Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One to Skip

I'm always drooling over awesome products and stores, but for once I have a somewhat negative comment to post! (I know! I'm amazed, too!)

I've seen multiple blogs lately doing giveaways for Sexylingerieshop.com, so I contacted them to ask about the possibility of doing a review or giveaway here.

Here is what I got in reply:

Unfortunately, all our donations are given locally and distributed at the beginning of each year. The separate franchises are responsible for sponsoring events. You can contact the store directly. This is the link to our retail store locater. Type in your zip code and our website will show any retail stores within a 50 mile radius of that zip.

Please note, it is the responsibility of the franchise store owner to provide us with the information regarding their store including store hours and phone numbers. There may be a retail store near you whose owner has chosen not to use our website as free advertisement. In that case, there is no way that we can assist you.

Now, is it just me, or is that a) a form letter and b) totally unrelated to what I asked? Anyone who does blog reviews can tell you that the things they receive are in no way a "donation"- it is an exchange of a product for promotion. What really bothers me is that it doesn't look like anyone actually *read* my message at all. Had the reply said something like "I'm sorry, but we are not currently sponsoring any reviews" or "We are currently only collaborating with bloggers with X number of followers.", I would be totally fine with it. I'm cool with pretty much any reply as long as it actually answers what I asked.

I responded to them a few days later basically saying "That would have been a great response if I had actually asked about a donation or sponsorship." and never heard back.

Epic customer relations fail!

After looking around their site a little bit more, though, I'm actually really happy that I didn't end up doing a review or a giveaway for them, because their prices are CRAZY! The Polka Dot Mesh Corset that I just got from EdenFantasys for $71 is $89.87 on this site! I thought that might be a fluke, so I checked out some other items that I'm familiar with the prices of, and found the stretch lace corset that EF has for $72.99 is also $89.97 from Sexy Lingerie Shop. My beloved pinstripe chemise set that I got for $31.99 from EF (also available for $31.95 from Yandy) is $40.99. The strapped minidress from DreamGirl is $23.59 from EF, $23.95 from Yandy. $31.99 from Sexy Lingerie Shop.

(I'm comparing to EF and Yandy's prices because those are the sites I'm most familiar with, so it was easiest to spot pieces that I know are on both or all three sites.)

The third thing that caught my attention was the disclaimer at the bottom of the giveaways I saw. In at least three different ones, the bloggers mentioned that they did not receive any compensation or items to review in exchange for hosting the giveaway. Seriously? Nothing?? Nada? It is obviously up to each individual blogger what they consider to be fair, but I believe that your words and your opinions and heck, even the space on your blog are all valuable. By doing a giveaway, you're giving that company a lot of publicity, making a lot of new people aware of them, and possibly even sending them new customers. You're also putting forth your time into crafting a (hopefully) interesting, creative and eye-catching post that introduces your reader to the product without making them feel like you're being an annoying commercial. After all of that, it seems like the least that the company could do is offer you something in exchange, even if it's one of the more basic things they carry. Any kind of item means that you also get a feeling for how quickly they ship, what kind of packaging they use and the quality of the items they carry.

I know that The Bloggess gets a lot of totally absurd pitches from companies wanting her to promote their product for basically nothing, or offering items that obviously have NO relation to the content of her site. (Here is a lovely example. This is another. They are much, much more entertaining than my rant of a post!) She once wrote this great post about companies showing respect to the bloggers they choose to work with. There are parts of it that I don't 100% agree with- I have happily reviewed food items before (both on my blog and via really, really long surveys) because i was at a point financially where I had maybe $5-$10 a week for food, so I would babble on and on about your box of granola bars if it meant I actually had food to take to work for that week.

The ironic thing is that I love writing reviews of products or companies that I come across and fall in love with, and do so with no expectation of compensation or free stuff. I write reviews of almost all the makeup I buy online because I know that when I'm trying to decide what to order, seeing swatches and reviews on other sites is a huge help, so I want to pay that forward. I did a whole string of posts about e.l.f.'s eyeshadow quads because I think they are awesome. But I think there's a big difference between writing "OMG, check out this awesome lipstick I found! I love it, you need it, too!" because I'm genuinely excited about something, and writing "Hey, check this out!" just because a company asks me to. Does that make sense?

I realize I've gone off on a bunch of winding tangents, but disrespect is a big thing for me, and not even bothering to actually *read my e-mail* really annoyed me, and I wanted to save fellow lingerie addicts the sadness of buying something awesome, only to find that you could have gotten it for like $15 cheaper from a different site!

Have you ever experienced really terrible customer service from a company you tried to contact? What do you think is fair compensation for posting about something on your blog/twitter/etc?

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