Here at Eat Drink Stay Dubai, we love clarity – and hate bullshi*t (BS). So let’s apply that to the scourge of Dubai bloggers, foodies and influencers – Dubai Reviews.
Why is there such an issue with trusting Dubai Reviews?
Our view? There’s a disconnect in perceptions, expectations and understanding of a Review.
When Readers expect a review, sometimes publishers deliver marketing fluff instead. When readers want a perceptive insight based on judgement, instead they get sexy photos.
What should Dubai Reviews be?
At Eat Drink Stay Dubai, a Review should uphold 5 criteria :-
This is why our Disclosure Policy states:
Disclosure: All of our reviews are visited anonymously, and we pay for all charges ourselves.
We feel no freebies, no bias, no PR or marketing involvement makes for a fairer, objective and better review for you.
The two types of content we publish
On Eat Drink Stay Dubai, we have two distinct types of content:-
- Advertorials and Sponsored Content
Here is our interpretation of the difference between review and sponsored content.
- Visited anonymously
- Written objectively
- Includes positive/negative comments
- 100% editorial control.
Our reviews are entirely our own opinion/s and can be trusted as a referral or approval.
- Sales, marketing or promotional content in cooperation with a carefully-selected partner.
- Always denoted as ‘advertorial’ or ‘sponsored’, and always notes the relationship and partner.
- We may receive renumeration or consideration in return for publishing/promotion.
- Content not intended as a review, vindication or opinion of Eat Drink Stay Dubai.
For an excellent read about the different categories of food bloggers – and why some tell lies – please take a few minutes to read Gaganeet Singh’s excellent article at Baggage and Dish “Food Blogging – why lie?”
Back to the question: Why is there such an issue with Dubai Reviews?
We don’t want to sound smart-asses (but we may do) – when we say this is why we mentioned 5 criteria.
Call us quirky or problem children, but we do our own thing here at Eat Drink Stay Dubai. We don’t attend group gatherings, Blogger Managed Events or press nights.
Why? Because we want to do stand out from the crowd. Who wants to see duplicate content from different bloggers/influencers all at one event?
We don’t want to do what everyone else is doing, or has done. They may want to do what we do afterwards, but that’s a good thing, right?
Integrity is important; that’s why we will always try to be as honest as possible in a review.
We don’t want to hide anything – we’re not Donald Trump and his tax returns, after all.
Our opinion is just that – ours. We don’t want a PR, representative or venue manager in our ear, whispering what we should say.
Bloggers/ influencers receiving freebies often don’t want to ‘kill the golden goose’. By publishing anything remotely negative, they may fear it may curtail the next meal/hotel night.
Conversely, if one is receiving remuneration or consideration, could they be tempted to be overly positive?
We know one thing is certain. This is why we carefully denote what is a Review and what is a bit of corporate sales ‘fluff’.
What’s the point in doing a review of somewhere that knows you are coming to visit?
To create the best user experience, we always review anonymously to prevent a ‘false positive’.
A restaurant will often put on its best spread, and be on top of its game when it knows there is a reviewer coming, right?
Conclusion: To solve the riddle of Dubai Reviews, learn to differentiate – or assume the worst
Until the UAE becomes far more transparent on disclosures, an assumption must be an interim step.
If an article indicates it is a Review, look for substantiation. A Disclosure Policy, a disclaimer or proof of editorial independence.
Failing that, assume it’s written as sales, advertorial, sponsored or promotional piece. Leave all credence and belief in the content elsewhere, and assume it’s trying to sell to you.
If you see an article written as a Review that references an ‘invitation’, DO NOT expect a Review. Expect lots of fluff and promotional content, written for marketing not opinion.