Can You Be Bought?

Can You Be Bought?
Can You Be Bought?

I am talking about reviews, and review sites.  This is just something I was wondering if other people struggled with too, especially after an experience I had over the weekend that involved some really hard thinking about the subject. I am a huge fan of reviews and people giving their honest opinions, but I am also a huge fan of businesses doing everything they can to eliminate negative results and trying to remedy a problem.

I just don’t feel right about naming the business here (I am sure if you dug deep enough you could figure it out), but lets just put it this way – I did a pretty bad review (but 100% honest) because of an experience I had that was not good at all. It was a food place, and the actual owner of the place contacted me about the review and asked me if I would be willing to give his place a second chance? I want to make this clear – he never once asked me to take the review down, just to give his place a second chance.  Here is the kicker though, he offered me a gift card that would cover the cost of my meal to try them again.

I went ahead and accepted the gift card, and felt if he was willing to monitor his brand name and online reputation, that I would be willing to give him and his business a second chance. This is where it got me thinking though. There is a side of me that preaches reputation monitoring and wants me to sing praises to this guy, but what if the experience is no good again? Am I obligated to offer a good review? Am I obligated to take down the negative review that I already wrote about them? If so – does that mean I was bought?

I went to this place over the weekend and gave it a second chance and the experience was much better then the first time, but I still felt the food was not worth the money they charge for it. Besides that, you have to serve yourself and I have kids – taking them through a cafeteria style place is not easy.  My point is that for the same amount of money I could go to another place that serves better food, and THEY will serve me!

I went ahead and updated my review and was honest in my review and it can be taken either way.  Part of me felt I needed to take the other review down because of this businesses owners great reputation monitoring (which I did) but the other part of me wanted to continue to be honest so I wrote another honest review, and it wasn’t all that great.  I did offer suggestions to what I feel would remedy the problem and we will see what happens?

My question to you is have you ever found yourself in similar situations and what did you do?  Do you feel I did the right thing?  I appreciate in advance any feedback I get!

6 thoughts on “Can You Be Bought?

  1. Janet Meiners Thaeler says:

    This is a familiar dilemma. You want to be honest – even if the place is good but you hated it – but not hurt the business. You’re responsible and know the power of a negative review – esp. if it’s one of the only reviews. So I always hesitate leaving a negative review.

    What I hate are the people who leave negative reviews on purpose to smear a competitor or to get higher search engine placement.

    There are businesses you hate and those you just wouldn’t recommend.
    I probably would’ve added a note at the end of the original post. I think you were more than fair to go back and give another try.


  2. Lisa says:

    Hi Mat,
    I can empathise with your situation and I’ve also experienced something similar. I believe you did the right thing, especially since you seem to have disclosed the free meal deal you got.

    I am a BzzAgent and I signed up for a campaign recently for Diet Mountain Dew. I should have listened to my hunch that I was not a drinker of Mountain Dew to begin with and I probably wouldn’t be very jazzed about their diet version either. Anyway, now I’m stuck with a bunch of soda cans, campaign coupons and “talking sheets” I’m supposed to give out. I feel conflicted and it’s reflected in the fact that my bzz activity is way way down for this campaign. I talk about it on my recent post in “Internet Bits and Social Media pieces”.

    I guess the only way to navigate through the murky areas is to be upfront, disclose affiliations and be honest about your opinions.

    Lisa’s last blog post..Brands – engaging the consumer while avoiding online clutter

  3. Mat Siltala says:

    Hey thanks so much for coming by and commenting. There is a fine line between staying true and being bought – and I think we always have to be 100% honest, even when it may be the “uncool” thing to do, or we will lose our reputation.

  4. Jessica Mahoney says:

    I would have definitely taken the honest approach because then at least they are getting feedback, which truly is most helpful when running a business. There is a difference between a slandering review and one written thoughtfully and honestly. As for being bought I think it was the owners way of trying to make it right and probably the only thing they could think of to remedy the situation. Hopefully,they took the things you critiqued and are making improvements.

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