Are you upset when what I recommend don’t work?

I could be opening up a can of worms by asking this question but dearest readers, there’s something I need to know quite badly and I need you to be very honest with me. Are you upset when my recommendations don’t work for you? You know, recommendations when it comes to products or services for which you have to part money for. Because I’ve received some messages recently that make me feel somewhat responsible even though technically, I’m not. Okay, let me explain.

Hiccup in orders
Last week, I received an email from someone who thought I’m the distributor for a product I’ve reviewed on this blog. While the person wasn’t rude or demanding, but I didn’t feel very good about that email because she had a hiccup with her order. I’m pretty sure she purchased the item based on my recommendations and it so happened that the review was pretty glowing. Thank goodness her order has since been sorted out or I’ll feel really bad about it.

Some sense of responsibility
Now before this email, a few readers had either emailed me or messaged me on my Facebook page that a particular online store had not shipped them their goods despite various reminders. I believed some of them had ordered the items after reading about the products on my blog too. And that made me feel worse because I feel I have some responsibility towards their unfortunate shopping experience despite the fact that I do have a disclaimer policy.

Because money is involved
In both cases, my responsibility as a blogger was just to provide honest reviews based on products I’ve been sponsored or products I’ve purchased. Whatever happens in the buying/ordering process isn’t really my responsibility. However, I can’t help but feel upset when I receive feedback on negative experiences especially since money is involved. I also wonder how much readers expect me to do when these things happen.

No way to ascertain operation stability
While I do my best to check out the company before I review the products, there is no way for me to ascertain their operation stability. And it doesn’t help that a number of the products I’ve reviewed are considered as niche or alternative brands, which means they can be a pretty small outfit to begin with.

Over to you
So please tell me: are you upset with Viva Woman when what I recommend don’t work for you? This can mean you had a lousy experience purchasing the product or the product just didn’t work as what I’ve reviewed. Did you ever have unpleasant experience buying something based on my recommendations? Do you hold a blogger responsible in some sense upon purchasing a product or service based on their review?


  1. Memoiselle says:

    hi Sesame,
    I think there’s no need for any of us to be upset with any blogger that recommend us a thing that doesn’t work with us. a product doesn’t always work with everybody; it might work with a person but doesn’t always work with another. Moreover shopping experience will not always be the same! We can’t blame other blogger for that. In my opinion, what we can do is to tell the blogger that we have different experience with what she wrote in her blog so that blogger will notice the good and bad service from that company ?

  2. Emily Chia says:

    I am one who write blogs too. (too new to call myself ad blogger) So far, I really think your blog post is one of the most honest ones around. But I do not encounter much bad review with your recommended products. Therefore, I might not be the best person to judge too. However, it is very common for potential bad review because when companies find blogger, usually they will give the best service but sometimes it is hard to expect then to do the same to everyone.

    I personally think bloggers shouldn’t be held responsible especially if u are honest. Some products might be effective to you, might not work for others. Hope you feel better now. It is not your fault and responsiblity if the products don’t work well.
    Emily Chia last post is: Good bad?

  3. Corinna says:

    Hi Sesame,
    I got to know about MVO through your blog and I must say that I’ve been getting good reviews about how my skin has improved. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for introducing MVO to us.

    Each time I think of trying something, I’d actually do a search on your blog to see if there’s been any write up. When I decide to buy because it is mostly due to your review, however, if I face any delays in shipment or problems with the merchant, it would never be your fault, you are only a beauty blogger.
    Recently, I reach your review on Astaxanthin, so this will be next “to do” thing. Once again, thanks for sampling all these wonderful stuff and writing up your experience so we may have a place to read some unbiased reviews.

  4. Lee Ying says:

    Interesting question. I’ve bought stuff based on bloggers’ recommendations but usually I’ll research further too. If the product don’t work, I don’t think much except that it don’t suit me. But I am worried when I read reviews that are too good…I have my doubts about those especially if the blogger is always raving only.

    I think your concern is because the readers come back to ask you about the shipping issues and maybe they expect you to do something for them?

  5. Paris B says:

    No, I don’t get upset with you because we all will react differently to products and services ? However, I do get upset myself if I hear of people having poor experiences after reading about a product, service or store from my blog, whether sponsored or not. I do feel somewhat responsible, as you do. Personally I think it a good thing. It means you have a conscience because without it, you’d be ruthless in promotions ?

  6. Sesame says:

    Thanks for your comments Memoiselle! I think the product not working might be a lesser issue for most but when it comes to shipping, I’m really not sure what to do when queried sometimes. Usually I just let the reader know my experience but if it’s a persistent issue of non-shipment, I’m thinking it’s probably right that I give some sort of update. However, it would mean I need to verify with the company and truth to be told, I usually don’t have the time to deal with that.

  7. Sesame says:

    Hi Emily, yeah, I think there’s a discrepancy in some cases when a company sponsors a blogger especially when it comes to review. That’s why I think disclosure is important so that the readers can decide for themselves.

  8. Sesame says:

    Hi Corinna, I’m so glad MVO works well for you! I hope you’ll find Astaxanthin helpful too. I’ve stopped taking it because I didn’t have time to replenish my order but I’m definitely going to order again soon.

  9. Sesame says:

    Yes, I think some readers may expect me to take up issue with the supplier on their behalf. While I would like to but sometimes my time just don’t permit. And I know what you mean about only raving reviews. ?

  10. Sesame says:

    I am disturbed with services more than product issues. And that reminds me of recent issues of discrepancies with beauty subscription boxes received by bloggers and customers. I can’t help but feel that some companies just make use of bloggers as marketing tools.

  11. EcoBeauty says:

    I don’t get upset, lol! And although reading your reviews might have encouraged me to buy a product, it’s not as if you poked me with a big fork while I was standing at the end of a cliff while I was contemplating whether to buy the product or not. At the end of the day, it’s still my decision and what my skin needs that define whether the purchase was worth it or not. Unless you co-own the store, I don’t think you should be held responsible for any shipping/shopping fiasco. As a reader, I also mutually understand that the shop owner had most likely provided you a better service because he/she knew you’re a blogger.
    EcoBeauty last post is: Review: Jane Iredale CircleDelete Concealer… Can it really ‘Delete’ panda eyes?

  12. Isabel says:

    No, of course not! While readers can be and indeed sometimes are swayed by recommendations of bloggers/magazines/advertisements etc., they are the ones who ultimately make the final decision.

    Any sane person would know that a product that works for one doesn’t guarantee it works for all others. So it is completely unfair to blame the one who recommended it. All recommendations do is to help us readers make an informed choice. Period.

    Also, bloggers who make recommendations are not in control of the services of whatever website they review/recommend. So if readers choose to make purchases off those websites and face problems, they should take it up directly with those sites.

    On the other side of the coin, sometimes readers do leave comments and feedback on their experiences with the products and service that the bloggers recommend because we wish to share that not everyone experiences a product the same way or get similar service as the blogger did. That is simply putting more information out there for other readers and perhaps, if there is enough similar feedback, the bloggers themselves might wish to highlight it as well. Negative feedback doesn’t always equal criticism or an indication that readers are upset.

    I, for one, am very appreciative of beauty bloggers as I feel that have helped me tremendously in bringing new (and sometimes obscure) brands / products to my attention and also in giving me more information about products and services without me having to set foot into the store!

  13. Hippo says:

    Bloggers should not be held responsible for shopping mishaps but don’t get me started on some bloggers who endorses brands or shops that are questionable in the first place.

  14. laura says:

    i wont blame you if it didnt work for me bt i do feel a lil dissappointed bt i guess its wrong to put any blogger like u responsible …anw,quick question, is it alright if i put sunscreen then my bb cream with spf or is it enough sun protection to just put bb cream with spf?

  15. Sesame says:

    Poked you with a big fork while you’re standing at the end of the cliff??? Haha…that sounds scary to me. ?

    Interesting that you should mention that the shop owner would have provided better service to a blogger. I think this is not wise. The same level of service should be provided across the board…in fact, I say better service should be extended to customers cos they’re the ones who are buying.

  16. Sesame says:

    I haven’t got readers who have been upset about products I recommended but strangely, I had people who abused me when it comes to my recommendations for natural DIY recipes. It’s very bizarre and I had to defend that I am not even selling anything. Sometimes, I just delete the comments.

    As for feedback, definitely I think those are useful. Like some readers giving feedback on where to obtain some products at a cheaper rate, etc. I also had readers telling me that some products I recommend are difficult to apply and that’s good because I can forewarn others too. I think these sharing are useful given that blogging is also about community building. But sometimes I get queried about shipping problems and I don’t know if I’m expected to do something. I don’t mind checking if I have time but I can’t always do that and sometimes I feel bad that readers had a lousy experience.

  17. Sesame says:

    Hmm…interesting you mentioned that. But perhaps these bloggers are not really aware of the reputation?

  18. Sesame says:

    I guess disappointment is inevitable if something unpleasant happened. I would too. To me, if the item is cheap, I have no qualms about recommending but I would feel bad if someone spent a lot of money on something I recommended and it didn’t work out well.

    To answer your question – sunscreen topped with bb cream would offer better protection – provided the combination is not too much for your skin. I don’t know what ingredients your bb cream has but usually it’s titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Sometimes, the bb cream offers only partial protection.

  19. Paris B says:

    I read about the beauty box subscription discrepancies too. I will agree. Many companies are making use of bloggers. Some bloggers recognise that and deal with it accordingly, most however, don’t.

  20. Jyoan says:

    Hmmm, happen to be a victim of a certain beauty box discrepancy in Singapore. I definitely don’t blame the bloggers. That’s for sure.

    I am more upset with the company, and if anything, I vote with my wallet. I retain the right to make my own judgment and choose. Nothing to do with the blogger.

    I do respect bloggers who bother to tell, big and bold, if something is sponsored, advertorial, etc. I think that is what makes local Xiaxue successful. When she rants, she warns you in the first line. When she blatantly advertises, nevermind if the product is good or not, she spells it out loud.

    So this is not considered cheat, and no hard feelings about the blogger. =)
    Jyoan last post is: Belly Box July 2012 Flop?

  21. Jyoan says:

    Hi Sesame. =) I haven’t really bought anything much recommended on your blog, even though I read daily. Just not entirely on the organic wagon yet.

    But I have bought all the lipbalms that you ever gave 4.5 or 5 hearts to. I went to dig up the archives and go through all the posts. haha. I love every single one of them!
    Jyoan last post is: Belly Box July 2012 Flop?

  22. Jyoan says:

    Same here. I do get disappointed with the blog or blog post. But definitely not the blogger! I sure do continue to read all of my staple bloggers, nevermind the occasional flop product recommended. I mean, all of us are different, can’t expect what they like to be the same as what I like.

    haha, referring many other blogs. I haven’t been disappointed with anything from Viva Woman (mainly because I really only bought lip balms out of so many products =P).
    Jyoan last post is: Belly Box July 2012 Flop?

  23. Sue Lin - Makeupmew says:

    No, I wouldn’t be upset with you at all. I’m one of those readers who would research on user ratings and reviews before plunging in to buy a product. Everyone would have a different experience but it is good to know the general option of masses. Your detailed and honest reviews are helpful for those of us in search for more organic and natural alternatives for skincare and beauty.

    Personally, I feel thankful for that there are reliable resources out there on this topic such as your blog. It’s understandable that you can’t be in control of how individual companies run their business but it’s nice to know that you care about reader’s satisfaction. So far, I’m enjoying the DIY section, many of them are fun to try as well. So take it easy, Sesame and keep the reviews coming.
    Sue Lin – Makeupmew last post is: Makeup in Film: Emma Stone

  24. Sesame says:

    Oh you had miserly supplies from the beauty box. I was shocked at the huge discrepancy. And honestly, I’m thankful I’m not in the business of reviewing the boxes because I don’t like to be associated with such services.

    Disclosure is important; it allows the readers to decide. Some people are more sensitive and skeptical so it gives them room to consider when the truth is presented. But personally, I think XX is successful because of the controversies she stirs.

  25. Sesame says:

    I absolutely understand. Thanks for reading my blog still because I know some people are totally turned off with natural/organic stuff. Haha… Oh btw, have you tried Chopsaver that I reviewed? It’s one of the best.

  26. Sesame says:

    That’s really good, that you research well before purchasing. I think it’s better to read views from different users considering some of us would have biasness on top of different skin conditions.

    Thanks for telling me you enjoy the DIY section…it’s one of my faves too. ?

  27. Germaine says:

    Hi Sesame! i like your blog. ? it’s definitely not your fault if the product which you recommended doesn’t suit us. i personally feel that i would be an immature person if i’m upset with you because of this. Haha… even though some of us have similar skin type or skin care problems, that doesn’t mean that our body system would react the same way to certain products. it all depends on our immune system i think… by the way, i have received my first order of MVO last thurs, i bought the acne relief travel kit. started using them since last fri.. i quite like it. ? but i don’t really like the Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 30… Hehe.. But anyway, i’ve just ordered some more products from MVO yesterday. ?

  28. Germaine says:

    Oops.. sorry. correction, should be Everday Sheer Coverage SPF 20. :p

  29. Ju says:

    I have bought stuff when the items get positive reviews from bloggers. However, I would never blame anyone if the purchase turned out bad for me. It should be the buyers responsibility to research more about the items. Besides, different people has different reactions whether good or bad to different products.

    I do value honest opinions from bloggers. This I would only know if I can find more than five reviews with similar comments ?

  30. maddysmum says:

    Won’t be upset of course, you are trying your best. And I enjoyed reading it. We all have different skin condition. And sometimes luck too. So if it is the vendor’s fault than the most we can do is to feedback to you so that next time you can avoid reviewing from the same vendor.

    Keep on reviewing ?

  31. Angie says:

    Personally, I haven’t had a truly bad experience after purchasing products recommended on either your blog or others. I’m a review junkie and will religiously trawl through a zillion reviews on MUA, etc before committing to a product/jumping on the latest fad. I’ve always been suspicious of advertising and thought the opinions of bloggers and ‘real’ people who submit reviews to sites were more a more genuine reflection of the effiacy/safety of a product. However, it’s sometimes disappointing to see advertorials in magazines featuring bloggers endorsing products, that kind of bursts my bubble a little. But at the end of the day, it’s really up to the individual to exercise their own judgement on what to buy and use, and not to expect miracles.

    For what it’s worth, even though I’ve not had a huge wow from anything I’ve tried based on your blog’s reviews, I find your extensive articles on natural skincare invaluable, without which I’d probably still be grasping for straws trying to figure it all out!

  32. Amanda says:

    Your title is a bit misleading. I thought you were referring to product effectiveness. And my instinct answer is “No, I don’t think you are responsible for the product’s effectiveness.” It’s after a second look that I understand you are talking about completely different things. But my answer is still the same. I don’t think a blogger should be responsible for another company’s operation (suppose they have no commercial linkage, that is). I remember I purchased something from an online store (based on some blogger’s recommendation) and never received anything from the store. I was disappointed but didn’t blame the blogger, because I understand that it’s not the blogger’s fault. Lesson learned: I will never purchase again from that store.
    Amanda last post is: Makeover: How to Ensure You Can Get a Perfect Hairdo?

  33. Sesame says:

    I was referring to both – product effectiveness and shipping issues but my encounter with reader’s complaints were mostly the latter.

    You didn’t receive anything from the store? But did you write to the blogger to ask cos this is what I’ve been getting.

  34. Sesame says:

    It’s good to comb through various sources. I think reviews on forums are more reliable but it can be a bit tiring to go through so many comments.

    Why are you disappointed to see advertorials in magazines featuring bloggers endorsing products? I think based on my understanding, such advertorials are done with bloggers who already like the products? How about advertorials on blogs then? Cos I do write them sometimes.

  35. Sesame says:

    I was quite disappointed recently with some of the online stores I reviewed before cos I’m having readers write in to me asking about the shipping etc. I think they owe it to the customers to provide proper explanation or a refund.

  36. Sesame says:

    Personally, I’m like you too. However, I’ve also come across some buyers who think that the bloggers have a stake in the business…some of them actually assume I’m distributing the product. ?

  37. Sesame says:

    How come you don’t like ESC? Because of the smell or the texture? I actually like it in the sense that it applies better than MVO Moisturizing Face Screen but I’m leery about using it outdoors because it’s only SPF20.

  38. Swati says:

    no, I do not think a blogger should be held responsible. yes, even i would feel bad if someone would face issues on sites i have reviewed or products i recommend!!! fortunately, i have never yet received any negative reviews…only positive ones but yes, there was a hiccup once when a person had done an online shopping for the first time on my reco and i was seriously disturbed!!!
    Swati last post is: Some blog updates!!

  39. Sesame says:

    I do feel a tad bad if readers tell me the products that I’ve recommended didn’t work well for them. Thank goodness those are fewer. However, I’ve been getting a lot of those flakes recently regarding non-shipment from some online stores that I’ve featured before and it’s not a good feeling I tell ya.

  40. Angie says:

    Hmm..maybe cuz for some of those ads, it seems like the bloggers are using being in a pictorial advertisement as their ticket to fame. I’m referring to those ads where the blogger is featured modelling/holding the item where there seems to be a professional photoshoot involved.

    I’m totally fine with advertorials on blogs..especially when they’re clearly marked as advertorials, like on yours ?

  41. Jana says:

    Hi Sesame,
    I love your blogs and look forward to receiving them every evening. I have learned do much and I appreciate that you are very concerned with the cost and you are very honest. I am writing from the East coast of Delaware in the USA. Thanks for wonderful information. Jana

  42. Germaine says:

    Is the texture.. I can only apply one layer of ESC onto my face. I don’t know how to explain to you. When I use my finger to spread out the ESC evenly onto my face, it will become a little bit cakey, like sand bits.. (+_+) and i will end up like rubbing off the ESC from my face. ?

  43. Sara says:

    Hi Sesame!

    I think majority of the more mature readers will agree that it is not your responsibility if the product that you’ve recommended doesn’t work. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. However, that only applies is if you’ve written the entry honestly, and not raving about the product just because it’s sponsored/paid.

    I will be annoyed if I find out the product I bought is only recommended to me because the blogger is paid. I love reading your blog not just because of the quality of the content, but your honesty. Don’t worry about it too much!

  44. Sesame says:

    I see…you could be right about their motives because it’s no surprise that some bloggers do aim for fame.

  45. Sesame says:

    Thank you Jana for your encouragement! ?

  46. Sesame says:

    I think I know what you’re talking about. This is a common issue with MVO Moisturizing Facescreen and personally I find the ESC spreads better. Do you use the treatment oil underneath the ESC? Using it over oil helps. Another way is to lightly pat it on your skin then spreading.

  47. Sesame says:

    It’s not possible to do paid reviews but for advertorials/promotional content, it would be hard to write anything negative you know what I mean? So I usually label them as promotional and then just highlight the benefits, etc. The readers would have to decide for themselves if they wish to try the products/services. But after writing this entry, I’ve been thinking it maybe a good idea to ask these companies to pay because it will show how viable they are. However, one of the companies that I received complaints about was one in which I purchased the product myself and at that time, there were no issues with the shipping. Kind of sad cos the owner is quite renowned in the green world.

  48. fwy says:

    I have rosacea and sensitive skin; so I am pretty careful about the products I use. I do not blindly buy just because a famous blogger recommends it. Anyway, I am also helping you to review products. Even if I got them for free, I will still be very honest whether they works or not.

  49. Sesame says:

    That’s great…it’s better to know your own skin condition than to jump on the bandwagon just because someone raved about it.

  50. composer says:

    I wouldn’t get upset – what works for you may not work for me. (Although some products, like MVO, I already used before you reviewed them, so your reviews just increased my confidence that the products that worked for you would also be likely to work for me)
    As for operational issues, that really is the distributor/business owner’s issue and not yours.
    As long as all advertorials are clearly advertised as such, I’m happy ?

  51. Sesame says:

    Thanks for your inputs! I appreciate hearing from readers how they feel about the products/services I recommend. But I need to do something about the operational issue – it’s not nice to have readers purchase from sites that do not ship.

  52. Gaye says:

    Just a quick comment; you can pick almost any product available on the internet and will find a blog post with negative comments about the product. Especially in the health & beauty field some products work well for some and not for others. If the product is truly a bad product the overall reviews will tell the tale!
    Gaye last post is: Affiliate

  53. Sesame says:

    @Gaye: Interesting and valid point! I like the idea of researching more thoroughly and like you said, the overall reviews will bear out.

  54. Lu says:

    Hi Sesame,
    Your reviews have always been objective, so in that case you should never be held responsible for unsuitable products. After all, if a product actually works for everyone, there wouldn’t be a beauty industry, it would be one single homemade recipe for anything ?
    I have not purchased products in your blog mainly because I live in Canada, many products are just not available here, and also prices can be steep for me. I mainly read your blog for general beauty advice and I have to say your writing is most excellent, it’s always a pleasure to read! Thank you!

  55. Sesame says:

    Oh thank you Lu! I’m so happy to know that some of the stuff I write here helps you. ?

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