Niche Guidelines for Reporting and Removing Content
There is a “Report” link next to all User generated content on the Niche.com website and through the mobile app that allows Niche visitors to report any content as inaccurate or offensive. Niche may, at its sole discretion, review and evaluate reported content on a case-by-case basis. To ensure that your review is eligible to be posted on site, users are required to verify their email address after creating a Niche account. The most fundamental aspect of our service is to be a platform for people to share their experiences at each school, workplace, or neighborhood and read about the experiences of others. We do not edit the text of User-submitted content and we do not filter or remove negative reviews. Our goal is to remain neutral in factual disputes and we do not act as the “finder of fact” with respect to review content. We only remove reviews in the event that they fail to meet our user content guidelines, as determined in our sole discretion as set out below and in the Site User Agreement. We apply the same standards of review for all content, regardless of whether or not the content submitted involves a client of Niche. This is an essential policy in order to maintain trust with our Users and to maintain to the best of our ability an objective and unbiased position.
The following include the circumstances in which we will consider removing a review:
- Inappropriate Content: Review includes offensive language, in particular, language that contains racism/bigotry/hate speech or derogatory terms.
- Personal Information: Review references specific personal information in a review – e.g. email address, birthdate, etc.
- Criticism of Individuals: Review negatively references an individual by name or other identifiable information.
- Specific Crimes: Review references a specific crime or violation being committed. Niche is not a venue for reporting crimes. Note that generalizations like “drugs are a problem on campus” or “the company has a problem with harassment” do not qualify as a specific crime or violation.
- Threats of Harm: Review references specific threat of harm to self or others.
- Gibberish: Review is clearly gibberish or unintelligible (e.g., poem, song lyrics, random letters).
- Third-Party Links: Review includes links to other webpages.
- Clear Inaccuracy: Review is written about the wrong place. Must be obvious and indisputable – e.g., The review talks about going to school or workplace in Ohio when the school or workplace is located in Florida.
- Uninformed Reviewer: Reviewer clearly indicates they do not know about the place/topic they are reviewing, or reviewer is not affiliated with and does not have firsthand experience of the place/topic they are reviewing:
- Q: How is Greek life? A: I’m not involved in Greek life.
- Q: Rate your overall experience. A: I don’t know…
- Intellectual Property: Review includes information subject to copyright or trademark protection of others. See also the User Agreement for the procedures to use in the event of a dispute as to copyright material posted on our Site.
- Advertising Content: Review includes blatant advertising or promotional content.
- Incentivized/Coerced Users: There is clear evidence that the reviewer has either been incentivized or coerced to write the review.
For more information on our processes for monitoring User generated content, see our Quality Control procedures.
We reserve the right to change, modify, add to or delete from these Guidelines at any time, in our sole discretion. Further, nothing in these Guidelines or the User Agreement obligates us to follow the Guidelines with respect to reported content; we have no obligation to conduct reviews of User content, and we reserve the right, for any reason or no reason, to refuse to act under the Guidelines or otherwise with respect to any reported content.
Quality Control for User-Submitted Content
Niche employs a number of quality control measures when incorporating self-reported User data and User reviews. While there is no 100% foolproof way to ensure that one specific review or piece of data is accurate, these techniques are meant to 1) minimize the impact of potentially inaccurate or erroneous data, and 2) ensure that data at an aggregate level is representative for a given school.
Submission of User Content
User-generated content on Niche is collected via our school surveys and account signup, which you can access in the navigation menu at the top of any page and from links throughout the Site. In order to submit User-generated content (including survey and reviews), Users must register for a Niche account. During registration we collect information that allows us to identify potentially fraudulent users/reviews that may not be associated with the school. Note that we do not require a school affiliated email address, which some schools have asked about. This is because: 1) not all schools provide consistent school affiliated email addresses, and 2) we want alumni to be able to review their school and many alumni either do not have access to or do not regularly use a school affiliated email address.
Quality Control Procedures
We have three main phases of quality control with respect to self-reported User data and User reviews.
1. Automatic quality control measures
These attempt to automatically prevent both erroneous data (from User error) and fraudulent data from ever making it to our Site or impacting scores. These look for data outliers (i.e. born in 1900) as well as inappropriate and/or unhelpful words and phrases (swear words, “I don’t know”, etc.)
2. Ongoing community flagging/feedback
There is a “Report” link next to all User generated content on our Site that allows any Niche visitor to submit any content as inaccurate or offensive which then is manually reviewed by a Niche employee.
3. Regular data updates/audits
When scoring User reviews or User data for rankings and on-site features, we have additional automated scripts that account for anomalies and suspicious activity – things like several 1 or 5 star reviews in a row, multiple reviews from the same IP address, or a User’s address location not matching the school’s location and characteristics. We also employ a number of statistical techniques to reduce the impact that a small number of very happy or very unhappy Users can have.
Quality control is a constantly evolving process at Niche that we strive to continuously improve as we get more feedback from our Users, schools, and the data itself.