Lisa Shea Ethics of ReviewsFrom my earliest days on computers, in the age of dial-up BBS systems, I always felt strongly that the words I put online should be my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own discussions of issues. As computers changed and evolved and we moved first to text-based pages on an internet, then to graphic-based pages on a web, I held true to that belief. This site exists here to discuss issues I feel strongly about, to share details about hobbies I have, and to provide information on places I have visited.
All words on this site are written by me personally. The exception might be if I am doing a review of the Hobbit and quote some of their riddles, or where people have written me in with questions or comments and I post those quotes with their attribution so I can then respond to them. In general it is fair to say that everything on this site is my own idea, written by me, typed by me, and uploaded by me. I am my own webmaster, server maintainer, author and editor.
In terms of items I review, in general I buy things I want and then write up reviews of how well they worked, or how they failed. If I'm interested in a hula hoop, I go out and buy one, then play with it, then write it up. If I'm interested in yoga, then I buy a number of yoga DVDs, try them all out for a while, see which ones I like and which I dislike, and then write them up. The items I dislike get passed along to friends and family for which they might be better suited.
There are specific instances where I might be sent a review copy. For example, in the Working from Home area of my site I have reviewed many books on small business, organizing, time management, and similar topics. Because of my large library of reviews, I get asked occasionally by authors in the field to read their books and provide feedback to them. Sometimes these books have not yet been published and they're looking for constructive criticism. Since these types of review copies were industry standard, I did not make any special note that they had been provided to me for free, since most of these books were also available for free in libraries for anyone to read free of charge. However, due to the change in FTC rules in December 2009, any reviews I write after that point will be duly noted with their source.
Any travel I do is of my own choosing, to places I wish to go, and is paid for by me.
I feel very strongly that writing a "glowing review" for something provided for free is ethically wrong. When I flip through friends' women's magazines and see those full-page promos for "This cute little purse is only $400, look at the cute leather snaps!" it bothers me to no end. Those are not real journalism. They are in essence press releases for those products, done by writers who were handed free product. If the page had been labeled "advertisement" it would have been OK. For a full page promotion to run in a magazine as *written content* is, to me, wrong. That is the antithesis of how I run my site and write my content.
If you ever have questions about any review anywhere on my site, feel free to write me. I probably buy 90% of all my items from Amazon.com (that is the honest truth, not a promotion ;) ) I work from home and would much rather have things appear at my doorstep vs going shopping for them. So in any case it's very easy for me to look up the receipt on Amazon and let you know exactly when I bought it, and who it came through, in case you're interested in acquiring yours the same way. If you have questions about any of the places I've visited, ask away - all the photos I post are my own, and I love sharing information about my travels!
In any case, feel free to Contact Me if you have questions about any review or content on my site.