Finding Unbiased Electronic Cigarette Reviews (Part 1 of 2)

This is a guest post written by Steve from Steve K’s Vaping World.

So many e-cigarette review sites just want to sell something, so are there any good ones?

There are a lot of great sites on the web with useful e-cigarette reviews. There’s also a lot that aren’t so interested in providing an objective look at e-cigarettes to help you as consumer. This post will give you some things to think about as you scour the web looking for reliable electronic cigarette information.

Overview

The e-cigarette market is rapidly expanding. People in the US who use the devices are estimated at over 1 million. With such an expansion, the field is quickly becoming crowded with new merchants selling the devices. Along with the merchants comes a number of websites dedicated to e-cigarettes. Many are good sites run by users of the devices and members of the online communities surrounding them.

These sites have good advice geared to help people adapt to electronic cigarettes. As is the case with just about anything there are also sites that are just out to make a quick buck. These sites tend to steer people researching e-cigarettes towards the most profitable electronic cigarettes for the site owners and not providing sound advice.

I experienced this myself when I first switched to e-cigarettes. Good sites were few and far between, and it was hard to know what information to trust in making a purchasing decision. I’m writing this post to try to help those who are now in the same position I was.

First, some disclosure in the interest of transparency. I run Steve K’s Vaping World a site that features e-cigarette reviews along with news and informative articles about the devices. While I like to think that I give quality information, please keep the fact I run an electronic cigarette website in mind when reading these tips for evaluating other websites (and my own).

Site content

Photo courtesy of Jacob Bøtter. http://bit.ly/ycYitK

The first thing to look for when determining if an e-cigarette review site is right for you is the site itself. I’m not talking about design here. There are a lot of sites that look fantastic, but lack substance. To be honest I’m a little envious of the beautiful and professionally designed sites, as mine is a little on the ugly side.

I’m talking more about what sort of things are on the site. Does it provide information other than just reviews – like how-to articles, tutorials, or industry information? Some sites may have generic information, but not in-depth articles about a variety of topics.

What about the reviews themselves? Do they seem to review the same products as so many other sites? Are there reviews for the same handful of products that every site seems to have?

What about the products? Are there reviews for products besides e-cigarette starter kits? Look for reviews for accessories, e-liquid or for non-traditional e-cigarettes, like “mod” style e-cigarettes.

A word about advertising

For the most part, advertising is not bad per se. I use banner ads and affiliate links (if a reader clicks the link and buys a product, I get a cut) on my site. Most of the people I know and respect with similar sites do the same. A great deal of the internet is funded by advertising, there’s nothing wrong with it in my book.

The thing to look for is how advertising-driven is the site? Does it seem like there’s no reviews on the site that aren’t somehow tied into an ad? Many of the best sites I know will review a product with or without an advertising deal in place. Another thing to look for is how the reviews are written. Ask yourself if the e-cigarette reviews read like an actual review, or more like an infomercial.

Finally what about transparency? A site should be forthright about its use of advertising links. You should be able to tell within an individual article whether there is a financial interest on the part of the reviewer or not (again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

Check out Steve’s blog, or contact him via Twitter, Facebook, ECF, or Google+.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

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