I’ve been reading Smith on VoIP blog for some weeks now and found it to be informative.
So then I have to ask a few questions when I saw the following entry about advertising rates for his blog.
Many believe the best advertising does not look like advertising. The best advertising is interactive and informative. Product reviews (hardware, software, and service) are both interactive and informative. Not only do you get a robust product review, I will also work with you to better understand how you can get others within the VoIP blogsphere to review your product.
* Product + $500
So, this means that as a vendor, I could send my box to Mr. Smith, and a check for $500. He’ll review the box. (robustly). Presumably he’ll post the review on his blog Ok….fine so far. But:
1. Doesn’t this represent a conflict of interest? Whose interests are being served here? Certainly not the reader’s.
2. What if there is a superior product that competes with the one reviewed, and he knows that… would he include a dicussion of the superior product even though they hadn’t signed up for a review? In other words, it seems quite possible that the “reviewer” could end up touting a piece of junk, just because the vendor paid for the review.
I dunno….when I find something that actually works as advertised, I’m so happy that I’m willing to praise it for nothing. Happens maybe a dozen times a year. Maybe some people need to be paid to try something, because it is indeed rare to find an item which does work as it should.
Update: Garrett Smith has commented.
1 – No conflict of interest exists. It’s called full disclosure. If someone sponsors a review of their product on Smith On VoIP, I let the readers know, prior to the review.
1a – Everyone wins. The reader gets an honest review of a product. If the product sucks, I’ll let the vendor know, and work with them to fix the issues offline, if they so choose. Otherwise I refund their money. The vendor wins by getting a fair review, insight into things that might need to be changed, and gets exposure across my site and those within the VoIP blogoshpere who point to my site. I win because I get paid for my time and expertise, which has cost me a considerable of time and money to build.
2 – If a product is of sub-par quality or if their is huge issues with the item, it will be addressed offline. If there is an alternative product, in a related product category, that is relevant to the review (similar features, functionality, etc.) why wouldn’t I discuss it? Just because someone paid for a review, does not mean it is going to get published on the site, or even if does get published, be a rosy review.
I get paid to review products, well because I have a new company everyday asking me about what product they should build, or can I take a look at this product, etc.
I value my time, my knowledge, and everything else that has gone into build my site, reputation, etc that is why I get paid.