Hello Mom Bloggers!
Here is my quandary: As part of the Kiwi Moms Meet bloggers, I signed up to review a certain product. The company sent me a sample. So far, I'm not very happy with its results. Am I obliged to write a positive review?
I could see myself writing an honest, mediocre review, but part of my agreement with this company includes my hosting a giveaway for 2 free product samples to my readers. If I give the product a weak review, who is even going to want to enter the giveaway?
I need to maintain my integrity as EcoMom, but what are the expectations from companies who give you free products to review?
Would love some advice on how to handle or similar experiences from others.
Personally, I don't write reviews for bad or mediocre products. I mean, yes, people want to hear your honest opinion, but I feel that everything is subjective and someone else may love a product I found very bleh. That's why you really shouldn't worry about giveaways for bleh products - you will always have entrants. :) After all, it's a chance for them to try the product for free, and they aren't going to review it anyway. The product sponsor is just trying to spread the word, and giveaways help do that.
But really, it's your decision what you want to do. You should not feel obligated to write only positive things about a product you have been sent to review. Personally, I reserve the right to not do a review of that product at all. And no, I won't return it. I look at it like books sent for review - they go into a tall stack, and if the reviewer gets around to reading it and writing a review, great. If not, well, that's the chance you take.
It might be in your best interest to add a caveat to your PR statement to the effect that you reserve the right to review or not any products sent to you. If the sponsor accepts that caveat and still sends you the product (which most do, by the way) then you are under no obligation whatsoever to review it, positive or negative.
Just my opinion. Hope this helps. :)
I write honest reviews and that sometimes means negative ones. In the 5 years that I have been doing this, I have had less than a handful of products that I couldn't find positive things about and those, I spoke with the company. So, write your post describing the item and then do a pros and cons list.
As for people not wanting to win a bad product... you would be surprised! People like to win all kinds of crap. LOL!
My option is tell the truth but always remind them that results are not the same person to person. Also I try and contact the company and ask them what they want me to do before I post.
I think my philosophy may differ from some. Unless you are being paid to promote/advertise a product, you are not required to post about it - either positive or negative.
That being said, I would contact the company and let them know your feedback. They may tell you to forgo the post and thank you for the feedback, or they may ask you to go ahead and write the post with your honest feedback. Under no circumstances should you write something you can't stand behind or don't believe. As you said, you want to maintain your integrity.
I typically post honest, positive reviews however some reviews are more "positive" than others, if you know what I mean. :)
I would politely contact the company and let them know that I am not able to write a glowing review of their product. Explain why it's not right for you, and ask how/if they would like you to move forward.
Some questions to ask yourself:
If this is not a product that you would promote to your readers, do you really want to stand behind it by running a giveaway? Are your concerns with the product fairly specific to your situation or needs? Do you think others might have a different experience?
There is no shame in deciding you don't like a product and can't promote it. Be true to yourself. Companies send you the product to review at their risk. Not everyone will like what they have to offer, and they should be well aware of this.
Thank you everyone for your advice! I've found it very helpful.