The Challenge of Reviews

Filed in Industry Insight, Point of View by on June 26, 2014 2 Comments

“Everyone’s a critic” is an old adage and is probably true to some extent. But being a critic in a public forum is not always as easy as it may first seem. Particularly if you are going to OWN your criticisms.


Because the Internet has made it easy for people of all walks of life to share their opinion, there are LOTS of opinions out there. Sadly, many of them (particularly the negative ones) are hidden behind avatars, screen names and other means of anonymity. Worse, there is often no way to know if the person providing the review is actually a credible resource in terms of knowledge, insight or experience. So where do you go to find product reviews you can trust?

The Power of the Blog

As blog owners, our primary goal is to develop a relationship with our readers. By sharing our stories and insights, we hope to develop an understanding of who we are, our knowledge and experience and what we bring to the table. As such, most bloggers who review products (which are generally given to us at no charge) struggle when a product arrives that is less than stellar.

The internal questions arise for ourselves:

  • Do we present an honest, less than glowing review?
  • Do we find the good points and only highlight those?
  • Do we just skip the review altogether?

Foraging for Our Tribe

Recently, Kellie and I have been made aware of that phrase, foraging for our tribe. We both liked it and grabbed on to it right away. We realize that part of what you have come to expect from us is to provide you a certain “type” of information. In the case of our blog, we believe most of you are here because you have an interest in the educational aspects of the world of knitting. Kellie’s phrase (which I love) is to call you “curious knitters.”

What this means in the case of reviews is that we only want to introduce you to things we actually think will be useful and appreciated by the majority of our tribe. Of course the challenge is that we don’t know if something is valuable until we have first received the product (often for free — did I say that already?), and thus the conundrum.

Our Review Policy

Recently one of my blogging friends wrote a great post about a change in her book review policy. Our situation is different in that we don’t get lots of free stuff thrown our way in hopes of a review, but it does happen. So I thought it would be helpful if we were clear about what (and how) we review, in our desire to provide product reviews you can trust.

We will never put up a negative review, it just is not our style. We will, however, review and discuss products and books that we truly love, enjoy and/or find valuable because in the end we think you will feel much the same way. We want to introduce you to them and we will try to give enough specifics to make the review valuable to you. Of course, we will always be happy to respond to questions or thoughts in the comments of the post. In some cases the product will have been given to us, but other times not. The receipt of free product will not automatically garner a review. In other words, if we share something with you it is because we love it, not because we were “bribed” in any sort of way.

So with said, what have you discovered lately that you think Kellie or I should check out and possibly review?

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