It seems that this month alone, Some of the food bloggers have been taking center stage in the rumbling events of Commercial Reviews and even negative reviews which has made certain establishments whip out a libel suit or defamation remark.
First up, for Commercial Reviews. I believe that if a blogger has been invited for a food review or tasting session, he should be as objective as possible. While the idea of a “free meal” is a kind gesture, it is not something which should strongly influence the decision and tastes of the blogged review. For an establishment’s point, giving invited reviews would increase exposure to the community in which the food blogger engages in with his writings. And in this scenario, it is a Win-Win situation for both parties. And for the blogger himself, I do not believe he would mind an invited meal as this would increase the range of foods he can try and recommend to others.
Of course in any situation, there are bound to be shortfalls and certain negativity. But as long as the article remains objective, balanced and not insidious, I think that’s ok. And to what extent objective, balanced and not insidious should be defined, I believe that is up to the style of writing to each individual food blogger.
Today’s Home section in The Straits Times splashed an article about “Food Bloggers Face Legal Heat Over Reviews”. It is understandable that some establishments might be offended from negative remarks made in reviews as they would probably see this as a jeopardy to their customer base and reputation of their outlet. However, by engaging in the legal whip would possibly only make situations worse. Are we going to start as a society the perverse censorship of what would be an honest article?
Agreed, certain food bloggers might carry things a little too far, but I believe an amicable solution can be found. After all, this would be in little disadvantage to the food blogger but a larger negative impact to the establishment itself once word gets out in a local food scene.
The Food Blogger community in Singapore is by far and large generally recommending delicious food found across the island to the local and international community. This may not be the form of mainstream advertisement but when one considers the massive potential customer base on the internet, what the food bloggers do would definitely make an impact.
Reviews have always been around, be it in magazines or the local newspaper. And we have to agree that not everything experienced anywhere would be a picture of roses all the time.
Accept the remarks made. If anyone feels that it should be “clarified”, engagement should be done between both the food blogger and the parties involved. Threatening with legal action is simply not the way to go. Would it be possible that one step forward would instead result in a large backward leap? Think about it.