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Mattress Ratings >> Mattress Research Sources & Methodology
Page last updated September 2012
The sources for our research data include over 16,600 reviews / comments of actual mattress owners collected from diverse sources.
Over 70% of our research data comes from actual owner experiences collected from nearly 1,000 online message boards or forums.
The boards / forums are usually focused on a specific subject, such as gardening, politics, mountain climbing, astrophysics or just about any other subject you can think of.
But occasionally an off-topic discussion takes place, such as one about mattresses. It is from such discussions that we collect our data.
The boards / forums generally work by someone posting a question and then others reply with answers. In this case, someone typically asks others what mattress they have and whether they recommend it, and then the others respond.
Message boards / forums are generally the best source for getting quality and unbiased mattress reviews from actual owners. An advantage of the boards / forums is that many people who post about their mattress have owned it for a significant amount of time and can comment on the critical issue of mattress durability and lifespan.
In addition, the boards / forums have the important advantage of often existing in near obscurity which means that most do not rank high in the search engines for searches related to mattresses or product reviews. This obscurity tends to ensure unskewed, accurate findings because it largely prevents people from posting who are merely looking for a place to vent about buying a mattress they don't like (or to gush about buying a mattress they do like).
Existing in obscurity also tends to keep out dishonest people from the mattress industry who seek to give fictional mattress reviews or phony mattress-buying advice. In addition, dishonest reviewers are often discouraged by the fact that the boards / forums are usually made up of a tight-knit group of people who keep out suspicious contributors and posts.
Online retailers such as Overstock, Wal-Mart, Sam's, Costco, Amazon and a few others provide their customers with the ability to rate and review products, including mattresses, purchased from them. We have generally found the reviews on these websites to be credible and unedited / non-selected by the retailer.
The main problem with reviews on these sites is that most of them are written by people who have recently purchased their mattress – as opposed to people who have owned their mattress for a long enough period of time to be able to comment on durability and longevity. When possible, we gather data only from the latter.
A small amount of our research data may come from established product review websites. These websites allow consumers to post product reviews. Generally, we regard these websites to have only fair credibility mainly because they are so visible and easily found (see "message boards / forums" above for the advantages of being obscure) and because virtually anyone can post a product review. Consequently, in our opinion, these websites' aggregate ratings for a particular mattress can be too high or too low by as much as 40%.
On occasion, we include owner data collected from personal interviews that we conduct. While the number of these interviews is small, the amount and quality of owner information they provide is often excellent.
Sleep Like The Dead does not seek or accept mattress reviews from visitors to our website mainly because we cannot verify their credibility. We instead rely on what we regard as more credible sources for getting information from actual owners, namely the online message boards / forums referred to above.
Several mattress manufacturer and retail websites feature testimonials from customers. These reviews are often hand-picked by the website operators and consequently are entirely or mostly positive. Also, the truthfulness of such testimonials often cannot be proved. As a result, these testimonials do not have the needed credibility to be included in our research data.
Some retailers provide sections on their websites for customers to review mattresses purchased from them, but they are selective about which reviews are actually published. These review sections often have the appearance of being objective but are likely tilted in favor of the retailer at least somewhat. If we have reason to believe that unfavorable reviews are not being published, we do not include any reviews from the website into our research.
Sample size refers to the number of owner experiences that our ratings are based on. The sample size of most mattresses included in our research is large enough to provide accurate findings with a maximum margin of sampling error of ±4 percentage points. We believe this because no matter how much the sample size of a particular mattress model, mattress brand or mattress type may increase, our findings rarely extend beyond the range of a few percentage points.
For a mattress to be included in our main or part one research results (not additional or part two results), we must be able to find at least 150 owner experiences. In addition, in most main or part one research results, no one source makes up more than 30% of the sample size for any particular mattress. This ensures source diversity and prevents an over-reliance on any one particular source.
To further ensure accurate findings, several measures were taken. Namely, no data was collected from mattress owners who indicated that they have slept on a particular bed for less than one week since this is often not enough time to form a solid opinion one way or the other.
Further, in cases where it was not clear if the reviewer owned the bed, the comments were not included in the data. (Owners were identified when they openly said they owned a particular bed, referred to the bed as my bed or identified themselves as an actual owner in some other obvious, non-ambiguous way.)
The owner satisfaction rating for each mattress type or brand was computed by dividing the number of reviews / comments that showed approval of the mattress by the total number of reviews / comments for the mattress (sample size). A mattress was considered satisfactory by an owner if any or all of the following conditions were met: The mattress was explicitly described as comfortable; the mattress was described as allowing better sleep; the mattress was recommended to others; the owner stated that they like the mattress.
We receive NO compensation of any kind from any company, organization or individual to affect in any way or degree the content of our website including our product research. Our mission is to help people sleep better and this can only be achieved by presenting unbiased and truthful information.
We have advertising on our site to provide us with financial resources to conduct our extensive research. In addition, some pages of our website include a link(s) to Amazon.com. On these pages, we state clearly at the bottom of the page that inks to a product(s) offered for sale at Amazon.com appears on this page, and Sleep Like The Dead will earn revenue if a product(s) is purchased through previously mentioned link(s).
The advertising and links that appear on our website in no way affect our website content or research results.
In addition, the truthfulness of our research findings can be independently verified by anyone with a computer and internet connection, given that they are willing to invest enough time and effort.
IN THE NEWS: Sleep Like The Dead's research findings have appeared in such news publications as Barron's • Toronto Star • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Edmonton Journal • Woman's World • The Consumerist • The Gazette • Ottawa Citizen
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