Like you, I have plenty of ideas as to what makes a Good Blog. I don’t care for the sidebars of stuff that make my computer take forever to load, I think that music on blogs should be banned (because it scares the ever-loving shit out of me when I click on the blog), and I get a little skeeved when the owner is always begging for money.

Having a best friend in marketing, though, has made me notice things I’d have previously ignored. See, when I first started blogging–back when Jesus was my classmate–I had no idea that blogs could be used as a marketing tool. I couldn’t IMAGINE being asked to review something, much less have my audience want to read what I thought about the newest plastic wrap.

But after I started to read OTHER blogs, I noticed that some of the bigger bloggers ran review sites. Curious, I clicked over. It was just what you thought it would be: random blogger giving their (glowing) opinion on something or another. The reviews were unfailingly positive and often kind of dull. It wasn’t the bloggers fault, no, but how do non-marketing folks make the newest brand of paper towel sound interesting?

I mean, shit, I ignore the television commercials, and those cost a fucking ton of cash to professionally produce.

But print media as we know it is (sadly) going the way of the dodo bird, and advertisers have found the next media: The Internet. Especially blogs. Have a problem with a company and have a trafficked enough blog? Send the CEO a link to your scathing review and watch how quickly the situation is resolved. That’s some pretty powerful shit.

It might shock you to learn that I’m frequently contacted by companies asking me to review something or another for their company. I know, I’m just as amazed as you undoubtably are. I can’t believe that someone would want MY seal of approval or be associated with me.

Because I am no doubt VERY MATURE, I do the RIGHT THING and ignore these emails. I just haven’t decided if I should start a review blog. On the one hand, it’s immensely flattering that I’m asked but on the other, I feel enough like a sell-out simply having ads on my blog. I’m not a corporate writer or advertiser, I can’t sell stuff to save my own neck, and more than anything else: I have great pride in my blog and I don’t want to change what I say to conform to The Man.

And, as my friend Trish asked HER blog readers (she was talking about book reviews), because a company gives you a product to review, do you need to give that product a good review? I don’t think that I could. Honesty is more important than hurt feelings and bad press.

So here’s where I pose it to you, Internet (did I tell you that you look fucking hot in those jeans?): what do you think about review blogs? Should your Aunt Becky start one (because of my aforementioned ads, I cannot review stuff here) or would that make me too much of a sell-out? I genuinely cannot decide what to do.

And more importantly what annoys you about blog designs? I’m getting a redesign because I’m noticing a surge of this particular template around The Internet so I’m-a-goin’ custom.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

44 Responses to Always Keep The Customer Satisfied?

  • Maria says:

    I started one a couple of months ago. We give bad reviews when products suck. We also turn down a lot of chances to use/review stuff we’re pretty sure is going to suck. Cause it’s more fun to share good news than “this sucks” news and it’s a LOT of work. I spend about five hours a week on it, minimum.

  • How to Party with an Infant says:

    Yes, I’m going through this myself. I think if I do reviews they’ll be on my main blog–that way I’ll keep it in sync with my tone. It’s not selling out if you give it an honest review.

  • Heather R. says:

    Never been asked to review. If I find something I really like I’ll give it a shout out. I really expected the egg spinning dye kit to blow up in my face so I blogged “live” about it. When it didn’t and the eggs came out perfect it was still a good post.

    I’m still not as cool as you and never will be. *cries*

    Hate music on blogs but luckily not many I read have auto audio.

  • Mrs.spit says:

    Don’t read review blogs. If I want information on something, I’ll go to the unbiased Consumer Reports.

    Having said that, I don’t mind blogs when someone is not being paid to review something, i.e. I just read this book, and I love it, I stayed here and it was great, that sort of thing.

    And sniff, no one has asked me to review something. . . I’m just not as famous as my dear friend Aunt Bex. . .

  • Mrs Soup says:

    I think if a company is going to ask you to review, you have to give your real opinion. They can just make up a fake review if they didn’t want the real thing.

    And as long as you have a separate blog, I’m fine with that. Of course, I’ll read it too. BUT it’ll be separate from this one, which won’t make me frustrated about wanting the real “stuffs” from you. :D And hey, if people want to give you money and free shit for your opinion? Heck yeah!

    As for blog annoyances, I agree on the music. Its the same reason I loathe Myspace. If I want to know what you are listening to or the songs you like, I will ask. I hate tons of random images. The blog that has 300 “I’m special” images that really aren’t real? Yeah, that annoys me. Also the ones that you can’t fricken find the RSS subscribe thingy. If I have to look that long for it, buh-bye! No subscribing from me.

  • Fiddle1 says:

    I’m with you. I hate music on blogs. I have to mute. And then I forget the computer is on mute, so when I flip on itunes, it have to unmute. it aggravates. besides having to listen to someone else’s music choice, i cannot read and hear music at the same time.

  • fidget says:

    i have one, it’s sorely neglected. I got rid of my blog her ads on my main blog so if I get contacted about something we like, I can just talk about it no worries.

    I turned down a few truly kick ass ops b/c of those ads. One day it occurred to me that I would have had more $$ worth of a product that i wanted then in a whole year of ad revenue.

    we need a bigger vehicle, any PR firms pimp cars/van/buses that seat 8+? I’m open and have a photo taking/ life documenting obsession! CALL ME

    hahahahhahaha

  • fidget says:

    ps I HATE music on blogs HATE IT. That is a guaranteed way to make sure I will never read your blog again

  • fidget says:

    pps so glad I twisted your nipple hard enough that you are going custom

  • Jenn says:

    I never go to review blogs, personally. I’ll ask you directly if I think you know something that I don’t.

  • swirl girl says:

    I wish someone would contact me about doing reviews. Oh, wait – I had one. But my more than honest and humorous review may not have been met with ‘pleasure’ because I haven’t heard from the company since. (did you read it??)

    I love your blog design. I wouldn’t change it. Music is great, but when you are blogging late night and it blasts your babies out of bed…not so much.

  • DD says:

    I’ve been asked and I think it’s because it’s for a product I couldn’t care less about that I don’t bother (engagement rings?? Really? Why the hell would I review engagement rings? Isn’t that completely personal choice and WTF, I’m married!).

    I’ll do reviews but not b/c I’m paid or even asked to. Because I think I can save someone some hassle and money.

    Ads annoy me. Music annoys me. Blinkies annoy me. Tickers annoy me.

    Oh, hell. Just about everything annoys me. You know that.

  • Stacey says:

    I don’t read review blogs. As others said I am more likely to go to consumer reports or someplace for those. Unless coincidence is at work – for instance someone mentions they reviewed a certain kind of vacuum cleaner over on their review blog and I have been considering getting a new vacuum cleaner at that time. Then I might click over but unless I am interested in purchasing said large ticket item at that time, I won’t read it.

    I don’t mind random or occasional reviews on blogs. If you just bought a new washer & love it to bits or think it sucks, please share, but all reviews all the time holds no interest for me,

    I’d say I can’t stand music on blogs but 95% of the time my computer is muted so I never know – except that it slows the load time. If my computer isn’t muted it is because I want to listen to *my* music – not somebody else’s music and I find it really irritating when their stuff cuts over mine.

  • a says:

    Music on blogs seems to annoy everyone! So why do people do it?

    I don’t know about review sites. I don’t subscribe to any. I rarely click over to ones when I see them mentioned. I’ll read a review when I’m looking for a particular product, but I won’t when I’m not looking. I think that’s a downside to blog reviews. On the other hand, if people want to follow everything you write, then advertisers will be happy to implant their product in people’s minds.

    I do however click over to giveaways! I ignore the review, skim the website, and leave my comment. I like free stuff, but sadly don’t get enough.

  • Madame Yu See says:

    I think the “Mommy Wants Vodka Seal of Approval” should only be given to the finer brands of vodka and other worthy distilled beverages. After all, you’re not Good Housekeeping, you know!

  • Betty M says:

    Review blogs? Never seen one. not really interested. If Aunt B thinks product x is great then I’m mildly interested but not so much to click over somewhere else. Unless I violently disagree and want to hijack the comments obviously.

  • Mimi says:

    I would only review crap I genuinely like. Either that, or disclose that you are getting perks for reviewing an item. I don’t know if you saw this: http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2009/04/17/is-a-crackdown-looming-for-parenting-blogs/

  • fidget says:

    ppps I’m down with you reviewing products so long as you disclose and keep writing your kick ass content. i will sob if your kick ass content disappears in favor of reviewy stuffs.

    Queen of spain actually has touched on this issue today and of course i cant find the link now.. but it’s a good read.

    bootom line

    balance, disclosure and dont pack up writing about what you already do

  • fidget says:

    ha found the link

    http://queenofspainblog.com/2009/04/25/im-calling-out-the-carpetbagging-mommybloggers/comment-page-1/#comment-66090

    and uhh sorry for leave 6 badillion comments today, especially b/c i only made use of the word nipple once

  • The Notorious BEX
    Twitter: mommywantsvodka
    says:

    I think what offends me most is the FREE marketing and promotion that those sending out the emails/product reviews stuff expect me to give them. I don’t make shit from my blog–even with the ads–nor do I care if I do. I put up the ads to pay my hosting fees. But my time IS worth money IF you want me to talk about YOUR product.

    *sighs*

    I’m so conflicted about this.

  • Emily R says:

    i ignore most reviews because they always seem bought and paid for. but i like book reviews and am thinking of starting some.

    the music also really startles the breasfeeding baby.

  • Anjali says:

    This is what I do: I only review books, because I love books, and I only do reviews for books that I think I’ll LIKE. I’ll look up the book on Amazon and read what it’s about first. If I think it’s something I think I’ll enjoy, then I review it. This means that my reviews are always positive, which is boring, but it’s a waste of time for me to read books I don’t like.

    I stay away from products completely, though I suppose if someone offered me something I thought I must have, I might consider doing it. I also don’t do ads, because I just don’t like how I look. But I wouldn’t make shit from the 4 people reading my blog, anyway.

  • Kerrie says:

    Grrr…Ok. See, now, I would USUALLY leave a witty and very bright comment on this here post…But I actually have a real thought. About a year ago, I started a GROUP review site. I realized that not one of us was going to get TONS of reviews all by ourselves – and a review blog was just going to look weird with three reviews sitting there. So, we designed it, and cried over it, and seriously brain stormed over it. We’re down to two bloggers now….We would LOVE people to join us. We honestly think that any advertising network would pay more attention to us if we were a group….Check me out here. http://reviewsforchange.blogspot.com/. It’s been a while since anyone has reviewed anything…but it’s still worth a look…

  • Betts says:

    All I know is I love your blog. I don’t seek out review blogs unless I’m curious about a particular thing and I want to know what others thought of it before I slap down my cash.

  • Sarah says:

    I don’t read review blogs, but I’m all about mommies making money however they feel comfortable doing it legally. Especially if it allows them to do whatever the hell they want to do with their lives (paying a nanny while they do what they love, paying the bills while they do what they can, staying home, going back to school, working part time, adding to their retirement plans, adding to their children’s college plans, buying bad ass shoes, whatever). So, while I may or may not read your review blog, I don’t think you’d be selling out.

    As long as you keep up the entertainment portion of your multi-tiered corp, I’m happy.

    I like the idea of music on blogs… but not the reality. Looking forward to your new layout, but sad this is a template that everyone ripped off, cause it’s purty! But hey.. you could review templates! You trendsetter you.

  • Fancy says:

    Review and be honest. I would read it, and I trust your opinion!

  • Badass Geek says:

    I say if they are paying you to do it, and you think that you can, go for it.

    If they aren’t paying you, I say fuck it.

  • birdpress says:

    Sure, why not? I’d do it if I were you, as long as you are getting something out of it and as long as it is separate from this blog.

    I also don’t mind some ads on the side of your blog. One thing I absolutely hate, however, is those pop-up ads that won’t move out of the middle of the screen until you click on them to close them. Much like the one that just popped up on your blog just now. What’s up with that, Aunt Becky?

  • Marinka says:

    Here is my honest opinion (which is different from the load of lies that I usually dish out)– you are a funny, clever writer and I would read anything that you wrote (with the possible exception of Ulysses). If your reviews sounded like you, then yes, I’d read them. If they sounded like “these paper towels sure are absorbent!”, I would be less interested. Unless they were like REALLY absorbent. Freakishly so.

    I’ve been asked to review a few things, and I’m just too lazy. I have one pending one that I decided that I was going to have my kids try out, but turns out they’re too lazy as well. Go figure.

    As for blog design, I like clean, no music, and nothing flashing. And I don’t like black background because that hurts my eyes. I prefer if you serve snacks.

    Good luck and I can’t wait to see it.

    p.s. I hate giveaways.

  • Nit says:

    I don’t mind review blogs…as long as you are giving your honest opinion (which I KNOW you will do) ;)

    I also like a clean, nothin overwhelming blog.

    I, too, am looking forward to your new design!!!! :)

  • Kendra says:

    I really like your current design but understand if you want to try something else–especially if other people have been copying you. (Just don’t lose the “cowbell” reference. I heard “Don’t Fear the Reaper” at a restaurant and had a little giggling fit I was hard pressed to explain.)

    I generally dislike music on websites in general, but I also generally keep the computer muted. Every once in a while the volume is on, and then I get a weird surprise when something makes noise. But usually I don’t notice.

    And though I don’t actively seek them out, I often like review sites when I encounter them. As long as they’re honest and relevant. I don’t care how sexy that Bentley is, I’m not going to be buying it. That mascara that actually does what every mascara in the world claims to do, plus it’s only $4? I totally want to hear your thoughts on that!

    If you start a review site, I will say yay for you. Whether I read it depends on how relevant it feels to me, but if you feel good about the reviews you’re doing and feel like it’s worth your time and feels like you’re being honest about it, great!

  • Kristen says:

    Not into the review blog thing. I think they sprung from the idea that many of us have at least checked out, if not bought something on the recommendation of a friend who is passionate about something. I think that enthusiasm is lost when asked to specifically review something.

  • Well, a review blog should eventually land you loads of free stuff! :) I have a friend who reviews products and is getting all kinds of free stuff, all of the time. Sometimes it’s piddly-stuff like microwave popcorn, or Super Bowl party packs. But she has landed some good stuff–digital printers, digital cameras etc.

  • SciFi Dad says:

    I went to a review blog because I wanted a separation between my personal blog and all the hocking I was doing. I think it’s the right choice if you decide to do it.

    Honestly? I have this internal dialog all the time. The best advice I got was from another PBN blogger who said, “Find something positive, and ignore the negative. Don’t praise shitty aspects, but don’t draw attention to them either.”

    So, that’s what I try to do. Like when I wrote about the Febreeze stuff: it stank, like really overly strong. So, I said that, but I admitted that we don’t do a lot of scented stuff. Once I got a DVD that was so horrible that I ran the review by the PR company and they just asked me not to run it at all. So, maybe have that sort of understanding? (In other words, if you like it, you’ll review it, if not, you won’t say a peep about it.)

    (Also? The music thing? Kinda hurt. Ouchie.)

  • Inna says:

    If the reviews are as well written and funny as your blog, I’ll head on over there… depends on whether its something I would use.

  • Lola says:

    Hey, some thingy just popped up at me when I logged on. That’s the first time that ever happened. I do not like that!!! Please just say NO to blinky ads and pop-ups on your new design. Not a fan of music either. Other than that, I like large print for my tired eyes.

    As for the reviews, I don’t know. If you can’t say bad things when you really think the product sucks, what’s the point? The only ones I’ve ever clicked on were reviews of sex toys, and truthfully, I would much rather read the reviews on the sex toys’ web sites, because people out and out tell you what sucks!

    If you can’t get paid, why waste your time? Who wants free crap? I mean, a TV, okay, but sandwich bags or laundry detergent? Not worth it.

    I got a couple requests to review things, and I just deleted them. If I can’t point out the negatives, I don’t want to play. If you review sex toys, though, I promise to stop by and read!!!

  • Kristine says:

    I don’t generally click to another site to read a review, if it’s in the original blog setting, then fine, I’ll probably read it. But I also only really pay attention to the ones where the person isn’t being paid or given anything.

  • deb says:

    I do blog ads from time to time. And reviews. I’m not getting rich from them, but I do make a little denaro on the side. I’ve also done reviews for adult toys. They didn’t pay me though, they just gave me free toys, which in my book is damn near just as good – lol.

    I will say that any reputable company looking for you to review something will want you to be honest. If you don’t like something about the product, they want to know that.

    And for what its worth, I think you would do well with reviews. Your very well spoken and incredibly interesting.

  • Melanie says:

    I dont read review blogs…….. if you want to do it, then I dont see why you shouldn’t but as a blog reader, i skip the reviews.

  • Miss Grace says:

    I already run a shopping blog without ads, so I run some reviews over there. Giving me the product does not mean that I will love it. I believe that honesty is necessary, even with paid reviews.

    And? I HATE MUSIC ON BLOGS. I’m at work people, I will NEVER NEVER NEVER visit your site if any sort of sound starts up without my initiation.

  • Lainey-Paney says:

    I will sometimes review products on my blog.
    Products that I feel like sharing my opinion about—not because anyone has asked me to do it. I tell the good, the bad, & the ugly. Nobody sends me free sh*t to talk about….I just…share when I feel like sharing!

  • heather says:

    I have done “comparison reviews” on my blog, and also, when I’ve come across something I really liked, I’ve blogged about it, not really a review but kind of. I think if you think you have the TIME to review stuff, go ahead. Or if you prefer to just pick and choose the things you think you’d enjoy, do that. You wouldn’t have to review everything that was thrown in your face.

  • Katie says:

    I don’t know if I read review blogs or not. I’m that clueless. I just cruise around a blog clicking wherever I want. I’m pretty sure I landed on some reviews, but I was none the wiser. And hey, I really did want to hear what the new Swiffer product was all about.

    I don’t get the backlash against bloggers, particularly “mommy” bloggers, making a couple bucks with ads or reviews. Who cares? I was all.about.punk growing up and well into my late 20’s. It was my scene. If any group was anti making money, it was them. I never got it. What is so bad about making a living doing something you want to do?? Selling your soul to the man, ok I get it. But doing the same thing you’d be doing regardless if you got paid or not, who cares? If you want to do it, go for it. You won’t lose any street cred with me ;)

  • mumma boo says:

    I’m with you – I find music, pop-ups, tickers, and endless scroll-y thingies extremely annoying on blogs. I like your layout – it’s neat and organized, but with flair. It’s your space, lady, decorate as you wish!

    As for review sites, I don’t read them much, because I’m not a huge shopper, and I usually stick to the same brands. I’ll do mini-reviews of books if I have a strong opinion (positive or negative), but that’s about it. But you doing reviews? I say go for it, if you want to do it. Keep it honest. People want to know if something sucks – if they want to read how wonderful it is, they can go to the company website and read the marketing spin.

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