Under Review

I’ve been getting annoyed more about people asking for my opinion on things. Normally, I would be willing to give my opinion on lots of items or experiences, and I’ve done so in the past, even on this blog. I really do form some solid opinions on things and I think that I am a good judge of the quality of stuff.

So why am I getting annoyed about people wanting to know? Because it’s all for their benefit. They’re asking me to take time out of my day and type in a web form so that they can sell more of their stuff. The most recent big offender is Amazon, which I have been using a lot more lately, but has started to get really annoying about this stuff. Three days after buying a thing, without fail, I get an email “Please review this thing!”.

First of all, how do they know that I’ve even formed an opinion about it? Half of the time when I get that email, I haven’t even had a chance to use the doodad or whatever that I have ordered, so I can’t even review the stuff if I had wanted to. Sometimes the office to our building is closed at strange times or I just don’t sync up with it being open, so a couple of times, it was still in the box and I hadn’t even had it in my hands yet. It would be much better to email me three weeks later, or better yet, don’t email me at all.

Second, there is absolutely no benefit for me in this process. Not only does the email come at the wrong time, I have no incentive to complete this arduous process. I already bought the thing - you have my money. I’m not going to buy another of the same thing, and I’m getting nothing out of giving random people on the internet my opinion about the stuff. The content is completely under your control after I write the review. If you decide that my opinion is great and want to use it to advertise your product, I have no say in that. Similarly, you could decide that it doesn’t conform to your guidelines and completely squelch the review. If I’m going to review something, I can do it here. Even if I wasn’t tech-savvy, it doesn’t take five seconds to start up a tumblr, blogger or wordpress account where I do have total control.

Let’s talk about those guidelines for a bit too. If I want to say that the product is a fucking pile of shit, I can’t do that, because it has profanity. Even if the product I’m reviewing is literally a pile of shit. I also can’t just leave a short review, like the size of a twitter post, because it would be too short. There’s a lot of stuff in those guidelines that I might want to do in my review. The guidelines themselves seem to be steering people towards writing more content and also towards positive reviews. You can’t complain about the seller or the packaging, or that you got something other than what you paid for. They siphon those off into other complaint departments. There are valid arguments for that, but I feel like if the seller is being a dick about something, I might not want to buy their products.

Finally, there is just too many people asking me to do stuff for them nowadays. Restaurant.com and Foursquare and OpenTable and Random Clothing Store #5 and NewEgg - it seems like everyone is asking me to review things nowadays. Amazon is one of the worst offenders so they get in the crosshairs here, but it happens far too often when I buy something online. If I want to review something, you know what I’ll do? I’ll freaking review it. I’ll do it on your site if you haven’t bugged me about it, and probably post it other places too. If I really love a product, I’ll be tweeting and telling people about it naturally, and you want me to do that. If I have some problem, I’ll try to contact customer support about it. That’s about as much as you can ask from someone who you already made money off of.