I do some work for a guy who manufactures some of their own products. The product in question costs about $150 to the customer.
Sometimes we get approached by people in the same industry who perhaps run info-sites or blogs and they want to do a writeup on the product, or a review, etc.
I'm wondering what a good policy/strategy might be for dealing with these requests? Some questions in my mind are:
1) How popular is their website? Can I find out roughly how many uniques they get? From this number, can I guesstimate how much traffic it might drive to our website or what percentage of that traffic may become sales? Are there industry averages for all this? And how can I research the popularity of a website to see if it's worth looking in to? Is there a way to see how many uniques the website gets? Or for that matter, how many average views any particular article gets?
2) What about the skill of the reviewer? If we just send them product, we don't really have any control over how "good" of a tester/reviewer they are. After all, if something has 5 buttons and it overwhelms the reviewer because they are num nuts, they could bash the product out of their own incompetance or lack of skill with this particular device. I am not a welder so I could never really review welding machines, but we can't know how skilled the reviewer is so this is some kind of risk.
I suppose I just don't know under what circumstances it is a good decision to send product to a "reviewer" for their "blog". Or how to calculate the possible return versus risk. And before you say "can't hurt so just do it", keep in mind we have to send free stuff, which may or may not even get back to us, spend employee time tracking, shipping, receiving the product, potentially not being able to sell the product (certainly not at new prices) etc etc. So doing this costs money, and that money could go toward other advertising.
There is nothing stopping people from buying the product and reviewing it anyway. But if we send it to them purposefully for free, in a sense that is like one company endorsing the other. I'm not sure how that works really but it feels like that would be the case.
Any advice, tips, techniques, or tools?