On Blog Product Reviews – A Quick Poll

It’s become abundantly clear that marketing and PR companies are sitting up and taking notice of the pull of the mommy blogger.  The term mommy blogger is already a contentious one but that’s not the point of my post today. But being a blogger that writes reviews also seems to create some rather unkind commentary from other blog peers.

I wanted to find out from you dear reader, what you enjoy most about product reviews. You see, my blog has been slowly growing over the last few months and with that I’m getting contacted more and more often to write product reviews on various products. Now this is something I have thought long and hard about because ultimately, my integrity is at stake here. Having said that, I will not ever write a review for a product that I have not personally tried myself and I won’t write reviews for products that don’t fit with the general ethos of my blog. I have turned down opportunities to write reviews, when I don’t believe in the product or when I believe there is no benefit to the reader either. For eg: I didn’t write a review for a debt collecting company who asked me to write for them. I have also tried products that I did not like and rather that write a review for these products, I have let the product owner know why I don’t want to write a review and given them feedback on my personal experience. As I said, product reviews are about my integrity.

But I have always believed that when writing about a review, there should be something in it for the reader too. I’ve noticed that the review posts that are not linked with a win/give away, are barely even taken notice of. I mean, from my own experience, I don’t read reviews unless there’s a hook for me too.

But given some of the negative sentiment floating around the blogosphere regarding product reviews and bloggers who are contacted to write reviews & link it to give away’s, I wanted to ask you what your personal preference is?

Please take this quick poll and also leave your thought’s and suggestions in the comments section below:


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  • Reply Laura

    I voted for the last one BUT I also wanted to add the first one as well – there does need to be a balance. A new mom may like reading about your review on a nappy or a bum cream and may not need the giveaway but there are certain times where a giveaway is nice and allows the reader to feel involved and not just like they reading a blog of someone who keeps getting free stuff – lol – kinda like product FOMO if that makes sense?

    October 15, 2012 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Cassie

    Well said…. I too choose the reviews I do and even then sometimes they not the stereotypical reviews – it has to be relevant to who and what you are – I find if its a blatant review post that is totally irrelevant to the person blogging (they just wrote the review becuase they were asked to) I’m less likely to read it, free give away or not

    October 15, 2012 at 9:42 am
  • Reply Sian

    Of course its more fun when there is a hook. I like product reviews when they provide a balanced aproach to the product and I agree it must be something that you (the writer) believe in.

    October 15, 2012 at 9:59 am
  • Reply Rochelle Stewart

    I voted for the 3rd option – There is rarely something my husband and I commit to without doing major research and reading up on reviews, be it purchasing of electronics to planning a holiday, we are self confessed review junkies and proud of it! We often do, what seems to others as a surprise purchase or an outrageous life changing event, but unknown to them, we have spend months planning and gathering info through reviews. We do always keep in mind who the review came from and that plays a huge role in weighing up all possible options. A reviewers integrity, especially to me, is very important. I feel there shouldn’t be an additional incentive involve, the reviewers opinion should be what counts and that is your benefit. Giving away samples and not prices would be more beneficial to both writer and reader.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Natasha Clark

    I voted and just wanted to say hi. *HI* x

    October 15, 2012 at 10:15 am
  • Reply Sue Stuart

    I have no problem with reviews, I do think it’s good practice to mention that it is a review. It’s always good to know what products are out there that may be beneficial to either us or our families, thta we aren’t aware of. I also don’t think that it’s necessary to always have a giveaway, but it is fun sometimes 🙂

    October 15, 2012 at 10:32 am
  • Reply CharlieW

    All giveaways are awesome, for obvious reasons 🙂 But I love reading reviews and I have recently started my own beauty blog. I do my utmost to do an honest review as I want to share my personal experiences with my readers. I have discovered great products through the reviews of others, and that is what I aim to do with mine.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:53 am
  • Reply Jenny

    I voted. (won’t tell you which option ;)) but just wanted to say you do it well. It irks me when you read a blog post and get really into the mom’s trials and tribulations around tooth brushing, thinking you may get some nuggets of wisdom, only to stumble on an Aquafresh promo. I find that offputting and a little lame and I have to say it does annoy me when all the blogs I follow are clearly targeted by the same PR companies so all of them will be talking about the same kak in any given week. That has to lose you some credibility surely? I think as long as you stick to your instincts you are doing fine. I haven’t found it offputting here yet. And if I do, I just come back tomorrow…

    October 15, 2012 at 11:04 am
    • Reply Natasha Clark

      I hate this too, which is why I start all those reviews with “This brand sent me this to get thoughts etc” and then how that product is applicable to our home life. I feel almost like cheated / violated when I’m half way through a post and it’s all “but now that we found *brand*, our lives are different!” I could kill bunnies. I only do giveaways for my set, loyal sponsors that I work with, not randoms.

      October 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm
  • Reply Lisa-Marie

    While I do think that the ‘hook’ is really attractive, I also love reviews on products that I have always had an interest in.
    I’d LOVE to do reviews, but have had no leads, sadly. Naartjie haven’t come back to me, which is somewhat disappointing…

    October 15, 2012 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Wenchy

    I like it… wish I was asked for my opinion! 🙂

    October 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Anne

    The hook is what first attracted me to your blog but if articles are well written, I will come back and read in any case.
    Just a question: why did you not write negative reviews when the products are not good? I think it is as necessary as the good reviews.
    Also, one thing that should always be done is mentioning when an article is being “sponsored” in any way. This is the minimum ethical requirement.

    October 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply Tracy

    I think product reviews are fine as long as the fact that they are product reviews is upfront and that any praise is genuine – fake fawning makes me want to gag!

    I love winning prizes or getting samples for new products. I’m a sucker for new things but with the economic climate being very chilly I can’t always afford to try something new just because it’s new in case we don’t like it or can’t use it.

    Also I find that when I win something, the sponsor nearly always gains too. For example, I won two tickets to see Swoop at the Kalk Bay Theatre during the last holidays. I had the in-laws staying so ten of us ended up going. If we hadn’t won the two tickets I’m not sure if all ten of us would have gone to the theatre but we did and they got 8 paying customers. Incidentally it was a wonderful show and we were all very glad we went from the youngest 1 year-old to pensioner Grandma. It had a lovely eco-theme and was well-performed by a very versatile cast. It was the first time we’d been to Kalk Bay Theatre and now we’re on their mailing list and will no doubt go again.

    October 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    No problem with reviews, but I also like the idea of it being mentioned at the beginning. If it is something I may need, I will read it, if not, then I won’t.
    I also wondered why you won’t do negative reviews? Surely they must realise you may not like their product? Do they not want you to give a negative reviews? Else shouldn’t they just ask you to endorse their product? (Just a query from someone who has no clue how these things work)

    October 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm
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