Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pet Product Review Question:
Why are My Reviews So Positive?

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© E. Glavin
Tanner and I Enjoy the Bonding Activities
 of Reviewing New Toys and Pet Products

What a great question! This topic came up among bloggers at a recent conference where everyone was chatting about the challenges of writing a compelling product review. My thoughts caught the group off guard. My approach was different, and perhaps it seemed odd to some. Here's how it works here. I can't and won't speak for other bloggers, but I do think my readers could benefit from understanding my philosophy and method.

Most of my product reviews are/were pre-selected from an actual product at a convention--Global Pet Expo. That means I saw, handled, played with, read about and asked questions about the product before I even agreed to review it. As I told my blogger compadres, I'm not the sort of person who can write a seething review. I'll turn it down before I'll crucify a company. I just don't have it in me. That means that if I don't like it, you won't hear about it here.

Of course, that's not to say that I won't share my concerns with the owner. I have--more than a few times--turned down reviews that I could not support, would not recommend, and most importantly, would never use with my own dogs. That's where the decision comes to a rest--Tanner and Oliver. If I can't use it with or for them because I don't believe in it, I most certainly cannot tell you it is wonderful and give away a box of them just to get traffic to visit my blog. 

There's another angle to this that I'd love to address. Not all of my readers can afford to purchase the organic food that I recommend or are willing to shell out their hard earned bucks for dog toys when their kids need shoes. It's these readers that support my blog's mission--to help those who need information or freebies in order to keep their dogs. So, while I offer an Ask the Vet Column and an Ask the Dog Trainer Column, and I review products and write problem solving articles, I also occasionally give away free products that I cannot review. They don't quite come up to snuff for my standards, yet they are useful and have their place in many homes. 

I'm happy to share these samples and conference swag as a fun way to share the excess that sometimes comes my way. I hope you enjoy anything you receive in such giveaways, but if not, please pass it along to someone who will. Thank you for your time and please know that I appreciate your support and your interest in learning more about what you can do to make your life with dogs easier and more enjoyable. Together we can help keep more furry family members right where they belong, and not relinquished to a rescue. That's my ultimate goal. How can I help you?


Melissa T. said...

Because that's who you are. You have a wonderful personality that draws people in. And that makes people want to be around you. I love reading your articles, reviews, etc. And obviously many others do, also.

petdoginsurance said...

This a definitely a very good read for me!Keep posting!
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Richa said...

i like your approach carrie.. it keeps the vibe of the blog all positive and cheery!!
great going!

Dawn said...

That was a good question and it makes a lot of sense. My blog is not as big as yours so I do not get offers to test items. I buy them instead. So I guess my reviews would work much the same way in that if I didn't think it would work, I wouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! Totally agree with your Carrie.
We have decline many products particularly food/treats ... main reason is due to my allergies and conflict of products we sell. If we test a product that it did not turn out the way we wanted (or good), we usually inform the PR rep (it is then their decision if we should post our review).
Having FUN testing/reviewing products is important and sharing it is the best part. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Julie said...

This is a great read, and I LOVE the photo! New to your blog and I'm looking forward to following, you have a great site. :)

Dawn W. said...

I love that you stand by the products you review and only accept those products that are good enough for Tanner and Oliver. That says a lot about you Carrie! I love that you refrain from negativity in your posts as well, but at the same time you will give people an honest opinion when need be.

Keep up the good work!

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Sometimes BCD "behind closed doors" is the most respectful way to give negative feedback. That's my approach with products that don't make the cut.

Kolchak Puggle said...

What a great pos CArrie! We are super picky about what products we will review as well. I want the review to be a positive experience for me, the company and my readers. No one likes to hear heir product was rap and I don't trly believe my readers want to hear us grumble about products either. I often decline treat and dog food reviews because the products are not quite up to standard of diet I choose to feed Koly & Fe.

Deb and Coco said...

Thanks for writing this. As a person whose products you have reviewed, I must say that your feedback has been very helpful. For example, most of my treat testers are med-lg dogs. Imagine my surprise to learn from you that my top selling product chicken jerky did not work for Oliver because they were too big. We are now testing smaller sized pieces of jerky toy and small breeds.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Thanks Deb: I'm glad positive feedback works for you. Your products are great and are evolving with what you learn from new testers. That's the mark of a good product maker.

Amy said...

What a great point of view. I never thought about it that way, and I don't have a huge blog so I haven't gotten offers for reviews yet, but I think I'll take your approach if I ever do.

Thanks for your perspective!

shilohsmom said...

I love your reviews. I feel like if you review it, it's a product I can trust.

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