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June 3, 2013

Are Blogger Reviews Always Honest? Your Thoughts?

I have to be honest (ha), before I became a blogger, I never went searching for reviews of products before I'd purchase them. I've always been one to try things myself and not give an opinion, nor agree with any accusations made on a product until I can try the product myself. If I purchase something and find several things I do not like about it, I will tell my friends and family. I admit.. there was a beauty product I had purchased and it did not satisfy me at all. I told my mom about it, asked her if she'd ever seen the
commercials on TV for it (she did), and I suggested that she not waste her money on it. This is not something I will say directly to my readers in a review of a product I received for free. I would however, mention that I would not be one to purchase it myself, or I might even say I would have been upset if I would have purchased the product myself.

Photo Credit: tribwxmi
There are a couple questions I ask myself pretty often -

1. Are blogger reviews always honest?
2. How many people actually read these blogger reviews for the actual review?

There is one thing that I know of that makes me different then a lot of other review blogs out there and that's a lot of reviewers only like to post positive reviews. If they come across a product they weren't happy with, they will contact the company, let them know their thoughts, and see what the company would rather do - most likely try to reverse the problem (replace item, exchange item, etc) so the review can be positive, allow (or ask) the reviewer to post their honest [negative] thoughts, or not post the review at all. Some bloggers would rather not post the review at all rather then posting a negative review. However... when it comes to my reviews, I will be honest no matter what. The first company I came across that I had a problem with and would have ended up writing a negative review for; I ended up contacting them and told them I didn't like



how my item came out. They decided to to and replace my item doing something a little different and seeing if my item would come out better. Well, it didn't. They asked me to go ahead and write the review with my honest opinion, even it was negative. I only decided to email the company first because I was still a beginner and that's what I read many other blogs had written in their media kit. I thought it was the norm, you know? I only did it one more time after that because the product I reviewed was a beauty/health product that was quite painful to use. There was nothing wrong with the product, quality, company, etc, but I didn't want to write a negative review on something that was a good product, just painful. It took me quite a few months to finally decide to post about it anyway. This time it was a bit different - I posted the review first and gave my honest opinion; stating how the process was painful but if you could handle it or get through it, there were some good benefits. After posting the review, I contacted the company and apologized for taking so long to review, and for the negative in the review [note that I said in the review - not the whole review was negative]. The lady was very nice and actually agreed with me saying the process is painful and that she didn't find my review negative whatsoever.

Since then, my visions have changed. I had to think about the reason why I wanted to start this blog in the first place. I wanted to help make people aware of unsafe, non-working, bad tasting, products that I've tried. I've had it posted on here before; the reason why I started. But you know, unfortunately, everything was deleted. If you're not aware of why I decided to start this; it's because of an Eddie Bauer Infant Bouncer (Soothing Comforts Bouncenette) that we had purchased at a Babies R Us when my middle child, Sabrina was just a newborn. The whole story is a long one so I'll have to put it in a separate post eventually. I'll just say that the BBB was involved. It's actually pretty upsetting still for the fact that I recently found out that the bouncer is actually manufactured by Safety 1st (has the Eddie Bauer name on the vibration box), a company I actually really like.

I've been honest with every review I've written but because of those 2 posts, I feel as if I already failed. It makes me upset sometimes when there is a product I know has it's issues, but no one talks about them. They don't say what parts are not good. I've  seen, "it really works, it worked for me, I would definitely recommend it, etc. I could even name a few specific things. It just doesn't make any since to come across a site that does reviews, for all of them to be good. It makes you wonder.. if ALL of these bloggers reviews are positive, and have absolutely nothing that they'd change or that they don't like, how can they all be true?
I mean, come on, I can find at least 1 thing in most [not all] products that I review that I would change or even something I don't like. I may not find it right away, but eventually I will find one. When I do, I will be sure to update my review and add them in there. It's only fair.

Now let me make something clear, when I write an honest review that would be considered 'negative', that doesn't mean I will go all out and use harsh words. I know a fellow blogger that would, only because she was really speaking her mind (how she would be telling her friends) and not care if she looked professional. She would use words like nasty, stupid, dumb, hell, etc. I don't think it's cool to use harsh wording in a review - I mean, I guess it is still an honest opinion, but it's not professional. There is a better, more professional way to say you didn't like the taste of something instead of saying it was totally nasty or gross. If I try something that is edible and I don't like the taste, I just put it as that - I did not like the taste. It's not for me. Someone else might. One of the products I reviewed that fits this scenario is the Ayala's Herbal Water. I love trying flavored water and I was interested in trying something that would be healthy for me. It sounded interesting. The flavors didn't sound too appealing, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. I should have went with my instinct, because these were not for me. I'm not going to give a whole testimonial here but I can say it is not something I would personally buy.

The other big problem I have seen with many 'reviews' is that they really aren't even reviews. A lot of these review posts don't include any information that would give the reader an idea of wanting or not wanting to purchase the product. They may give a few sentences about what the product is, but that's it. The 3 biggest reasons why [I believe] people search for reviews, is to find out if something really works,  the quality of a certain product, and if something is worth the cost.

I'll admit, I don't think all of my reviews have been up to my own standards. I remember when I was writing a review for a pet product that I really liked (usually, when I really like the product, it's easy for me to write a review); I had several paragraphs, my own photos, even a video of how the product worked. I was just about to post the review when I decided to proof read my post. While reading it, I didn't feel it was 'good' enough for how much I liked the product. So what did I do? I deleted the whole review and started over.

When writing a review I tend to go between two different theories - I'm still not sure which I want to stick with because I don't know the truth. Theory 1: Company like reviews to be long (long as in 300+ words) or Theory 2: Readers searching for reviews would rather read about the product - they don't need to hear personal stories. *I have actually been thinking about creating a survey or poll to find the truth on this and other review obstacles I run into.* 

I'd actually like to hear your thoughts on the theories I mentioned above. I noticed most bloggers who write reviews include personal bit and pieces within their review - I do too. But then I look at it from the readers perspective - I would want to just find out the information of the product and get on my way. If I have to read a bunch of unrelated before I get the information I am looking for, I will most likely go find a different review. *I've actually done that before - my personal opinion from the readers perspective*

So let me break it down for you -

When you read my reviews I assure you that they are 100% honest. If I find something I don't like, something I would change, or remove, I will include it in the review. If something doesn't seem as good as the company claims it is, I will include it in the review also. The only exception to emailing a company before posting a review is if the product was broken or missing a part upon receiving the package. If the review product has to do with printing of any sort, I may give them a chance to fix the print (if they agree). Even if they do agree to a replacement or second item, I will state in my review that the first item did not come out well, but they were kind enough to offer or agree to a replacement. Then obviously I would state the quality of the second piece.

 That's enough rambling for now. Please share your thoughts on blogger reviews or if you are a review blogger yourself, feel free to comment with your ways of writing reviews (if you don't mind sharing), for example, do you only post positive reviews? do you only post products you would recommend? If you post negative reviews, do you speak your mind and use whatever words pop in your head as if you were actually talking about it? Or do you keep your review honest, polite, and professional?

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