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July 29, 2009

To Review or Not to Review...

Could you do it? Could you turn down a FREE NEW REFRIGERATOR in exchange for three months of (hopefully) positive reviews? How honest could you be at that high of a freebie price tag? Below is how Diane handled it.

Moral Marketing (to each other) is the new concern of social media marketing. When Neilsen tracks 10,000 women bloggers for their mass media appeal just like they do magazines and newspapers, you know the tide has turned. Because the influence of the blogging woman is so high, because high product praise from a friend carries so much influence, companies are doing whatever they can to get women to endorse their products in writing. 

By the time I was done writing "In Women We Trust" it was apparent that in Women we better trust as we find our voices and do online what they've been doing off line for generations - sharing experiences about food, products and life.  

Many in our green women group have set policies for reviews. My policy is that I'll only review products or books that serve the triple bottom line of people, planet and then profits. The products must be certified as sustainable like Forbo's Marmoleum (SMaRT certified) and books must offer insights into how to turn the world greener and safer. 

What's your moral marketing policy? Will you blog about anything, or does the product/service need to hold itself to higher standards first?What is your standard for changing the world? Are you a change agent or an enabler?


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Mary, Thanks for continuing the conversation on this important topic! My policy is that I believe it's my responsibility to review products as a way to provide guidance to both companies and consumers. Most companies AREN'T triple-p certified right now - I use my reviews to hopefully steer them in the right direction. My goal with consumers is to steer them (and their money) in the greenest direction available - even while urging them to demand more from the brands they usually endorse. Using our blogs to create public pressure for change is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. We'll never be able to compete with corporate advertising budgets - but we sure can make our voices heard through blogging!

Companies are getting in line to get those certifications now - if we can just hold their feet to that expectation, it will happen.

I've turned down many a review because it didn't fit my idea of a good safe product. I've never been asked to write a "favorable" review in exchange for an item, and I've done hundreds. If an item comes in and it doesn't work, isn't safe, or if I just plain don't like it, I reserve the right to not review it. I even have a shelf of abandoned items! I have a page on my blog explaining my review policy, and I try to be open about it. I'd considered simply writing bad reviews for items I don't like, but most of the companies I deal with are so small that trashing them wouldn't really do anyone any good. Personally, I like having a blog where people can come and learn about products they CAN use. Truly natural and eco-friendly goods can be hard to find and harder to trust, so hopefully I'm providing a service for moms as particular as I am.

Thanks for your viewpoint, Diane. Having a page on your personal policy is a step in the right direction. I like that you talk about the good and not mention the bad - the effect is the same, good products go on to be profitable and bad products don't.

The only time I rag on bad products is when the products (or the company) is a repeat offender.

Moral Marketing means what ???Is really a new term for me.

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