My Subscription Box Review Process
I started the original My Subscription Addiction blog over a year ago to address the problem I was having personally with subscription boxes: I wanted to see exactly what was in each box before I subscribed. Since then, I’ve been dedicated to building out a site that gets you all the information you need to find the best subscription boxes for you. (I’ve also enlisted my developer husband on this mission!)
One thing that doesn’t help you find the best boxes are misleading “blogger boxes” – and I’d like to share my thoughts on these boxes, and also provide more background on my reviews.
If you aren’t familiar with the term, “blogger boxes” are boxes bloggers get sent that are different from the subscription box paying customers receive. The best example I can think of for a blogger box is the original FabFitFun VIP box. Some bloggers were sent pre-launch boxes, and then most paying subscribers received the same boxes but with some products missing. (I was a paying subscriber and did not get the blogger box, so I got to experience first-hand feeling misled and taken advantage of opening a box that didn’t match up to the reviews I had seen).
FabFitFun learned from that initial mistake – all their boxes are consistent now. (I believe they also gave anyone who contacted them about it their next box free – but I didn’t reach out to their customer care, so I can’t speak to that).
From observation I learned a lot too – I never want to review a “blogger box” – it doesn’t help anyone.
How I handle reviewing subscription boxes:
When a company contacts me to send me a free box to review, I let them know first and foremost that I only review boxes a paying customer would receive.
If I received a box at no cost, I will always mention it at the very beginning of the review.
While my reviews are generally positive, I will never accept compensation for a positive review. (To be fair to subscription box companies – I can only think of one time I’ve even been asked to give a positive review in exchange for a free box, and I responded letting them know that I could only promise an honest review. And I just never received that box). No company has ever offered to pay me money for a review.
My reviews are typically positive because most boxes meet by expectations. When a box is amazing and exceeds my expectations, I believe that’s pretty apparent in my review – I tend to use words like LOVE a lot in those reviews!
My expectations for boxes are:
- Did they deliver what they promised on their website? (5-7 products, $100 value, full size beauty products, etc.).
- Did the value of the box come close to or exceed the cost of the box? (While some companies make no promise of value, I don’t like feeling ripped off).
Most boxes do deliver on those expectations, hence my generally positive reviews. I have been sent complimentary boxes by companies that didn’t meet those expectations about value, and I was honest about that in the review. (Here’s a recent example of a complimentary box I received that was great but didn’t have a good value).
There are some boxes that will have absolutely nothing in them I will use, but it still might be a great box to a lot of subscribers, so while I’ll likely mention I intend to gift an item, I won’t give them a negative review. (Examples of great items I won’t use: any food item with gluten or dairy, silver jewelry, most perfume).
I also subscribe to a ton of boxes – I love trying out new subscriptions, and I also see it as part of the cost of running this blog. So we definitely spend a lot on subscription boxes each month. On the flipside, I can’t remember the last time I spent money on makeup, clothing, cleaning supplies, bath and body products, or tea!
I try to use a personal email address when setting up accounts with subscription box companies so I can make sure I am getting the full customer experience. (My Birchbox account is an example of a subscription I have that is in no way tied to My Subscription Addiction).
I hope that adds some clarity to my review process, and I truly hope you find the reviews helpful. Let me know if you have any questions!