Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Other End of Things: Review Backlash!

I have another blog, and that blog is a blog devoted to Gluten-Free and Kosher products, most of which I purchase myself and review -- honestly, to the core. More recently, companies have jumped on the bandwagon of sending me products to review, and I'm waiting to get some of those in the mail and/or try them, but I'm stoked. If I can preach the gospel of good gluten-free and kosher nosh, then color me happy.

But with the reviewing of products comes that fateful issue of angry product makers with a keyboard and an email account. Listen. Someone commented to me that my review of Susie Fishbein's cookbook was "honest," which was enlightening or refreshing or something like that. My policy in all reviews -- be they hair coverings or cookbooks or delicious gluten-free raisin bread -- is to be completely honest. I touch the highs and the lows. That is, if there are lows. Sometimes there isn't, and sometimes those lows are simply things that can't be controlled -- price at the supermarket or packaging and design. But I go for it all, from the calorie count all the way up to the way the pages of a book or the outside of a package look. I'm detailed, I'm thorough, and Technorati's recent study on the State of the Blogsphere says people trust other bloggers when it comes to product reviews. So here I am.

I recently reviewed a product on my Gluten-Free and Kosher Critic blog called Slurpin' Good Soup -- a product that is homegrown right here in Teaneck. I'm not sure if it's because of that or because of an unprofessional devotion to a my product is amazing everyone tells me so kind of mentality, but the chef behind these soup sent me a, well, backhanded "thanks" for mentioning his product by saying that "Needlessly trashing my product so you can feel better about yourself is hardly the way to go." Need I repeat myself? The chef then went on to tell me about a 7-year-old who calls him Chili and how everyone loves his product. My attempts to explain a review to this man were returned with "It was not a review, it was the comments of a student who trashed a product and company." You be the judge. I'm just a student. Pshaw.

Listen, that's super. Everyone thinks their product or creation or book are amazing. That's the nature of things. If you didn't think that, you wouldn't be making/cooking/writing it. But the nature of reviews is honesty. I went out of my way to give this guy press -- and at the end of the day, even bad press is press. Your name is out there, people will see the product and wonder "wait, how do I know that name?"

Am I wrong? Do those of you out there in the Blogosphere sing praises to every product you purchase in the hopes that, I dunno, maybe you'll get something for free? What's the point? How do you handle such individuals, when it's clear that they're, in a word, unprofessional?