Product reviews from the media have always been a key component of any consumer product launch.  At Airfoil, we’ve helped to launch some very desirable consumer products recently. It has led to an outpouring of requests from media and bloggers for products to review. The shift in the media landscape has raised questions of how the product review process should work for media and bloggers.

Many larger publications have a policy requiring media to disclose when they get to keep a product they have reviewed. The FTC announced new guidelines for endorsements and testimonials that provide more guidelines for bloggers in this area.

With the ability for anyone to create a blog or YouTube channel to review products, managing every request can be challenging for a brand. When does it make sense to give products away for reviewers to keep? How strict should a brand be about ensuring that a reviewer properly discloses under the new FTC guidelines? How level should the playing field be for bloggers and traditional media? Where do you draw the line?

So what should a brand look for in a reviewer? Reviewers, whether it a large traditional outlet or small social channel, should first and foremost worry about making objective product judgments for their readers. Brands should want the same thing. The goal of product reviews is third-party, objective feedback that consumers will trust. A reviewer who seems more concerned with getting as many free products as possible probably isn’t going to be seen as trustworthy by readers, even if they’ll write a glowing review to grease the skids for the next free product to come their way.

A truly objective review by a credible reviewer helps everyone. The brand gets valuable, honest feedback on the product experience and the final review is trusted by consumers who rely on third-party or peer feedback when making a purchase decision.

—Tim Wieland