Finding Products To Review and the Problems We Encounter
March 3, 2013
Frank@OBOW in Opinion

One of the most time consuming parts of running this website is constantly looking for new products to review.

Sometimes a company will contact us. Other times, I’ll hear about a product and contact the manufacturer to see if they’re interested in having us do a review.

I’m going to focus in on those companies we contact because let’s face it, if someone contacts us, they want us to do something.

When I reach out, the responses usually fall into three categories:

1) I never get a response or get a polite no. They aren’t interested. That’s fine, their marketing strategy may only include big name websites or none at all.

2) Companies who have us do reviews. We develop a good relationship with them and they trust us to do honest reviews in the future. 

3) Companies who are eager for us to do a review and then flake out.

I have no problems with companies who fall into categories #1 and #2. It’s category #3 that perplexes me.

Years ago, I worked in both journalism and public relations (not at the same time.). I heard from fellow journalists how PR people were horrible and got in the way. I never had any trouble with them. When I switched sides, I understood what the journalists wanted, tried to give it to them, yet still felt animosity and disdain from that group. We were all seen as this evil bunch who couldn’t be trusted and got in the way.

Fast forward a few years to when I started editing this website. At first, most of the people I contacted fell into groups 1 & 2. But lately, a few have fallen into group #3 and I just don’t understand it.

Let me give you a couple of cases:

I read about a new backup battery supply for small electronics. It was lightweight, packed an amazing amount of power, and was very inexpensive. So I contacted the company and they responded with a letter saying they would love for us to do a review and would even include other products they thought would be of interest to our readers.

A couple of weeks went by and I hadn’t received anything. I wrote asking and the response was: “We’ve run out of samples to give out for review and should have some the following week.” That was over a month ago. I’m not holding my breath believing I’m actually going to see something sent to us.

The second one is about a company whose product we did review. They were very happy with the review and suggested some other products we might be interested in. I did find one, a messenger bag, and sent an email requesting one. 

A week went by and no response. I wrote again thinking the first email didn’t make it but also included a technical question about their website. I got a response from someone in their tech department about the website issue but heard nothing else about an additional review. And I doubt I will.

There is a third story currently brewing but I’m not sure how it’s going to play out so I won’t mention it—for now.

I’d much rather these companies be honest  and tell us they can’t supply the product than just ignore me altogether.

I haven’t mentioned the names of the companies I discussed earlier nor do I plan to. I wrote this because I thought some of you might like to know a little of what goes on behind the scenes at OBOW.

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