To review or not to review… that is the question

Sometimes people ask me what kinds of things I review in my professional life.    The short answer is “anything”, but that isn’t necessarily true.   I can only review things that people offer me, and there are some items I choose not to review.

product reviewI have noticed that certain lower ticket items (inexpensive items) seem to go in cycles.   For awhile it was selfie sticks, and I was getting offered at least a handful of those on a daily basis.   After that it was battery operated Christmas lights.   Next it was silicone oven mitts.   Now it seems I get an inordinate number of review requests for light bulbs and Bluetooth headsets.  (Update – now it’s watermelon slicers.)

People have offered me everything from car accessories to jewelry and furniture to survival gear.  And I’ve reviewed a lot of things; but there are two categories of items I do not review.   Adult items (dildos, vibrators, bondage equipment -etc.) and eBooks or Kindle books.

Why don’t I review adult items?  Because I don’t want to associate myself with something I would be embarrassed by if my kids found out I reviewed or my own friends and acquaintances found out I reviewed.  I like to keep things PG where possible.

Why don’t I review books?  I actually have reviewed a few books, a Bible, some devotionals, and some books on North Korea… but only because I was interested in those topics and would have potentially read those anyway (and because they were physical copies, which I prefer).  The main reason why I don’t review books is when you review a book you are “locked in” to finishing it even if it really sucks, in order to give it a proper review.   I don’t have that kind of time, or energy.  But I also find book reviewing not to be great for business.   That’s a bad way to put it, but what I mean by that is books are so subjective and sometimes people take it personally if you hated a book they loved, or vice versa – it tends to generate a lot of negative feelings.

I have even heard some anecdotal stories of other reviewers who have reviewed books negatively, only to have the author of the book retaliate against the reviewer by harassing them, launching complaints against them to Amazon, and having all their friends and family down-vote the review.  Book reviewing can get personal!

There are reviewers out there who are niche reviewers.  They review only books, or only clothes, only one certain type of product.   My perception is that niche reviewers are usually very knowledgeable in the genre they have chosen and tend to get a lot more review requests in that category (obviously).  If you lean towards certain items, you tend to get offered more items that relate to it I have noticed.   For instance, I bought some shorts from Amazon, and then a week later I was offered several pairs of shorts for review.   I think companies must track purchase history.  Creepy to be sure, but you’d be surprised what people can track about you online, but that is a topic for another blog!

My advice is review only items you are interested in trying or using, or have a lot of knowledge with then gear your review around that.   If you are new to something, write your review from a newcomer’s perspective.  If you are a regular user of a certain type of item give an expert’s opinion.   If you are passionate about a certain kind of item, say camping supplies, try reviewing only camping supplies to build your reputation in that area.


I’m passionate about my blog archives.  Read them!


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