Recently I bought a product I needed for my office. If it did what it promised, it would be very helpful.
Yes, I planned to review it as well. I often review stuff I buy… I mean, why not, right?
I can usually fit almost any review on a niche site I own no matter what it is.
Unless it’s a complex product, reviews don’t take long to write when you own the product.
This product is an affiliate darling. It’s an overpriced, overhyped product with a generous affiliate program. Basically, it’s a marketing play. I suspect it sells well.
All the online reviews for this product are the usual affiliate drivel. Most affiliates never touched the product. They’re glowing reviews because the affiliates want to make money.
In fact, I saw one affiliate that was driving traffic with Google ads. That means this thing must make money hand over fist for affiliates.
In reality, the product stinks. It’s terrible. It looks good but doesn’t really work.
It sure isn’t worth the $90 I paid.
I chose to write a scathing review because I think thousands of people are getting hosed buying this thing. It’s a quasi-desperation product.
I have no interest in being an affiliate for it.
I have my own photos so I don’t have to worry about any backlash using the merchant’s photos in a negative review.
I held nothing back.
I set out that the product barely works. I did mention that it kinda works for one specific purpose but most buyers expect more.
The sales page is misleading in that it overpromises what it can do.
And as you know, returning/refunding physical products is a total hassle so I suspect most don’t bother. Buyers chalk it up to a bad buy and move on. It gets tossed in the “junk pile”.
It’s not like info products where you email the seller and ask for a refund.
In this case, you have to box it up, ship it back at your cost and hope the merchant refunds the money. Hardly worth it for $90.
I recently returned an expensive smartwatch that didn’t work (the battery wouldn’t charge). It was a hassle but it cost $700 which was well worth my time. The company is reputable and will apply a refund to my credit card. In fact, they emailed me a UPS label making it reasonably easy.
Should you publish negative reviews?
You obviously know my answer.
I do and I will if a product stinks. I don’t care about the lost affiliate potential. This is not the first time I’ve published a negative review.
Besides, I’ll still make good money from the display ads.
Most importantly, I just may help other folks avoid wasting their hard-earned money.
Things to watch out for when publishing negative reviews
First, if you publish a bad review, don’t use the merchant’s images unless you have permission in writing.
Second, expect to burn a bridge with that merchant.
Third, don’t pen a negative review for sensationalist purposes. I’m very measured in my analysis. I used the product for a day. I know it well. I explain precisely what’s wrong with it without going over the top.
Fourth, your readers will appreciate your honesty. You‘re doing a good thing.
There’s a big difference between a product that doesn’t do what it promises and a faulty product.
For example, I’m not necessarily giving the smartwatch I returned a bad review. Sometimes products are faulty. I reordered a new one and if it’s a good smartwatch, I’ll say so.
IMO, the smartwatch company handled the situation very well – as good as one can expect. I’ll explain the return situation in the review and say how well the company handled it.
I’m a reasonable person (IMO). Sometimes faulty products leave the factory.
In contrast, the product I wrote a negative review about wasn’t faulty. It didn’t fail to turn on or have some malfunction. The product in good working order was junk. Getting a new one wouldn’t solve the problem.
I take my reviews seriously
When I put “review” in a title, I take that seriously. Maybe I’m naive in my approach but I’m sure all those affiliates duped a lot of buyers just to make some money. I don’t want to run that kind of publishing business.
Do I wish the product was awesome?
Yes, of course. I had to buy an alternative which cost more money. From a business perspective, if it was a great product, I’d then become an affiliate and make more money. But that’s not in the cards. I’m good with that.
Win some, lose some.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.