Reviews, Blogs and Ethics

I, like many blogs, do product reviews.  It is not a huge part of my blog, but I enjoy doing them. In the past, I have looked at everything from dice and laser cut tokens to small publisher pdf files.   The items I review, for the most part,  I purchase  myself.  Recently, some of my reviews sprang from items I received “for review” from publishers/manufacturers.  These items came free of charge.  In no way was a “quid pro quo” requested, but it did make me think about  the relationships between publishers/manufacturers  and reviewers and our careful ethical dance.

Bloggers often get free items for  review. Yet, they are expected to give an honest opinion. As a human being, this can be difficult. I know I do not like to say bad things about stuff I get for free.  As a business, blogs have an even bigger issue, in that we need to maintain a “friendly” relationship with publishers.  A relationship that is unlikely to survive a savage review of the publisher’s latest product.  So, does the blogger give a dishonest review that guarantees future “review swag”  and a higher profile for the blog or give an honest review and risk losing the opportunity for future reviews from the offended company?

So far, I have not had to give a bad review, but it will happen. My only solution is total openess and a code of ethics.  It is fairer for all parties and lets me sleep at night.  Just to be perfectly clear, I would like to introduce “The Reviewers Code of Ethics.”

1. I swear to never give a good review because  a company gave me a free item for review.

2. I will disclose any financial conflict of interest.

3. I will disclose if I receive affliate income from sales or “hits” sent to an external site.

4.  I will disclose if I intend to sell the item in my site’s store.

5. I will give my honest opinion.

I hope that by codifying how I review items I can reassure my readership of my objectivity and offer publishers a fair venue to evaluate their new products or services.

This is the intial draft. I am willing to entertain any additions, so please drop your ideas in the comment section.

Trask, The Last Tyromancer



Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.