Ever since I started doing The Rock Father as my full-time web presence, I’ve noticed a few things in the blogosphere that bug the hell out of me. For the most part, I just ignore the little quips and move along without saying anything, but now the time has come to reveal the biggest gripe I have… the classic “Review and Giveaway.” Let me tell you something, fellow bloggers: the words “review” and “giveaway” should NEVER be used together. Parenting bloggers (Mommy Bloggers, Daddy Bloggers, etc.) are the worst offenders.
If you’re a blogger that posts a “(Insert Product Here) Review and Giveaway!” on your site, you might as well just come right out and tell your readers that you’re a shill. By using said headline (seen thousands of times weekly), you’re taking any mystery out of your “review” by automatically informing readers that you back the product. After all, why would you do a giveaway for an item that you don’t like? I’d imagine that you wouldn’t knowingly give your readers a poor product, right? It’s all about integrity.
I get approached by publicists all the time that are pitching items for “review and giveaway,” and I really appreciate that these folks are taking the time to check out The Rock Father and that they feel confident in my voice to help promote their products. A point that I always make clear: “Reviews” and “Giveaways” are separate posts. Not once have I had someone disagree.
Aside from the main benefit of protecting not only the integrity of your blog/site/voice (and that of the product), doing two posts can drive more traffic to your blog, and give the product additional “bang” for the promotional “buck.” It’s double-coverage for all involved.
Additionally, a “review” consists of more than one quick paragraph about how much your kid liked something followed by a bunch of text copied and pasted from a press release (if you read parenting blogs, you see this all the time). If you want to copy/paste from a press release for a “news item” or as descriptive text in a giveaway post, that’s cool. Using it for a “review” falls right back into shill territory, in addition to highlighting a possible lack of writing skill. Above all, it’s just plain lazy.
I follow a lot of bloggers on twitter and facebook, most of which fall into the parenting/family realm in some way. While I enjoy reading many of them, whenever I see a “review and giveaway,” I issue them an imaginary “smack” through the realm of cyberspace.
Speaking of Giveaways, check out what I’ve got up for grabs at http://www.therockfather.com/giveaways