If you’ve been reading this blog for quite a while now, you’ll see that I have been doing product reviews in the past including a baby carrier (product provided by company), a smartphone (product provided by company), a cool kitchen gadget (product I won from a contest), a netbook (product I won from another contest), a restaurant, books and much more. I also hosted giveaways, giving away items and stuffs provided by companies but mostly from the US, not here.
Lately, I’ve been contacted by a few PR companies here in the UAE for product reviews and I’m honored to be ‘visible’ out there that they got in touch but whoa, product reviews here is a different ball game. There is no compensation for bloggers: they expect us to work pro bono. Worst, they ask bloggers to return the product sample after the review is up on the blog.
You know a rant is about to come up, do you?
Let me get this straight: PR companies are paid by brands -> they hire bloggers to help them with exposure -> they send out the product sample -> blogger accepts and reviews, posts them on his/her blog -> PR companies take back the product. Do you not see anything wrong with the picture here?
Now this blog is not a payola site (I got that exotic term from the Kristin Luna). I do not/will not receive compensation for product reviews (see my PRODUCT REVIEW POLICY) but I feel cheated when PR people demand that I return the product used for review. Why? Because I can’t see how this kind of review policy is beneficial for me or most importantly, for my readers.
Brands get publicity and exposure, not to mention Google juice from my review blog post. What do I get? PR companies will insist: “But you get to test out the awesome product before anybody else!” Hmmm, sorry but:
- I am not that gadget crazy
- I am not good with putting back things in boxes along with styro-foams (I almost always miss a teeny weeny part)
- I don’t have time to call your driver to pick up said item, set up time, wait, wait, wait
- I can’t afford to be nervous while the item is being transported back to you – what if the driver drops it and damages it?
- I can’t afford to pay for something I didn’t even need in the first place or want and if I am desperate to have your product, I will buy it for myself
- I am okay not to be the first to test out anything, unless it’s a space trip.
Reviews take time, a lot of time, and a blog’s real estate is valuable. Add in the value of a blogger’s influential reach and I absolutely think that review bloggers should be compensated, either by giving them the product sample to keep or offer one as giveaway for their readers.
That said, I hope bloggers in this region don’t accept product reviews if the condition is to return the item after reviewing it. It is not fair.
With brands/PR people and bloggers it should be a win-win game. Simply put, if companies can afford to pay PR people, they certainly can afford to pay bloggers! A blog partnership should be treated as any other brand partnership within the marketing mix with an appropriate budget. But maybe, that’s just me and the PR world goes on – they will just find another blogger who’ll work for free.
Are you a blogger in the UAE? Have you reviewed an item and returned it? What is your product review policy?