In reply to my post on Blog posts for sale, Michele said
The real matter that needs to be resolved is not whether the reviewer keeps the product or not but whether the promoter is willing to accept that not all reviews are going to be positive and that they do not expect them to be so ie. they are not bribing people to give them positive reviews
That is the key.
So what Michele is saying is that bribery for a review is alright but bribery for a positive review is not. While Michele’s is definitely an interesting perspective it is certainly not one that I would subscribe to.
I think Fergal put it very well in the comments on my last post when he said
itâ€™s easy to honestly review something youâ€™ve paid your own money for, but when someone else is covering the cost, youâ€™ve got some sort of obligation (especially if you want the cost to be covered again next time). and sometimes that obligation seems more important than your obligation to your readers.
And that, in my humble opinion, is the key.
Accepting payment for a review by definition colours your perception of the product – disclosure of that payment to your readership is the best way to allow them to take this into account when reading your review and return of the goods after the review period removes a lot of the obligation that Fergal talks about in his comment.