote last week, White Castle is testing out a new Blaze BBQ menu at one of its restaurants in Indiana. Lucky for us, blogger Kat Jones lives in the area and decided to take us up on our request for a proper review. [More]

Yelp Reviewer Gives 1 Star For Restaurant That Hasn't Opened Yet

Yelp Reviewer Gives 1 Star For Restaurant That Hasn't Opened Yet

As with any community-sourced online content, Yelp’s reviews can vary widely in quality. Still, this may be one of the most ridiculously self-entitled and clueless reviews anyone has ever posted about a restaurant: [More]

Canon 7D Or Barbie Video Girl: Which Is Better?

Canon 7D Or Barbie Video Girl: Which Is Better?

Sometimes when you’re comparison shopping for electronics, it helps to find a fan-made video test that looks at the devices side by side. Luckily for you, if you can’t decide whether to buy an $1800 Canon 7D or a $50 Barbie Video Girl, now you’ve got some help. (Hint: only one of these can be called “the sassiest camera money can buy.”) [More]