Image by PerfidiousGoddess
Blogger accountability. Which is to say, what do you owe your readership & audience? What do you owe to shoppers or people searching through the internet for reviews on designers and sites? Do you owe them anything? If you have information, do you owe them an honest post about your experiences? Or do you choose to stay silent?
This week I was reminded of an ongoing problem I've personally faced, when Suze/Miss Vinyl Ahoy posted, Who's Screwing Who? In this post, she notes how Modcloth & F21, two very different fashion stores, have carried identical products. While the comments disintegrated a bit (a great example of how to handle off-topic comments and name calling), Suze's post made a valuable point: how would you feel seeing a product at F21 for $20, only to see it at Modcloth for $60? Does Modcloth KNOW about the price difference & the fact they're selling the same products? And in the end, who is getting screwed– the companies or the customers?
Suze's post is a great example of a blogger taking accountability for her readership and asking questions that she wants to know as a customer of both stores.
In my own past, I've questioned:
- Whether to share negative experiences with shopping from an online company (of a small business, but still corporate set-up),
- Whether to share information about independent sellers (of the Etsy & custom-made areas) who have stolen customer money, moved internationally, only to set up new shops. This mostly happened when I would see other bloggers posting about the shop (as I couldn't support that behavior on my site), and
- Whether to share shopping experiences with new, start-up businesses who have had poor customer service and communication.
When handling these situations, I approached and managed each other in various ways:
- In scenario 1, I posted my friend's experiences with the shop, in an effort to help other shoppers avoid being screwed out of their money.
- In number 2, I would email bloggers individually who posted about the new etsy shop, advising them of what was going on and leaving it to their discretion as to whether the pull the post & information or leave it.
- Is still up in the air. As we speak, I've still waiting, nearly 3 months for a product that was promised in a 2-3 week turnaround. Do I say something about them? Do I see how it all pans out?
I think we'll all agree that we strive to post honest and factual information on our sites, especially when reviewing a product or company.
Do you feel that there is a difference between pointing out disadvantages or dislikes and minor errors and posting something solely negative? Even if you don't have a strong relationship with the company or product?
How do you feel about a blogger who may make a post that exposes the negative side of: the retail experience; the fashion industry; company policies, procedures, and practices? How do you feel as a fashion blogger when you encounter these types of situation– do you rush forward to talk about them, despite the controversy they may create? Do you tread lightly? Or do you keep your opinions to yourself?