I received an interesting email last night from a "fan" of a product who also happens to have a "fan" site for said product, and who would like to send me some product from this manufacturer for review. The email rang hollow immediately, and after about 30 seconds of Internet 101 sleuthing, I found everything I needed to know about this "fan" and his relationship with the manufacturer. I am not posting this to embarrass or call out anybody, so I am not mentioning names, but rather as a reminder that real world values still come into play in the online world. Here is a snippet of one of the emails I sent this "fan":
The one thing that really gets under the skin of many internet users are fake fan sites, or hired shills spamming message boards and review sites trying to pump up a companies product. Luckily, they are easy to snuff out, but leave a bad taste in everybody's mouth. Why not just be open about your relationship with the product, and tell everyone how great it is and why they should use it? I think it allows for a lot more social interaction if you are a representative of the company - people will come to you with questions and thoughts knowing that you have the backing of the company and have access to get them answers.
I know I'm not breaking any new ground here, and this is really common sense type of stuff, but many people still don't get it. I'll be glad to talk to you about reviewing your product, but let's have an open and honest discussion up front, ok?