Sunday, September 6, 2009

Taking Shortcuts

Hey all! It's been a little while, but we've been in a bit of a transition mode here- business has been really picking up, and as school has started up once again, I am no longer working full time. I'll still be around, just not in a full time capacity!

Anyway, I thought I'd use this post to talk about taking shortcuts and poor quality work. PenPal Notes recently submitted our product for review with the iParenting Media Awards Program, a subsidiary of Disney and a product evaluation service. We entered PenPals (and paid $250 for the submission!) not to win, but to benefit and improve based upon the reviewer comments. Their website states that submissions receive:
"Three outside evaluations (evaluation sites may include: an expert, a family and a childcare setting);
Review by the iParenting Media Awards Executive Committee;
A snapshot of the evaluator feedback from the three outside evaluator sites."
The description above led us to believe that the feedback would be quite comprehensive, but what we in fact received was three short, careless sentences that showed no real understanding of PenPal Notes- indeed, they did not even look as if they had been proofread. With these concerns in mind, we then attempted to contact iParenting multiple times, and did not receive a response until nearly a week later. Several emails back and forth later, it is clear that they still do not really understand that there was a problem, or that we expected something more than three sentences when paying quite a hefty submission fee!

This tells us that when only minimal effort is put into something, as with iParenting, the results are second-rate. We here at PenPal Notes emphasize diligence and hard work, and hope to pass these lessons on to kids!


  1. when making money takes precedence, short cuts come naturally. Disney is not immune to this. Disney is taking too many short cuts reviewing its TV shows; too much glitz, glam, and girls for shows targeting 7 yr olds.

    can u share the reviews by iparenting? we have 2 series and we are very happy with the product so far!

  2. Absolutely, their reviews were as follows:

    "I would condense the facts on each president to numerous cards, maybe have a practice test at the end of each presidents reign to test the facts, or add a few word games to make it fun. The place mat was a good idea but it did not come packaged I would suggest a tube packaging to store it.

    The only things I would do is try to make the item less bulky so it can be stored easily or travel well. I would also make the cards laminated and put an expo marker with it for reuse. Lastly, I would make the stickers those reusable types.

    I would make the post cards more sturdy, I found that they were very easy to tear if not held properly and taken care of. It might be nice to have them laminated like the place mat that came along with the set."