Categories
Rants Thoughts

The ‘Approved’ Conundrum

There is a well known parents website (whose title suggests a single gendered focus) who have become an increasingly powerful presence and influencer. Quite recently I have noticed with increasing frequency that their awards or recommendations for products are now appearing on the packaging of those products.

I have no issue with this happening as the site should rate things if it wishes and getting crowd-funded response helps other consumers, so all good. But there is an issue and I think it will worsen and is unbalanced in regards to objective rating.

Advertising

The site has paid advertising and sponsored products. It also has competitions for submitting reviews on particular products. It has vouchers and offers that are exclusive to its readers. Now any one of these shows some slight favour, but nothing ‘bad’, right?

The reviews of the products are fair (broadly) and the way the ratings work is by mob decision, so that isn’t bad. Except I think you could game this system and get good response and I will highlight one way I can think of.

I have a product, it isn’t unique but it is new to my company. I want a high pickup and I want awards so the new product will fly off the shelves, I also want stores to stock it so need a high demand.

  1. Send free review copies to site owners in a fancy box with a few extra goodies as thanks for reviewing, but don’t insist on a good review. (This tactic will influence people, we all like being treated well).
  2. Offer a lot of discounts to visitors of these sites, make them special. (Increase demand).
  3. Run a competition that anyone can enter (spreading the word).
  4. Run promotion at the people who enter competitions or use discount codes to get further discounts on products and special extras and mention that a good review is loved, even tell people of the special packages that some reviewers get. (This will help to reposition any 3.5 out 5 star reviews into being a 4 – you want to be fair but 3.5 is almost 4 right?)
  5. Any site where the reviews are more positive and increasing push further offers and targeted advertising.

There is no guarantee that this will absolutely work, but if the product is good enough and you keep it subtle but pervasive you will see a change in behaviour and uptake.

Conclusion

So I think that you have to treat this in a balanced way. If you are a product advertiser who gets an award on a site like this then you shouldn’t advertise on the site. It is too much collusion and too much chance of bias.

Put it this way, if you had a bad review on the site and a worst product award you wouldn’t spend any money there and would consider it toxic. I think you have to do the same if you have great reviews.

It is a way of keeping a moral equilibrium. If you are the site owners you maybe want to think about the whole model you have created. A system that allows direct influence via numerical reward for products that (although may be fairly reviewed and loved) directly influence people’s spending has a responsibility to be fair.

You can’t be fair when someone is throwing money at you and your model is to take their discounts, advertising and free products. It is always going to affect your rating either positively or negatively.

</rant>

Categories
Fitness Review

Running Socks (Review)

The History

If you have read this blog before you will know that this year I decided to change my lifestyle. Part of that change was to exercise regularly. These days I run every day, I go at least 8Km and sometimes I do 15-20Km in a day.

Not being the youngest person in the world I do suffer from small strains and injuries. Two that were particularly troubling were blisters caused by shoes (new trainers in one case) and a pain in the arch and ankle of my left foot.

In a bid to try and move away from an ankle support I decided to try a running sock. I chose the More Mile Mens London sock as it had good recommendations of Amazon. I would like to share some of my experience.

The Review

This review can be broken into 6 distinct parts:

  • Fit: The socks are snug and tight, they fit well and do not shrink as long as you keep the wash cool and use colour setting. They also are suited to left/right division and as such are labelled.
  • Support: As promised they support the arch and most of my pain has disappeared. The compression on the toes and ankle are also good.
  • Sweat: The sock works well at getting sweat away from the skin and my feet can be dry after running (or at least they feel dry).
  • Padding: Toes and ankle are nicely padded and as such they have eliminated blisters, another big plus is the padding on the ball of the foot which helps to cushion and protect the side of the foot.
  • Comfort: They feel great, like standing on clouds, snug clouds though.
  • Wear: I have had them for a few weeks and they are only just showing wear, I estimate a lifespan of 20-30 wears for each sock, which is about 10p a run. This might seem high but I think it is a bargain for the level of comfort I have noticed.

Overall I am going to give a thumbs up to these socks. Please note that I haven’t tried their other socks, nor have I tried many other brands that are similar so cannot give a side-by-side comparison.

However I think they are worth the cost and the comfort and reduction in strain and blisters alone is worth double the daily cost.

If you are going to purchase some of these socks please consider using my affiliate link below.

[Note: I was not asked, sponsored, or otherwise tempted to write this review. I made a purchase and this is a response to the usage (personal) of the product I bought. I was not offered any compensation or gain]