Paid and nonpaid reviews

First I want to apologize if anyone felt concerned, but my suggestion no personal hue so I start a new topic here.

My suggestion is simple:

At the beginning of each review to be declared, whether the object of the review is personally paid or it is received free, i.e. the review appears paid in some degree.

This little clarification always missing me.
I am grateful to colleagues for their reviews and input time. I feel their sharing as the essence of the forum.

The US FTC guidelines are useful on this

Yes I think most people do it like that (or they end with it)
I know only one who is reluctant to be open about this (and diverted the question asked several times in his last review) but all the other BLFers are being open.

So if you miss it, just ask, if the person does not answer and tags your posts rude you got an answer in a nasty way (and in that ultra rare and bizarre situation asking again or in another review might not be wise :wink: )
Normally BLF is an open and friendly place where a simple question is welcomed :THUMBS-UP:

I prefer reviews where the reviewer pays for his own light, but I completely understand why most regular reviewers get their lights for free. It’s a lot of work to do a proper review, and nobody’s going to buy lights just to review them. So, yes, a disclaimer is appreciated; if it’s not stated, I just assume the reviewer got it for free or has some other compensation arranged.

Note to anyone NOT providing the information — mostly the FTC goes after the seller/advertising agency, not the blogger, for failure to disclose:

It’s up to you the reviewer to protect the people providing you the items for review, if they’re not familiar with the rules and they are advertising in the US.

Wow Hank, interesting read!

So an US reviewer should disclose if he/she gets items for free seeing your post and this quote. So if one holds asample company dearly and has its best interest at heart one must disclose, how interesting.

If you take into account he time a reviewer needs to take the pics (the simple outdoor beamshots require me 1 hour of driving), test the light, and write the review in 2 languages, upload everything and reply to you… I am missing my 1000$ checks.
I am also very lucky because I have a friend who lends me the instrumentation (150€ camera, 220€ lux meter with datalogger), and has given me basic knowledge on how to properly use them. Otherwise I would have to buy them.
If I have worked the equivalent hours needed to write the review, you will see the time-money balance is negative.

If in the future I will receive 1000$ for each review, you will still see the same runtime plots and beamshots (Yes, i could invest and buy better instruments). Luxmeters and camera don’t care of the checks the reviewer gets.
Of course, the reviewer has to be honest and not mess up with things :slight_smile:

I have been using lights for years now. Being far from having great technical knowledge, I know what I don’t like and what I like on a light.
Personally speaking, when someone gives me the choice bettween lights to review, I choose the one I like most. At the end of the day, after investing all these hours, can I at least end up with a light that I (potentially) like?
Experience and taste in UI, and other things are very different, especially when the 2 opposite worlds, flashlight collecting and flashlight using, collide.
Why should I tell you that this is an ugly light? You may like it, your taste may differ. In some review I stated the love for the design of 2 lights, but I clearly stated that they are unique (and I belive you can’t argue with that, but you can also find them ugly).
Should I tell you that I hate this light because it turns on at turbo mode, when I like low mode? you may like it. you may prefere medium.

So in my reviews I try to describe things from a distance. My reviews aim to be 99% data (with common sens comments) and 1% personal comments.

Your reviews are outstanding and the OP is not negative about receiving a free light, he is about saying one has received it (and you for example make it clear at the beginnen, so do I and a lot more BLFers, some end with it)

So personally I think it is going good here.
Interesting that hank adds an overdriven XHP70 amount of lumens, I would have never thought about legislation that has to do with this subject.

Thanks Miller, don’t worry I don’t feel concerned, I just thought I’d like to partecipate to the thread :wink:

A free review is not sinonimous of a good review.
Go on aliexpress/amazon/Banggood/Fasttech/GearBest and you will see 5 stars review everywhere. Yes, some site may encourage reviews, but amazon does not and still the get a lot of reviews.
You will see eople who pay for the item rating 5 stars and say: Amazon superfast delivery, I ordered today and I got it yesterday! Great product.
Add to the review a unfocused pic, an unboxing video and you will have a review on every chinese mall site :slight_smile:

Amazon now posts guidelines that match the FTC’s, but this is new.
Amazon got a really bad reputation for years for hosting fake reviews.“five+star”+review+fake

PS, the rule is not just “free” — it’s about disclosure if “any consideration” was given to get a review.

And payment/compensation after the fact, payment for having posted reviews, is ruled out entirely.
That’s because there were thriving businesses ginning out glowing reviews and getting paid after posting them.

I always say if i bought the product or got it free! I have done reviews on bad gear and i rated them bad and obviously the company doesn’t like it. Nothing is perfect but if a product is okay i guess there is no need to go over board talking bad about it! If its that bad they shouldn’t of sent the product out lol! A company wanted me to do a review on a headlamp and they sent it to me and guess what! It had a fake Cree what the hell am i meant to do with this light? So no review was done! They lose a light and i keep my credibility (If i have any! lol) with you guys but i lose credibility with other companies or the chance to get future gear from that company! They can stick it!

IMO, the correct thing to do would be to do the review but rate it poorly. If you hide all the negative reviews, then the review system is rigged.

I understand why you wouldn’t want to do a negative review (it might cut your ties to the company), but if you accept a light to review you should really go ahead and honestly review it, bad or good.

Unfortunately, I very seldom see any negative reviews from reviewers that get their stuff for free (not just flashlights, but any gadgets).

Its easier just to send the product back its a no name light that you can not identify every one here knows what goes with these no name lights lol! If it was brand name i would review it and cop it like i did with my Nitecore charger i gave a bad rating and got thumbs down!

You have to understand we are critiquing some thing from a flashlight experts level here. Other people may have the product and may not understand why you don’t like it because to them its a good product. which to many people it will be good. Its a fine line you have to walk!

I like the disclosure near the beginning so I know from the start whether bias may be involved. And I feel clear disclosure is ethically necessary. If you’re hiding or obscuring facts your review isn’t to be trusted. Here on BLF that is almost never seen :THUMBS-UP: The open honesty of folks here is what drew me to join BLF- it’s a refreshing change from what you usually find online.


If it’s a thorough and honest review, I don’t think you should be concerned about likes and dislikes.

Maybe if a product is still usable but bad its okay. But if its some thing like that headlamp that i wouldn’t use what is the point of reviewing it? I am wasting my time for no reason. If a product is dangerous its a different story.
If i don’t review the product a company sent i have already cut ties. If i then go and do a review i lose even more. My last two review where both almost 2000 words with the pictures its a lot of work.

If the reviewer gets something free, there is no question they should disclose it. It won’t affect reviews based on measurements, but I have read tons of reviews on Amazon and when people get something free, they are always more positive about it. Many times they are reviewing something they aren’t that interested in, so it’s like a guy reviewing lipstick and he can say it seems great, high quality, etc., but he has no idea whether a real end user would want it. If they give an honest opinion and pro’s and con’s, they will simply not be given more free things to review. So getting free lights doesn’t make someone a shill by any means, but the vendors are more likely to give free lights to people who will shill. Or people who are known reviewers, particularly those that review based on objective measurements. That said, I appreciate the effort that goes into reviews and I think most people on BLF who review lights do a pretty good job and I have no problem with them getting free lights. I do not believe, as some reviewers do, that free lights must be given away.

Disclosure: I don’t get any free lights.

Before they send you a product to review, don’t you agree to review it? I understand it’s a lot of work if you don’t like the product, but if you agree to review it you should honor that.

This argument always gets trotted out when this topic comes up. I always find it more than a little disingenuous. The vast majority of forum, blog, and YouTube reviewers do reviews for fun, not to make money or get product. The fact that you can’t make enough money to quit your day job solely from the review is irrelevant. The fact that your time could have been spent making money at a job is also irrelevant. This is nothing more than a red herring used to distract from the fact that most reviews where consideration is given, in whatever form, are nothing more than third party advertising.

In fact, I was recently sent an email to offer me money in exchange for reviews of products I would never use. I was told to get the info from an internet search and then regurgitate it in my own words so it looked legit. Given some of the other members in this thread, I’m pretty sure others here have also received this email.

As to the OP’s question, yes, people should always disclose, but it is obvious plenty do not.

For instance, there are big YT channels that get every new Vanquest bag or Thrunight light and NEVER have anything negative to say about the product. That is a big red flag. Ever notice that a reviewer will review 19 lights all from the same company and only one from another? That’s a big red flag. When they ask you to buy something through their Amazon “store” via a link, that should be a big red flag.

I can easily think of a dozen high profile examples where this sort of thing is going on.

Do any of us know someone with a lot of knives all from one company who thinks each one is better than the next? No, because that’s not how humans operate in the real world. For example, I have a published flashlight collection well in excess of 120 lights in a thread here on BLF. There are all sorts of lights from all sorts of manufactures in my collection. Some are, based on my own needs and experience based biases, great, so-so, or POSs. If I suddenly start getting a lot of lights from brand x and all I do is heap praise on them, then I’m not being honest or objective.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with getting product sent to you for review. It’s when you get to keep it, or you otherwise get paid, where there starts to be the appearance of impropriety and it only gets worse when the reviewer never has valid criticism of any product they have received or simply don’t do the review at all for fear of getting the pipeline cut off if they are truthful.