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Monday, February 8, 2010

Why I Review.

My mama is a craft person. As long as I can remember she always spent a great deal of time in the bonus room also known as the "sewing room". In today's age with the availability of the internet there are interesting sights where she can share her crafts. Where places like craiglist or ebay are okay, the one that really caught my attention to homemade items has been Etsy. So with much excitement I set my mind to making an Etsy sight for my mama so that people could find things she likes to make and they might want to buy. I really do not know what to expect. I hope we'll sell lots of things to provide for the cost of making even. I hope people will want these things. Time will tell. 


Today, I was searching around Etsy and found some things to buy so I made myself an account. Then I saw somethings similar to others that I am reviewing or soon to be reviewing and figured that I'm reviewing this "well known brand" perhaps this "homemade" seller would like to be in on the reviews. I got mixed responses as often happens. Some were really excited and glad to help out. Others were out right rude and accused me of theft and scam. 


Isn't it amazing how somethings really sting? 


I'm a Blogging Mommy Reviewer. I keep a blog where I post my opinions and spotlight neat things. It started in quilts that I was making to share photos. Then I started share book reviews of the books that I was addicted to reading. I buy books, but no where near ever book available so I pick and choose like most people. When I became introduced to book publicists I was over joyed. Here I could have access to more books, continue to buy books, and share with people my passion for mostly Christian Historical Fiction. 


Then I was pregnant. I still was very involved with books, but maternity products were a necessity and so I started talking about them... What I was using, what I liked, what my sister told me about and on and on. Then some companies gave me samples to review. Some I liked, some I didn't. They were things that unless someone had personally introduced me, I never would have bought. Now I know about them and you better believe I tell my friends. You better believe that the next pregnancy-go-round I will be buying more of those products for myself. I might even buy them as gifts for friends here and there, because I used them and I know their good and their publicists were so awesome with such fabulous customer service. 


Then I had a newborn. Well, before AppleBlossom arrived, my husband lost his job. Four months without a real income. It is amazing what that does to your budget. Then relocating for a new job paying rent here and mortgage there as well as all the other bills. That was unexpected. We could not afford diapers. We could not afford anything. 


Because I had my start in book reviewing and a few maternity reviews here and there I went on the nudge God gave me to ask some companies about diaper reviews. We knew that we wanted to cloth diaper, and knew that it would be less expensive in the out run. So I prayed about it, then sent requests. I could not believe the blessings in responses that I received. The PR that I interacted with from most companies was (IS!) amazing. We were able to get enough diapers that I could fully cloth diaper my baby girl from birth to practically now. (We're still good in those diapers, but we're shopping around for the next sizes now.) The companies that were so good to me for trusting me with my opinions and their products and just plain polite are the ones that we will buy product from. They are the ones that I will buy for later children. They are the ones that I will tell my family to buy from. They are the ones that I will share with friends for months and years to come. The ones that were rude, outside of "busy" (two very different things) I would not darken the door of if you forced me. You better believe there are specific companies that have such terrible ideas about what PR is that I will rant and rave and complain and NEVER buy from them. 


Just because someone says no to me, does not mean that I will not buy from them. It is all about attitude. Some companies are small and cannot afford to give away samples. That is completely understandable and I am more than willing to do a "spotlight" on something I believe in when a "review" is not available. 


While on Etsy I talked to a few people and then went to the forums to try to meet and make some acquaintances in the "community". The blogger bashing that I discovered was unnerving and disheartening. Yes, I realize there are idiots out there just attempting to get free product for the sake of free product, but that's wrong, and that's not me. - Nor is it the community of bloggers I associate myself with. 


Money is incredibly scant item right now. I work on spending it wisely and where it will be well spent. In example (before the lay offs) I was sent a product for review that cost $6. I loved it so much that I went back to their store and bought $100 worth. That is what I think of reviewing. That is what I think of respectable reviewer response. There are so many cloth diaper companies out there and many of them are very competitive and close in quality. One company sent me a kit to get me started that was worth more than $100 when I did not have two pennies to rub together. Now, when I'm budgeting what we'll buy in the next size I'm planning about $100-200 on that brand specifically. I've told my sister how great I think that brand is, and she plans to buy their products for her children (she's on five and counting, three out, two in). Another company made very rude comments about the idea of bloggers in general and how they are "fakes" and "running theft". That cloth diaper company will get negative remarks from me and not a cent when I have the money to spend and you better believe it. 


I review because I want to share my opinions. I review because I have found some great things that I just have to share. I review because I have the time and desire to do so. I review because it makes me happy. Products that I get for review (depending on what they are) will go different places. Some I will keep for life and buy more. Some I will return to the company. Some I will give on to someone else in need. I never sell products that I get and I do not take money for reviews, just product for time. 


I'm sorry that there are scammers who rip people off. I despise you and hope your blog crashes. 


As for companies. If you do not believe in reviewing bloggers realize these things... They do not just review you online, they tell people about you in person, in real life. There is no better marketing than word of mouth. When you do not want to participate with bloggers, just state that fact. Plain and simple. Tell them they you would be more than happy for them to buy your product and review it, but that you do not provide samples. End of conversation and polite. If you are rude to a blogger. They won't forget it. Even if there is not a post with "I hate SAID company" written in it. They get the point out there. Their friends will know and boycott you because you forgot your manners. 


You better believe it was right and means many different things when it was stated that "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Well this woman is mad. And rude company, you scorned me. Get a lesson in proper PR for future customers, but you better believe me. When I have money to spent, it sure as fact is not going to be wasted on you. 


If you're nice to people. They will most likely be nice to you. That's a rule I believe... Ever hear of it? As a matter of fact it is in almost every religion known to man. (See I learned something with that degree... - BA Religious Studies) 




5 comments and creative thoughts:

Sheila Deeth said...

I'm still pretty new to blogging and reviews, but it seems like you're going in a very sensible direction and doing a good job. Wishing you well.

Courtney said...

I love reading your product reviews. I don't have any babes yet but do have opinions on the methods I wish to use when I do become a mother and I see these in your blogs/reviews. I very much agree about the negative traveling much further than the positive when it comes to word of mouth. It's true. I've heard it over and over again in customer service seminars and training. Keep up the good work! It's appreciated!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

You go girl! I agree with you 100%. Us bloggers gotta stick together!

I may not comment on all of your reviews (no kids), but I enjoy reading all about the items you review. I have 2 sisters who are trying to get pregnant, so eventually I'll be able to tell them what to try, or avoid, all thanks to you. :)

Thank you for your honest reviews ... they are greatly appreciated!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Oh! You know I love your book reviews, too! Can't believe I forgot to mention those! LOL

carina said...

Hi,

You have a nice blog. A 40-week pregnancy is really just a blip in our whole life time, but the problem with clothing during that time is very painful. Keeping this in mind, two best friends and mother of two children each started http://www.bellybundles.com. We have high quality maternity clothes there and we would like to hear your feedback on our products.

Thanks,
Carina - Maternity clothing

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