Why Are Bloggers Afraid To Write A Negative Review?

[ 8 ] September 15, 2010 |
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There is a curious thing in the blogosphere regarding ethics, honesty and truthfulness in mommy blogger reviews. Bloggers are adamant that everyone follow the rules, be open, honest and forthright in their review posts. Follow the FTC guidelines.

Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

Ad nauseum.

However, many reviewers either will not post a negative review at all, give the PR rep the choice of letting them post it or not or worse yet, sugar coat the bad points a bit more than they should.

Why? Because, in my opinion, they are usually afraid of losing the relationship with the PR rep and therefore whatever brand that PR firm represents. Or will in the future. Apparently their integrity and obligation to their readers is worth a Dyson, Kitchen Aid or some other high priced item.

Bloggers have influence. Brands know this. So they think they can buy this influence with a free product. Bloggers are cheap advertising and they believe they can use exploit partner with us in a mutually beneficial relationship. And the majority of the time it is just that. However, our blog postings are up there for anyone on Google, Bing or Yahoo to find for as long as we have our blogs. That’s cheap advertising, my friends. Giving a blogger a $600 Dyson vacuum or a weekend stay at a luxury hotel in exchange for a review is much less expensive for the company than buying advertising in a mainstream or traditional media publication.

Some bloggers are so thrilled that they have been “chosen” for these opportunities that they will do whatever the PR rep asks of them…including not publishing a negative review of said product or service. And these bloggers are usually the same ones spouting off about being ethical bloggers.

I say that’s bullshit.

This is why the mainstream media and purist bloggers have such a hatred going on for mom/review bloggers. We have been called carpet baggers, greedy moms, corporate shills and many other derogatory names. Why not prove them wrong and be an example of an ethical blogger instead of perpetuating the stereotype that we’re all in it for free shit?

Guess what? If an item I received for review is a piece of crap, I’m going to tell my readers. If it’s wonderful, I’ll tell them that too.

Why? Because honesty, integrity and ethics are something I pride myself on. And I owe it to my readers. Without them, I would have no blog. No comments, no stats to show PR to get them to give me said review item. Also, how is a company supposed to fix a problem with an item without criticism? If everyone drinks the same “this product rocks” Kool-Aid, then the average consumer gets defrauded and that is not something I can be a part of.

I guess I just don’t understand how any blogger who does reviews can essentially lie to their audience. I can’t do that. Anyone who knows me, even for just a little while, knows that I tell it like it is. I don’t beat around the bush. All that does is waste precious time. I am the same in real life as I am on my blog. What you see is what you get.

So if I say that an item is wonderful, you can bet your sweet bippy that I am standing behind my word. Conversely, if I say that an item sucks giant donkey balls, then it does, in fact, suck big, giant donkey balls. I’m not lying to my readers just to get a few big ticket items. Yes, having a “coup” review is nice and brings traffic. It means that you are playing with the big boys, so to speak, as far as stats go, but is that high dollar product worth it to defraud your audience?

I say no. I won’t do it.

Category: My Opinions

About the Author ()

I'm Shan and I 'm the creator of The Asylum and a magnet for The Free Range Stupid™. I'm a little nutty, a lot sarcastic and pretty damn smart. I am also a graphic designer, blog coder, virtual assistant, free lance writer and can whip you up a killer resume, media kit or press release that would make others green with envy. Go to Skewed Design Studios to check out my services. You won't be disappointed.

Comments (8)

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  1. I agree to a point, Shan. I think on the other hand, I know of a couple of bloggers who did tell the truth about how much they hated a high end smart phone. They got such a huge backlash and tons of hateful comments. I do applaud them for sticking to the truth however.

    Another thing that may get overlooked is the fact that I know that I, as a review blogger can honestly say that I have had only two products that I either have not liked or didn’t work. One was a book, I couldn’t even get into the first chapter. I suppose I could have written a bad review, but because I did not read the whole thing, I didn’t feel that was fair.

    The second item was a new laundry product that had just came out on the market. It happened to crack and break in the wash. I had mentioned that to the PR agent who assured me that that had never happened before and she sent me a new one. I am still using that product today. If I had written about that one experience, it’s possible that I could have really hurt a fledgling company, who really didn’t deserve it.

    I guess we are either damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
    Bethany Larrabee recently posted..Congratulations to the following Giveaway Winners…My Profile

    • Shan says:

      You have been lucky, Bethany. But I wrote this in response to the many forum postings I have seen by bloggers saying that they reviewed a crappy product, told the PR rep & the rep told them not to post it or to just wash over the negative. Some were even afraid to say it was a bad product at all.

      A company cannot improve their product if everyone keeps saying how wonderful it is, even when it isn’t. I in no way want to hurt a fledgling company, but inferior products should not be labeled as good because a blogger is afraid to post a negative review or a PR rep tells them to only post positive reviews.

  2. Henrietta says:

    I think that it’s very sad that bloggers feel they have to write glowing reviews all the time. I like reading reviews with both the good and bad because everyone’s opinions are different! I think companies should realize that just because one person had a bad experience and shared it that it doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way. Negative reviews even things out and help us weigh the purchase decision fairly!

    As a review blogger myself I tend to only accept products for review that I have wanted or have liked already so most of my reviews do turn out to be positive! I do try to offer suggestions on improvement or point out little things that could be better if I can though. It’s a hard line to walk and I hope that I never get a review product that I completely hate, if I do I’d like to believe that I will have the guts to write that less than stellar review! Great post!
    Henrietta recently posted..What’s going on with me Battle of the Fleas!My Profile

    • Shan says:

      Thank you, Henrietta! I just really want all those negative stereotypes about Mom Bloggers to go away. Those afraid of posting negative reviews are only reinforcing those derogatory misconceptions.

      And no blogger should accept products just because they are offered. You have the right mindset of only doing reviews of products you truly like or have confidence in already. You should write up a post about how to be a good review blogger and make sure that that is one of the requirements. 🙂

  3. I think you bring up a good point Shan. It’s very easy to take positive comments and turn them into a glowing descriptive review, but often the same emphasis isn’t put into the negative comments.

    I always try to post “room for improvement” or negative aspects of a product but I sure don’t put as many flowery adjectives in front of it as I do the positive stuff.

    I also don’t use the word “review” on all my posts if I feel it is more of a “testimonial” or “advertorial” than a review.

    I also think it is a good point that many of use also accept products we have a notion that we will truly like or have a need for to begin with, and that lends itself to the likelihood of a more positive review.

    Great topic to get me thinking though!

  4. Brittany says:

    Here’s my thing. We are supposed to be offering a consumers assessment on ANY product not some product we think is going to be great for ourselves. Then we are entering into something with a bias already. As a CONSUMER and not a blogger that is a mom, woman, adult etc – I do not go seeking a review in hopes that Mom so and so had such a wonderful experience with it and that their kids were just so darn happy. I want specs. I want usage. I want to know can it work in my kitchen, dryer, car, operating system. I want to know if it’s easy to setup, put together etc. I surely don’t care if Jane Doe your darling daughter liked it cause to be quite frank your kid ain’t my kid. My kids were birthed by me last time I checked which means that we are NOT the same.

    We aren’t doing reviews we are doing advertisements for compensation of a product BUT yet we fight cattily and like uneducated adults on the internet and want to be called professionals. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Simply put we are mom bloggers posting advertisements for next to nothing. Thing is – I am OK with that. What I make and what I do is not Mommy X Bloggers business. And I am not trying to gain notoriety on the interwebs for being a professional.

    As far as negative reviews – if XX product didn’t work for me I will say it. Why? Because when I go to Target tomorrow down the street they won’t give a flying flip what my review said or my relationship with a pr rep is. Wanna know why? Because I got CASH. And that’s what they want.

    Plus Yogi Berra said Cash is as good as money.
    Brittany recently posted..Voskos Greek YogurtMy Profile

  5. ditto what Shan said! I do have to say, though, that I generally only accept reviews that I think are a fit to begin with, so I haven’t had to write much negative stuff. Perhaps I should broaden my horizons. Hmmm.
    Virginia from Lady V dZine recently posted..Yoplait Splitz Review and Prize Pack GiveawayMy Profile

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