I am a super-rude blogger. In an act of sheer failure to have any blog etiquette, I only read my friend’s blogs (hi, friends!) and I only blog for my friends (hi, friends!) and I actively avoid the blogs of pretty much everyone else on the internet because ain’t nobody got time for that. The exception to this is when I am Googling something, which occasionally forces / encourages me to read a single post in the blogs of randoms, AND Natalie Dee’s blog, because she is hilarious (I found her blog through her comic).
On her blog, Natalie Dee reviews make up and makes jokes. (I usually don’t deal with make up, but she cracks me up, so it seems I find the topic interesting when deftly handled.) She kept mentioning how other bloggers get stuff for free in the mail and then review it favorably because, hey, free stuff. I didn’t really know what she meant until I was writing an article about the Canadian Maplelea dolls. Everysinglereivew that I could find in the blogosphere was written by someone who had gotten a free doll as a promotion from Maplelea.
Eversinglereview had the same two parts:
(1) the bloggeur swooning about how great the dolls are
(2) a raffle for a free doll from Maplelea
Good on Maplelea for getting themselves some press and whatnot (and only for the price of what appears to have been 20-odd dolls, at a value of roughly $2,000 Canadian). (Actually, really good for Maplelea, considering that $300,000ish of their marketing budget goes to catalogs AND their small investment in blog-dom-ry ensures that the first two pages of Google hits for their product are rave reviews. Genius.)
However, their tactic did make it difficult to get any sort of balanced assessment of the public response to the dolls. (This is why I tell my students not to use Google for research! But in this case it’s okay because I was interested in consumer responses posted in a public forum because getting permission to conduct ethical interviews is for people who do things in a timely fashion.) I guess if you love ’em, you love ’em, but it was a bit dull to read the same thing over and over and over and over:
OMG they are Canadians
WHICH ONE WILL I PICK
I PICKED THE CANADIAN ONE
OMG they are so Canadian
Pricey, but definitely worth it, since I got mine for free.
You can get one for free, too! Just enter the raffle below and remember to “like” my post!
*** This is an overgeneralization for the sake of parody. ***
(But not much of an overgeneralization.)
Let’s be honest, I’m just jealous that a Canadian doll showed up in their mailbox for free.
But Natalie Dee makes a good point – how can you offer a fail and balanced review of something that was sent to you for free in exchange for a review [the favo(u)rable part being pretty heavily implied]? Her blog is great because she buys the stuff that she reviews, so she can fairly assess the value (in her opinion, but that’s all blogs are, anyhow).
To me, Buying The Thing is less of an issue with reviews of academic books, because you could get the same experience by picking up the book at the library. Dolls and other products (especially make up), not so much with the borrow-and-return system.
All that to say, I am going to carry on with The Compact until Meghan gets home from Micronesia. Then I’m buyin’ me a Maplelea doll dogsled for going on adventures of the 18″-high variety.