Reviews are not uncommon on JoeTech.com and some reviews I get paid for. This is the story how a company called FutureMedia Studio is intent on making sure they don’t honor their business agreements.
For the uninitiated, here’s how paid reviews generally work: A company (or an agent company) contacts the blog about a paid review. A price is agreed upon and money is paid to the blog (or agent company). Then the review is completed and published. I make a point to personally use or try anything I review, whenever possible, in order to provide a complete and honest opinion based on actual experience. This takes a lot of time but is a necessary part of the process.
What I Get Paid For
One common misconception is that “paid” means “positive”. There may be a couple blogs that will guarantee a positive review, but I guarantee an honest opinion. When I provide a paid review, the payment is for my time and honest opinion. This was the case when I provided a generally positive Infinity Control iPhone game review as well as my even more lucrative Boost Mobile review, in which I devoted half the review to relaying my horrendous activation experience.
Bad Business With FutureMedia Studio
Historically, I’ve done well with a review agent company called IZEA and their review service, Social Spark, which has pioneered the paid review process. Now and then, companies skip the middle man and come directly to me for a review. Recently, I was emailed by a new company called Review Roster that brokers reviews for Android and IOS apps and decided to try the service out.
My first review opportunity with Review Roster was FutureMedia Studio’s iPhone and iPad app, Perfect Reader. I provided the review as agreed (seen here) and waited for payment. As a new paid review business, Review Roster had not been collecting payment before reviews were completed. I discovered this after they informed me that my payment was delayed due to trouble getting payment from FutureMedia Studio. Review Roster now collects payment in advance. What struck me as odd was that the app got some great remarks from me, so it couldn’t be that they were unhappy with the tone of the review (although that shouldn’t matter). As it turns out, it seems FutureMedia Studio just didn’t want to pay.
I keep pretty busy, so I set the experience aside, got assurance that payment for future reviews would be pre-collected, and provided two subsequent reviews for Review Roster. I was paid for these second and third reviews without much concern and it wasn’t until recently that I thought again about the Prefect Reader review while reviewing traffic logs. I decided to throw out a tweet to FMS and RR and see if I could provoke a resolution to the problem. Here’s what my tweet read:
Still curious why @perfectreader never paid for the @reviewroster review I completed. #badbusiness
Keep in mind, this is after several emails with Review Roster months before to resolve the issue quietly. Sometimes you need a megaphone to get a company’s attention. This was clearly the case with FutureMedia Studio as they replied a couple days later with the following:
@joetech @reviewroster Contact firstname.lastname@example.org pls. Don’t understand what you’re talking about.
Someone at Review Roster contacted Tim at FutureMedia Studio and eventually got a response that was emailed to me a couple days ago. After reading the response, I knew immediately that I would turn down the proposed resolution to my complaint, but I decided to think it over before I responded. Essentially, RR forwarded the offer Tim made:
“I’m ok to pay that invoice as it comes from our team member. but could you please ask JoeTech to remove the old review as I really don’t need it. In exchange, I’d like JoeTech to review our popular book – MS Office 2010 Professional Handbook…Otherwise, I am not paying.”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. FutureMedia Studio acknowledges that they agreed to pay for a service that was provided, refuses to pay, and now wants me to just delete my hard work and do another review just to get paid for the first one. I replied via email with a resounding NO, of course, adding that the offer is just insulting. Holding payment for a provided service ransom to squeeze additional work out of me is bad business.
What do you think?
Am I wrong? Do you agree with me? Would you be insulted by this response? Chime in and let this company know what you think about how they conduct business.
NOTE: While Review Roster stumbled a little at first, they’ve always had great communication and worked with me to resolve this.
UPDATE 07.28.2011: This morning, I’ve been informed that payment was made for my work and that Tim fired the guy who originally initiated the work. This is a horrible outcome, in my opinion. It’s great that the payment was eventually made, but I was far past expecting the payment and and to fire someone else for the negative press Tim caused is wrong. If you’re the guy who got fired or if you want to hire the guy, email me at email@example.com. Maybe I can help.