Sunday, April 10, 2016

Product Reviews versus Sponsored Reviews

Honestly, I really wanted to put up a product review today. But in light of this peculiar comment I received during my past year hiatus, not once, not twice, but 3 times about a Sponsored Review post (Peripera Peri's Lip Tint Crayon in No.1 Fruit Pink [Sponsored] Review]) I had done in February 2014. And considering the fact that her comment showed up last year in 2015, set my mind into working and thinking. Thankfully, not the unthinkable but more of the unfathamoble. And I believe every and any blogger who has a blog and have at least 1 or many sponsored reviews should write about and place it somewhere on their blog as a permanent link to deter such weird commentators from asking even weirder questions. But just a quick update before I proceed: I deleted all 3 of her comments so I definitely have nothing to show to back up this post, but as this is the first time I received such a ridiculous comment, I am bound-by-beauty-blogger duty to actually talk, discuss and share about it, in the event this girl (or a boy in disguise?) decided to comment once more.

Product Reviews versus Sponsored Reviews
~Image Source: iHomeschool Network~

I logged into my Blogger account on the 7th April this year sometime just after 12 noon, intending to focus on the topic about Singapore bloggers receiving letters from IRAS, "requesting" (request sounds better than demand lol) to pay taxes for doing sponsored reviews on their blogs and the big hoo-ha brewing around this topic. And I noticed I had 4 comments, in which 3 of them were all from the same person commenting on that one single post. A closer and detailed look at her comment just sort of had me bursting out in laughter for a good 5 minutes and wondering, "Did this person just returned from another planet to Singapore last year?"

In her comment which I had since deleted on the 7th April, she sort of "demanded" to see a proof of receipt to prove the sole fact that I "bought" the Peripera Peri's Lip Tint Crayon in No.1 Fruit Pink from Tampines to review. All sorts of things went through my mind all at once, ranging from:

  • Doesn't she realized it's a "Sponsored Review"?
  • Does she even know what the phrase "Sponsored Review" mean?
  • Is she even legally an earthian to ask such a weird question?
  • What the heck receipt she is talking about?

I Feel Confused
~Image Source: Shutterstock~

By now, most of you my dear readers and fans are probably thinking the same thing as I am thinking? Seriously? Is she for real?

I mean, it isn't that hard to try and Google for the differences between Sponsored Reviews and Non-Sponsored Reviews or a.k.a Product Reviews. Really, it isn't that hard? Uncle Google is just a URL link away on your desktop. And the answer is just a sentence away as well, it's not that hard, isn't it? And before I go on even longer than I need to, here's a short introduction on the differences between a Sponsored Reviews and Non-Sponsored Reviews or a.k.a Product Reviews.

What is a Sponsored Review

A Sponsored Review or a Paid Post is when you write a blog post and you get remuneration for it, in other words, you are paid for writing something and the rewards is either money or the product itself. Or more specifically, a Sponsored Review is when a company send you a product for you to try, test, review and then write about it on your blog, thereby generating buzz, activity, interest, pageviews and whatnots to both your blog and that company's blog. While a Paid Post is when either the company contact/request you to write a certain topic or you reach out to the company to request for an opportunity to write about something that company endorses and at the end get paid a small (or big) amount of money depending on how popular or unpopular your blog is.

What happens in a Sponsored Review is that, the company decides your blog is a good fit for their company's product that they are intending to launch and hence you (and probably a few more other bloggers) are mailed their soon-to-be-launched product to test it out, try it out and then write about that product on your blog. Pro? You get to keep the product after testing, trying and reviewing it, hence the "Sponsored" in Sponsored Review. You don't need to return it back. Besides, who wants a lipstick back after you have used it for a week at most? The only thing companies can do with the used product is mostly disposed of, due to hygienic reasons or in the rare case, get sent to a retail outlet as a sample piece for interested shoppers and browsers to swatch on the back of their hands. But I personally stick to "disposing of", because Ewww!.. Do you want to use a lipstick that I have used for almost a full entire week already? Nope? Neither would I..

Peripera Peri's Lip Tint Crayon in No.1 Fruit Pink

And in the course of writing a Sponsored Review, bloggers are not necessary needed to list out the various shades of that particular product that they are reviewing, only the actual product that they were sent for reviewing. For example, to reference the (Peripera Peri's Lip Tint Crayon in No.1 Fruit Pink [Sponsored] Review]) post. This lip tint crayon comes in shades of 3 only, namely:

  • No. 1 Fruity Pink
  • No. 2 Fruit Orange
  • No. 3 Fruity Mint

As personally, I have really dry cracked lips that bleeds on sight when lip crayons, lip tints, lip sticks are involved, applying one means a rather arduous process of applying and re-applying moisturizing lip balm on my lips continuously within a span of 30 minutes until my lips feels and looks sufficiently hydrated before I can proceed to apply whatever lip product I need to, have to or want to. Therefore, it's impossible for me to request more colors (or flavors) or even remotely buy the "missing" other 2 shades for the sake of being able to review all 3 products in the same range, but under different color shades. However, if a blogger loves the product upon trying the sponsored product and wants to give some love and shout-out to the company for giving them the chance and opportunity to review their products. Moi? I'm just thankful and honored that Lifestyle Post - Brand Advocates Network gave me and my humble blog the chance to write a sponsored review for them and I still cannot thank them enough, even now.

Cons? Despite being given a sponsored product to review, try, test and blog about, bloggers on their side have to introduce the product as best as they can with their own personal viewpoint on it. And at the same time, inform their readers where they can purchase or swatch the products if they are interested in it despite probably never going to the locations stated where said product can be purchased. No where in my Sponsored Review did I anyway state that the sponsored product itself was purchased or gotten from the purchase locations listed at the bottom of the post. And because it is a Sponsored Review, bloggers who are selected to try, test and review about it need not have to pay a single cent as the company itself mailed out the product to the respective bloggers for reviewing. Hence, the "Sponsored" in Sponsored Review, get it?

In accordance with FTC regulations you should always mention that it’s a sponsored blog post, usually at the end of the post with a byline such as:

“This blog post is sponsored by (Name Brand Here).”

Even if you are not legally bound to disclose that you’ve been paid to publish a post, you should. Trust and authenticity are important and your readers will soon become disillusioned and jaded if you mislead them, whether intentionally or accidentally.

What is a Paid Post

As the heading above states, a paid post is when you are being paid a measely few cents to a measely few dollars (I'm talking about less than USD2.00 here, mind you!) to even worse, *gasp!* a few measely points for writing a blog post on a topic they want you to write about. The thing with Paid Post is that, beggars can't be choosers when so many millions and billions of bloggers want a share of that Paid Post pie that companies dangled in front of them. They're paying only a few cents and that's the only Paid Post assignment you can get from them, nothing more and nothing less. You of course grab that chance or opportunity, and as the saying goes, little goes a long way. In fact, way too long to get the big dollars. That's why I prefer Sponsored Reviews to Paid Post, as I get to choose the products I want to test, try and review instead of having to write about something I probably have no interest or no clue in. And take my word for it, don't ever do Paid Post blogging unless you have too much time to spare when you could have used that same amount of time to write up quality content that you are more adept and comfortable with.

Now, if a company approaches you to do a write-up promising monetary gains, that's a whole different story altogether. As depending on your blog stats and such, you can easily negotiate say, USD5.00 or SGD10.00 (if you are trying to be a humble Singaporean blogger) for a blog post consisting of a fixed amount of words-per-count. If you are a famous blogger, walala~, you can easily ask for up to a few hundred dollars to blog whatever the company wants you to blog. But if your blog is in the vicinity of virtual unknown entity, just be glad that you are able to get at least bwtween SGD5.00 to SGD30.00 at most. We all want to be as big as XX or BQQ, don't we all? Sigh...

To sum it up, if you're a nobody blogger, you're just risking the chance of underselling yourself and your blog because companies can and will do that. I've learned the hard way from my main blog before and it was years before I even managed to reach a miserable USD20.00 in my PayPal account (-_-)"

In accordance with FTC regulations you should always mention that it’s a sponsored blog post, usually at the end of the post with a byline such as:

“This blog post is sponsored by (Name Brand Here).”

Even if you are not legally bound to disclose that you’ve been paid to publish a post, you should. Trust and authenticity are important and your readers will soon become disillusioned and jaded if you mislead them, whether intentionally or accidentally.

What is a Product Review

As stated on the World Wide Web, a Product Review in electronic commerce terms meant that product reviews are used on shopping sites to give customers an opportunity to rate and comment on products they have purchased, right on the product page. Other consumers can read these when making a purchase decision.

Kindly allow me to break it down further for you, if you're a little unsure or a first-time blogger to the world of blogging.

Bliss Fabulips Foaming Lip Cleanser

Say, Riih randomly went window-shopping and jalan-jalan into Sephora because she was feeling bored and wanted to look-see around at some girly stuffs to feel upbeat and energetic once again. Window-shopping turned into a actual shopping-for-something mood, and Riih decided that she wants to buy a Bliss Fabulips Foaming Lip Cleanser because she is tired of wiping lipstick off her lips and causing her lips to bleed and crack and dry up. After buying and using the product, Riih realized "Omigosh!! This product is sho aweshome!!!!" and therefore decided to write about this wonderful product on her own blog or website, sharing a good find with her readers and fans.

The above scenario is what dictates a Product Review. I buy something with my own money, liked and loved the product so much that I want to talk about it and share my buy(s) with people I care about, in this case, my readers and fans. As the product is not sponsored by Sephora nor Blissful, but bought with my own money, therefore, it is just simply as it is called, a Product Review. Along the way, I will include (necessarily) where I bought the item and (not necessarily maybe a receipt to prove that I didn't borrow it from a friend or acquaintance just for the sake of reviewing. Besides, if anyone is reading that post happened to be in JEM Sephora, they can simply pop inside and see for themselves whether the product is there or not, another way to "prove" I didn't lie about purchasing or not purchasing it.

And lastly, before I sign off this post, I would also like to clarify something else as well.

Peripera Peri

The Peripera New Peri's Tint Water No. 1 Cherry Juice (left, small bottle) and Peripera New Peri's Tint Marker No. 3 Pink Stain (right, marker-looking) was bought with my own money around a week AFTER I reviewed the Peripera Peri's Lip Tint Crayon in No.1 Fruit Pink product and paid with a credit card, I don't keep receipts because I throw them away but I still remember which credit card I used to pay for these 2 above-mentioned items at Takashimaya Watsons.


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