Caught Selling "Product Reviews" On Lifehacker, BoingBoing

UPDATE: ReviewMe Responds To Fraudulent Listing of Lifehacker, BoingBoing, MAKE…

Adam Pash (of Lifehacker) forwarded us an email exchange between himself and someone claiming to have purchased a review of their product on Consumerist’s sister-site, Lifehacker. As you’ve probably guessed, neither Lifehacker, nor Consumerist’s editorial content is for sale, so it was a bit confusing for Adam when the following email popped up in his inbox:

We recently purchased a software review on your site through If you can let me know who will be performing the review,

I’ll get that person set up with a download copy of PCmover right away. I’ll also send along a Reviewer’s Guide, and will be happy to send box shots, screenshots, etc as needed.

Thanks! I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Sara Cooke
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Laplink Software

Adam wrote back informing Sara that Lifehacker’s editorial content wasn’t for sale. She wrote back with a link to Lifehacker’s profile on ReviewMe, a happy Web 2.0-looking “marketplace of web authors” who will give you “site traffic, viral buzz, and invaluable feedback.”

Lifehacker had never heard of this website, and their profile has since been pulled down.

It seems, though, that the good ship Lifehacker might not be the only blog ReviewMe is “representing”…

As of this posting, reviews on BoingBoing and Makezine are both listed as being available for purchase.

For a measly $500.00, any marketer can purchase a review on BoingBoing? Not likely, although if it’s true, someone should tell the RIAA.

Bloggers, make sure ReviewMe isn’t taking money from unsuspecting companies in your good name. ReviewMe claims they are a part of MediaWhiz, and they also have a MySpace for their cute Web 2.0 logo. Hmm, to friend or not to friend? Cory? Xeni? Mark? Can we toss this one over to you?

UPDATE: Xeni Jardin from BoingBoing writes:

“BoingBoing has never accepted payment for editorial content. We have not and will not ever accept cash or any other form of renumeration for a product review, or any other kind of post which was not clearly identified as an advertisement.”

UPDATE: We gave Xeni the contact info for MediaWhiz, ReviewMe’s “Parent Company.” She tried (to no avail, sadly) to speak to someone who could explain the fraudulent listings on ReviewMe. After being referred to a broken voice mail, she called back…and got another voice mail. MediaWhiz had stopped answering the phone. Xeni describes the whole experience as “dicey.” We’d have to agree, especially since she didn’t identify herself or state her reason for calling.

If your blog is being misrepresented on ReviewMe, and would like to speak to some dicey person’s voice mail about it, here’s the best contact info we have for MediaWhiz:

MediaWhiz Holdings, LLC.
75 Broad Street, 23rd Floor,
New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646.442.0074

In addition, Makezine has gotten back to us and they also do not accept payment for reviews or any other editorial content. —MEGHANN MARCO


Edit Your Comment

  1. Scazza says:

    kotaku is on there too

  2. Emrikol says:

    I say we get a pool together to buy a good review of the PS3 for Kotaku ;)

  3. The Gigante says:

    And on the day that the big four labels have been asked to renounce payola! I will look forward to the to go live soon.

  4. Tallanvor says:

    Maybe some Nigerian spammers will fall for it!

  5. TedSez says:

    Maybe they’re just “purchasing” positive comments on the sites.

    By the way, Laplink Software is the best software around!

    (That’ll be $500, please.)

  6. Falconfire says:

    also have slashdot listed and you they barely do reviews as it is…

    something smells VERY fishy

  7. gorckat says:

    I’ll bet the fine print says something about how, for the fee, they ‘submit a review’ to the site in question.

    No promise on getting it posted, however.

    If so, its actually quite brilliant…scammy, but clever.

  8. gorckat says:

    Yep- from some link about how it works or something:

    Browse our marketplace of reviewers to find web sites that are relevant to your target audience. Reviews start at $40.00 and are a one-time fee per review.

    Create a free account, define the products or services that you would like to get reviewed, then purchase some reviews.

    Your order is sent to the reviewers and they will choose to take on the review or not.

    You receive notification when each review is completed and published to the reviewer’s web site.

  9. Steve_Holt says:

    You know what time it is….

    that’s right, time to start a review-whoring website for some quick cash.

    I’ll be right back.

  10. joopiter says:

    So did Lifehacker actually get an email from ReviewMe requesting the review, or did they take down the profile before they even got that far?

    Hope Sara didn’t pay upfront.

  11. ptorone says:

    phil from MAKE here – they claim we (as well as boingboing, slashdot, lifehacker, etc etc) are participants in a program whereby someone can pay to get products reviewed on our sites. it’s obviously a lie, we have alerted our legal folks.

  12. comedian says:

    I tried them out back when they ran a $20 if you review Review Me promo.

    My review was approved, but I never got the money.

    If they ask you to take your top off, get the money first.

    –Annette Atkins, in Drop Dead Gorgeous

  13. sampson says:

    Nowhere does it say what happens to your $500 (or however much you end up paying) if the blog doesn’t take the offer. Presumably you get something back, but it’s not explicitly stated. At least, that would be the right thing to do to avoid being a complete scam. I’m sure there’s some kind of “fee” associated with the mere submission of the request, though I haven’t tried registering as an advertiser to see what the terms are.

    This site is basically just a middle man, trying to insert itself into a marketplace that doesn’t exist yet. I suppose you have to credit them for thinking up of that market, but it does appear to be very scammish to me.

    Arguably, this site is making use of the blogs’ names in a manner that would falsely suggest a connection to the company. The more widely-read bloggers should try to get it shut down for their use of their name, not only for the purpose of protecting the public and people like our friend Sara, but for protecting their reputation. I’d say the kind of connection ReviewMe is trying to make impugns the good reputation and “street cred” for providing good, objective reviews.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    It’s quite sad that there are companies filled with people this *stupid* to fall for something like this…

  15. ReviewMe says:

    Hey Guys, Patrick Gavin from ReviewMe here, first sorry for this, we are fixing the problem now. This was not an attempt by ReviewMe of trying to deceive advertisers but was a case where we left a loophole in our system where a blog could be added by someone who did not own the blog.

    Advertisers cannot be charged for reviews that were not completed on the blog they purchased a review from so the advertiser was pre approved but never charged. It was a mistake on our end for allowing this loophole and again sorry about that. We are fixing it now. If you need any help please email us at support (at) thx! Patrick

  16. RexRhino says:

    I know that blogs like Boing Boing or LifeHacker or whatever claim to not accept money (or products or favors) for story placement, but I highly highly doubt it. I have seem too many “check out this ‘cool’ product” stories to believe otherwise. I am fairly certain that most of the big blogs accept money for stories.

    That being said, I am sure that it costs you way more than $500 to bribe the big blogs. For $30,000, I believe you could get your review on the bigger blogs, but $500 is a joke.

  17. jetdillo says:

    I am constantly amazed by sites like “ReviewMe” because I can’t believe that anybody would be that stupid to think they could get away with something like this or that anyone(let alone top-name bloggers) would actually participate. Then it sets in that the reason they’re doing this is most likely because they can’t get work any other way.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  18. willms_jay says:

    At first glance, looks like a great service. Pay reputable bloggers to post about your product or service and receive feedback good or bad. I decided to take for a spin as an advertiser and see if it was worth the dollars. Suprise? More negative feedback for the company.

    check it out: