A large part of what we do here at Volleyball Vault is review all sorts of volleyball equipment including volleyball shoes, knee pads, volleyballs, and much more. People often come online to search for advice before making purchasing decisions, and a big part of the Volleyball Vault brand is to help educate and advise people on which items are the best fit for their needs.
You’ve probably encountered a number of different product reviews on the internet before. They usually come in the form of those “Best X For Y” type articles where the writer is comparing a number of the top products.
We’ve written several of these articles here at Volleyball Vault and I wanted to talk briefly about how we go about researching and testing products and also the standards we hold ourselves to when publishing this sort of content.
Helpfulness Above All Else
Our purpose with this site is to be as helpful as possible, period.
Since this is our core philosophy, it means we’re able to write reviews that authentically describe our experiences with the product, without being influenced by potentially more financially rewarding incentives.
We would much rather people saw us as a trustworthy advocate of the end user’s needs as opposed to a shill for the vendor which has the most lucrative affiliate program.
Many product reviewers will often recommend the product which offers the highest affiliate commissions, regardless of whether it’s actually the best product or not. We made the decision a long time ago that we wouldn’t ever operate this way, even if it affects our bottom line.
This also means we’re able to do things like offer multiple options for where you can buy the product, even if it means we don’t receive a commission if you buy through one of the links. Again, this is all in the name of being as helpful as possible.
Hands On Performance Reviews
Whenever we do a product review, we do our absolute best to get our hands on the product and to test it thoroughly over a number of weeks before we start writing about how well it performs.
We’ve recently committed to doing hands-on product testing over the coming 12-18 months for every single product we mention here at Volleyball Vault.
If we’re writing about the “5 best volleyball knee pads”, for example, we’ll look to have thoroughly tested all 5 of the products we’re discussing before writing any of our review articles on the subject, so we’re better informed about the differences between each option.
You’ll be able to tell that we have extensive first hand experience with a product whenever you see the following ‘Performance Tested’ badge next to the product box:
In almost all cases, if you click on the ‘Performance Tested’ badge you’ll be taken to a far more detailed product review, where you can find out exactly what we thought of the product.
While we do our absolute best to get our hands on all of the products we’re reviewing, unfortunately it’s not always practical, and often near impossible.
Being based in Thailand as well as Australia, it’s often extremely difficult for us to import products and test them, as the shipping and customs/duties fees will often cost more than the products themselves. Many of the products we review simply won’t ship outside of the US either…
This has given us a bit of an ethical dilemma when it comes to discussing/reviewing the products we’re not able to physically test… To review or not to review?
For many of the subjects we write about, there’s very little information on the web, and getting the help you need can be a slow and painful process.
We believe that it is possible to still offer value to readers, even without having hands on experience with a product.
With enough research, you can generally do a pretty good job of compiling a list of the best options on the market and you can discuss their different features, prices, and make recommendations based on how well you understand the needs of the end user.
In each of our reviews, we aim to make it very clear to the reader whether we’ve actually used the product or not, as well as exactly how we researched the product and compiled our list of recommendations.
We also look to supply multiple trustworthy vendors from which you can purchase the products from, however occasionally we’ll only be able to find one location (usually Amazon).
There’s nothing worse than reading a review knowing the product recommendations haven’t been updated in years. It’s careless and irresponsible, and most importantly, it’s not helpful to the end reader.
Here at Volleyball Vault, we regularly go through each of our product reviews and seek to improve them when new products become available.