Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sailing Gear Reviews: New Policy

Thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions on how to deal with the Dilemma I posed last week of whether or not I should accept sailing gear from suppliers in exchange for writing reviews on Proper Course. There was quite a range of responses, reinforcing my suspicion that there is no black and white answer to the question. However, after weighing all your comments I have decided on what my policy for writing reviews will be...

To vendors: I am a sailing gear whore. Send me your products for free and I will write reviews of them on Proper Course. (I suggest that you check first whether I want your stuff. I'm a Laser sailor, so winch handles and bilge blowers are of no interest to me.) I don't guarantee that I will write a review straight away; sometimes it takes a while to test out a piece of clothing or equipment fully and sometimes I am just plain lazy. I don't guarantee that I will write only kind comments about your product just because you bribed me by giving it to me for free, but it's possible. I don't guarantee that I will give you a right of reply if I don't like something about your product, but if I know you personally I probably will.

To readers: I am a sailing gear whore. Suppliers send me stuff for free and I write reviews about that stuff here. If I like a product I keep it. I try not to let the free gift influence my ability to write an impartial review, but I am human. Some of you have been kind enough to say that you trust me to be unbiased; thank you for that trust though I suspect it's undeserved. Others of you say that I should not accept free gifts of gear in exchange for reviews; hey, you don't have to believe what I write if you don't want to. I will try and remember to disclose in each review whether the item was given to me or whether I bought it, and whether or not I know the supplier personally; but sometimes I forget important stuff like that.

I am a sailing gear whore. I am human.
I am lazy. I am forgetful. You don't have to believe anything you read here. You have been warned.


O Docker said...

Hope you didn't think I was saying, " Don't do any reviews " when I wrote about my paper's freebie policy.

If you can score some swag from this blog, why not? The compensation package must be otherwise pretty skimpy.

I think most of your readers are familiar enough with the vagaries of your judgement that this won't make much difference.

And if, in the course of your exhaustive testing, you manage to whack off a finger or two, that should make for great blogging.

Carol Anne said...

I think you have arrived at a reasonable compromise. As long as everybody knows you're getting the stuff free, that's fine ... we still do trust your judgment.

And if you do whack off a finger or two, be sure to do so in a way that will not incur a lawsuit from the company that produced the product that whacked off the finger. (There's a reason the Associated Press style manual is called The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.)

Post a Comment