Monday, May 4, 2009

Critiques: Why Do Other Sellers Opinions Matter So Much?

I'm really curious:
Why do the opinions of fellow online sellers - and perfect strangers - matter so much?

Pretty much every online sales venue has some sort of community board or forum where sellers can gather to discuss things like best practices, business ideas and tips for success. And there are tons of newsgroups set up through a variety of platforms where similar discussions can take place - I belong to many.

Without a doubt, the most popular topic for any of these communities is critiques. Some venues recognize the popularity of this topic and create dedicated sections for these discussions and others, while not acknowledging it's allure, stimulate this type of dialogue in thinly veiled sections titled 'Building Your Business' or 'Feedback'.

What is the fascination in drawing opinions from what, in all likelihood and in one way or another, is your competition? What is the mystique of soliciting critiques from people who may know very little - if anything - about your business? I freely admit that I, too, am guilty of this.

Right now, I'm waiting with baited breath for a fellow seller to pass down her judgement of my shop. She (kindly?) offered via forum post to dispense possible snarky (her words) critiques of sellers shops. I jumped on it! But why?

She claims to have no intimate knowledge of online sales trade secrets, nor does she boast thousands or even hundreds of successful transactions. She may or may not have any experience whatsoever in the crafting or sales of natural beauty products. Her only expertise in this field appears to be the fact that she, too, owns a shop on the same venue.

So why am I so anxious to receive her critique?

Why does anyone ask perfect strangers what they think about... well, anything?

I think, first and foremost, we believe we're getting a completely unbiased opinion. We have faith that we'll receive an objective view that, for many reasons, we think is better than our own. We trust we'll receive valuable advice and guidance from someone with no vested interest in our success (or failure). Sometimes we are so close to our own work we desire an outsider's take on what we do to reaffirm our decisions, to verify our choices and to support our mission.

A 'stranger's' assessment can sometimes go along way towards reassuring us, building our self-esteem and giving us the confidence to move forward.

I gladly accept all critiques with an open mind, solicited or not, and file the data - to utilize or not - as I make changes in developing and forming my business. Critiques are wonderful - but remember that they are just another source of information you can choose to use - or not to use - as you find your way to success.

Okay - gotta run - my critique was just posted!!!


  1. You are a much braver soul than I. I haven't asked for a critique because I have a thin skin. I would be devastated if someone said cruel things or conversely would think they were just being nice if they said wonderful things.

  2. I've never asked someone's opinion either. Mostly because I do what I want, not necessarily what might sell, unless someone makes a specific request. I guess I've never really been to concerned about what other people think about my crafts, or myself either. Is that strange?

  3. OOh I hope it was a good one! I love getting/getting advice, because sometimes someone will see something that i never even noticed, but I feel free to disregard it all of the time. :)

  4. Very interesting read...a lot of food for thought. Everything you said is so true!
    I will be following your blog.


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