Damien has raised the interesting issue of using bloggers for product reviews and knowing that I am a business blogging consultant, he has asked for my opinion.
This is a very tricky question Damien – on the one hand, as a blogger and a techie, I love new toys. I have a homer Simpsonesque tendency to drool and go all silly over any shiny new kit, so the blogger in me says “yes, please – send on all shiny new kit for testing please – my address is just there on the right!”
And as a business blogging consultant, I would definitely be advising clients to start a blog about their new products and/or start some blogging buzz by having a select few bloggers try out the new product – witness the great PR Boeing received when it brought a group of bloggers and journalists on a flight to try out its new inflight Internet connectivity here, here and here.
However, I remember reading an article recently (of course, I can’t find the link now!) where the author was bemoaning the lack of real reviews available any more. He was saying that reviews nowadays are nearly all scoring 4 out of 5 or 5 out of 5 for the products they review – the thinking being that the reviewer is tainted by having received the “shiny new kit” alluded to in the second paragraph.
What is the best way to avoid this? I’m not sure, but I think if bloggers are reviewing new kit, they need to disclose if they received a free review copy (and preferably return it after the review period is over) – this would go some way to ensuring that bias is removed from the process.
Michele has also responded to Damien’s post here.