Bloggers, what are your rules for reviews?


Blog reviews – what’s good practice?

Recently an ITV children’s programme was censured by media regulator Ofcom for giving too positive a review to a

Let’s hope Ofcom never start looking too closely at blog reviews, because when did you ever read one of those that was less than glowing?

I understand why that’s the case – bloggers spend our own time writing reviews without pay. So why would you want to waste your efforts writing about something that you’re not enthusiastic about?

Ever since I started doing more reviews on this blog, I have been thinking about what my review policy is.  This is what I’ve come up with so far. I would love to hear what guidelines you stick to when you do reviews.

  1. I only review stuff that I am personally interested in and/or is relevant to my family
    When I am writing product reviews as a journalist I have to cover a range of items for all age-groups, but that don’t apply here. If I look at something and think “Wow, that’s cool/interesting/got potential for stupid jokes” then it’s IN.
  2. I only review stuff I think other people will be interested in reading about and likely to search for
    I can’t believe some of the crap being offered for review on blogs recently – a can of pop, washing up liquid, a tin of beans, a bag of sweets. Seriously? Why would you want to spread the word about stuff like that? Is that what you started writing your blog for? Is that what you think other people want to read about? And if you are a good enough writer to make a review of a can of pop worth reading, then you don’t need to do that for free.
  3. If it’s shite I’ll say so
    I mean I’ll put it more politely than that, but my drift will be clear. Though since I’m so picky about what reviews to run in the first place, that keeps the shiteola quotient to a minimum. Essentially I am going for a vibe of Here’s something new and fabulous.
  4. I will say if I bought it myself or was sent it for free
    I don’t see the need for a huge disclosure statement or badge. If I say I was sent something, then I credit you the reader with enough intelligence to know that that doesn’t mean I ordered it off Amazon.
  5. Like a hickie from Kenickie, these reviews are limited
    I don’t really want to run more than around one a week, or start to feel like I’m doing it out of obligation. That’s a surefire route to feeling like you’ve sold out and are dying a little inside.
  6. I don’t want to review the same stuff as everybody else
    I want to do reviews that will fit with the unique flavour of the blog – where else are you going to find inspirational reading for weirdos? Plus, no matter how good a product is, it’s inevitably going to look tired if you’re the umpteenth blogger to write about it. An early or unique review will also do better in search engines.
  7. It’s a housework free zone
    I can’t bear housework, it’s bad enough having to do it once a year, and I sure as feck don’t want to write about it. Kitchen porn on the other hand, I will consider. What’s the point of having a  Random Reviews section if you can’t create your own path to travel on?

image: Flickr user, John Stansbury