Thursday, 23 August 2012

We Are Mystery Shoppers

Boak and Bailey did a great post on how to deal with negative reviews, if you haven’t seen it, go and look.

Now for the side of why people shouldn’t expect the same from any blogger compared to a reviewer from my perspective.

I have on more than one occasion, seen and overheard conversations from professional reviewers in restaurants, pop-ups, bars (mainly cocktail places which are trendy at the moment) and pubs whereby they introduce themselves and sit back for their drinks and food. Now I personally believe that reviews should be fair and true, so they should go in as a mystery shop would and try out the place as a normal customer not as a reviewer.

Same for product reviews of make-up. Now, any make-up brand that spends money on advertising in a magazine will also get ‘free’ advertising in the form of a review within said magazine or one of its sisters. It is in the interests of the magazine company not to upset the applecart so I have always seen these reviews as biased. Whereas a blogger who has brought the product out of their own money is more likely to report honestly on the product, its good side, bad side and importantly whether they will be buying it again. This is why I prefer blogs, so far I have not heard one blogger go into a place and state who they are before being served even one drink, so their review will not be based on any different treatment that a reviewer may get.

As much as I can see why there has been a lot of controversy over various blog posts over the years, I think that one thing is noted, that blog posts on services or products are important. Personally myself I prefer reading a few bloggers view point on a place before going. Why? Because in general they aren’t paid to go and review it so therefore bias is avoided as per the problem above.

But and it is a big but, I read a few blog posts on a place and not just one because everyone’s opinion is subjective. And yes, I have been to places with bad blog reviews and wrote positive ones about them or just not gone back if they are bad.

If a restaurant gets a bad review from AA Gill, that doesn’t spell the end of that restaurant necessarily, likewise a good review doesn’t spell automatic success. Same with blog reviews, just because out of all the fantastic reviews there are one or two bad ones it doesn’t mean a downturn in trade, to me and other sensible folks it just means that one or two folk don’t like it.

Bloggers are the mystery shoppers of the world, we don’t look different from anyone else,

We don’t want anyone to know necessarily we are bloggers,

All we want to go somewhere are try something new, whether it’s a new beer, new pub/restaurant, new lipstick or whether that new beermat works on the table or not!


  1. True up to a point, except that some beer bloggers do expect, or even ask for, free samples from brewers. I therefore don't trust beer bloggers without question. The Ormskirk Baron is one I do trust because he makes it clear when the beer has been given to him. For myself, I neither expect nor receive any free samples, but then I don't write beer reviews.

  2. Don't get any myself and do review beer on the odd occasion. I have however won tickets to the Sambrooks Birthday Bash but was a competition!

    If you ask for freebies I think that comes across in your blog, for example like Cookie's blog, ok his was a humourous way of asking but it worked and we knew where he was getting his stash from.