June 9, 2009

Do you care?

UPDATED: Commenter D. Jain point out that Max Factor is pulling out the US market. Which leaves me to wonder - What the HELL was the huge campaign all about then?? That's crazy. And now? I must find a new mascara. Obviously, I am open to suggestions. Excuse me, I need to go have a good cry.

My friend J grew up in the South - the region of the United States where the women folk take their hair and makeup quite seriously. She also has eyelashes like a giraffe. Way back in the 90s, knowing that J would have the Correct Answer, I asked her for advice on mascara. Her immediate answer was Max Factor's 2000 Calorie. And that is what I have been buying ever since. End of story, no? No. Target, my usual purveyor of makeup does not carry Max Factor, which means I have to scurry over to the Scary Wal-Mart when I run out. I hate Scary Wal-Mart and often cannot justify navigating its Scary Aisles just for a single tube of mascara. I am then reduced to taking a gamble and trying a new mascara, which invariably turns out to be a clumpy clunker.

I am very, very picky about mascara because my eyelashes are a tangled mess without an eyelash curler and a good mascara.

Anyway. After reading all the rave reviews about the new 2000 Calorie Lash Plumper Upper Thingie (and entering every! single! giveaway even though I rarely enter giveaways but hey, what the hell is this?? Two kids napping? A free Friday afternoon?), I picked up a tube at the Scary Wal-Mart this past weekend. Truthfully? I did not notice any new lash plumping capabilities. Perhaps, while waiting on the production line, my own tube reconsidered and said "No thanks. I'm good, yo." and then skipped its turn for a squirt of the Extra Magical Lash Plumping Potion??

Still. 2000 Calorie is the same damned good product I have been using for years and I was actually relieved that Max Factor had, after all, decided not to mess around with one of my favorite makeup products. I do despise the new packaging, though. The tube is HUGE and FAT and CURVED all wonky-like which means that it does not store well now in my cup of brushes, etc. Sure, it stands on its end. Quietly waiting for me to knock it over.


Do you see what I just did there? I wrote a review (sorta.) For a product for which I paid (cash!)

You may have noticed, but I do talk a bit about products and other consumables around here. Why? I like to read reviews myself - if someone has purchased something and has had a good or bad experience with it, I do not mind hearing about it. Also, for some products, it is hard to get an opinion, which is why I wrote a smallish bit about the Kids Fly Safe seatbelt system for flying. Dude - those things were expensive at $75 a pop. But they were worth it and I felt that should be noted.

Maybe my 3 loyal readers do not want me writing about the stuff I buy. Eh. Whatever. If it fits into my personal content or the story overall, I will mention it - which is why I mentioned the mascara, as an example. Otherwise, I probably would not have written about the mascara because makeup and girly things are not my usual topics around here and it would not have fit. But truthfully? I do not mind reading others' consumer experiences as well. After all, chances are that if I read your blog, I trust your opinion.

But, I do want to be upfront and as such, have recently added a bit about this on my Multiple Personalities section:
I like to talk about books and other sundry items around here. Let me be clear: Any and all products discussed here on Rancid Raves are things that I purchased myself with my very own grubby paws. I paid money for these items. I have a review site, Queen of the Free Bees for any products that I have received expressly for the purpose of reviewing.

There has been some talk surrounding this while I was out of town (which is why I am addressing all of this so late in the game. I am a sleepy sheep.) In this vein, Lindsey Ferrar of Suburban Turmoil has some great points regarding this (Part 1 and Part 2.)
In Part 1, she writes:
As a reader, I feel like that blogger has crossed a line, particularly if she's a mom blogger. If she is telling personal stories about her family, as a reader I don't want product reviews and sponsored posts woven throughout that written history. It feels exploitative. It feels wrong.

And my feelings as a reader of blogs are what made me decide as a blogger to start a separate review blog (and for that matter, what kept me from putting ads in between posts, as opposed to keeping them in my sidebar). I tried doing a few book reviews on this blog and they just didn't feel right, sandwiched between posts about my struggles with breastfeeding and pictures of my children.

In Part 2, she writes:
What you decide to do with your blog does not affect how I feel about you as a person. We can meet for lunch when we're in the same town, or drink martinis at Disney, or eat cheeseburgers together at BlogHer, or tell each other all our secrets, or chat online every single day.

What you decide to do with your blog does affect whether or not I want to read it.

And that's what my post was about. No hidden meanings. No innuendo. Just. That.

Lindsey has some great points. I can think of 3 bloggers off the top of my head that I simply had to quit reading because I could not sift through all the reviews and sponsored posts any longer. But I bear no ill will. I could really care less. Oh sure, I really do miss one of the bloggers in question. I still periodically check her site to see if she has pared down on all the giveaways, reviews and sponsored posts. When/if she ever does, I may add her back to my feed reader because I really enjoyed reading her perspectives on family life, entertainment and current news. I just did not have the time to sift through the rest of it. That was all. No hard feelings.

But really? Overall? I could care less if folks do ads, reviews, sponsored posts, exorcisms on their blogs. I can always stop reading. Me personally? I like having a separate review site - it is a clear line of distinction for myself. If I do decide to discontinue ads, I would still keep a review site, for whenever the God of Freebies determines I am worthy (Sidenote: I never get offers. The chances of this are slim to none.)


To recap, when I mention products on Rancid Raves, I have forked over my own piece of plastic for it. If I have received something free for review, I will write about it on my review site, Queen of the Free Bees. Considering there are a total of 3 reviews over there, it is obvious how how far down on the Totem Pole of Freebies I hang.

Oh, and don't forget to pick up a tube of Max Factor's 2000 Calorie mascara. You will not regret it.


stephanie said...

It doesn't bother me too much when people post sponsored reviews of products in their regular site. I usually just skip over that post, but it takes less than 2 seconds to mark it as read in my feed reader.

However, with those who post a review because it is a product they really love and use, like with this post, I'll actually take the time to read it because it's not JUST a review, but tells me a little more about that person. (Other than that they like free money, that is.) Plus, when someone reviews something just because they want to share it with others, I'm more likely to listen. For example, now I totally want to find this mascara! (But I too hate Scary WalMarts, so I have no idea where I'll find it.)

Olivia said...

I agree with you and Stephanie. It's no skin off my nose if someone wants to review products they've been given. I don't pay much attention to those. But, if it's something that blogger really likes and buys it on her own, I will listen.

I have found a few great products that way.

D. Jain said...

I've got bad news for you: Max Factor is pulling out of the US market and is no longer going to market its products here. There was an article about it in the Wall Street Journal recently, I think. Time to find a new mascara! I like the kind that has the silicone brush--I've been using Chanel but there are cheaper ones that look really good too.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

D. Jain - WHAT THE HELL? I found a link about it: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iEpM100yievS3bpvB7NXtbeKzO5AD98K4VUG3

D. Jain said...

I'm sorry to have been the bearer of bad news! Apparently their US sales had become such a small percentage of their sales that they figured it was better to just pull out. What a shame. I guess you could always go and stock up on mascara! How long does an unopened tube last...?

Jenny said...

I took a gamble on Princess Borchese mascara for Kirkland brands at Costco. Two to a package, 12 bucks. It totally rocks. Just thought I would share.
And I wasn't really please with Suburban Turmoil's post on all that, as she totally used it as a way to go after other bloggers and stir up mommy blogger vs. mommy blogger smack down, and she knew it when she did. I actually dropped her from my reader. Eh, I was cranky.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I've become a fan of the uber expensive mascaras-Chanel, Guerlain, Shu Uemura etc.. I don't think they're very different from one another but they're all pretty good. Unfortunately, they're all usually $30+

QIR said...

I have 2 words for you: L'Oreal Voluminous.

I picked some up a few years ago based on the hundreds of positive, giddy reviews on some social network I no longer use. I've been using it ever since.

That stuff rocks. The waterproof version is slightly flakier than the not, but I make some sacrifices to avoid looking like a Tammy Faye sobfest victim.

They sell it at my local target for about $7 bucks.

QIR said...

Also, I'm all about product reviews by a blogger who used & paid for said product.

If you felt a need for it, it means you were looking for an item with a specific utility or one with a better utility than what you currently have. I might be in that same boat too.

If you liked it, and can tell me why in objective terms (even if it's hey-Emerald Green!), I can make a better informed choice as to whether it might help me too.

I say review on with your bad self.

Christine said...

Are you going to tell us who you stopped reading?

I mean, the mascara's nice and all, but when it's 100+ degrees here, makeup is a mistake. You may have to repost this in November for me.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I suppose if one were "just" a mommyblogger, posting exclusively about mother-children navel-gazing interactions, then reviews of products would seem out of place. But, I think most mom bloggers have more to write about than that, and so giving their honest opinion on stuff is perfectly suitable and likely worth the read. I love reading reviews, too!

That said, I'm a Maybelline Full 'N Soft wearer, and I'm very happy with it.

Olivia said...

It truly sucks when your favorite cosmetics are discontinued. Not sure I can help with mascara suggestions, as I am a dedicated Avon wearer. I did try the Covergirl mascara that comes with the rubber bristled brush and I liked it. No clumping.