In Defence Of A Bloggers Right To Review A Product

Ever since my famous post Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of ProBlogger And John Chow, I haven’t had all that much to do with the so called ‘A Listers’, but unfortunately I was brought face to face with one of them who, like Darth Vader, seems to have joined the dark side.

I was reading Lis Sowerbutt’s a review of Brian Clark’s Scribe SEO, and for those of you who know Lis you know she is a no nonsense blogger. She doesn’t hold back when she has an opinion and this review was no different. She was up front and told it just as she saw it.

Unfortunately Brian Clark, the author of the plugin, that you have to pay through the nose for, took umbrage at Lis’s review and rather than being diplomatic about it and discussing the issues that Lis, his customer, had with the plugin in the hope of getting them resolved, he went straight for the jugular. He ended his first comment to Lis by saying;

Also, I read your meta description of this post, and it says the opposite of your on-page conclusion regarding “scam.” I’d advise you change that, or our next conversation will be about libel.

This was in reference to her meta description, which can be read at the top of the browser, that stated ‘Scribe SEO – Review Of Scribe SEO – is it a scam?‘ Notice she didn’t say it was a scam, she was merely asking the question, and she was obviously targeting certain keywords. Anyway, I found this article listing the top 10 definitions of libel and as far as I could tell Lis’s post  doesn’t fit any of them, not by a long shot.

Brian’s left several comments in that post and the bulk of them says little for his character. But this post is not an attack at Brian at all. I wanted people to see how his reaction to a bad review has caused him more harm than good.

I’ve been involved in the retail industry for some 35 years and no matter what part I played in it, whether as a salesman or as a business owner, the one consistent thing I’ve learned is that the customer is always right. There has been many a time when I’ve known them to be 100% in the wrong but I’ve never made a point of it. I would try to point them in the right direction, but if they insisted I let them have their way. They are the customer and they’re the ones that butter my bread.

I was taught right at the beginning that if you gave a customer a good experience they may tell one or two others about it, but you give them a bad experience and they would make sure the whole world knew about it. Brian’s actions in the comment section of that post was about as bad as it could get. More than once he called Lis a liar when she did nothing but give her honest opinion.

Heaven forbid it had anything to do with the shortcomings of the plugin itself. Heck, he even went so far as to say;

SEO experts like Rae Hoffman, Michael Gray and Stephan Spencer have reviewed the Scribe technology, and they give a thumbs up. Much more credible sources than you given the topic.

as if throwing around the names of some bigwigs would lend credence to his argument. I reckon his biggest failing is that he doesn’t recognize hie own customer base. The plugin isn’t aimed at the SEO experts who know what they’re doing, it’s aimed at SEO newbies who have no idea how it works and perhaps if they failed to get the settings right it would give a false result.

I know of many occasions when, as a hi-fi TV/ Video salesman I got more than one call from an irate customer who accused my of selling them some dodgy equipment. Rather than going off the deep end I paid them a personal visit and found that the fault was because they didn’t install it properly. Rather than berate them I showed them where the problem lay and assured them it was a common mistake, even though it wasn’t, and left behind a satisfied customer. You know, most of them turned out to be repeat customers who always asked for me and being as how commissions was a big part of my salary, that was a good thing.

Another thing I’ve learned about business is that a very important factor is PR and I’m not talking about Page Rank, I’m talking about Public Relations, and while Brian may know a lot about Page Rank, his actions in that post shows he knows stuff all about Public Relations.

I would like to make one last point and that is one about public perception. I discussed this in my post Perception Is Important To Your Blogging Career! As a person who has previously had no knowledge of Brian, my judgment of his character can only be made from the way he carried himself while commenting on Lis’s post. My perception of his character may be entirely wrong but that’s all I have to go on because that’s the only side he’s shown me. I can tell you one thing and that is because of this, possibly flawed, perception of his character, I would never purchase anything from this bloke.

I would really like to see what your feelings are in regards to the way he handled himself. Am I looking at this all wrong? Am I merely taking the honorable knights actions by defending a damsel in distress?

On the other hand, if you agree with me perhaps you’d like to spread the word by tweeting the post or by using one of the other social websites below. Either way I would really like to know what your thoughts are?

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