Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Introducing Five Star Rating Reviews

   You all know my struggles throughout this blog on reviews. I mainly created this blog as a way to showcase and write about the everyday struggles and ups and downs of being a new parent, particularly a new stay at home parent. As  you have read being a next generation stay at home mom is much different then it used to be. (Read Definition of A Next Generation Stay At Home Mom).
       However, as a parent you are bombarded and loaded with products. People give you hand me downs, you get samples in the mail, there are coupons everywhere you turn. You turn on the computer, television or tablet  and you see ads for all the baby "must haves". In an attempt to help parents sort through all the products I started doing articles and reviews. I have a hard time giving press time to products that just plain suck. So I only chose items that I thought were at least worth giving press time to. I thought if I did journalism reviews they should be unbiased and highlight the good and bad and let you decide if it is something you are interested in.
      After doing reviews for over a year and reading countless other reviews of products on blogs I realize how much trust you place in us. For that I am thankful. You see I do reviews for marketing companies, about three or four and I also have my own personal blog marketing that I do reviews for; so I have ended up reviewing and learning about a lot of products. While writing reviews typically I do look over other reviews of the same product to see what other parents thought of the product and if they had the same problems as me or if it was just a fluke in my product tester.
     However, I am ashamed at some of the bloggers who say they "do reviews". As a reader I do not consider it a review if you open a box and take a couple pictures of your kid playing with a toy for a few minutes and say how wonderful it is and that your readers should buy it. In fact, I get upset seeing some of my closest friends buying items I know are terrible products, but because they saw it got good reviews they trusted the blogger and bought it.
      Brands and advertisers are now learning that blogs are "THE" place to get your word out about a product. Why? Because we are regular human beings just like our readers. I am a regular person. We struggle and have fun in life just like you. As a result of our readers reading our personal stories and journeys and our reviews you place your trust very much in us. So I feel it is my duty as a fellow blogger that does reviews to make sure I do them justice for you, my readers.  It does not matter to me if I write a bad review for the product. I did not do it before because I thought it was a waste of space and press when it could be going to a great product. However, if I can save one parent from flushing their hard earned money down a toy nightmare I am going to do it.
     Since learning about my readers and talking to some of you on social media. I have decided to do a five star rating system. Believe it or not, I am one of the first Mommy Blogs to have a Five Star Rating system. The system is mainly based on the quality vs. the cost of the product. Basically, does it do what it says it does, and does it last as long as that $20 it cost you to buy it? If it does and it's really cool it will get five stars,

 if it just meets the criteria with no extra bells and whistles it will get four stars.

If I think it might be lagging in either quality or cost it will get three stars.

 It gets two stars for only meeting one criteria ie- great product but way over priced.

 The one star rating is for buy at your own risk, meaning I would never buy it or have it if I did not get a free sample!

      Along with the rating system I will still vow to you, my readers that I will test the products as I always have. We take at least two weeks to test every product I write about and we try to use it as much as possible in as many different ways as we can in that amount of time. We use it as instructed and test as instructed and even towards the end of testing we push it to it's limits. We try things with it that may not be recommended or to see if it will work for another idea.
     I do this for you, the reader, and parent. I realize how much blogging has had a huge impact on media, advertising and reading in general. People no longer subscribe to newspapers or magazines, but blogs, delivered directly to their email as soon as posted or even their reading tablet device. You trust bloggers because you know we are real people, with real opinions and real lives. We are not swayed by big companies. Trust me, they do not "buy" our opinions, in fact, if you read my blogs there are always disclaimers as that is illegal. Each disclaimer is different due to the company I am working with but states the same thing. Brands can send samples, giveaways and sometimes extra items, discounts, a payment or gift card to a blogger for writing a review with certain specifications. However, brands are never allowed to see the review before it is posted nor do they have any say in the review other than what they would like mentioned which usually is things like where to buy it, or their social media pages, etc.
     From this day forward all reviews will have a rating. (Eventually, I will try to rate the reviews that are already done, but that will take a while) Some good, some alright, some bad this is to give you the reader a better sense of the product and what I think of it. You may not agree but at least you are going in with facts. Perhaps you really like that bottle I rated as a one star and you buy it, but my hope is that you will at least keep in mind the problems I listed with it and pay special attention to them to be careful that it does not happen to you.
      Also, please share these ratings with your fellow parents. They need the help too! Bloggers cannot just approve everything thrown their way, we need to be smart consumers. I know we are tired and busy and would much rather play with our kids than do research on the best car seat, but hopefully, now you can turn to my blog and the Review Page and check the rating of your favorite products or find one that suites your needs.
     I am proud to say that Next Generation Stay At Home Mom is one of the first mommy blogs to have a five star rating system on reviews! I hope you are able to find, use and love the many great products that "Received Five Stars from Next Generation Stay At Home Mom"!

On this note, if you have a business we are always willing to do reviews for products, places, events, etc. Check out the Sponsor page and Contact me for a review of your product or business!

Don't forget to enter our raffle for a free Subtech Sports Dryskin for your Iphone 4/4S (a $24.95 value)!

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