Thinking about honesty in blogging…

What happens if you review a product favourably and then have a problem with it? Some thoughts about honesty in reviews and blogging.

On Thursday of last week I reviewed a piece of software that I’ve been using called Socialite. I’ve genuinely found it useful and wanted to spread the word, but after publishing the review I started running into problems that had the potential to make the app unusable. I’d already put a review out encouraging people to buy the app… what do to?

I’ll tell you what I did, but I’d really appreciate some comments on this one too telling me how you would have dealt with a similar situation.
I put a note at the top of the review saying that I was having problems with consistent crashes whenever I tried to exit the app, and that I’d recommend that people hold off buying it until I’d had a response from the developer about a fix. Other than that I left the review exactly as I’d written it, because I thought it was important for people to know the whole story instead of just a little note from me.
As it turns out the fix was pretty simple and I got it all up and running properly, so I changed the note to say I’d had problems but found a solution (including a link) and that I was once more happy to recommend Socialite to anyone and everyone. I thought it was important to leave a note there because I did have some difficulty, even if it was easily solved.
Now, I’m not going to turn this into me blowing my own trumpet, but I do want you to know that what I write in a review will always be what I genuinely think and, if I’m having trouble with something or just plain think it’s rubbish, I’ll tell you! This whole thing did make me think carefully about honesty in reviews and blogging in general, though.
You know how I chose to deal with this, but I’m curious… what would you have done? Let me know in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Thinking about honesty in blogging…

  1. I think you handled it exactly as you should have Chris, and I would have done the same. You just can't afford to get these things wrong.

  2. I ran in to a similar problem with a book review…Like many people (including Oprah) I was taken in by James Frey's “A Million Little Pieces”. I loved the story, was moved and amazed that someone could go through all that and come out in one piece.

    Come to find out, he didn't go through all that. He made most of it up. He wasn't a hardened drug user an criminal. He was a little wussy white boy who was in jail a few hours. It was sickening and embarrassing. I don't get a lot of readership, but I didn't want everyone knowing I had been so stupid as to believe it all.

    But I left my good review on, and just added a note like you did, with links to Oprah's site and the Smoking Gun which had a detailed report. You can't just remove stuff, you're in search engines and other places. It's important for people to know the whole story, whatever it's about.

  3. Thanks Mike – yeh, I certainly didn't want to get this one wrong… I'd have hated someone to have bought the app, had trouble, and thought I was a shoddy reviewer for not mentioning it!

  4. That actually reminds me of an old post I did about a woman exploring the wasteland around Chernobyl, only to find that she never actually did it. Quite embarrassing!

    But back to this review – it's good to know others would have done the same thing 🙂 I agree that it's important for people to know the whole story, then they can make up their own mind as to what to do but at least I know I've been as honest as possible.

    By the way, the link to your own blog in the Disqus box doesn't seem to be working, but I'd love to see what you're writing – feel free to post a link here if you like.

  5. Pingback: Mike's Life

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