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discount codes and review issues by igetcha

Discussion in 'Commercial Ecigarette Reviews and Videos' started by igetcha, Mar 27, 2009.

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  1. igetcha

    igetcha Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 9, 2008
    hi all,

    ive been musing over a few things that have been bothering me from comments i noticed on the ECF forum from a very small collection of forum users. some have been directed at myself, some have been directed at other reviewers.

    basically, some guys have been saying that it is unethical for me to review products that i recieved free of charge and that by using discount codes i must have a vested interest in the company.

    to those people I would like to say this:-

    whenever i do a review of any e-cig i always say "i recieved" this from a supplier if it was a freebie and if its one i purchased i say "i purchased" this from a supplier. i personally think that by saying that im not pulling the wool over peoples eyes at all but for some its not good enough.
    99.9% of people who contact me have all said "thanks for the code" as it saved them money but there are a few people here saying that im giving out good reviews so i benefit from it as well. they also have a problem that i dont mention i benefit from viewers using the code.

    i fully understand what they say about giving a product a blinding review will no doubt help sales and therefore will benefit myself more. but, how many people actually make a purchase on my sole review alone? im sure that there may be some who do but i would imagine that the majority of people watch other reviews on the same product, read forum posts etc before making a decision to purchase. i would!
    but, it will still not make a scrap of difference to reviews will always be honest. full stop!

    i think the best examples of this would be my reviews on the products from Electronic Cigarette | Free Yourself... | e-cigs Welcome.
    i have done 3 reviews for them that use codes. 2 were freebies for review and 1 was a purchase. i scored them as follows:-

    dse801 with usb pass thru, freebie, 8 out of 10
    disposable cigar, freebie, 6.5 out of 10
    golden shimmer cigar, purchased, 6 out of 10

    the 801 is great and fully deserved the score of 8
    the disposable cigar was okay, but let down by vapour production and appearance, hence 6.5
    the golden shimmer i absolutely love and use it every evening but it does not produce great vapour and has fairly poor battery life, hence 6.

    now, be honest. are they really scores that will set simons tills ringing? the 801 maybe, but surely not the other 2!

    I would hate for people to question the honesty of my reviews so therefore i have put the following measures in place:-

    1. the start of my reviews will now have a written message to state that i received the e-cig free of charge for the purpose of giving it a review.
    2. the written message will also state that as well as the viewer benefiting from the code, that i will benefit from it as well as it gives me the opportunity to be able to get more e-cigs to do more reviews
    3. the written message will also ask the viewer to make an informed decision as to whether they wish to continue to watch the review or take advantage of the discount code based on the information provided.
    4. the written message will also state that my opinion of the e-cig will always remain true, honest and accurate in every way, shape or form.
    5. my opening spoken message will be to inform the viewer that it was recieved free of charge for the purpose of a review.
    6. i will no longer use any type of scoring system as i feel that a high or low score could influence a viewer either way. instead i will show the viewer the product in as much detail as possible, with as much information as possible. i will show "whats in the box", how to assemble it, point out what i think are the positives plus what i think are the negatives of the product. i will state what my personal views are on it but then state to the viewer to make their own decision based on what they have seen in the video review. (so basically, everything that i have always done minus a "score out of 10" at the end!)

    i honestly dont feel that i should have to do any of this to "prove my honesty" as i know all my reviews have been conducted in a true and honest manner.
    but i appreciate that for some people it could be deemed as biased. so hopefully these measures will help to prove my honesty to them....... at least in a small way.

    On another note, I have openly stated in forum posts that I tend to avoid doing reviews on products that I think are poor and I would like to explain my reasons for this.
    the sole reason i avoid recording reviews on poor products is simply because of time. the actual recording of a review takes me about 10 - 30 minutes depending on whether i can get it done in one take without cocking it up or getting tongue tied. i then spend around 6 - 8 hours encoding, editing, adding effects, adding titles, improving sound and picture quality, uploading to youtube etc. so in total, an average of say 7 hours from recording to the uploaded finished article.
    now 7 hours does not sound like such a big deal i hear you say.......and you are right, its not. HOWEVER, the real time consuming acts are answering the hundreds of emails, private messages, youtube comments, youtube messages and forum posts that i recieve every week for every review that i publish.
    now i admit, i could just simply ignore them but if someone asks me a polite question then i will bend over backwards to help them.
    my reviews at 1st were getting 50 - 100 views a day in total. now though, over the course of 2 months they have received over 70,000 views and get an average of 1700 views a day and rising. the more views they get, the more questions i get. so can you imagine what it will be like in another 2 months time!
    i either work during the day or look after my children and then come home to a wife and kids who want my attention. once the kids are in bed i then spend an averge of 4 - 7 hours EVERY evening answering everyone who has written to me.
    i have in fact done some bad reviews. they were so bad that i honestly dont think that they would possible influence anyone to want to make a purchase or ask a question about them..........wrong! they still do! its quite unbelievable at just how many questions i recieve on the gamucci micro which i absolutely slated!
    now, i would much rather spend my time answering questions and helping people with regards to products that i enjoy using myself. i really, really dont want to have to spend even more hours answering question after question on a product i think is sh1te!
    maybe that is wrong of me, and i fully understand why people would question it but that is my genuine and only reason for avoiding reviews on products i think are poor.

    Im going to ask Dusty (Ratindahat) and Leaford to comment on this thread and give their opinions on using discount codes. Dusty, you have a sticky thread with discount codes and I know that at least some of them are yours for which you benefit if they are used. Leaford your discount codes appear in every post that you make as you advertise them in your forum signature. I only mention you guys because as far as I am aware (I may be wrong) its only myself and you two that actually use discount codes in direct relation to performing video reviews.

    I suggest that SJ make a sticky post in the reviews section of the forum to clearly state that discount codes benefit the reviewer as well as the viewer and to compile a list of reviewers who use discount codes. I would even further suggest that maybe SJ create another sub forum solely for video reviews that have discount codes.
    This will avoid any more accusations or confusion and will allow forum members to decide what type of reviews they wish to see.

    so in summary, do reviewers benefit when a viewer uses a discount code?


    does that mean a reviewer will be biased?


    i can only speak for myself when i say that NOTHING would ever make me give a dishonest review. but im 100% confident that the same applies to Dusty and Leaford.

    so there you have it.

    armed with these facts you now have a choice:-

    watch the review, dont watch the review. use the discount code, dont use the discount code.

    its entirely up to you!

    thoughts please
  2. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    White text on a light grey background is hard to read.
  3. CandyGirl

    CandyGirl Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 3, 2009

    i thought my browser froze up.
    it's all white text! highlight with mouse.
  4. strayling

    strayling Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle, USA
    Ok, that post and all your (excellent) reviews deserve more than snark. My take is that if you're up-front about where you get the kit then the viewer can take that into account; it's up to them whether or not they think a freebie affects the neutrality of the review. I never pay much attention to arbitrary scores so you can lose them as far as I'm concerned.
  5. igetcha

    igetcha Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 9, 2008
    okay guys ive changed the font colour.........sorry about that, not too sure what happened there!
  6. RatInDaHat

    RatInDaHat Peace, I'm outta here Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    here's how it is. I'm not sure if you are the same way, but i only do the coupon codes after i have reviewed a product that i like. I won't put my name and association with a product i cannot stand behind.

    99% of my reviews are of products that were sent for that reason. This is not to say i have and buy nothing, but i don't buy much.

    Let naysayers be naysayers. that's life.

    to make my point, look at the edmunds review site. edmunds

    They get paid by advertisers, but i doubt it is as influential as people seem to think. I hate to say it, but in the end this becomes a business. Our business is being honest and getting payed for that honesty. the quick sale we might garner by lying will be offset by the hit to our reputation.

    Hopefully that makes sense.
  7. igetcha

    igetcha Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 9, 2008
    thank you dusty, spot on with my thoughts.

    i have no intention of making it a business though, i just want to be able to review as many products as i can.

    but i know exactly what you mean when you say that though.

    cheers mate,

  8. igetcha

    igetcha Reviewer / Blogger Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 9, 2008
    thank you mate,

    its always been my number 1 priority to be honest, true and accurate and will continue to be so.


  9. pwholmes

    pwholmes Senior Member ECF Veteran

    I think you said on one of your reviews that the manufacturer had sent you the product. If you liked it they wanted you to review it. If you didn't they didn't want you to review it. What the heck! There's nothing wrong with that. They were relying on your honesty and simply hoping you would like it. I see no reason to distrust you at all. Obviously the reason manufacturers are sending you product and the reason Intellicig has or had one of your reviews on their site is because you do such a bang-up job!

    I personally think you're a great reviewer, in fact probably the best on the forum. You're cogent, you cover all the main aspects and I can't understand where these suspicious people come up with this paranoia about you. (Personally I don't think I've seen any of those posts). Heck, Scott, maybe they're just jealous!

    Anyways, I think your demeanor and straightforwardness speak for themselves. As you said, before posting something negative about you these people should go check out other posts about the product you're reviewing, then make a decision, if they're afraid to trust you alone. I personally still believe the Intellicig is a great cigarette even though the one I received doesn't seem to work too well. Why? First, because I had no reason to distrust you. Secondly, I've read that many other forum members love the Intellicig also.

    Anyways, keep up the good work and don't let the sourballs spoil your day :)

  10. GrimmGreen

    GrimmGreen Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    just keep doing what you're doing Scott , if i could make videos HALF as good as yours then i would be a happy camper
  11. Starlight

    Starlight Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 21, 2009
    I may be saying the wrong thing here, so please forgive me if I do. But when I was a newbie (which I still am to some extent), I didn't realise there was more than one discount code, for example for

    No disrespect to Dusty, but I bought items from based on Scott's reviews and used Dusty's code thinking it was the only code for as I found it in the sticky "Coupon code" thread (right at the top) - until I later discovered otherwise. I hadn't seen or noticed any code of Scott's at the time. Or, if Scott did mention a code at the time (Jan or Feb, I forget now) maybe I didn't see the difference as the two codes are so similar with Scott's having a "uk" in front of it. I did PM Scott about this a little while ago when I found out he had a separate code, to apologise for what I saw as my mistake, so he knows about it :).

    In view of my experience, I agree that "to compile a list of reviewers who use discount codes" would be a good idea - and to clearly state who uses which code as it would help clarify it for other newbies who might come along and do as I did. I know Scott has more recently started adding his code to his reviews, so that helps now.

    I bought my first working e-cig, the EVO, based on Scott's review of it, and there are no discounts (that I'm aware of) for IntelliCig so I wasn't influenced into by any offer of a discount - I saw that, and all other reviews, as genuine ones. To be honest, 5% isn't a massive amount so it's not going to influence my choice of purchases.

    I also don't suppose that what he - or any of the reviewers (bar maybe one I can think of off the top of my head who shall remain nameless ;)) - gets out of the discounts equates to any profit or to what an hourly fee might otherwise be for the time he spends in relation to each of his reviews.

    I'm assuming the suppliers want to offer the reviewers a code (to thank them or for whatever reason), then I don't see it being the same as the reviewers soliciting a code from the suppliers - that would be a different cup of tea altogether. If I'm wrong on this point and reviewers do ask for codes, please correct me and I might take a different point of view on it.

    I do think it's a rotten shame that Scott keeps being unfairly picked on though! And, in turn, that it's resulted in his posting this topic. I've never seen his, or Dusty's, reviews as anything but honest. I've not viewed Leaford's as I think they're mostly for products out of the UK, so I can't say but I expect it's the same.
  12. tpboles

    tpboles Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 5, 2008
    AL, USA
    Ok - I will chime in on this one. I was the guy that mentioned about not posting bad reviews. My problem with that is if Dusty, Leaford, or Scott do not review the bad product then how many of us will get suckered into buying it? I can fully understand not doing a video review, but maybe a note on the forums letting us know that the product wasn't for them. I see where Scott is comng from though. That would probably cause the emails to come in asking a million questions as to why he didn't like that paticular product. I'm not sure what the best medium would be for that.

    Let me explain a bit more. My first e-cig purchase was from e-puffer. I bought the EAZE Super Mini (not sure of the model #). This has to be one of the worst e-cig products on the market today! I would have been better off to have went to the store and bought a pack of candy cigs. It truely was a pitiful product. I must credit Epuffer as they did send a replacement atomizer and batt, but it was still terrible. So what happened there was a $100 up a wild hogs patooty for nothing. Anyway, I would hate to know one of our reviewers had got this product and atleast not mentioned how awful this thing was. Do you guys see what I'm getting at?

    Scott - I would NEVER ask someone to give up time with their family to do videos or answer questions. Love those babies, they will be grown before you know it!
  13. ritalee76

    ritalee76 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 6, 2009
    Baton Rouge, LA

    Its a shame that you are even having this problem. In all of your reviews, you are up-front and honest about everything good and bad about the product you are reviewing.

    I will admit to purchasing an e-cig based on your review. That's all I needed was you telling me it was awesome so I bought it. :D However....

    That was only after I had watched yours and others reviews on a different e-cig, read the forums, asked tons on questions and made that purchase. Everything you said was true!!!

    After watching your review and seeing that you were nothing but honest, I trust you now. Is that bad? I don't think so, seeing as you haven't led me wrong yet....

    Isn't that the purpose of having reviewers in the first place? To get someone's honest opinion of a product? If someone is going to devote their time and energy recording a video, editing it and then answer every email and message that comes with that, they deserve a discount code that helps them get more products to do more reviews!!

    I think you're great! Piss on the rest of them!
  14. RatInDaHat

    RatInDaHat Peace, I'm outta here Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 22, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    hey tpboles, Let me tell you at least how i operate.

    Good or bad, i still review the product. that is part of the game. I do not differentiate and once the camera is rolling, whatever happens, happens. I do not pre-test, and i do not keep from posting a video. I think igetcha does the same. Once the product is in hand, the review will happen regardless of the outcome. this is the only way to be fair in my opinion.
  15. pwholmes

    pwholmes Senior Member ECF Veteran

    I can't agree with that logic. I didn't buy a product until I had seen Scott's reviews and read other takes by other forum members. I wasn't looking for the bad product. I was looking for the good product. I wasn't going to buy anything until I had seen favorable takes on it from a number of people.

    And in the case of Scott being sent a product and asked to review it only if he liked it, hey, that's the condition it was sent to him under. I'm sure that Scott being a man of honor, would have honored that. (In fact, I think in the case I'm thinking of he did review it because he liked it -- obviously! or I wouldn't have seen the review. Duh!)

    Anyways, wouldn't you rather have reviewers focus in on the good products in most cases. If I see no reviews of a product anywhere I won't consider it. (Actually there is one supplier on the forum who doesn't seem to have any reviews of his/her product but I might enquire directly about that supplier's product because I trust the supplier from everything I have seen on the forums).

    Another thing to consider is that some reviewers (not Scott) get the product and an hour later they're reviewing it. That doesn't tell me enough. I want to know something a little more long-term about it. Does the atomizer appear to hold up. Do you consistently get that throat hit, etc. New out of the box may be impressive at first, but it also may be misleading.

  16. TheBandit

    TheBandit Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    I have a few thoughts on this. Firstly, I have seen your reviews, Scott, and think that you do a fine job. Actually, all of the reviewers on this forum do a good job. Anyone that is willing to immortalize themselves on video, and subject themselves to possible public ridecule, accusations of being a "sell-out", etc., my hat is off to you!!

    Aside from that, IMHO, this is a free public service that you are providing. I believe that anything you get for free that you don't like or take issue with, you don't complain about it, you discard it. Now don't get me wrong, discussion and questions are one thing, but I think it's fairly obvious when someone just acts like an ....

    On another point, people must also be critical themselves, and not rely completely on one person's review when buying a product (forget the latin, but "Buyer beware"). Unless, a buyer has seen many reviews from one particular person, comes to trust that person, and realizes that they share similar taste. This happens all the time with reviewers, no matter what the product / subject is that is being reviewed.

    As far as not reviewing or submitting coupon codes for products that are deemed undesirable. This is personal choice, and again this is a free service. If you want someone to do a review on one of these products, why don't you offer to pay someone to do the review. Better yet, use the process of elimination...if nobody reviews it, it probably sucks.

    Finally, complaining about someone not revealing that they receive some kind of "kick back" from their coupon code being used. OMG, I can't believe that this has ever even happened!! So, someone gives you a code that saves you money, and you would complain about them not volunteering personal business arrangements made with that company. Simply unbelievable.

    Sorry if anyone thinks that I've been a little harsh here, but like our reviewers, I call 'em like I see 'em.

    Also, thanks, Scott, to you and all of the other reviewers here!! And, any potential reviewers, don't let a few putzes discourage you, I have a feeling that anyone like that will be called out quickly here.
  17. Spikey

    Spikey Moved On

    I honestly feel that you are one of the most comprehensive reviewers out there. You and Dusty and Leaford (Leopold lol!) are the best and most experienced e-cig reviewers. There are some newbies who are getting better... but you guys are organized (unlike some of us lol!) and it helps people to not be distracted by the video and focus on the product.

    As stated before.. I also am guilty of watching a review and then using someone else's discount code to buy the product. I think most people have done this at one time or another. That in itself should say that discount codes are not relevant.

    Also... I, personally, would be more likely to give a positive review to something I PAID for than something I got for free so I don't feel like a j*ckass for spending $ on a crappy product! Seriously!

    I think most of the people on here reviewing products, although enjoying getting free perks, do not do so JUST for the products or perks... they do it to HELP PEOPLE here!
    If you break it down by the hour (and I have.. because I make between 55/hr and 300/hr at work) the people doing these reviews are making about $2-$7 per hour (if you figure out the cost of the product and perks) for doing these reviews.

    You can make more at McDonald's people!!! They are NOT doing this for the $!!!!

    The camera and set up and editing costs $ and takes time and the time put in does NOT work out to be worthwhile for what the reviewer gets out of it! (which by the way is why I STILL have not reviewed the penstyle, badabing. TW liquid or DuraC yet.. but will try to get to it next week after my partner's son's bday party).
  18. tpboles

    tpboles Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 5, 2008
    AL, USA
    Hey Dusty, That is exactly what I am talking about. Review what you get. It was stated by a reviewer that if they get a product that they don't like then they ask the manufacturer if they would rather them send it back instead of reviewing the bad product. Maybe I am totally wrong (I have been b4 lol), but if someone has put a bad product on the market I would rather know about it. Ofcourse I love watching a review about a good product, but still wanna know if there is issues with it.

    I really like the way Dusty does his initial video and then comes back a few weeks later to let us all know if the product has held up well under normal use.

    I want everyone to understand here. I have the upmost respect for ALL the reviewers and the hard work they put in to help us make a better decisions on our purchases. Scott, I have no problems with the way you or anyone else reviews a product. I also have no problems with a rating system or discount coupons. My only concern was the fact that bad products could slip through the cracks. I have always trusted all of the reviews that are on this forum.

    On a side note - I could be seeing this all wrong here. So take it for what it's worth.
  19. Spikey

    Spikey Moved On

    I am actually the one that said this.. and I also noted that if I send the product back I do NOT hesitate to tell people it is a crappy product so they don;t waste $ on it... I just don't do it as a "video review" cause I am not getting decked out in leather to look hot and complain and be a ..... about stuff.. if you wana see that kinda video.. you hafta pay for it lol!
  20. tpboles

    tpboles Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 5, 2008
    AL, USA
    lmao - I may have to take you up on that :) . As long as you make mention, that is all anyone can ask for. Maybe I misunderstood. Headed back to my corner now. :)
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