Reviewing for Webtogs

by backpackingbongos

I was recently contacted by Gareth at Webtogs asking if I would be willing to do some gear reviews for them on my blog.  Obviously I was flattered but initially a little bit sceptical about the sort of content I would be required to write.  A quick chat with Gareth confirmed that the integrity of my blog is paramount and I will be able to write my honest thoughts and opinions about any of the gear that I am sent to test.  So although I will usually get to keep the kit that I am sent to test and review, I will be one hundred percent honest in everything that I write.  Just look at my write-up of the Tarptent Scarp1 fiasco to see that if I think something is not to my liking I will say so!  Anyway my first bit of kit is on the way in the post and is by a manufacturer that is totally new to me.  It is designed for cold weather, so I hope the current cold snap holds out so it can be put through its paces!


10 Comments to “Reviewing for Webtogs”

  1. Hey, nice gig James! But you are undoubtedly the right man for the job – integrity being your middle name.

  2. I recently had a chat with the manager of a Cotswold Outdoors shop and we spoke about my reviewing kit for Cotswold. It struck me, as I considered it later, that reviewing for a retailer does have the potential for conflict as if you negatively review a product they sell, it will have ramifications for their business. I have absolutely no doubt about your integrity (having seen any number of your reviews) but how did Gareth react to that? Either way – nice gig as Pete rightly observes and good luck. Enjoy – Webtogs are a good online retailer with a good range of kit.

    p.s. I need some new Smartwool socks – just saying like…

    • Cheers Maz. When Gareth first put it to me it was him who first made the suggestion that I will have full editorial control over the reviews. I would only have gone ahead if I had been able to do that anyway. I think that you can be negative in a consructive way, making suggestions for improvements etc. Most gear reviews are so subjective anyway.

  3. Welcome on board James! Our rationale behind getting you and other outdoors blogger’s to review kit may seem a little strange, Welcome on board James! Our rationale behind getting you and other outdoors bloggers to review kit may seem a little strange, as we are a retailer rather than a manufacturer. The benefits to us may not be immediately clear, and I would understand if people question why we are doing this, so I would like to explain in a little more detail why we are asking people to test stuff for us.

    From our side, we pride ourselves on what we sell, the integrity and authenticity of the site /staff, and the fact that our customer reviews are 100% independent. The blog project as it’s been innovatively named here, is a means to extend that, and get quality reviews that are independent to help our customers in deciding what to buy. If we get a negative review on a product, so be it, these reviews have to be independent otherwise customers will not trust us. Looking at other outdoor retailers and one in particular, their reviews are blatantly spam reviews designed to appeal to Googles spider bots, and to give a uniform, unfair impression that what they sell is fantastic.

    We don’t think that’s fair to our customers, and we don’t think it’s good business sense either. People can spot fake reviews easily and they end up not trusting an etailer as a result. This is why we use Bazaar Voice to independently ask for and show product reviews on the site. It’s also why we want to expand this and get enthusiastic blogger’s such as yourself with a lot of outdoor experience to test gear in a real life outdoor situation.

    For the record, I am not sure however why you asked for the Mountain Hardwear Ladies walking skirt in pink with the matching tights, but I’ll get them out to you just as soon as possible 🙂

  4. Martin – among others – posted about a similar type of arrangement recently and I commented on that. I obviously don’t question the integrity of our circle of bloggers, but personally I still adhere to the strict no-involvement principle.
    Maybe I’m just getting weary of receiving enquiries which are clearly an attempt to gain free publicity and site referrals (at the rate of several a week sometimes!).
    Anyway I’ll trust whatever observations you make!.

  5. Nice one, James.

    Will look forward to some of the reviews.

  6. Geoff you are definately doing something right if you are getting all those enquiries. I have been approached once before but turned it down as it was a product that I was not really interested in. This time it looks like a good opportunity and Gareth comes across as being genuine.

    Cheers Terry.

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