I have heard from several PR folks that we're in a league of our own. Mom bloggers tend not to return high-priced products like electronics and jewelry, but newspaper reporters and magazines return merchandise all of the time.

Do you think mom bloggers should adopt a similar policy; that product samples worth over, say $150, should be returned to companies?

Interested to hear your thoughts.

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Blogging is entirely different from traditional journalists, who are paid to write. My personal policy is not to return any products that I receive for review, no matter what the price. I know some companies have a specific policy that all products must be returned.

I know this is Apple's policy, and it is why I declined to review a computer for them. I was concerned about the liability involved, which is much different that it would be for a traditional tech journalist. A traditional journalist would probably take the computer out, run a couple of operations and write a review with very little risk of damaging the computer, spilling something on it, etc. I, on the other hand, would have to review it based on everyday use, how it stood up to family life, etc. I'm not a tech blogger, so I would have to write it based on how it would work for the average person. I didn't want to take any chances with it.

I may make exceptions for really high-value products -- like a car -- that would be unreasonable to keep. But in general, I don't return products. I consider it to be compensation for the buzz, and I clearly state that on my site.
In general, my policy is to not return samples. I will make exceptions if asked (i.e. for new business owners and/or really high priced items) if return postage is included. I have no intention of revising my overall policy though!

I think that if companies want their products returned, they should pay for a "sponsored post" on blogs that accept paid
advertising.
I can't see returning the items either. There are some things like maybe a car where I can see if they offered to let you test drive it for a few weeks maybe - but I'm not even sure I would want to go there because of all the insurance issues, etc. That would all have to be covered by them and not have anything to do with my personal insurance and stuff.
I have stated on my page due to health reasons the product can not be returned. I am also going to state for electronics if it holds any personal information that it can not be returned as well. I never came across a company that wanted stuff back. I am sorry but I have good reasoning behind why I choose not to return it. If someone told me to review a car ok then I would return it lol but many sorry I won't.
I'm a blogger but I've also been a print journalist for 20 years and have only had a few instances when I've been asked to return things (and of course did so). Usually it's a really big ticket item, or something that's not yet available to the general public. There are some news organizations that have a policy against accepting merchandise, but even then, it's an individual thing.

In general, I don't accept anything that I'm asked to return to companies unless I'm DYING to check it out, because it's not worth my time to have to go to the post office and pack it up and send it back. If they make it easy with a return package and a pickup then I'm happy to comply, but it seems like "samples" are part of the deal, since bloggers aren't usually making a lot of money.
I agree with everyone else - no returns ... turning it into a giveaway is an excellent compromise though.

That said, understand that companies are finally realizing the power of the Mom Blogger & quite frankly providing a product (that can be kept) is a tiny price to pay for the influence the post could have. Try turning that kind of 'word of mouth' into a marketing dollar sign ~ they're getting off pretty cheap :-)
I didn't realize anyone did this. No I don't think we should have to return it. I do find it amazing that some bloggers get to review such expensive items but hey if they want the publicity...
I have an email in my inbox at the moment from a company asking for me to return the item. I struggle with this one because on one hand if it's something I think my readers may like to hear about then I want to review it. On the other hand, I put so much time into my blogs that compensation isn't, in my opinion, an unreasonable desire. To research, write, and promote a good review takes time. As a business owner myself, I can't imagine asking someone to promote my product, for free with no compensation and would not consider asking for the product back. To be fair cosmetics may be hard to return, but the bottom line is, most often my answer would be...no returns...
I've only had one ask me to return it but they did pay for return shipping. My review policy is that they don't get returned because it really is too much of a hassle to keep track of stuff. I also agree most newspaper/magazine writers are paid as their compensation so it is not the same thing. I also do not use products that are reviewed as giveaway items because we need to try it and I won't give used products away but I've been asked to do that too.

As long as everyone is clear up front about your policy there should not be a problem.

Lois
So this is funny this was brought up. I have NEVER been asked to return a product until last month. They were bamboo bowls. So I of course I turned down the offer because I thought it was weird. Plus I told the company I could not write a complete review if I was not able to use the product and wash it, since they were suppose to be dishwasher safe. They were like $20 bowls. I have gotten much more expensive items and was not asked to return them? So my answer is absolutly not. Sometimes I have a hard time writing a review on a product I am asked to use as a giveaway. If I cannot fully use it, how can I review it? But I make do with those products!
I don't think Mom bloggers should return anything they get to review. It's work and it's in the companies interest to have more buzz about their products, and as far as I know we bloggers do create lots of it, so that said we deserve to keep what we review :)
We've got to stop giving ourselves away for free.

A sample or review isn't even payment. It's free work. Free advertising. It's unpaid hours.

If we return the item it's not just free advertising it's free advertising and the blogger takes the hit with return shipping.

We've effectively reduced the fair market value of the written word to a box of cereal or a book we flipped through.

It's not fair to journalists and publishers who have to compete with that kind of free press and it's not fair to bloggers who put in hours of free work in the hope that it will pay off eventually.

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