Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Paid Product Reviews:: What Does This Mean?
Voices of 2013 Blogs and Brands Panel (L-R) Brian Giesen of Social@Ogilvy, Lousia Claire of Brand Meets Blog, Stacey Roberts of Veggie Mama and me.
I had the great pleasure of attending Voices of 2013 on Saturday. I've been light in step ever since, I've felt so buoyed by the experience.
It's been good not only for my blog (inspiring!), but for me to meet so many like-minded people, and awesome birds that I only usually get to chat to on the interwebz.
Maybe you might not know, but by day I work in PR. It's night time when I don a cape and mask and start blogging. I was delighted to sit on the Blogs & Brands panel as a blogger. Even if I did get covered in nervous rash sitting up there.
So on the day, while we talked about sponsored posts, we didn't get to talk about paid reviews. And what I think of them. Or more likely - what I don't think of them.
Because at the heart of a review - it's meant to be an unbiased account of what you think of a product.
But if it's paid? Well then it blurs the lines doesn't it? It becomes a bit of cash-for-comment - because really, are you honestly going to bite that hand that feeds you? Will you look a gift horse in the mouth? (How many more cliches can I work into this one paragraph?). How can a review be unbiased if you're being paid to post it?
The cold and quick answer: it can't.
Or can it? I'm interested to know if you think that you can maintain an unbiased review while being paid by the brand. Because me? I don't think so. I think the lines are blurred, I think you're cosying up with Alan Jones, and your reader is going to be pretty annoyed to find that your writing paid reviews.
This stinks of lack of integrity.
Nielsen research shows that 71% of Australians look at web reviews before buying. That's a huge figure - a lot of Aussies looking for credible reviews to guide them. Now let's imagine if all the reviews you're reading are fictional. How to navigate your way through all that crud?
There's more power in honesty, integrity, and your readers will want to keep reading what you have to say. But if you're being paid to share your scoop de la scoop about products? Well who wants to read more PR guff. Not me! And I work in PR!
You need to give your audience more credit - they are smart and savvy. They can sniff out when something's not right. And if all you share are glowing reviews, then something's rotten in the state of Denmark.
image is courtesy of the impeccable Cheryl of BusinessChic.
THANK YOU CHERYL! (I'm in the pink - like Barbara Cartland).