I struggle with this. So far I havent been too disappointed. I have a ok review about a book once. I wasnt super excited about it, but I still think you need to respect the sponsors. Can't bash them, but want to stay true to myself. its a fine line to walk...
I believe in being honest and if I do not like a product I will not give a poor review nor a good one, I will contact the company and tell then that I will not be giving a positive review and why. I think it is dishonest to give a good review when the product is poor. The sad thing is I think people feel obligated to give good reviews since they received free product, but I owe my readers honesty. Great question Harriet.
There has been times when posting something negative is hard. For example when a friend's significant other asked me to review his book. It was pretty bad, so I gave him feedback privately. But since I still wanted to give him some publicity, I interviewed him about getting self-published.
On the other hand, when something is truly terrible, I email the PR person and let them know. (The one time I did this was when a fast food chain was starting to offer healthier choices. The food was awful, though healthy, and gave them my feedback, but I didn't write up a review. Maybe I should have.) They were happy to get feedback to pass on to their client.
I do point out a product's good and bad points and try to give ideas for improvement with my review posts. So many companies are trying to be more green or more healthy - and I want to encourage not discourage their efforts even if they aren't 100% there yet.
And that's where my personal point of view comes into how I write up reviews on my blog - it works for me but may not for others.
If I was not happy with the product, I would not give a review. I would contact the provider and let them know the issues I had with their product.
If it was something that was so-so, I would probably still give the review, but not have fireworks going off, if you know what I mean. I'd just pinpoint what I did like about it.
Hummm, but then again, if it's not a gleaming review why bother posting it right? This is a tough question.
I don't want to embarrass the creator of the product, especially if it's a fellow mom. I don't want to kill his/her business.
On the other hand, I don't want a fellow mom to waste money on a "solution" that won't solve their problem.
On the other hand, (yes, that makes three hands!) I worry that if I only post positive reviews, my readers will think I'm "on the take" or something...which I am not.
Generally, if I don't like a product I won't review it. I have never contacted the creator of the product to tell them so -- but that is a good idea. Generally, I just don't publish anything and if they pursue it, I'd tell them why...
I think, after reading everyone's comments, at the very least I will start contacting the creator and giving "constructive" feedback directly to them if I don't like the product.
I keep thinking I should post honest reviews on products I didn't like. (Like A DVD I ordered that was supposed to teach my children to sing properly -- it was AWFUL!) But I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it...yet...
Sarah, don't all moms have to have at least three hands?
I would not hesitate to give something a bad review if I think it's merited. I would balance it by including what could be personal quirks that lead me to think so - I also do that on good reviews, by the way - but I'm not going to compliment or even go lukewarm on something I don't like.
For example, I was happy to find a garlic-free spaghetti sauce recently (my oldest son is allergic to garlic) because there are times when I simply don't have time for homemade. Got it home, tried it and it was horrible. Part of my problem with it will bug a lot of people. The rest - huge chunks of tomato - is simply a quirk. I hate tomato. But I love marinara, salsa, etc. Go figure.
Now, this was a product I purchased myself, so I could easily let it slide. But I'm not going to because readers might be interested in knowing before they purchase this pretty pricey sauce that it's not all that tasty. I just haven't had time to write the review yet.
The overwhelming majority of my reviews, by the way, are products I purchase. I do it because the food allergy community is deeply interested in finding new products they can serve their families. People interested in food allergies aren't my primary audience, but they're a big chunk.
I would hold myself to that goal on products I'm sent as well: Fair assessment based on personal opinion, but tempered with personal information that might make my opinion different from other readers'.
Just some food for thought, with the caveat that I don't write product reviews, so take my input for what it's worth. :-) If I were looking for a review for a product and found a blog that did one, and then saw that every single review was positive...I would probably disregard the review, or at least weight it much less strongly in my decision making. I want to feel that a reviewer is being honest, and if every review is positive it's hard to tell the difference between someone who just doesn't want to upset sponsors by posting something negative, and someone who's shilling for a buck. I have no idea what posting a negative review would do to a blogger's relationship with sponsors; all I can offer is some insight from how it would reflect my relationship with a blog.
I actually did, and I was emailed by her, she was not happy so I took it off :) I ended up not doing the review at all. Next time, I will leave it up and follow my heart. They gave me their product, so an honest review is what they will get. As for everything else I have received, I have been sooo thrilled with, just like I say in my reviews :)