Are my reviews really worth less than $10?

Blogher10 044

There’s something bothering me here & I really need to write about this to get it off my chest. At the recent BlogHer10 conference there were many great companies that purchased booth space for which I am very grateful! Follow up emails are now starting to stream in from various brands, respectful, fun emails for the most part..except for an email that has me sitting here fuming the more I think about it. The brand doesn’t even address me by name, just “hello” they included a pile of press attachments about their product clearly intended for use in posting a review (you send me that stuff AFTER we’ve agreed on a review)  after I email you back in confusion because I didn’t receive your product but merely dropped my business card in your booth’s raffle bucket, you email me back advising that you gave product info along with the product and just wanted to know if I intend to post a review on my site and oh you can do a giveaway while you’re at it as you got a few extras you can pass out to my readers. Hello? even if I was willing to do this, how can I review a product that I never tried?

Make your Expectations very clear when passing out samples

Passing out samples at a convention is different than approaching a site owner & asking “if I send you this product will you review it?”  IMHO accepting a sample at a convention should not obligate anyone to write a review of anything & if a brand’s PR people feel that accepting such implies a contract or obligation they should spell that out clearly when the blogger is accepting the sample! The emails I received while they did not DEMAND a review made it very clear that the brand fully expected one in exchange for passing out samples at BlogHer10.

My efforts & time have value,please don’t demean me!

I am a very new, very young site, I am grateful for any interest a company shows & always eager to discover new stuff to share with my readers. However hearing that a brand wants me to do a full review, including using their press releases as well as posting, promoting & overseeing a giveaway all for a product with an ARV of under $10? This does not make me feel the company in question values women, it does not me make feel valued as a product reviewer, nor does the offer make me confident that this company “gets” social media. What this offer did do was to leave me feeling hurt, insulted & with a marked distaste for the brand in question.

About Jean Parks

Jean Parks is a chocolate & cupcake loving, computer & gadget addict from Boston, MA


  1. I got that same email! I am so new, and I agreed to do it, but something felt strange about it. I am so new, and I felt kind of pressured. I write a personal blog, but I am thinking about doing a review here and there. So I totally don’t know the protocol.

    Thank you for posting this!

  2. Jean says:

    Sigh.. thank you guys for responding to my post,this is a post that I seriously wish I didn’t have to make. I am very flattered when a company expresses interest in working with me, I am also very grateful that companies sponsor conferences like BlogHer10 via buying booth space & totally understand that such sponsorship is why tickets to the event don’t cost 1K apiece…but…

    To do a real review, however simple takes a little time, running a giveaway seems easy enough but one must post the contest, then promote it on twitter/facebook then you’ve got to make sure your winner followed all the steps laid out by the sponsor, contact the winner, contact the sponsor & follow up to make sure the winner received their prize. All of this is real work & IMHO it has value!

    Btw, I have no problem with doing unpaid reviews or making mention of a product I really like or a deserving company, that after all is what this site is about.However, I won’t disrespect my readers by putting up reviews of a product I’ve never tried, nor will I disrespect myself or my family by giving away my work for 2 cents an hour unless such work is for a charitable cause. I totally respect the time of every brand, PR agent that works with me & I value myself & my followers enough to expect the same degree of respect in return.

  3. Wow! You really put that in perspective for me. Thank you. Before I agree to do that ever again, I will remember this.

  4. Ofelia says:

    I thought it was just me, getting cranky with “hello there” pitch e-mails. Even got one recently with someone else’s name .. “Hi *insert wrong name*” that made me stop and stare for a few minutes.

  5. You know, I don’t understand how a company could want an honest review when not even offering the opportunity to review the product. Very well put. Our time is of value to many~ respect is the key word here! Nicely said.

  6. I could not agree with you more. I received the same email and it took everything in me not to reply with an “Are you kidding me?” response. I actually did receive the product they were handing out, but feel absolutely no obligation to post about it. It was a free sample distributed at an event we PAID to attend! I think the company clearly does not value our time or worth as women or bloggers when they send these types of emails. Thank you for taking the time to post this!

  7. Jean says:

    Monica, What really got to me was when I emailed telling these folks that I hadn’t received the product. Their response just rolled right over that piece of info. Why would I consider reviewing a product I haven’t tried?

    The other thing that made me sad is this, I declined the offer but what about all the other new blogger’s who felt obligated to go along with this? We have 1 such woman in this thread.

  8. Jean says:

    Sara, I totally agree Respect is key & it is the foundation of social media relationships, you cannot build trust without it. When I commit to a project, a brand gets my all, if a brand isn’t respectful to me, how will they treat my readers as customers should they ever have a customer service issue?

  9. Shahab says:

    Wow, that’s so low.

    What makes them think that kind of behavior will make you want to review their products at all?

  10. Jean says:

    Hi Heather, I have the blog with integrity button (I took the pledge) I also give full FTC disclosure in every review in which I was compensated in any manner.

  11. Heather says:


    I agree. Do you have a disclosure statement here on your site. I haven’t explored enough to see, but that might help. :)

    Good luck!

    Heather from Mommy Only Has Two Hands!

  12. Hi Jean, i’m sorry you had that experience. I think some sponsor education might be in order, since it is expressly *because* there is no relationship or implied commitment when a company gives out swag at a conference that the FTC doesn’t consider their guidelines to a be applicable to such activities. Not to mention that BlogHer certainly lets its sponsors know that exhibiting certainly doesn’t guarantee reviews!

    If you wouldn’t mind emailing privately which sponsor was involved, we can gracefully provide some targeted training for 2011 :)


  13. Jean says:

    Hi Elisa,

    Thank you so much for dropping in here & helping out, I’ve contacted you :)

  14. First time here at your blog and I must say it’s a great blog for one who has just started out. I would be very wild if that had happen to me. I do however think that you should do a little more about it than just a post. Have you tried contacting them via telephone and asking for corporate Headquarters, I always take it to the top!! Good luck to you and I know you will have success on your side. Now to your success!! jj

  15. shoppinqueen says:

    Hi jj,

    My post did do something, it attracted the attention of Elisa Camahort Page
    of BlogHer, I’ve communicated with her privately & am fully confident that the
    brand will receive additional guidance in a manner that will help bring about change in the way the brand approaches conferences & the women who attend them:)