Did I sell my soul?

1950swifeDid I sell my soul?

Each month a maid service spends two hours cleaning our house.

This frees us from vacuuming, wiping, swiping, dusting and sweeping, and puts some cash into workers’ pockets.

The work is so polished that I wrote a positive endorsement on the company’s website after the first cleaning.

My agenda was to give the hard-working crew some kudos.

Now the company is running a promotion where you can get a discount if you write a note on Yelp and Google.

I lunged at the discount like my dog lunges at bacon.

Then I had second thoughts.

From a promotion side, getting your clients to spread the good word about you is nothing new.

But what if the writer is paid to spread the word?

As a consumer of information, I reckon the reviews I read online for cafes, coffeehouses and bodegas aren’t bought and sold—they are honestly-wrought opinions of layfolk.

I would reconsider, though, if I thought the reviews were purchased.

The line between promotion and procured opinion is fuzzy.

Especially when the reviewer’s stake is unknown.

Did I sell my soul? Discuss.

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About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. She is enrolled with the Osage tribe.
This entry was posted in authenticity, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Did I sell my soul?

  1. Russ L says:

    Cynthia,
    It’s only selling your soul if you accept payment to do something you wouldn’t normally do. In this case your endorsement would have been the same whether you accepted money for it or not.

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  2. I personally don’t trust the reviews on Yelp or Google because some of them have been faked and companies have sued people for bad reviews and made them take them down. I joined Angie’s List and go by the reviews on there. Unfortunately, Angie’s List doesn’t have a lot of subscribers here yet.

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  3. I’m with Russ about this. You would have given a good review regardless. The incentive was for your time, not your opinion. That said, It is also useful to examine the credibility of the medium. How do you feel about Yelp and Google?

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  4. True. I have missed feelings about Google and found the Yelp reviews helpful

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