After a disappointing result with traffic
(i.e. 3 visits) from 10 open review($30USD/each) on ReviewME
, I decided to pay more and get a review from a technology site. This experience should be read by advertisers and bloggers. Unfortunately for me, it went wrong and here is the chain of events:
I made an offer($250USD) to a publisher for a review of the MIS Specification
. It was almost the same description I gave for the 10 reviews. I added a few things that would help the reviewer but the goal was the MIS specification. Here is the main task.
Review Details: MIS specification (text file metadata)
Background on the MIS Specification
I want you to concentrate
on what the MIS specification could do if used with electronic devices(DVD player, Media player, MP3 player). The MIS specification is free for non-commercial projects I have an open competition for freeware/open source projects.
I even left my email if the reviewer wanted to contact me.
Published and Pending Review
(the article is available for public viewing but the ReviewME staff must confirm it before any payment is done)
May 23(Wednesday, 10:40PM):
I see the review but it was way of course. Instead of writing mainly about the MIS specification(the 10 previous reviewer did), the reviewer wrote about Info2MIS with screenshots but it is still in beta(not finished). Granted, if I wanted a review about Info2MIS, it would had been a very good review but I would also paid much less. But for $250, I did not asked for a review on a unfinished(beta) application but on the MIS specification itself.
What was wrong with the review:
- It was not what I ordered
- No lines about the programmer's competition and being free for open source/free projects.
- The links to my site did not work at all and did not have a link to the MIS specification(main goal). I can't know what impact it did but a reader of that blog(mostly tech savvy) would had simply cut and paste the link. But who would when the reviewer wrote about the many troubles he had with Info2MIS(it is a beta). No increase in traffic.
- He saw the Flash video tutorial's after testing Info2MIS(not the goal) and that would had help him in the first place. He did see that he could create .MIS in 2 clicks for movie.
- Only the last part of the review was about about the MIS specification and it was very, very brief.
I immediately sent a email to ReviewME stating that the review was wrong(not what I ordered) and wanted it to be redone or get a refund.
No word from ReviewME but the review disappear(got error 404) and I checked a few pages to be sure . Ok, the harm was done but no one else will see it now. It's Memorial Day and a long weekend for most of the staff. I would need to wait.
May 28(Monday 8h55pm):
The review was accepted even with bad links. I only saw it the morning after(29) .
Still no word and now the review was up again. Clicking on the link from the confirmation email, I get a error 404. I also notice that my link to the MIS specification in the ordered description is not there anymore and points to Reviewme instead(???). I sent again an email on what was going on and also checked my credit card: No $250 charged. To do damage control, I did not have the choice to change the site a little just in case. I did not want to reply in the original post because it was like validating it and was still waiting for ReviewME.
Tip to reviewers
: Don't change the original link or at least, wait a month.
No word, so I sent another email and, meanwhile, my credit card was charged for $250($273.21CAD) on May 28. A few hours later, I got a reply: the link to my article was changed but nothing about my previous emails. I replied again with the content of my first email of May 23
. A few hours later, they replied that the links did not work and will be referring my case to the ReviewME billing department.
Still no word, so I sent another email about getting an update and if they could fix my other troubles(publisher side). A few hours later, I'm approved in the ReviewMe publisher marketplace. I can ask the price I want and I get the nice badge
on the sidebar. Yet, I did not get an answer about the review itself.
I got an email about a refund but nothing was showing on my credit card at that moment. I email again to state that fact and would check that day and the day after. I also asked if the review would be removed from the publisher site.
I got a refund on my card dated June 8
($260.03CAD) but lost money even with a refund. The review was still there.
My recommendations to make it better
I will be constructive here and proposed a few things for ReviewME:
What do I think now
- The advertiser must approve a review first(private). Most reviews are positive and constructive and that process can be fast anyway. The staff seems to be overloaded(accepting reviews with bad links) and this simple step will be to the advertiser.
- If not possible, a method to flag(with a note) a review without the need to email the staff. The email system is bad anyway because many emails are not answered. Plus, it take too much times between them. The flag value could be a a number of specific options like: Negative, URL missing/not working, Wrong subject ... Also, a list could be generated for them and show the urgent cases. A $10 review does not have the same impact than a $400 review.
- Require publishers to have contact information(email) on the sites. It may use to correct small errors/facts. I did it before.
- Make a bigger window for writing the description of the task. I use a text editor before hand but it would be the last chance to check the description.
- Have a staff for the weekend/holiday because reviews a posted anytime from around the world. An holiday in the U.S. may be a regular day in another country. Again, if the advertiser could accept or not a review, a staff would not be needed.
The ideal for paying for a sponsored review is still good for those with a small advertising budget. It can give some important feedback and if it's done well and within parameters,
may bring a lot of awareness about a product or service. But be warn that it could backfire like mine did. It is then that the support is important. If you time your review with the launch of product or service, a "wrong" review may cost you much more.
In my case, it was not because the review was negative about Info2MIS, in fact it was constructive. But it was not what I ordered. It's like ordering a 12 inch pizza with a small fries but getting a family size fries(not cooked enough) with a small slice of pizza. The slice maybe good but it's not what was ordered in the first place. Also, the fries would leave a bad impression on a excellent pizza.
In the case of ReviewME, the lack of support for advertisers is very poor and it's even worst for publishers. I still had some issues in that department and that took many weeks to be corrected. An advertiser pay 100% markup because they take 50%(it's much more than the competition) of the price of the review BUT
they don't have a real support system WHEN
you need them. If they take some of my recommendations, they will be better and offer some protections to advertisers. Just the step of making the advertiser approve a review would liberate the staff to deal with the non positive reviews.
Finally, it's not an isolated case from the 11 reviews I ordered so far. I will recommend ReviewME
for now because it' one of the primary review services for many major bloggers. But you should be aware of those facts with the hope that situation correct itself fast.
After all this, I don't have anymore bad feelings toward the publisher or ReviewME
. I learned a lot from those ordered reviews. When I will make my next review, I won't be shy in asking questions
if I feel it's going negative or have doubts/interrogations. Plus, I may
first send my recommendation to let the advertiser take the necessary steps. They may not be all taken or corrected in that short time but the reader will be better serve by this.
Keywords: Blogging, Business, Money, Review, ReviewMe