Negative Reviews: To Write Or Not To Write?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hey Everybody! That is today's question! IFB recently posted an article, "You Tested A Complimentary Product And It Was AWFUL Now What?" by Julia Dinardo on their FB page. The article basically gives you two approaches to dealing with THE COMPANY that gave you the product: 1. I didn't like the product. I'm not putting it on my site. 2. I didn't like the product. I'm not putting it on my site. Let me tell you (the company) why.

Dinardo doesn't believe in putting negative reviews on her site. She also states, "I feel that I don’t want to waste my valuable time and publishing space writing about things that weren’t good that will also live on my site forever..." I understand her point and respect her choice to keep things positive on her site. However...

I want my readers to know, that my philosophy is different. Life is not all sunshine & lollipops! There are products that are SWEET and NOT SWEET on the market. My loyalty is to YOU and NOT to the companies out there. I feel it's important to post BOTH negative & positive reviews and I will continue to do so, on A Very Sweet Blog. Both types of reviews, have always helped in my decision on whether or not to purchase a product. Credible negative reviews have saved me money and also disappointment. If something doesn't work, I feel it's important for my readers to know. I am not financially dependent on this blog, so I can take more risks (i.e. speaking my mind). I am not intimidated or scared of big or small business. I don't care whether you are Chanel or a mom & pop shop. I call things how I see them. If I give a negative review, I will always state WHY I'm not giving it a good rating and it will be tastefully written. Companies need to be held accountable for the products they sell and companies themselves can learn from negative reviews. Negative reviews are a good form of constructive criticism. So far, every company I've worked with has embraced and respected the reviews featured on this blog. Will I get a lot of sponsorships because of this philosophy? Probably not. But that's not why I'm here. As stated in my "about" section, A Very Sweet Blog is about what's hot, what's not, what's new and what's through. And on that note, look for a negative review tomorrow! :)

On another note, if you write Sponsored Posts on you blog, there are some FTC Requirements you need to follow. Brittney, from Another Beautiful Thing blog wrote an informative post entitled FTC Requirements for Fashion Blog Sponsorships and Affiliate Links. Read it!!! Stay out of legal trouble!!!

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Di Bauden said...

I have to agree with you. I wrote my first negative review just LAST week, but it was to help others who may have the same issue I did with the product. It was for a Shampoo I bought on Amazon that I was hoping would be a good comparable to MoroccanOil brand. MO is great shampoo but it's just way too expensive for a tight budget. Unfortunately, the one I bought was not good for me. But I wanted to share that it is probably a great product for folks with dry and damaged hair, but it didn't work for me with thick and normal. I had heavy and dirty feeling hair the day after shampooing. So a negative can easily turn into a positive for someone looking for more information.

Good for you for not always sucking up!
:)
Di

Diva In Me said...

It's good you have a clear vision of what you do for your blog. I respect your principles.

Jessica said...

i agree with you!!! i consider my "followers" my friends! if i spent the money or so forth and a cheap item i will def let my friends know not to buy it.. and if a find a great item ill share it too.. love ur blog sweetie and all your honestly

CoastWithMe said...

This is so important! You want your readers to trust you! Thank you for sharing this Kim! I was also reading the FTC requirements and those tips will definitely come in handy!

Irene said...

I totally agree with you, Kim. If you're blogging just for the fun of it and do reviews once in a while it is ok to stay away of negative reviews but if your blogging mainly consists of reviewing product then it wouldn't be natural to only talk about those products which fit the bill. I don't think it would be good for your credibility either. So good for you to stay true to yourself and to your readers :)
Have a very sweet day! xoxo

The Dainty Dolls House said...

Agreed doll!! You have to be honest when writing reviews. People will listen and go and buy the items. I have some coming up that I had to write negatives for, but it's just an opinion. Someone may go and buy the item anyways and find it works great for them. Everyone is different. You may read a positive review and go buy it and hate it, but the reviewer loved it, so you can't always go by opinions, you have to try for yourself sometimes. But, being honest in the reviews is the main important thing. I don't care for labels or big companies who think they sell magical things, if I don't like it, I will say so. I could care less what others think. Least I was being honest and not 'kissing' butts because of ho the brand was. I looked up the UK equivalent to this standards thing and my husband explained it's not the same. But, I'm going to start putting the sponsored thing at the top, so people know, not that I do many sponsored posts anyways, but just so they know straight away whether I bought it or was given it to review. That's a good idea, I thought. This was a super and informative post!! You do super reviews!! Keep it up doll!! xxx

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I definitely agree with you Kim. Everything doesn't always work out and sometimes the negative reviews can actually be more helpful so that other consumers avoid similar experiences!


xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

Mica said...

I love your reviews because you're honest. I'll be honest with you too Kim, I really don't like reading reviews unless I'm specifically hunting them out when thinking about buying something. But I always enjoy your reviews. They are upbeat, honest, and down-to-earth.

Your rating system is a smart way to do it, and even when you don't like something you say it in a respectful, structured, and helpful way. That way things that are a negative for you can be positives for others with opposing tastes. Your reviews work so well because of this :)


Away From Blue

Steffys World said...

Totally agree with you! I have yet to write a post where I was not happy with a product or retailer but when I do I find something I am not happy with then I would definitely post it on my blog.

www.steffysworld.com

Rosy said...

I completely agree with you, I think we should be honest and real with our fans, and as you say ... Life is not all cakes and pink ... Happy week, dear sweet.

miss b said...

This is an interesting post Kim which made me think about reviews in general. I like the way you have an honest approach when writing your opinions and I'm sure your other readers appreciate it too. I especially like the sweet, bittersweet, not sweet rating - cute, simple and clear! When you don't like a product, you still write about it in a pleasant, polite and informative way which I like too.
http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

LaraBeTheOne said...

Well its fun to read it, and it also shows honesty with bloggers :)

http://lilcutie89blog.blogspot.nl/

Tina Bradley said...

Telling it like it is! Love it! Looking forward to tomorrow's review, Kim! xx T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

Natalia | Fashioned by Love said...

I agree with you, Kim. I think it's vital to be honest with the readers and also true to yourself otherwise what is the point? x

Jade Blackwell said...

I think that even if a product has a negative review some people may decide that thats not an issue for them e.g. the moisturising lotion smelling like coconut and this can be applied to everything and even holidays. I'd be a little nervous if I was going to publish a bad review but if there were no bad reviews and the product was awful surely the blog that recomended it would lose credibilty and the person would have wasted their money. I think its mainly down to personal opinion and what you want on your blog.

Lilli said...

Hi Kim, have read well your post and I am totally agree with you. I respect her decision but honestly I dont get why dont put a bad review on the blog. If the point of blogging is also helping readers and orient in their choices, a negative opinion is also helpful, despite true. Thats why Kim I like yours since you also put what you dont like and tell why even if is a sponsored post. I usually tend to choose brand and products that I know could be fine for me so tend to keep out what could be bad, but if a product or brand will surprise me to be so even though I thought was ok, I prefer to tell. The important is always the good relationship with the readers and to not cheat it. Have a nice day dear, kisses! xo

Emma Henderson said...

Totally agree Kim - not everything can be sweetness and light, much as we wish it was otherwise!

Vannessa@Luxuria said...

Totally agree with your approach. In fact sometimes the negative review, or what you don't like is more helpful than the positive ;-)

NYCStylelittleCannoli said...

I agree with you on this as well. I think as a blogger you need to tell the company your review will be your honest opinion, good or bad, and they need to understand that. I normally work with brands that I use myself, so that helps that I know they will be of great quality. But if I do work with something new, I am honest about how I feel about it. I think your readers expect that of you and that is what makes blogs so popular as opposed to traditional advertising. Great topic!!

Emmylou said...

The same issue has popped up with book blogs. Do you do negative reviews esp. if you got the book for free? I say yes...you should. I agree with you like the others above. Us readers want honest point of views, not commercials. If someone didn't like a product, why not say so?

Style Journey said...

This is why I love reading your blog. You are honest and tell us like it really is. Everything can't always be great. Constructive criticism is important for the company or person to better their product. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Nails My Dreams said...

Amen! I agree with what you said. I want my readers to know what worked and what didn't regardless of the method of acquiring said product.
(^^,)

Nicky mywishstyle said...

Hi Kim, in my opinion it is not a bad thing to make not Always positive reviews, If you find a product that didn't satisfied you, it is good to inform your Readers.
Because it is important if you present an item, to say the real impression. THis is what I do, then everybody can do as they prefer...
Ciao
Nicky

Laura Go said...

I read that IFB article too and thought the same. Thankfully, most of the items I have reviewed given by sponsors have been great. (I'm picky with sponsors to begin with, anyway) Thanks for sharing the link to ABT, which was great!

TheTinyHeart said...

I totally agree that if you review a product, it should be an honest one. I so appreciate your reviews because you always tell it like it is!

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart
Rad Market Giveaway!

two birds said...

i love how you review items...you are honest without being rude to the company. i appreciate that. when i try to look up reviews on items i want to buy, i want to read the negatives, too!!!

Shabby, Chic, & Cheap said...

Kim,

I appreciate your open and honest reviews about everything. It helps me to make a better more informed decision before trying a product. Sometimes as a blogger you will not like every review item you are sent, there is a way to politely state that with out being rude and with out lying to your readers. Keep it up! You do a FAB job!

Brittney said...

Thank you again for including a link to my post! I actually would really enjoy reading a scathing review of a product, if the blogger had a sense of humor about it. I can understand why people wouldn't want to jeopardize the relationship with their sponsor, but we owe the truth to our readers.

Brittney

anotherbeautifulthing.blogspot.com

Always Maylee said...

I totally agree with you. I think there is a professional way to give a negative review without sounding like you are just slamming a company. As a reader I like knowing when you love something and when you don't and the reasons so that I can make my own judgement as to whether I want to try this product.

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

Lala H said...

honest review is always good, as a reader I would really prefer to get both the good and the bad of the product or company! and thanks for sharing that link for FTC rules I could really use it

Delightful Ideas
$50 iTunes GC Giveaway

Kate Sullivan Corpuz said...

honesty is always a good policy!

always, koru kate

Sara Gerard said...

Oh man, what a sensitive one! I honestly love that you give REAL reviews! I have had things sent to me to style up for my blog, and I do remember to use the links and words that they asked, but I tend to not actually say if I liked the product or not unless I do. So far, I have liked what was sent to me. I can see how this can get to be very awkward!

MaysaAndSunshine said...

I know i can always rely on you with your honest opinion Kim, that's what i respect most about you. I do agree that both positive and negative reviews are greatly appreciated and informative.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I appreciate negative reviews. I don't want to visit a site that's all negative. But you're right. Life isn't just sunshine and lollys. I need the real skinny. I worry about people who never get a little negative.

Diva Desle said...

I believe in being honest in posts but not to bas brands or people. Negative reviews are great and healthy when done in the correct way. As you say not all things are lollipops:-)

Claire said...

thanks so much for your honesty. glad you are willing to tell us how it is so we know whether or not we want to try something or not. really appreciate you and your blog!

http://spinning-threads.blogspot.com

Pamela RG said...

Hi Kim, I admire your honesty on your Blog. It is important that we stand by our own principles and reflect on our Blogs our true values rather than be influenced by Companies. We are lucky that our income is not derived for our Blogs. This way, we can use own voice and more free on what to share. But there are Bloggers out there like IFB who have turned their Blogs into income generating Business. Nothing wrong with it but then, they have to earn their living too. Keep up the excellent work Kim.

Linda B said...

Yup, I am so with you on this. I'm glad you're honest about products, because that's helpful! As loyal readers, we trust your influence and opinions.

The Dragonfruit Diaries

Imogen said...

This is a really interesting topic. I'd never thought about it before since I've only been happy with the items I've received which is lucky. But now I do think about it, I agree with you. It was rather convincing when you said your loyalty is to readers and not a company.

Thrifted Shift said...

I can tell you've put a lot of thought into this topic and I can appreciate both sides. Now I'm intrigued about tomorrow's post!

Ask Erena said...

HI Kim. I have so much respect for your statement and being true to yourself. However, I do understand responsibilities of those who must follow their sponsors guidelines. I think it is personal decision for each blogger to write or not. Great post.
hugs from New York,
xx
Ask Erena
http://askerena.blogspot.com/

Patsy Hilton said...

Hello! :)
Nice pics!
I lov Ur blog and i follow!
and now waiting for U following me! :)

pat

http://patsyhilton.blogspot.com

Sabrina said...

THIS. It's quite the dilemma. I don't care if I review something with money out of my own pocket, but I feel a sense of obligation when a company has given me free stuff/is paying me. If I want to write negatively, I usually just say sarcastically generic things and I don't gush about it. One company actually caught on and asked me to re-write a sentence that gave off a negative tone! That was a kicker for me.

Sincerely,
Sabrina

jo said...

Hey Kim, I agree with you 100%, I appreciate your honesty. That's why I love reading your blog. I'm fortunate that the stuff I get are pretty good so far but I'll definitely express my honest opinions if I don't like any items. Thank you for your sweet comment. Unfortunately, that dish is not mushroom, but it's abalone which is a delicious shellfish. Hope your mom is feeling better!

xo Jo

http://www.whiterosesandcoffee.com/

flysongbird said...

i agree with you kim..i think negative reviews will not only help readers to decide before wasting money on a product and the brand will pick up on what they are lacking and maybe bother to improve on it. more than -ve or +ve i believe in honest reviews. some time brands can be really shitty then i don't mind a bit of bashing, but otherwise politely writing about why the product didn't work and how you love the brand otherwise is a good approach. this is what distinguishes blogs from other media like mags.

LyddieGal said...

I always always appreciated your honesty, and I do believe in mentioning the good, and if it comes up, the bad when featuring a product on my blog.

review, and write on, Kim!
Chic on the Cheap

Lorena said...

Honesty should prevail - in fact i think sometimes you DO the product a FAVOR as they can actually go back and make changes (if possible) to make the product better.

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

This can be a real dilemma but one of the reasons I love you and your blog is your sterling honesty Kim! Because of you tell it like it is, I trust all of your reviews and I admire your principles on this matter. Every one has a different policy but I'm with you on honesty.

Rowena @ rolala loves

Champagne Star said...

I agree with you. I understand why some people may not want to post negative product reviews, but I feel that your job as a blogger is to inform your readers, and you can't do that by hiding a bad product review. If something doesn't work or look as it is supposed to, then say it! I know I'd rather read a negative review than waste money on a product that doesn't work all because someone decided not to mention that it doesn't work.

Rebeca Muñoz López said...

Hi Kim! I find interesting to learn from the experience with a product whether he was right or wrong, I think it is good for the reader all the time and if public only good things can look suspicious lol I really like the style of your blog and I hope it stays that way!

www.urbanikamoda.blogspot.com

Coco said...

And that's why you are my favourite ever.

Halima - Fashionicide said...

Completely agree with you on this point. I've posted both posituve and negative reviews on my blog. I feel it's important to do this. You could be sent a super expensive cream, turned out it did sweet f**k all and you post a positive review on it, it's likely someone will go out there and purchase it on your recommendation. Not good!

x

Find Me A Muse said...

I really love that your blog has such a balanced perspecitive and it's honest. We all have good and bad experiences and it's always interesting to hear about possible side effects of products rather than just the positives. I believe it is all in the way it's written. After all it's about personal experience. You do these so well! I always feel your reviews are thorough and not defamatory towards any product or company. They are trust worthy, yet if I liked a product, they wouldn't deter me from trying it. I would just be a little better informed. Keep up the brilliant and honest work!

- Mandi
www.findmeamuse.com

Jo said...

I can be quite confident that all of us here appreciate your honesty.

It can get really tricky if you were given something complimentary for a feature on your blog and also if the people you work with are nice but their products just don't work on you. How then in this case?

I think it would be good to let your readers know the truth yet it is tricky to handle over the sponsors side of the house. Probably to email them first to let them know beforehand about this negative experience?

Fashionista622 said...

Kim,
I did see and read that IFB article. Your approach to me is something I would prefer. I appreciate an honesty product review. Everyone has their own point of view and we may or may not agree with the reviewer (movie critics etc) but still its nice to hear someone else's experience and then we form our own opinion.

:)

XO

Maria

http://www.onestyleatatime.com/

Real College Student of Atlanta said...

honesty is always the best policy! I think you understand that - keep up the great work, Kim!

Heel in Mint said...

I have to agree with your thoughts on negative reviews. I see them as constructive criticism too and I like being trasparent. If companies don't like it then it's their problem. Many companies reach out to me and want to pay for "anonymous" posts or want to hide some negative details which just upsets me. I'm glad to see you talk about this in open. I feel like I'm not alone. It's seriously frustrating when you want to stay open and honest :)

Love,
Heel in Mint