Review of Tomoson's Product Review Service
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Review of Tomoson’s Product Review Service

Posted by Alex Juel on June 4th, 2013 | Filed Under:

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Tomoson.com is a service to find bloggers who are interested in doing product reviews or where bloggers can find products that they would like to review. It’s currently in beta and free, but once out of beta, I expect that there will probably be some type of paid account required.

Setting Up a Campaign

You start by creating an ad, or a “promotion” with information about your product and who you want to apply to review it. You can choose to manually approve or auto-approve bloggers and set a start and end date for bloggers to apply, how many bloggers you want to give products to and you can also set a quality minimum based on Twitter followers, Facebook friends and Alexa rank. You can offer to do a contest as well.

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They have a drop-down menu to set a product verification time, but the only option is 3 weeks. I really don’t like the 3 week deadline they give bloggers. I feel like the deadline forces the bloggers to rush and put out lower quality reviews. I wouldn’t mind waiting longer for bloggers to fully use a product and write a review as it fits their schedule.

Blog Quality

Tomoson lets anyone with a blog join their service, so the quality of the blogs are what you’d expect. There are a lot of low-quality product reviewer and mommy blogs – the kinds of sites created for the sole purpose of getting free products. There are also a ton of blogspot.com throwaway blogs.

This isn’t really Tomoson’s fault though, since anyone can apply. It’s really up to you to choose who gets to review your products. You aren’t forced to give your product away to crappy websites.

Customer Service

I had some hiccups with my campaign because my client had told me that they sent out products, but it turned out that they actually hadn’t sent any to a whole batch of bloggers. Since I marked the product as shipped in Tomoson, those bloggers were then on a 3 week deadline, but they never got their product, so they were receiving warning messages from Tomoson about getting their reviews online, but they had no product to review.

If bloggers post a review late, it affects their ratings in Tomoson, so I started getting a lot of angry emails. I contacted support and explained the problem and they were able to remove the ship date for all of my bloggers so that they wouldn’t receive any more messages or penalties. That was a huge relief to me and all of the reviewers. Customer support was very helpful, courteous and fast.

Quality of Reviews

Most of the reviews were pretty short, which I think was due to the short 3-week time limit. They were all also very approving of the product. I should be happy with that, but I really wanted honest reviews with at least some criticism or suggestions of how the product could be better. I would have felt like it was more truthful that way. I’m sure our client doesn’t mind all the praise though.

The Ratings System

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Once a review is complete and online, it’s the promoters turn to write a review and give a rating to the reviewer. This is a a good idea in theory, except for the fact that the rating and review is visible by the product reviewer and everyone who visits their profile. This makes it extremely difficult to provide an honest rating because it gives the blogger an opportunity to edit their product reviews if they receive a poor rating from the company who gave them the product.

I think this rating system scares businesses away from giving honest ratings. If you look at any of the blogger profiles, you’ll see what I mean. Just about everyone has a whole profile full of 5-star ratings, but if you read the reviews on their sites, you’ll see that many are not deserving of 5 stars.

Before realizing this, I was trying to be fair about giving ratings and then I had one blogger contact me asking why I only gave her a 4-star rating. I definitely did not feel safe rating the reviewers after that.

The rating system needs to be removed or should be modified in some way. For example, it could be used for internal use only. Only in rare cases should a blogger show up as a 5-star reviewer, just like what you’d expect with any type of rating system.

Final Thoughts

After getting a better sense of how the whole system works, in the future I will definitely place stricter quality guidelines during the initial campaign set up and I will probably limit my promotions to only 5-10 bloggers at a time.

Tomoson is in beta, so the system is a little buggy and it could use a little more functionality, for example better sorting and filtering options, but it’s actually a pretty useful service and it’s not too difficult to use. I would definitely recommend giving it a try, but I highly suggest testing it with a very small campaign at first.

About 

Alex’s specialty at Inflow is to link it up, wrap it up, get it out there and get results. Alex Juel has experience with clients large and small in a wide variety of industries.


15 Comments on “Review of Tomoson’s Product Review Service


    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the shout out about Tomoson.com; from one SEO’er to another.

    Jeff


    Alex, I don’t get why you say you would “probably limit promotions to only 5-10 bloggers at a time”. Is that to do with the cost of sending a physical product to reviewers and because you don’t want to waste time and money with bloggers that aren’t likely to give you a worthwhile return? My product is virtual and while weighing up the value of Tomoson I see nothing to lose by having a large number of bloggers review it. With thanks, Jim


      Good question Jim. I honestly can’t remember why I recommended that. I haven’t used Tomoson in quite a while, but one reason that comes to mind is that since you’re likely to get a whole bunch of product review links at once, it might make your link profile look unnatural.


    I’ve been having issues with Businesses on Tomoson. I do product reviews on my flagship blog and on a product review blog, and I’m very honest and detailed. If I give a bad review, some businesses will harass you and say REALLY inappropriate things about you. Corresponding with a business (if applicable) is also a part of my reviewing process. I feel like bloggers are forced to give 5 star reviews. Tomoson does nothing about this. On the bright side, I have made some long term business relationships through Tomoson. I wish we had a longer time to review products (especially skincare). Thanks for the info!


      I never thought about the issues that the reviewers might have. Tomoson definitely needs to figure something out with the rating system. It’s terrible for both the reviewers and the businesses. When everyone is forced to leave 5-star reviews out of fear of retaliation, the rating system becomes pointless.


    Generally I liked Tomoson and most of the bloggers we worked with were nice even when they did not leave us top rating. However look out for newbies. They have no clue what they are doing and cannot communicate in civilized manner. I had one cranky blogger who posted 3 star rating on Amazon mentioning something that our product doesn’t even do. When we emailed her asking to clarify, she had a hissy fit and changed her rating from 3 to 1 stating that she was bullied to change her rating, which was a total and complete lie. What are you going to do here? Some bloggers don’t even test provided peoducts, but sell them on ebay. I suppose it’s a profitable gig.


      Thanks for the comment Coco. I liked Tomoson too, but the whole star rating thing scared me. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.


    Tomoson has quite a compelling concept which I’m sure will be refined over time. In your research, did you identify any competitors? I’d be interested to hear your take. Seems like a nascent field. I looked but couldn’t find any.


    Hi, Thanks for clearing up some of the questions I had. I sell a watch with a built in magnifying lens and flashlight at ibeamwatches.com and I’d like to get some reviews but it’s expensive to send out samples. How do I determine who is legit and knows about these type of products, and has a relevant audience and who doesn’t?
    Thank you,
    Chris


      Hi Chris,

      You can review the sites of the bloggers before sending them any products. You definitely want to check their website for quality (relevancy, age of the website, quality of writing, audience engagement, etc.) and also check out their social profiles to see how active they are.

      Thanks for the question!


    I was searching for ownership information on Tomoson and Google produced a link to this page. I was simply curious since I review products via Tomoson and wanted to learn more about them. I’m one of those “throw away blogspot bloggers” (A title I resent but it is your choice to give categories and titles to bloggers in your own article.). In my ownership search I came across your article here on inflow.com and found it interesting and informative.

    As a blogger I would really like to know about businesses’ ratings of my own blog performance in reviewing a product; but I have not been able to find that choice tidbit. I found a rating but just a total rating – not individual.

    I, too, have seen sad examples of writing and blogging quality in a plethora of blogger’s reviews. And these bloggers are receiving some super-nice products to review. When this occurs, I question the business that provides the product in their own ability to select reviewers (for quality writing). Also, some businesses that engage Tomoson.com seem clueless about how the system works and so the review opportunity with them is flawed from the very beginning.

    I’m not a “reviewer only” blogger nor am I am traditional “mommy blogger.” I’m simply a retiree that blogs for the enjoyment of it. If you peruse my blog you will find some simple musings, book reviews, product reviews, and pictures of flowers from my own garden. I’m simple. I’m enjoying my blogging. I give the books I review to a school library. I share the products I review with others.

    My blog is http://chatwithvera.blogspot.com (yes, I’m one of those throw-away bloggers and I began my blog in 2008).

    Vera


      Hi Vera,

      I’m not saying that all blogspot blogs are throwaways, I’m saying that there are a lot of throwaway blogspot blogs in Tomoson. I looked at your site and definitely wouldn’t call it that, but you’re one of the outliers. When I review a blog to see if I want to offer a product, there are several quality signals I look for:

      • quality design
      • blog updated regularly
      • in-depth posts
      • engaged readers (comments on posts)
      • good grammar and punctuation
      • minimal ads
      • relevancy to the product I’m pitching
      • Moz page authority score of at least 30 (yours is 48, which is very good)

      Just because you’re on blogspot doesn’t mean your blog is a throwaway, but it does mean that if I was looking for a place to do product reviews and you applied, your blog would be looked at with extra scrutiny.

      The thing about blogspot, wordpress, tumblr, etc. blogs is that the majority of them never last longer than a year. When it’s a free website, people tend to care less about keeping it updated and they usually don’t care if all of their posts are low quality either. And that’s the case with a lot of the reviewers in Tomoson. They just want free products.

      If a blogger purchases a domain though, for example if you owned chatwithvera.com, you would look much more serious about what you’re doing. You’ve been operating your blog for a long time though, and it’s clear that you’re serious and plan to keep doing it.

      I have no idea how some of the bloggers in Tomoson’s system get those super-nice products you mentioned. I’ve seen what you’re talking about it, and it baffles me. It could be that the business doesn’t understand what a quality website is, or perhaps they don’t care and just want to get a link to their site.

      Thanks,
      Alex


    I had a horrible experience with them. As a publisher of a web design website, i had been contacter by one of their commercial.

    Their first message did not mention the website Tomoson, it was just someone who wanted to buy a blog post.

    We explained that our price was fixed (500$), and that this guy should write the post himself, and that we may refuse it if the content does not fit our audiances (but he only pays if we accept it , and publish it, of course)

    We had a deal with this guy, but later on we realize he did not work with company but was just asking us to register to their website..

    Now we receive emails from electronic companies asking us to write content for them at lower prices..

    Looks like we have been fooled

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