by B.B. Pelletier

On the heels of yesterday’s blog about what people expect after making a purchase, we noticed that there was a lot of interest in the product reviews on Pyramyd Air’s site. Edith (for those who don’t know…she’s my wife) will address those questions and give you some insight into how reviews (good, bad & ugly) are handled. As long as she’s at it, she’ll also give you the scoop on customer images.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

Take it away, girl!

One of most time-consuming jobs I have at Pyramyd Air is reading customer gun reviews. When the review process was originally created, it was easy to handle. Now, it doesn’t take long before I get a huge backlog if I decide to skip a day or a week.

While I read the gun reviews (airsoft guns & airguns), Laura Nelson takes care of the accessory and ammo reviews. She’s located in Iowa, and we were lucky to get her when Pyramyd Air bought out her former employer…Airgun Express (for you newcomers, Airgun Express was Pyramyd Air’s closest competitor at the time). Elise Vendetti works the customer-submitted images. She’s located in Cleveland at Pyramyd Air’s headquarters and has been with the company for a little over two years.

What we hope you’ll write in your product reviews
The purpose of the customer review is to give others a full evaluation of your experience with the product. While we’d like to think everyone will be pleased with their purchase, that doesn’t always happen. Plus, there are hiccups with shipping that are out of our control…especially when it comes to product damage during transport. Still, we want to know all of it. Roses, thorns, warts and troll dung…we want you to tell other customers what you found when you got your gun, how it was packaged, how it shot and if it met your expectations based on what we’ve written on the product page.

When we devised the format for reviews, we wanted to know what you liked, what you wanted to see improved and any other thoughts you might have about the product. The original space allotted for the reviews was unlimited because we wanted to encourage sharing and full disclosure from end users. Before I knew it, I was reading as many as 10,000 words in some gun reviews! To save my sanity, text boxes are no longer unlimited. For some people, there wasn’t enough room in the “what’s good” text block…and others found the “what I’d like to change” text block much too limited. Surprisingly, the shortest reviews — the ones that have “everything” and/or “nothing” written in all the boxes — are declined. That’s not information about the product. We want details.

Why we decline reviews
Within 24 hours of approving or declining a review, an automated email goes out to tell you the status of your review. It includes the name of the product, and a link to the product where the review is listed.

If your review was declined, you’ll get the product name and web link plus a list of reasons that your review may have been declined. Here are the reasons:

  1. Negative review of a product purchased from another source.
  2. Does not own or use the product.
  3. Includes links to non-Pyramyd Air sites.
  4. Provides maintenance, repair and/or disassembly instructions that may not be safe or accurate.
  5. Mentions or suggests removing or concealing the orange muzzle of an airsoft gun.
  6. Mentions or suggests adding a silencer to a pellet gun or BB gun or mentions the use of the same (except for silencers that are integral to the gun as originally manufactured).
  7. Unhelpful terms, foul language or negative remarks about other reviews or reviewers.
  8. So short that it doesn’t provide helpful info.
  9. Written in cryptic text message format.
  10. Includes incorrect statements about the product.
  11. Tasteless or unsuitable screen name.
  12. Includes inappropriate uses or prey for the product or overly graphic descriptions of kills.
  13. Mentions a competing merchant or that it can be bought cheaper elsewhere.
  14. Unrelated to the product.

Note that there are 14 reasons. It has always been my belief that if 10 Commandments were enough for God, then 10 is enough for anything I do. So, I came up with 10 rules that would prevent a review from being approved. Well, it worked for several years until some customer reviews forced 4 additional rules to be created.

Here are the guidelines for images and videos. If yours has any of these, it won’t be approved:

  1. Does not own the rights to the submitted items.
  2. Inappropriate or has inappropriate elements.
  3. Suggests or shows removal or concealment of the orange muzzle of an airsoft gun.
  4. Suggests or shows a silencer on or for a pellet gun or BB gun (except for silencers that are integral to the gun as originally manufactured).
  5. Unrelated to the product.
  6. Poor quality (blurry, too dark, etc.).
  7. Mentions a competing merchant or that it can be bought cheaper elsewhere.
  8. Includes inappropriate logos or text.
  9. Shows a hunting scene.
  10. Shows a person’s face or a recognizable person.

For each review, image or video that’s declined, we record the reason. I don’t want to bore you with reasons for declining things, but here are examples of reviews that forced me to decline them:

  1. The person doesn’t own the gun, but he’s written a complete review of it. He’s never shot it but “knew” what to expect and decided to cut to the quick and get the review out of the way to benefit others who may not know as much.
  2. A rant about FedEx (we also had rants about UPS when they had Pyramyd Air’s shipping business).
  3. Reviews that are a love story about a buying experience with Pyramyd Air. People read reviews to get product info. The reviews that are “love letters” are copied and sent to a customer service supervisor, who will contact you and tell you that your review is being declined and why. We don’t want to erase that smile, so we go the extra mile.
  4. If you wrote an honest review that brings out a large number of negative points about a product or state the product is not worth buying, we’ll check our system against the email address and/or name you used to post the review to see if you bought it from us. If you didn’t, then the review is declined.
  5. The worst reviews are the ones for which I’ll probably need therapy: shooting at inappropriate critters (usually with underpowered guns) and then describing the agony of the dying or injured animal. For me, the worst ones are the grandfathers who are teaching their wee little grandchildren…tomorrow’s shooters…how to shoot with a Red Ryder and using the neighborhood birds, squirrels and pets as targets. After reading such reviews, it takes a while before the screaming in my head stops!
  6. Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring,” probably didn’t envision airguns as being the death knell of birds, but the number of youthful shooters (as well as some mature adults) who have just gotten a powerful breakbarrel air rifle who shoot at federally protected migratory birds is staggering. Who uses an airgun to shoot at owls? Kestrels? Canadian geese? Pelicans? Woodpeckers?

The largest number of declines are people who went to the local sporting goods store and bought a gun and didn’t like it. Because their retailer doesn’t accept customer reviews, they assume they can post it on our site. If you spend your dollars with another business, don’t come on our site to complain about your purchase.

What is enough power for hunting?
I’ve mentioned that people use underpowered guns to shoot at critters. I see on Crosman’s site that they recommend some pretty low-powered guns for pest control. We don’t allow that on Pyramyd Air’s site.

A few years ago, I had to come up with a minimum velocity that a gun had to meet in order to accept it for shooting critters. I selected 800 fps in .177 and 600 fps in .22.

Those numbers are very significant. By picking 800 fps in .177 caliber, I’m omitting the BB guns that are reputed to shoot at 755 fps. These are not only inaccurate guns, but they’re probably not shooting that fast all the time. So, if you mention in your review that you dispatch mice, rats and chipmunks with your 2100B rifle, you’re going to get gonged. Can you use such a gun to kill a small rodent at 10 yards? Probably with ease. However, the other people who are reading your reviews will see only 2 words: kill and 2100B. They won’t care about distances or projectiles. I’ve seen it too many times to ignore it.

Picking velocities has been very hard on many customers who swear that their BB and pellet guns are real killers. I prefer to take the high road and not encourage the use of these guns across the board for shooting at animals. If you want to hunt, please get an accurate gun…and not a BB gun.

I hope this has helped some of you who may have had a review, image or video declined and didn’t know why. If it happens to you, please write to our sales department and ask for an explanation. They’ll ask Laura, Elise and me for an explanation that will be passed along to you.