Why I Write Recommendations And Not Reviews

You may wonder why I don’t write movie, television, or book reviews. I could make money through different programs such as the Amazon Affiliate Program. While I do enjoy money, I don’t like writing reviews.

The difference between review and recommendation seems like splitting hairs, but there’s a difference.

Putting The “I” In Review

The main concern of the review revolves around conveying the reviewer’s experience to an audience. If I write a review, I’m telling you what I think.

Reviews are more self-centered and unreliable than a recommendation. The mood of the reviewer, their tastes, their expectations, and the criteria they use to judge all play into their critique. Their focus isn’t in convincing you whether to do something, but rather what happened when they did it.

It’s not to say they aren’t correct in their assessment or unhelpful at times. I have nothing against them. I seem to have a harder time trusting them. The key to finding the right reviewers is to build up a relationship with them. Over time, you can see if your tastes match up with theirs. All the effort falls on you.

There’s one reviewer that I like, Brian The Movie Guy, because he does a genius thing. Right before a movie opens, he ranks his favorite films either in that genre or by who the leading actor is or the director. By revealing his picks, you can judge if they match with what you think of those choices. How much weight you give his review of the new movie will depend on how much you agree with his picks.

Writing a review only benefits me. It gives me the opportunity to tell you what I think. My opinion may or may not influence your decision to follow in my footsteps. It doesn’t matter to me because I did my part by experiencing it and tell you about it. To use my new favorite expression, it’s like an ant farting into a hurricane (thank you, Seth Grahame-Smith for that phrase).

Reviews Carry No Personal Accountability

Before I learned the best ways to make recommendations, I lent my boss Hellboy and told him it was good. My mistake for not confirming his taste in movies beforehand. Not only was he unimpressed, but he also held that against me for all future recommendations and made it an ongoing joke for over ten years now. Lesson learned.

Dita Von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

If I offered him a review rather than a recommendation, I would have been free and clear. He would have disagreed with me and moved on. Instead, it was more personal because recommendations are more customized than reviews. All of the accountability lays on my shoulders to ensure you are watching quality programming or reading the best books based on what I think you should check out next.

Passive Versus Active

To put it simply, you give a review to someone, but they take recommendations from you. Giving implies the person may or may not want what you’re handing off. However, taking means, you actively want what they have.

People are far more likely to pick up a book, movie or watch a TV show if it’s recommended to them rather than if they read a review written for anyone. One of the things I like to do is end my recommendation articles with next steps (i.e., where to find it, if there are social media accounts or links to more information).

Afterall, the whole point is to expose people to all your favorite things, so I want to make it as easy as possible.

Pretending There Is A “U” In Recommendation

I want to make your experience pain-free so you can consume as many things made of awesome as possible. I try to tell you everything you would need to know before diving in and how to best enjoy it. It’s all about you, you, you.

Here are links to some recommendations I have written for you:


Let me know in the comment section what you think of reviews versus recommendations.

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