I kind of surprised at how much folks are surprised or unaware about how product reviews work on YouTube. I don’t think the business of product reviews is that shady and that wasn’t really my point in the video. I do think as with any business that are dishonest folks on the tube, slinging product for dollars but shady as though this is all happening behind closed doors? Nah…it’s super accessible information to anyone. I think without even looking at the description box you can tell which of my videos have been sponsored, considering how many other YouTubers have reviewed the same product(s). Like the Poetic Justice #GrownWomanJeans, or my style tutorials with Entwine Couture.
YouTube is a business and folks deserve to be compensated for the work they put into their channels. And YouTubers who you always see posting positive reviews aren’t always lying either. For me, I will never post a negative review about a independently owned/small business brand (unless I have a totally disrespectful experience) because I don’t want to hurt the food that someone else is trying to put on their table. Some folks might only review products that they actually like. What I take issue with is the dishonest people who are too check focused and it shows through their half-ass reviews and constant new favorite product that they are pushing for you to be. Not the vloggers who are demoing and show you how to use product, there are certain channels folk subscribes to just for info on makeup or hair products, so it makes sense for them to review and demo product. It’s the dishonesty I’m not a fan of.
As for me, what I really wanted to address is why I’m slowing down on doing product reviews in 2014. Because I don’t want to water down my brand and I enjoy engaging and talking with guys about more than just how cute my hairstyle is. And because as I noted in my Texture Discrimination video, I don’t see too many long term benefits from me showing you the uptenth new moisturizer/styler/gel product that you need to click the link and buy right now. Especially when brands would rather skim over me to pick one of the #BabyHairBrigade and that’s now shade to my counterparts with the silky edges who deserve the exposure. But the can’t no one convince me at 99K subscribers that I’m not deserving, when folks are flying out YTers w/ 60k subscribers to stand at their booth for World Natural Hair Show. So while $300 might be cute, that breaks down to $25/hr for a style tutorial and I make than that at my real job rolling in at 11am. It’s undervaluing through the compensation AND the opportunity it presents. It’s much more feeling to talk about loneliness, friendships and parents aging while having the opportunity to connect with my audience then it is to essentially help a company up their revenue when they can’t even share my videos (think about what my favorite product is and see if they’ve ever supported other than throwing me more product and asking for more reviews). It means a world + two more to me to meet ladies (and men) out in the street and talk about something impactful like careers, books that have inspired you and just being good with you other than ‘oh yeah I tried that hairstyle’. So while I’m not entirely walking away from hair care and product reviews, I am tailoring down to products that I actually love and use, as well as things that actually work into my lifestyle.
Watch the video below for details on how to get product sent to you for review!