Should Bloggers Edit an Honest Product Review?

11.29.11

An interesting discussion has popped up in blogging forums this week. Recently a baby carrier was sent out to a group of mom bloggers for review. One of the bloggers, Shawn Ann,  wrote a review of the product including images of how she used it and was asked by the consulting company to remove the pictures from her site.

Shawn Ann posted the following to the forums:

Anyway, I got an email today from Mom Central with this in it:

Quote

The Infantino team is very excited about this carrier and feels it is very important to make sure they are worn properly to ensure the comfort, support and safety of you and your baby. With that in mind, as I was reading through your posts it looks like the pictures you include show the carrier being worn incorrectly.
Since depicting proper use is so important, do you think it would be possible to take down the pictures for the time being? I’ve copied a member of the Infantino team Cary on this email and I’m sure she would love to connect with you to discuss further.

Since we followed the directions for the product, watched the video on how to properly use the product.  Would you remove the pictures or tell them too bad, that’s part of my review?
I honestly can’t see how they can say that the pictures show me wearing it incorrectly.  The pictures are showing that our baby isn’t comfortable in it and that he’s not fully supported in it.  I even pointed that out, the instructions are easy to follow (read wise) but actually putting the product on isn’t as easy.

The baby carrier review is here, and I’m assuming that the picture that the client dislikes is this one. [ed note: I added the text to the photo so that no one would be confused by seeing it out of context and think that this was a safe way to carry the baby, thanks for your comments]

Sync Comfort Wrap Carrier edited for clarity

 

It doesn’t look at all like Shawn Ann has used the carrier correctly… but that’s what’s so great about bloggers reviewing products. It’s good for moms to know that an infant carrier might be difficult to use. Maybe they’ll buy a different brand, or maybe they’ll buy that same carrier but only from a boutique where they’re given a lesson.

Remember this is an infant carrier. You will be carrying your infant in it. Safety matters (says the woman who dropped her baby 12.9 years ago and is still freaking out about it).

As a kudos to the women I spend my online time with there was a 90% consensus that it was a fair and honest review and that the pictures should stay up. These women are bold and brave and understand that their honesty could keep them from having more opportunities but at the same time they recognize that you can’t deceive your readers and expect to be trusted.

And then Rachel posted this in the forum.

I just got an email that they are asking everyone to remove the posts because so many are wearing it incorrectly.   I know for a fact, mine was on correctly, it is just a crappy carrier.  But I pulled the post for now.

If you’re a blogger I’m wondering what you would do, and if you’re a blog reader would you trust a blogger who “pulled a post” because a consulting company asked them to?

Conflicted About Blogging

06.28.11

In a few weeks I’ll be joining 3,000 or so women at BlogHer. It’s a big blogging conference for women and I’d went once before when it was in Chicago.

I have mixed feelings about it. Although I’m not part of the BlogHer ad network, and I don’t participate in their community BlogHer has paved a path for women to follow. BlogHer took a hobby and turned it into a career. For that I am grateful.

But of course I’m not one to gush, so I have to find the negative too.

As bloggers we have to support ourselves with brand partnerships, advertising or by writing on someone else’s site for a paycheck (just not places like Huff Po who pay you with a thank you note). There’s a delicate balance, and I’m not sure that many people achieve it. I occasionally share product information here and it comes from one of three ways.

  1. A product has blown me away and I’ve told you about it. (like the Diva Cup)
  2. A product line has dazzled me and I’ve begged them to partner with me (like Kenmore)
  3. A brand has a message that they’ve shared with me and I’ve agreed that the message has value and shared it with you. (P&G)

The way that a product would make it’s way to me is pretty narrow, and the way that I’d share it with y’all is narrower still. Not a lot of product sharing goes on here. Which is good, right?

There’s a new kind of blogger, the review blogger. Review bloggers seem to be mostly women, but that’s just the way I see things because I’m smack dab in the middle of the mommy blogging world. I want to dislike the review blogger. You see she takes any old crap and writes glowing reviews of it. Typically the review blogger only writes positive reviews and she might even publish a press release word for word.

The review blogger is the lazy publicist’s best friend. The review blogger will almost always garner positive press for a product and almost never charge anything more than the cost of the trinket and overnight shipping.

The review blogger has also sucked the life out of the blogosphere. The review blogger often calls herself a Mom Blogger (or worse a Mommy Blogger) and her site can create confusion. You see when I tell people that I’m a Mom Blogger they’re like, “But you’re so much MORE than that.” And I smile but don’t say anything because calling your peers crap makes you only better than crap. In my head I’m screeching, “They aren’t bloggers! They’re shills.”

And I’m sure I’m going to meet a huge number of them in August. And I’m conflicted because these are nice women who I like. They’re walking down this same weird path of blogging, but they’re using it very differently.

Is it okay to like someone and really dislike their business?