Buying blog love

A co-worker dropped off a copy of a statement he received for some batteries he recently purchased (from Tenergy Corporation/All-Battery.com). At the bottom of the statement:

We pay $30 for your professional reviews and opinions.

Please review the products listed on all-battery.com

  • The review must be more than 400 words and shall be objective and must be posted on any well known forum or website
  • Constructive comments are always welcome
  • Must copy your review to "Product Reviews" section at http://forums.all-battery.com
  • Upon approving your review, we will send a $30 Gift certificat to you thru Email or PM

I’ve been reading about this kind of paid review but this is the first pitch I’ve seen. This raises so many interesting (to me) question:

  • Will they "approve" my review if I say something negative about their product or company?
  • What do they mean by "constructive comments?"
  • Will I get my gift certificate if I write nice things but disclose to my readers that I’m getting paid?
  • How many of their customers have blogs and websites? How many post to forums?

This just doesn’t smell right to me. If I discovered that a blogger was getting paid for reviews, I’d have trouble trusting anything else he/she wrote. If the company’s motives are pure, why not clearly state that the offer applies to any well-intentioned, objective review. And if someone has something critical to say, wouldn’t that be worth a $30 certificate?

There’s a way to do this, of course. If someone in the Casio (digital camera) marketing department noticed that I use/like/blog about their cameras, they could send me a new model and ask me to try it out and blog my impressions. Good or bad. They won’t have to give me the camera, because if it’s good, I’ll probably buy it. AND write nice things about the product.

2 thoughts on “Buying blog love

  1. David is right. I hollered before I was hurt. If I had looked closely at the All-Battery.com site, I would have seen they had lots of products from many different companies. Hmmm. Does that make it any more likely they’d accept/pay for a negative review? Maybe.

  2. I really don’t get too exercised about this topic — as long as a blogger is up-front about the fact that they’re getting paid.
    But aside from that, I’m not sure your concern applies in this case. They’re not asking for reviews of All-Battery.com. They’re asking for reviews of individual products. This is akin to Wal-Mart giving out $20 gift certificates to people who review toasters and video games and non-dairy creamer. It looks like a creative way of improving an online retail service by adding user reviews.

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