An online purchase so bad, it’s #&*$!

Reevoo documents where web reviews are the most profane.

Thad Rueter

E-retailers with sensitive souls might want to put in some extra effort pleasing customers from New Zealand, Romania, the Philippines, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Russia.

That’s because shoppers from those locales are more likely to swear at merchants online via reviews when displeased with purchases, according to a new study from Reevoo. The eight-year-old London-based company, which helps retailers engage with online shoppers via online reviews, recommendations and other methods, bases its findings on an analysis of some 1.5 million reviews. Reevoo says its services are used in 90 countries.

Since 2012, 1.61% of reviews from New Zealand were rejected for swearing. Next comes Romania, at 1.06%, followed by the Philippines (0.48%), the Czech Republic (0.45%), Switzerland (0.33%) and Russia (0.32%). In some cases, the base number of reviews was tinier than even the most guttural curse—New Zealand, for example, got the top spot for having just two out of 124 reviews nixed for profanity—though in others, the amount of profane venting at purchases gone bad was more substantial. In Russia’s case, 133 online reviews failed to meet the clean-mouth test.

Reevoo gave no indication of how online shoppers cursed in those rejected reviews. But English-language speakers can be proud—or ashamed, depending on one’s perspective—that they trailed in these rankings. Consumers submitting reviews in Romanian, Czech, Russian, French, Polish, Spanish and Italian were more likely to spice up their purchase recaps with what one presumes to be earthy exclamations and multisyllabic vulgarity than English  speakers.

Consumers in Finland and Japan wrote the cleanest reviews. And lest anyone try to traffic in the stereotype of the ugly, hot-headed American, consumers from the United States held the No. 10 spot—just ahead of Belgium, and virtually tied with Canada and Poland.

The importance of this study is unclear beyond providing entertainment for the e-retail community and, perhaps, reminding anyone who shops online that childhood lessons of politeness can still hold true in the world of e-commerce. “It’s great to see the passion people have when writing reviews,” says Richard Anson, Reevoo’s founder, “but we recommend keeping a level head and avoiding offensive language.”



Asia, Canada, customer reviews, customer service, Europe, international e-commerce, international marketing, New Zealand, Philippines, product recommendations, Reevoo, Richard Anson, Russia