Consumer Reports is well known for its policies on editorial independence, which it says are to "maintain our independence and impartiality... [so that] CU has no agenda other than the interests of consumers." CR has unusually strict requirements and sometimes has taken extraordinary steps; for example they refused to renew a bulk subscription order for employees of car dealership because of "the appearance of an impropriety".
They do not print outside advertising in their magazine. Their website, however, does display retailers' advertisements; Consumer Reports say that the ads are placed by PriceGrabber, who collects referral fees from the retailers and pays a percentage to Consumer Reports, and that Consumer Reports has no direct relationship with the merchants. Consumer Reports does publish reviews of PriceGrabber, and at least in one case recommends them as the best choice. Previously, CR had a similar relationship with BizRate. CR also has had relationships with other companies including Amazon.com, Yahoo!, The Wall Street Journal; The Washington Post; BillShrink; and Decide.com. CR also accepts funding in the form of grants from other organizations, and at least one high-ranking Consumer Reports employee has gone on to work for a company he evaluated.
Another CR policy is to forbid the commercial use of their reviews for selling products; for example, they won't allow a manufacturer to advertise a positive review. CR has gone to court to enforce that rule.
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