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November 01, 2011

Comments

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Ellen Arnison

Well done for sticking to your guns.

If it's a review - ie you have been given something to test but not paid for it then your honest opinion is required. Otherwise it's not a review but an advertorial.

It's very naive of the PR to expect you to stick to this and they are lucky that you haven't named and shamed.

Bloggers are not a cheap way of advertising.

Rosie Scribble

Thank you Ellen. Couldn't agree more.

Jules Young (@muddleduck)

I say congratulations for making the decision to stick to your guns...if people aren't willing to allow an open, unbiased and honest review then they should just write them themselves and not ask for opinions.
Well done you xx

mocha beanie mummy

That's appalling. I'm right there with you - if I don't like the product then it's only fair to say. But asking you to withhold information? Your opinions? On your own blog?? Well that makes me question not only the integrity of the product, but also that of the PR.

Well done you. x

nappyvalleygirl

How did they know what you were going to write? Did they ask for copy approval? Because that is really not on....

Midlife Singlemum

What everyone is saying. :) Good for you.

Crystal Jigsaw

Absolutely disgraceful that they expected you to more or less lie on your own blog. I am really cross about this. I don't do reviews on my blog for a few reasons but my distrust in PR's and their ridiculous rules is one of them. I know some are very fair and offer great products for a small review but when PR's start this bullying tactic, they really need to ask themselves whether they should be in business. My guess right now is that this particular PR or company they're representing has received several negative reviews and are now only interested in the positive ones to save their own reputation. Disgusting.

CJ xx

The Mad House

I have yet to encounter this and hope that I never do. I do not think I have ever had a review that I have had to give copy to before I posted it. I have on a couple of occasions gone back to a PR before posting to ask for feedback, but they have never said not to post.

As a person who reads reviews before purchasing a product I think that there is something odd if there are not negatives, as everyone likes different things.

Christine Mosler

Well done you! A review is a review, warts and all, we are not advertising hoardings.

Rosie Scribble

No copy approval was asked for NVG. I expressed my concerns about the product to the PR before publishing the review. Next time I'm not sure I'd do that.

Sarah

I'm intreagued as to what product it is, how they knew what you have been told you can't say (if you didn't send for approval then this is obviously a known issue), and actually what they think they can do if you express your true opinion on the product - I've not been in such a situation but I would be the same as you so well done for standing up and doing the honest thing!

Hayley

I had something similar happen. Had a few faults with the product and the company wanted me to not mention it as they were a new company and didn't want reputation tarnished so I said the review either went up with both positives and negatives in or not at all. They chose not at all.

Rosie Scribble

Perhaps I should have just expressed by true opinion. I like to mention to PRs in advance if I'm writing a review that is slightly negative, which is what I did this time. I've always then gone ahead and posted it and never been told there are things I cannot write. This situation is very differen from anything I've experienced before and hopefully a one-off.

Carolin

I completely agree with what everyone's said. It is disgraceful to ask you not to post negative feedback. That's blatant censorship - something I don't like at all.

Sally Whittle

Unless I missed something, nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't publish on your own blog, can they?

Idiots.

Rosie Scribble

You were quite right Hayley to say it goes up with the positives and the negatives or not at all. I've done exactly the same thing. I don't think companies are very naive if they think we will only write positive things about them. I really believe reviews should be honest or they are just advertisememts. So I'm with you on this one.

Sandy Calico

Is this the product you spoke to me about? If so, how disappointing.
I always try to write balanced reviews, but if there is a lot of negative then I will give the PR the option to respond before I publish. On one occasion I was asked not to publish, but their client wanted to know exactly what I thought was wrong and they thanked me for the feedback.

Rosie Scribble

Hi Sandy, don't worry it is not that product. I did give the PR the option to respond and I have been thanked for my feedback but basically left in a situation where I'm unable to express me true opinions, which is frustrating. But it isn't the product we discussed, so all is well. I haven't written that one yet but I'm sure it will be fine! xx

Jody Brettkelly

Good on you for being ethical. The whole review thing in the UK sounds very tricky....

Expat Mum

Very disappointing but you've done the right thing. I got a book to review last year and ended up not writing a review at all. There was nothing wrong with the book per se, it just wasn't my cup of tea, so I told the PR company that and offered to send it back. I just didn't want to write a luke-warm review that might put people off it for no good reason.

Ali

Perhaps the PR company should look up the word 'Review'

It's your blog and it's up to you what you tell us! The naughty person in me (or perhaps not naughty!) would press publish :-)

xxx

Joanne Mallon

I don't understand why bloggers feel the need to consult with the PR if you have criticisms of the product. They didn't pay for advertising, they're not the publisher or editor of your blog - you are. You're allowed to have a fair and honest opinion so give it.

Rosie Scribble

I agree with you completely, Joanne. I've never consulted with a PR if I have criticisms of the product. On this occasion I just happened to mention my reservations in an email when it would have been better not to and to have just published the post. I was alarmed to hear there were things I couldn't say. Lesson learnt there. Bloggers should be able to write their own opinions on their blog. It seems wrong that anyone is put in a position where they can't. And I will in future.

Rosie Scribble

Tempting ... :-)

Joanne Mallon

In what way 'can't' you say something? Obviously if it's potentially libellous that's one thing (and I think bloggers would do well to mug up on libel law). But if it's a fair and balanced review, based on your own experience and offering positives and negatives, what's the problem with that?

One thing I will do if I have questions about a product is Google to see what other reviewers are saying on Amazon and Argos. Those are anonymous reviews, so people don't hold back. That will give you a wider picture of whether your issue is representative of something wider, or just a one off. And if other reviews do back up your concerns, link to them to strengthen your point.

Rosie Scribble

Maybe 'can't' isn't the right word, Joanne. Maybe 'daren't' is more appropriate. I suppose I'm the sort of person who likes to avoid conflict so if someone tells me not to mention anything negative about a product, I do what I'm told for fear of people getting angry with me for going against their wishes. I shouldn't feel intimidated and I'm annoyed with myself. Next time I will just post it. As for the issue with the product, it will be discussed I'm sure when it's officially launched on to the market.

Nickie

Echoing a lot of comments here already with the fact that it's a review - not a promotion. If there are aspects of the product that YOU didn't like, that doesn't mean to say that it's something that NO-ONE else would like.

PR's are getting an increasingly bad reputation - which ripples out and tars others unnecessarily - when they request that "not fully positive" reviews are not posted.

Personally, I'd post and be damned.

Bod for tea

Ellen put it so well, 'Bloggers are not a cheap way of advertising'. You ask for a review? You get one. Warts and all. Or cough up for an advertorial that will be labelled as such. You think PRs give any stipulation for positive spin to offline publications? Heck no. Good for you for standing up for your blog Rosie and not publishing something you weren't happy with.

Muddling Along

You're doing entirely the right thing - if you were asked for a review then it has to be one that, as others have said, is warts and all

From your perspective you don't want to damage your brand - sad that they aren't realistic enough to realise a well balanced review would probably be better and more trustworthy than just endless positive feedback (or is that just me?)

Molly

I do rather wonder what the point of a review is if we can't be honest and open about the product. If readers begin to think we're only publishing positive reviews, without being 100% honest and giving any of our negative opinions, there's the risk they'll just go looking elsewhere for "real" reviews, like Amazon. In the long term, a PR company who only accepts positive feedback about a product will end up a) never improving the product and b) alienating an audience who start to question the honesty behind certain reviews. Good on you for sticking by your guns.

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