Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moms Wanting Free Stuff or A Mutual Exchange of Services?

I love reviewing.  It really fits my manic personality.  I hate change and I love change.  Reviewing gives me a sense of structure and schedule, while still keeping things different and new.  There are new products to try and new books to discover.  It's become a lifestyle that I love!

Recently, I had a discussion about a publisher who did not quite "get it" when it came to review bloggers. This publisher (who shall remain nameless) thought of it as moms just trying to get free stuff for their kids.  I responded with this;  "It would seem that the publisher does not understand the value of reviewers who actually use the product with their children in their homeschool.  In order to do this, we do often request curricula that fits in with what our children are studying.  This is a mutual exchange that benefits both parties.  The reviewer receives product and in return provides marketing via review. This also serves the homeschool community, in that homeschoolers are exposed to various products used by real homeschooling families.  It's not a bad system, in my mind, and it's one I take seriously."  

This particular discussion related to homeschool reviews, but I think the premise is the same.  Most reviewers aren't just out for "free stuff".  Honestly, the monetary value of a product compared to the number of hours spent on using it and writing the review is minimal.  So, yes, I do request or accept products that I hope will work for my family.  This is in my best interest, the vendors best interest, and my readers best interest. 

There are programs I work with where I am to review whatever I receive.  This sometimes causes negative reviews but I believe these also help my readers and reviewing as a whole.  If I like everything I ever come across, how trustworthy are my reviews?  And a poor review may actually help the vendor, as someone may like it for the exact reasons I don't (everyone's not like me, imagine that).  I know when I research something myself, I like to read reviews from opposing opinions.  This helps me to better determine if this item would work for me. 

I plan to continue sharing reviews with you that, hopefully, help you make that same determination or introduce you to something new that is just what you need at the time (I immediately think of Virtual Nerd, it came at exactly the right time!).  And maybe more publishers will come to understand the value of personal, hands on reviews by those who live and breathe their area of "expertise" every day.

It's a win-win situation.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Thank you for posting this. I know there are varying opinions on blogger reviews. Some bloggers might see it as a way to get free stuff...but I tell ya, I could work a part-time job, spend the same amount hours, and make enough money to buy more than I actually receive for "free" to review. It's a labor of love.

TerriG said...

This is a great point. Most bloggers I know are amazingly talented and could make money doing so many other things. I have started to think differently, knowing how hard I work on reviews. I turn down offers once a week because I am not just looking for free stuff. I am interested in trying things that my kids or I could actually use and benefit from.

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