Etiquette/kindness re: reviewing WSOs

18 replies
I enjoy reviewing WSOs from time to time. But I have a question re: what is the kindest way to let someone know [privately] that their written product is not-quite-ready-for-primetime? (And possibly may never be.)

Is it enough to simply reply to the product creator with "Sorry, this is not something I could endorse, so I am withdrawing my offer to leave a review"?

As a creator, I would think that I'd been ripped off by someone who just wanted free product.

Or should I elaborate on my reasons? Sometimes offerings are so bad that I can't simply point out a couple of things that need to be fixed. Once I told someone that he risked a lot of refund requests if he went ahead with some PLR. I tried to soften the blow by saying "This is advice I would give to a good friend or trusted colleague."

I'd love to hear some opinions on this. Thanks, Anita

p.s. I am not referring to picky items like grammar or spelling that would get a high school student a 'B' instead of an 'A.' I'm talking about D- or F quality.
#etiquette #etiquette or kindness #refunds #reviewing #reviewing offers #wsos
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Are you a "full time" reviewer or what?

    What I don't understand how comes that you "offer" to leave a review (correct wording: fake testimonial!) even before seeing the product???

    Whenever somebody asks me to take a look at their brain child my standard reply, if I even consider doing it, sounds like this:
    I may give you a private opinion and no guarantee you will like it.
    It will be brutally honest and I will let you know later whether you could use it as a testimonial in public or not.

    It is this simple. Then you are NOT obliged to be nice. You can tell them bluntly: their product sucks.
    End of story.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163807].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author WebPen
      The kindest way is, like Istvan said, to be brutally honest.

      If you want to do it in a PM or email, that's fine.

      If you think it's better for the world to see- like a huge security hole in their WordPress plugin or theme (which I've heard are pretty common), put it in the WSO thread.

      Also, remember that what you consider a "D" or "F" might be an "A" in someone else's eyes. It all depends on your experience, how you like that person's style of writing, etc.

      But don't tear someone's WSO to shreds just because it's basic, and you've been marketing for 10 years so you've heard it all before. Just explain what's good about it, what's bad, etc.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163835].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by Justin Stowe View Post

        Also, remember that what you consider a "D" or "F" might be an "A" in someone else's eyes. It all depends on your experience, how you like that person's style of writing, etc.
        Sorry, but that's one of the biggest BS urban myths going around when it comes about critique.

        In my former life I used to be a professional (theatre/film) critic for print media. There is no such thing that it is good for someone else but may not be good for you... The product(ion) is either of quality or is crap. For everybody, in both cases.

        Because there are general criteria an educated critic should base his/her opinion on. In the case of theatre, for example, dramaturgy, play writing, directing, actor's performance and professionalism, general rules of dramatic theory and aesthetics and so on...

        While not implying that any of the WSOs around here have 'artistic value' (or even flavour ) I don't see why the judging process of their intrinsic value should be any different. That BS-thing I am against is a result of the general tendency of relativism, a remnant of the post-modernism... which so passé nowadays :rolleyes:

        Products should be judged on their own quality and content - not in reference to others or based on the intended target group.

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164037].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author WillR
          Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

          Sorry, but that's one of the biggest BS urban myths going around when it comes about critique.
          I think there is some truth in what he was saying. Go and take 100 people along to watch the same movie and some people will say the movie was great and well worth the money, and others will say it was crap. At the end of the day a review is only one persons opinion of that product. I have seen plenty of movies where the newspaper critics marked them poorly but i liked it, and vice versa.

          What he saying is that just because you found a product not to be overly outstanding does not mean someone else will not. If I read a simple report on list building tomorrow I would not be overly impressed with it and would think it was a waste of my money. The reason being that the information inside the report is of no value to me. So if I were to leave a review I might say it was a decent product but it wouldn't be an enthusiastic review, that's if I even left one at all.

          But then another person comes along who has literally only heard of the term Internet marketing today, buys that exact same report, and absolutely loves it. He knew none of the information inside that report and so he now thinks that report is the best thing since sliced bread and he then goes and leaves an ecstatic review in the thread.

          So two people have read the same report and felt two very different ways about that same report and thus left two very different reviews. It happens all the time. Reviews have a LOT to do with people's own circumstances and how relative that product/service was to them... and so they should.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164067].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Anita Hampl
      @Istvan Nope, not a fulltime reviewer. I just pop in once in a while to the "reviewers wanted" forum and see if anything looks interesting, so I can get it for free and get some good karma on the WF. Typically reviewers will post on the forum, then the creator MIGHT extract their comments to use as testimonials in sales copy.

      The best reviews are those that point out the good and the bad, but my question was really about the UGLY.

      @WillR Had not thought about that angle, people asking for reviews just for post volume. I have no problem dissecting/pointing out problems for a friend or client who asked, it just seems different for strangers.

      @Justin Great points. I agree that perspective matters. I have had no problem reviewing Amazon books and saying, "This is better for someone new to the . .. " etc. That's not criticizing the work, just warning veterans it may be stuff they already know. But that's a far cry from PLR or reports that are terrible.

      @RockNRolla Touche. But there are some REALLY good products released as WSOs, depending upon your niche, you could find some real bargains. Just read the reviews carefully LOL

      @cpoalmighty Wise words, thanks.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163935].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author +Awesome
    I don't know why would you want to do this. Just ignore and let them learn from their mistakes.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163826].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WillR

    I am always of the opinion that you need to be cruel to be kind. Most people ask for reviews just so they can get some people writing them in their WSO thread. But the reality is if someone has asked you to review their product then you should tell them exactly what you thought. It need not be done publicly you can just private message them and let them know. But you are doing them no favors by just hiding your true feelings. If there was some way I could improve my product then I'd definitely want people to tell me. I have gotten a lot more value from constructive feedback than the typical 'your product is great' review. No product is perfect and so a real review will usually have both good points and also areas for improvement.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163827].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RockNRolla
    I'm someone who has never purchased WSO before because all I ever hear is how poor quality they are. Maybe if people started giving honest reviews instead of worrying about hurting the creators feelings then more people won't be unsatisfied with the poor quality products that are in the WSO marketplace.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163862].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author cpoalmighty
    Sometimes the best way is the hardest way. If you are a professional reviewer and you notice something which would be of benefit to the WSO manager then go ahead and give your advice the best way you can. If they are serious about their offer, they will take your criticisms and work with it diligently to improve their offer for the masses because this will only benefit them if they get it to a standard you would appreciate!
    Host Ultimo LLC
    Home Page | Get A Website Quote | Direct Link to our Trial SSD Hosting. Instant setup
    We host, design and develop XHTML5/CSS3 {PHP} codeigniter for Wordpress | Ubersmith | WHMCS

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8163883].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath

    You are talking about value ($$) and I was talking about quality. Big difference... although they are not mutually exclusive.

    Your post is another brilliant attempt to justify the relativism, i.e. that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference. From here there is only one small step to moral relativism... which could postulate that in one person's particular frame of reference even giving reviews containing outright lies is admissible. Because it's just that we felt very differently about the same action.

    As far as I know you I don't think you would want to go on that slippery slop.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164090].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    The bottom line is that Honesty is the Best Policy.
    Why lie? You're doing someone a disservice if you do that.
    I am a professional theatre reviewer and I always tell the truth. I have had several companies not want me doing their reviews because of that and that makes me sad because they're being narrow-minded.
    (I do have to qualify this by saying I have spent over 30 years actively involved in all aspects of theatre myself so I am qualified to review shows).

    I have also written a few reviews and if I am not happy with something I will give feedback to that person.

    Cheers, Laurence. Read my Warriors for Hire ad.
    Writer/Editor/Proofreader. Place orders.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164389].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author GforceSage
    I think you should tell it like it is and if it's not so hot, just do a PM to the creator.
    I think you are right to offer constructive criticism so that the creator knows what the products shortcomings are.

    The old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all "(publicly) comes into play. We don't want to destroy someone's rep, but we don't want to damage ours either.

    If things are not up to par, just say, " I cannot in good conscience endorse this product in its
    current form. Here's a few ideas for improvement, let me know if you would like me to look at it again once the revisions are done. This is advice I would give to a good friend or trusted colleague."

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164443].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Valdor Kiebach
    I have reviewed 2 pre release WSO's and the first was so bad I told the creator that I refuse to review it (the WSO was about stealing WSO's and selling them on fiverr) and advised them not to release it as it was illegal, they did release it and got ripped a new one.

    The second one was good but it was a video series and the sound was poor and one of the videos didnt make sense. I advised the person to fix this before release and also to offer a pdf transcript as a free bonus, the WSO was only $7 and it was good apart from those 2 points. The person never released it though.

    So my advice would be to just say what the problems are and advise them to fix it.

    Remember it is your name and reputation at stake if you give a glowing review for something that is not very good.

    I dont bother reviewing them anymore as its not worth the trouble.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164877].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Anita Hampl View Post

    Is it enough to simply reply to the product creator with "Sorry, this is not something I could endorse, so I am withdrawing my offer to leave a review"?
    I explain why in VERY basic terms. Like, for example, "I disagree with much of your advice on this subject" or "I have an ethical concern about some of your instructions." If they ask for more details, I offer to consult with them over Skype at $200 an hour. They never take me up on that, which is kind of the point. In general, if I have to explain in detail why a product isn't good, whoever made it doesn't care if it's good.
    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8164916].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      From time to time, I'm asked to review WSOs and other products. When I do, the review is honest and specific.

      In a posted review, I'll spell out what I liked and didn't like (short of giving everything away), who I believe will get the best value (newbies, intermediates, etc.) and my recommendation.

      Negative reviews go to the creator first, and are often fairly detailed. I can only remember a couple of instances where someone has made changes and asked for another look. If it were not for those people, I'd be following Caliban's model...
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8167379].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author sfrewerd
    If you've reviewed a product and it's obviously terrible quality or just not ready to be out in public, then rip the bandage off and just tell the seller. Most folks will probably have bystander apathy and wait for someone else to do it for fear of hurting feelings or pissing someone off though.

    I'd tell someone if they had toilet paper hanging out of their pants or some other embarrassing thing like that. Toilet paper can be removed quickly and forgotten about but a bad reputation in their business is another thing entirely, so letting the seller think they have a good product is not cool.

    Rip that bandage off, but there's no need to be mean about it. :-)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8167413].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author WeaverJ972
    I think it really depends on whether or not you can see that the person has tried to put some effort in it or not. If they have put some effort into it, go ahead and help them out with suggestions or whatever, but if they haven't put some effort into it, just be done with them. Maybe tell them to get back to you when they have put some effort into it, idk. Just depends on how nice you want to be if it's evident that they are only trying to make a quick buck.

    Are you a total n00b who is struggling to make money online? How about a FREE Silver Membership to my coaching program? Check it out here NOW!

    Want to make great money by saving people money on a bill they are already paying for a service that is habitually used and unconsciously purchased? Click here! Join me to be in the top 1% of network marketers!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8167558].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Agree with Will and Istvan.

    Don't be aggressive and certainly don't abuse the person, but be honest.

    If you have ever read the book "How To Make Friends and Influence People" use the methods in that book.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[8167735].message }}

Trending Topics