tracking a blogger
November 5, 2007 7:39 PM   Subscribe

my wife and I have an emerging business. We were asked by a blogger to provide a sample of our product for review. The blogger initially stipulated that the item would not be returned, and after explaining to the blogger that we were a small company and couldn't afford to give them a sample, we sent it off. well, guess what. in the immortal words of PWEI no deposit. no return. We have their address, and can badmouth their blog, but what recourse do we have? I've tried reverse lookup to get info on the blogger, to no avail. I don't want to come across as a stalker, but we are talking about a chunk of our rent here....
posted by grimley to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The details are unclear: did the blogger agree to return your product sample before you agreed to send it? You've sorta implied that might be the case but didn't spell it out clearly.

It matters.
posted by jamaro at 7:45 PM on November 5, 2007

you guys got scammed!!!

can i have a free product also? i promise to write about it

i think you're screwed, just don't send stuff off to "bloggers" anymore

any reputable media type doing a review will clearly establish if they will or will not send the item back, and no outlet i've worked for has been cool with writers keeping items of value
posted by Salvatorparadise at 7:51 PM on November 5, 2007

Based on your explanation, if the blogger didn't definitively say "oh ok I understand your predicament, I will return the product," I'm afraid you are out of luck. Sorry.
posted by spec80 at 7:51 PM on November 5, 2007

Wait - how could you send your product (which is what now?) to the blogger in question if you later need to get info on him? I am confused.
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:26 PM on November 5, 2007

Thirding your SOL situation. Also, if you deemed the blog important enough to be worth shipping a sample to, you probably don't want to annoy them now, right?

(If, on the other hand, you don't think any new bad publicity will hurt you, why did you think their good publicity would help?)

I think you screwed yourselves here. Write it off and move on. And write a clear policy for next time and have it ready so you don't need to react.
posted by rokusan at 8:33 PM on November 5, 2007

I can't make much sense of this question either. A bloger asked you for a sample of your product to review it but it's expensive to make or ship so you said no.. then changed your mind and sent one anyway? The bloger in question neither reviewed the product or sent it back now you need to know what to do? You have his address.. mailing address or blog address? Are you trying to do a reverse look up on his DNS? Are you trying to get his blog taken down? Spread word that this guy isn't honest? Trying to track down where he lives?
posted by Kioki-Silver at 8:39 PM on November 5, 2007

I am not sure what your product is, and how expensive, but there are a lot of new, emerging businesses out there who would love to send their products for free to popular bloggers for the chance of a review.

Unless we are talking hundreds of dollar in product and a clear understanding that it needs to be returned, I personally don't think the blogger did anything wrong.

I personally receive many products to review on my website for busy moms (granted, they are not high value) and never came accross someone who wanted the product back.
posted by adriana at 8:40 PM on November 5, 2007

Best answer: If they agreed to return the goods, then this is theft by bailee. (That's the traditional term. In most jurisdictions, the various theft offenses have been consolidated by statute into just one -- theft). Whichever way it goes in the jurisdiction of the blogger, it is theft and can be reported to the police. No guarantees that'll actually get you anywhere, but if they said they'd return it as a condition of the transaction, then this is a crime and can be pursued as such.
Short answer: call the cops. Or at least send a letter letting them know you plan to do so.
posted by katemonster at 8:41 PM on November 5, 2007

This would seem to be theft, on the face of it: keeping an item that was lent for a short period, after that period is over. Contact the police near the blogger's address. Emphasise that it was a loan, not a gift.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:42 PM on November 5, 2007

How long ago did you send it off?

I would give the blogger in question 4 to 6 weeks to do their thing. If you get no write up after six weeks, send a really, really friendly "Hey, I totally understand if you don't want to review our gear; no problem and thanks for your time. I'd like to arrange for the thing to be returned at our expense" email.

Really, try not to piss off the blogger. If you considered them important enough to your marketing strategy to send the thing to them in first place, you probably don't want to start with the law suit threats.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:56 PM on November 5, 2007

A registered letter from an attorney can sometimes work wonders.
posted by LarryC at 9:22 PM on November 5, 2007

Best answer: Have you asked them to return the item? And have you offered to pay for returning the item? Send an email to let them know that they'll soon be receiving an envelope for return by registered mail or courier. Let them know the date they'll be receiving it. Then send the return mail envelope (postage paid) and a letter that politely explains that the item is now to be returned by 6 weeks from whatever date. Use registered mail to send the envelope. See how that goes before talking to a lawyer or small claims.
posted by acoutu at 9:43 PM on November 5, 2007

The blogger initially stipulated that the item would not be returned, and after explaining to the blogger that we were a small company and couldn't afford to give them a sample, we sent it off.

Ummm..? So, did the blogger in question at some point agree to return the item in question, or not? Did you just send it anyway in the hope they would return it? Do you have any documentation of any agreement with this blogger?
posted by normy at 10:08 PM on November 5, 2007

Best answer: If your emerging business is what I think it is, we're talking about a $200-ish item, right? $200 is a good chunk of rent to go missing, but unless you're not charging any markup, that's not how much you really lost. You're out the cost of materials and labor. Consider how much a lawyer would have charged to tell you not to send items out for review without a clear agreement on both sides that you'd be getting the items back. Seems to me, you may actually have just saved some money.

(And if you don't agree, then do what acoutu said.)
posted by hades at 10:24 PM on November 5, 2007

Response by poster: The blogger did agree to send it back, and we included a return package as well. This blogger isn't anyone that I particularly care about, and was against the idea in the first place (i lost out). Thanks for all the answers, unless it's someone getting massive page views a day, we wont bite.
posted by grimley at 5:54 AM on November 6, 2007

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