Blog posts for sale?

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.

3 thoughts on “Blog posts for sale?”

  1. higher standards for bloggers than for journos? tch! let’s atleast get bloggers up to the same standard as journos before we start demanding more 🙂

    the product placement thing – any blogger that does it just for the sake of doing it is going to risk losing their audience, pretty quickly. those who do it as a natural consequence of what they do, they’ll be fine. of course, it’s not easy to do. it’s easy to honestly review something you’ve paid your own money for, but when someone else is covering the cost, you’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.

    there was that story from earlier this year of the burger company paying rap stars to whore their product ( ) – interestingly, some in the industry think this is a short term gain for a long term loss (,,1525213,00.html )

    there was also a story a couple of weeks ago (can’t remember where i read it) about product placement being used by theatreland to defray some of the expense of a play, sometimes in return for hard cash, more often as a quid-pro-quod advertising deal. some plays have even had their text change, dropping a generic term (eg whisky) for a specific brand.

    as with movies, when it’s done badly it’s too obvious, but when it’s done with subtlety few people will complain.

  2. Silicon Valley 100 was the most recent example, where reviews weren’t disclosed. On the Connexion event, it’s worth noting that if their system failed that’s all you would’ve read about.

    We’ve been shipping product (Clip-n-Seal) to customers Ireland recently and would be happy to send it to bloggers for review, that’s how we built our brand with blogs, in part, it’s all transparent. When it’s not transparent that’s the problem

Comments are closed.