Poll: Send the Free Soap
 04-07-2014, 06:58 PM
#1
  • W.S.O.
  • Banned
  • Philadelphia, Pa
User Info
Gentlemen I need your opinion. I received an email from a fairly well known wetshaver that posts reviews on youtube on various Shaving Soaps. He indicated that his viewers have expressed an interest in him reviewing WetShaveObsesssion and if I would like too I can send him a puck and he would do a review on the soap. The mention was also made that in the past a review by him has lead to increased sales. This statement was not made in a solicitous way by any means, i do not question this gentlemans voracity or motive (im sure he isnt in it for free soap) and Im sure it is true. In fact if the primary goal was to sell as much product as I could, I would not even be posting this and the soap would be in the mail.
Up until this point I have never sent anyone anything for free in exchange for a review. I reserve my samples for my existing customers as a showing of my appreciation for their support and patronage. Anytime I have a partial puck of Premium Shave Soap I put it in a random order as a gift. Same holds true with my Aftershave Products and even Pre-Shave Oil.
I feel that giving someone something for free sets up a level of expectation and bias. Whether it is intentional or not, whether it is stated or not, the idea that someone gives you something sets up a certain obligatory scenario where it makes it difficult to offer an unbiased, uninfluenced review. It is basic human nature.
I have always felt that the best, most accurate, most honest & sincere source of product reviews come directly from the customer. The person that has spent their hard earned money on your product, and will be completely honest regarding their opinions of that product. If anything they are more likely to be critical of any flaws or areas for improvement as they have no sense of obligation to you, your product, or your brand.
To this point this logic has served me well. I feel the best source for new customers, are existing one. The best source for honest reviews, are paying customers. It seems to me to be the most ethical, honest way of doing business.
Please express your thoughts or at least take the poll anonymously.

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 04-07-2014, 07:25 PM
#2
  • Lutebro
  • Senior Member
  • Olympia, WA
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I say you're thinking the right way! Your customers will give you the best reviews and be your best sales people. How can anyone trust one person's opinion on something. Maybe I'm not one to follow the heard but I think you're right, someone who spends money on your product is going to be more objective. Tell him thanks but no thanks!

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 04-07-2014, 07:39 PM
#3
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I have to concur with Dustin. If I were you, I would abide by your philosophy and politely decline. I don't see why he can't just buy a puck of your soap to try and then offer his opinions on it. Isn't that what we all do, more or less? Biggrin

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 04-07-2014, 07:43 PM
#4
  • LORDBISHOP
  • Lover of the Wet Shaving way of Life
  • Westchester, NY
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W.S.O. you make a great point and I agree with your train of thought in general. But I do suppose there is a benefit to having someone with a lot of experience w/a given range of products and ability to compare justly to a large array of products. You have to be careful as you mention to insure the reviewer doesn't have preconceived bias, or simply a naive point of view. In the scenario you outlined above I would bury concerns of bias by plainly stating your thoughts to the reviewer since complete honesty is truly what it sounds you are looking for. Of course I have known many salesman in all sorts of product segments and businesses whom actually expect, and want someone to "return the favor" if given a price break, free products or services. Whether in the form of biased opinion, exaggerated reviews, or more commonly just plain highlighting the pro's and overlooking the con's. So again I like and agree with your thinking, but have known many salesman and entrepreneurs who would not only expect, but be P/O if they didn't receive a wholly positive review or benefit of some sort for what they in turn have given or granted.

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 04-07-2014, 08:27 PM
#5
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(04-07-2014, 07:39 PM)celestino Wrote: I have to concur with Dustin. If I were you, I would abide by your philosophy and politely decline. I don't see why he can't just buy a puck of your soap to try and then offer his opinions on it. Isn't that what we all do, more or less? Biggrin

+1. Smile

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 04-07-2014, 08:33 PM
#6
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Reviews settings are different for faceless corporations than for small artisanal businesses. Knowing that you are a small potato, and that the cost of the soap is not exorbitant, and that HE approached you for a review; he should buy an unbiased puck.

Much respect for your values, and savvy, Jim!

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 04-07-2014, 10:50 PM
#7
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i don't think i would like to answer the email request at all. you are not obliged to answer or explain anything to spam emails begging for freebies. if he doesn't do it for a free soap then he can very well purchase it himself. but i believe the real agenda is to strengthen/uphold his own status as a leading opinionator and include also your brand in his "portfolio". you scratch my back i'll scratch yours...

(it is implicit in his request that a free soap leads to good opinion. maybe if you decline in whatever way it may lead to a negative opinion if he eventually gets the product on his own. that's why i would not answer the request at all.)

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 04-07-2014, 11:22 PM
#8
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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I value and respect your integrity and transparency, Jim.

In the long run, the quality of a product, and service associated with delivery of the product, allow for ultimate success in the marketplace. In other words, let the product speak for itself.

Discerning customers know to value the unbiased opinions of their peers, and to be wary of certain quasi-reviews that may or may not be as objective, because of other factors at play.

Whether or not you choose to provide a puck of your soap for this blogger to review ... is of no consequence to me, as I won't necessarily be tuning in.
I purchased your soaps to see for myself and make my own judgement.

FWIW ... I voted no ...

Good luck!

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 04-08-2014, 12:20 AM
#9
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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I actually see no harm in sending free samples to a reviewer, it's a marketing technique that has been used for decades, but I must say I wouldn't appreciate the attitude of asking, if I were in your shoes. If you were to offer the samples for him to try and review, it would be something completely different.
The attitude of asking for the samples straight away already implies some degree of smugness, which leads me to think that his reviews may not exactly be impartial, and that is something I would definitely not contribute to.
So... I voted No.

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 04-08-2014, 01:36 AM
#10
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Maintain your integrity and simply don't respond to the email.

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 04-08-2014, 01:44 AM
#11
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(04-07-2014, 08:27 PM)CyanideMetal Wrote: [quote='celestino']
I have to concur with Dustin. If I were you, I would abide by your philosophy and politely decline. I don't see why he can't just buy a puck of your soap to try and then offer his opinions on it. Isn't that what we all do, more or less? Biggrin

+1. Smile

+2

(04-07-2014, 10:50 PM)tonsorius Wrote: ...it is implicit in his request that a free soap leads to good opinion. maybe if you decline in whatever way it may lead to a negative opinion if he eventually gets the product on his own.

And that is why I'm always a little hinkey about reviews done on 'popular' bloggs... are you getting a honest opinion, or are you getting a paid review? I try to remember to point out if a review I do is on a freebie or something I bought becausse I assume others feel the same way.

(04-08-2014, 12:20 AM)TheMonk Wrote: I actually see no harm in sending free samples to a reviewer, it's a marketing technique that has been used for decades, but I must say I wouldn't appreciate the attitude of asking, if I were in your shoes. If you were to offer the samples for him to try and review, it would be something completely different.
The attitude of asking for the samples straight away already implies some degree of smugness, which leads me to think that his reviews may not exactly be impartial, and that is something I would definitely not contribute to.

To me there is a difference between sending out samples to people you know - to a smaller or larger degree - for a review and a review asking for - or even demanding - a free sample, with the implied threat that failure to provide will result in bad marks.

A bit of googling points to to this ungentlemanly way of acting is fairly common in certain industries - the fashion industry stands out in particular.

I choose to believe that the reviewer in question isn't consciously using his 'market power' to gain free soap - but then I try to believe the best about people until proven otherwise Smile

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 04-08-2014, 02:18 AM
#12
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My $0.02 I think that everyone here has made valid points. I don't know that I would ignore the "reviewer", but you might educate him/her about other professional critics. Take the food critic for instance. The food critic goes to an up and coming restaurant. The critic orders food and pays for the meal out of their own pocket. Then they go home and write up their review. The review is purchased by the print or periodical, thus my response to the person in question would be to procure the soap as if they were a customer and review as they please. If there is enough value in their expertise, then it will be others who would provide the means, but never at the cost of the purveyor of goods.

Hopefully that makes sense.

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 04-08-2014, 02:50 AM
#13
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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free product = bias

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 04-08-2014, 03:43 AM
#14
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I agree with the original post as well. Might I also add that if you want to send that soap my way I won't guarantee a positive or negative review. Smile

Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2

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 04-08-2014, 04:09 AM
#15
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Quite simply, don't do it. Your integrity is at stake.

The fact that you put up this poll suggests that you are already more bothered by this request than not so perhaps you already have your answer. Good luck to you with whatever you ultimately decide.

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 04-08-2014, 04:22 AM
#16
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I would have given it to him. I think you're over-thinking it. When you want your product promoted and identified to customers who might be interested, you want to get it reviewed. I don't think you can assume one who reviews products can afford to go into his pocket for every product he wants to review.

If you don't want to give it to him, that's fine too. But I think it's overcooking it a bit to try and analyze it as an ethical issue. Product makers send their product to product reviewers. Book authors and movie makers send their output to reviewers to get it reviewed.

It's his job to worry about whether his followership perceives him as biased. That's the whole challenge of being a reviewer -- trying to get across your reasoning and not just "yes" or "no."

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 04-08-2014, 05:34 AM
#17
  • W.S.O.
  • Banned
  • Philadelphia, Pa
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First of all thank you to everyone for your input. I have decided to simply stick with my policy and allow things to naturally run their course.
The reviews on WSO products will be made by, IMO the people who should make them, the customers. While the idea of increasing sales might seem like an attractive one, thats not nor has it ever been the primary goal here. Its not about making as much money or selling as much soap as possible. If it was there are several corners that could be cut and several steps and processes that could be skipped, and a very good, marketable, successful product could still be offered and sold. However it isnt about making a very good product, its about making the very best product I possibly can and sharing my finest possible product with others. As long as that is a self sustaining venture & people are enjoying the products I will continue to do so.
That is the mindset that has brought WSO to where it is now and I think it must continue to be the primary focus and never lost sight of.
Also any samples or partials/overruns of WSO products will continue to go where they have been, to the existing customers in thanks for their patronage and support. Its just a small thing I can do to show my gratitude to those that help to support and foster my passion.
Thanks for taking the time to offer your input gentlemen. It has been eye opening and honestly I am glad the policy I have adopted on this particular issue is pretty much in line with the majority view and opinion.
Enjoy Your Shaves!

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 04-08-2014, 05:57 AM
#18
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Well said Jim Shy

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 04-08-2014, 06:04 AM
#19
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So are you sending out samples? HaHa Biggrin

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 04-08-2014, 06:30 AM
#20
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(04-07-2014, 06:58 PM)W.S.O. Wrote: He indicated that his viewers have expressed an interest in him reviewing WetShaveObsesssion

Perhaps his viewers could pony up and buying him a puck?

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