Friday, October 2, 2009

On being informed consumers

There's been a lot of drama on YouTube lately. Instead of everyone taking sides on the issue, I think it would be far better to just learn from the experience and move on. This experience has taught me that I need to be a wary and informed consumer when seeking advice on YouTube.

      My sincere hope is that the beauty community eventually agrees on a standardized set of ethical guidelines about honesty on whether a product is a promotional gift, or an item they have actually bought. OxfordJasmine recently made a pledge of honesty to her followers. How fabulous is that?
      So let's just learn from the experience and move on to more interesting things like makeup. Here I want to share some commonsense tips on how to spot whether a haul or rave video is featuring a promotional product, or an item that has actually been bought. These tips are not hard and fast rules, they're just signs to look out for when you're seeking beauty advice:

  • If someone is doing a video on a massive haul of products from a company (especially online company) that you've never heard of, it may be a promotional video. Obviously online companies like Coastal Scents, Sigma, and Elf are now well known, but I'm talking about totally new companies.
  • If a price has not been mentioned, or the guru has not explicitly stated that they in fact paid for it, it might be a promo.
  • Look around YouTube and Makeupalley for reviews of the same products the guru talked about. If no one else has reviewed it yet, chances are the company is new and is trying to promote itself.

There is nothing wrong with a guru being paid to give their opinion about a product. It's great that they are so successful, and are making a buck doing what they love. So now, the onus is upon us as consumers to take these steps:
  • If you want to try out a brand new company's products, order $10 worth of items from them and see if you like it. If you hate it, at least you didn't blow a fortune on rubbish. Consider it a trial fee.
  • Curb your instinct to purchase every single thing that a popular guru suggests. I know it's hard, but watching hauls helps me live vicariously through others. I set a monthly budget for makeup. If I'm drooling over something, I sleep on it, and then ask myself the next day if I still want it. Chances are, the thrill will have died down and I will think rationally. However, if I'm still thinking about it for a solid week, and it's within my monthly budget, I go for it.
PS. My blog is far too new to receive free promotional products, but just to put out the disclaimer, all of my reviews to date have been things I've bought. If the day comes when I am given products to review, I will be perfectly honest about it. In fact I'll brag about it. ;)


Dreams That Glitter xoxo said...

Great post. It really sickens me how youtube is now being used as a selling machine BUT you're right we just need to be savvy customers. The whole SunLove drama makes me so, so mad!


Invigilator said...

Found your comment in Oxford Jasmines blog. I decided to read your blog. A well written piece with good tips to follow. Keep up the good work.

Galina said...

It is important for consumer to have a critical mind. Make your own little "investigation" before investinginto a product and not trust just one review!

Gaby Fauchon said...

Interesting article!

I'm following your blog (=

Liya said...

your blog is so useful, girlie
i love it!!

Maria Confer said...

Excellent tips. It's important as blogger that we be honest with our readers. It helps build trust and relationships but it's also ethical.

Ashwini said...

Thank you all so much for the comments!

@georgiexoxo: glad you like the article!

@Invigilator: thanks for checking out the blog. Hope there's more here to keep you interested!

@BeautyTalk: OMG I'm like an FBI agent before I buy something LOL. I check like every review I can get my hands on before I buy.

@Gaby: Thanks for following! Glad you like it!

@Liya: Yaay I'm glad I'm being useful. I'm following you too. :)

@Maria: yup, this is really a community-based medium of writing, and we ought to stay honest.

Music said...

I found your blog through OxfordJasmine. Like you I check lots of reviews before buying something I'm interested in. :) Generally I trust reviews from people I've known for a while. Obviously going on MUA and other beauty forums help me to know whether a product is really worth buying...

Ashwini said...

@ Music: I love your kitty icon. It's so cute! :) and yes, after a while I learn which MUA shares my own philosophies (OxfordJasmine is one), so I take their advice more than others.

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