Monday, January 23, 2012

ASK Cosmetics - A Company I Would Be Careful Of

ASK Cosmetics is a company I was completely unfamiliar with until last November. I got an email from the company at that point asking me to help them publicize their contest. I am all about imforming my readers as to new give-aways and I gladly obliged. Even though the request left a bad taste in my mouth. Here is why:

"My reasons for contacting you are two-fold:

First of all, I would like to inform you of our “Gigantic Festive Giveaway” Contest which is running until Dec. 22nd, 2011. If you, or any of your faithful followers are interested in entering, please feel free to do so. The prize package is worth $250.00 CAD and includes our entire line of products. Information about the contest can be found on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/askcosmetics or by going directly to our Events page to read full entry rules and contest guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#!/events/296179503747232/

Secondly, we are looking for bloggers such as yourself to take our products for a “test drive” in the new year. In particular, we would be interested in your feedback on our Revival Nail Polish Remover – a unique product that quickly and efficiently removes your polish WHILE treating, fortifying and replenishing your nails at the same time. If you are willing to try some of our products, please send me your mailing address. You can reach me at: xxxx@xxxxxx.com"



It sounded to me like a bribe.  Help promote our contest and we will send you free stuff. I however gave the company the benefit of the doubt and blogged about the giveaway. After all, who doesnt want to win free stuff??? So I let it slide.

THEN, on January 6th I get the following email from them:

".......I must be honest with you, at first the responses did not come back as quickly as I had hoped and I became disappointed and a bit discouraged. For this reason I expanded my list of bloggers to be included in our testing and then, of course, your responses started to flood in. I fully intend on sending everyone who responded positively to my first email a sample of our products, however it might take me some time to organize the best strategy in order to avoid everyone “test driving” our products at the same time. So, please be patient."

It started to sound like a backstep from what I originally thought was a bribe. But if it had ended there I would have been ok. The end of the email ended with:

"Finally, I have become an avid follower of your blog site and a fan on Facebook enjoying the write-ups and fantastic pics of your swatches, etc. If you should ever see a comment made by Lisa Mueller or ASK Cosmetics, you will know who is behind it. Keep up the great work – I thoroughly enjoy it!

Would you mind sending me your postal address once again? I have made note of them, but I would like to double-check all the details. I will be informing you by email prior to shipping and if you are willing to sample other products please inform me.

Kind regards,
XXXXXXXX
Vice President of Global Sales and Social Media
ASK Cosmetics Inc."


Shall we get into the issues here? I am stunned and impressed that she is such a fan of my facebook page! That is really impressive since...... oh yeah...... I DONT HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE!!!  (I have since started a facebook page, so feel free to like Polish Jinx if you want on facebook!) If you are going to use a from letter, be CAREFUL! That was just another bad taste in my mouth. 

But none of that comes CLOSE to this mornings email!!!

"Dear Shayna,

Well, ASK Cosmetics is very pleased that our new nail polish shades are due to arrive this week. However, we have never dealt with this manufacturer before so we can only hope the quality lives up to our expectations.

For this reason, I have chosen 10 bloggers to put these new polish shades and base / top coats to the test. Personally, I am not a nail polish wearer, therefore I cannot review the polishes like you can. We are counting on your expertise to advise us whether the polish quality and all the attributes that go along with a good quality polish are present.

Unlike the ASK Cosmetics’ Revival Nail Polish Remover and our flagship product, T.I.P.S. Nail Conditioner, both of which we are sure of the quality based on years of sales and satisfied customers as well as the fact that we produce these products ourselves, our new Nailwear shades (Rich Sapphire, Romantic Sunset, Classic Peacock and Oh, so Aubergine) have yet to be tested by anyone.

As much as I would like the public to know about these new shades, I hesitate to ask you to “officially” review them. Is it possible for you to test drive them and provide us with the information, leaving it up to us whether we share your findings with the public or not? As you can tell by my email, we are uncertain about the quality of these new products at the moment.

In addition, we would love to send you some of our other products, such as the nail polish remover, to review in a more official way.

Our shipment of new polishes and base / top coats is due in the week ending Jan 27th. Please let me know if you are interested and have the time, in which case we would send out the products no later than Jan 30th.

Looking forward to hearing back from you asap. Kind regards,
xxxxxxxxxx
Vice President of Global Sales and Social Media
ASK Cosmetics Inc"

I can't even begin to put words to my shock/amazement/anger at such an email! Where do we even start??? I can not believe a company would ever hire a VP of sales and social media who would not use their product! And who would tell bloggers THAT??

And you want me to review the product and only post the review if you approve it? I am NOT going to not write a review simply because it was negative. If a blogger did nothing but write about good experiences what use would they be? If a product doesn't work/is over priced/has a flaw in it, I as a reader WANT to know! And I would hate to think a blogger would ONLY share the positive. I will NOT be censored on my own blog! NOPE! 

Lisa,
Honestly, I have absolutely ZERO interest in trying your product. I started off very excited by the proposal in November. While I felt the offer of test driving new products sounded more like a bribe for posting about your give-away than an honest to goodness request I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I ignored the obvious form letter that you sent as a follow up telling me what a fan you were of my non existent facebook page (before sending that, make sure they HAVE a facebook page!).

But this request tells me ALL I NEED about your company. I need no more for my review. The company hired a non nail polish wearer as the VP of marketing and social media. One who has no issue saying "i wont even use our product!!". You want bloggers to agree to NOT post any bad reviews before sending out product? That tells me you do NOT want honest reviews and I will not be censored about my opinions. I will look forward to finding out which bloggers DO review your product though! Any blogger who agrees to only post a review you approve of is a blogger to stay away from! I hope to not come across any on my blog roll, but it will be a big announcement to STOP following them. I truly have lost any trust or respect in this brand.

Shayna (aka The Polish Jinx)





7 comments:

  1. >.< Yikes, now I am a bit worried...I have recently signed up with them to do a 12 week nail challenge using only their products, the way they say...I was leary of this before, but now I am really rethinking. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. They're going to put products out there that they "aren't sure of the quality." Lamest thing ever. I had a similar experience with them. After that second email telling me they liked my blog's facebook page (I don't have one either), I was done lol. Ugh! Creeps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Strange she doesn't wear polish, yet runs her own nail bog: http://nailcareasklisa.blogspot.com

    Something not right about all of this..

    Elle. xx

    www.beautyshewrote.info

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good for you!!! I can't believe that they had the audacity to ask you to only write a positive review! I think you handled this whole situation with class and tact!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. While I agree that it is a little jinky that she used the same email for all of the bloggers she contacted, I'm not sure I would go as far as to say all the things you have. I would personally see this as a flaw of PR rather than the company (which I've seen with other companies as well). Of course, you have the right to your own opinions.

    For one, I don't see that she required a positive review of the product, just that they want to know what you, as a consumer, thinks before they sell the product. I have actually had other companies ask something similar, with no requirement that the review be positive....just accurate. I may not like it, but I think it is reasonable for a new product.

    Second, I was asked to promote the giveaway as well. I didn't. I don't know the company and I don't feel like I can promote one that I don't know. I am, however, still participating in the nail challenge. She knows I didn't promote the company, and why, but I am still being asked to review. So, I was not penalized for not promoting them. In fact, I haven't mentioned the company name at all before today.

    Lastly, as far as not using their product? Ask actually states on their website that the hope is for nails to become beautiful and strong enough to not need polish. From reading her blog and watching the Youtube videos, you can see that she clearly uses the conditioning products.

    While I hope you are wrong, I'm not sure you are. I would hate to lose you as a reader (if you are one), but I will not post things that I don't feel are the truth (I have done negative reviews before. It happens.) and I will not allow my blog to be censored. Even if you believe that is what has happened. That being said, I will be reviewing the nail care system. I believe in giving companies a fair chance to either win me over, or fall flat, on their own.

    I have read your twitter, and I'm glad to see that you attempted to clear this up, although I wish you had done so before posting this blog. What if they are really a great company, and you've persuaded all your readers to avoid them? Please know that I am not bashing you as a blogger or a person, nor will I do so. I just want to express how I feel about the situation. I am looking forward to your update, and I hope things work out well!

    ReplyDelete
  6. While I don't disagree with a lot of your points " Is it possible for you to test drive them and provide us with the information, leaving it up to us whether we share your findings with the public or not?" Sounds to me like nothing more than censorship. No. I won't let someone else aprove of what I will or won't say.

    I did not know that she wrote a blog or any other details of her or the company before this correspondence. And while you're exactly correct, its not the company, its the VP of social media, it makes me leary of a review if it has to be approved before posting. Though this was the new product.

    I will update this post when I get home tonight with the further correspondence. More than what I posted on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was in contact with the company for a little while, but after a bit, just didn't answer to an email and I'm definitely okay with that. I wish them luck with starting up, but the form letters put me off and frankly I just wasn't all that interested in keeping up with a product I wasn't very interested in.

    ReplyDelete

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