Need more proof that regular people are having an impact on the beauty industry? Read this story in today's New York Times, which explores the influence of fragrance critics such as Now Smell This. As the Internet allows people to share their unfiltered opinions on beloved scents — and not-so-beloved ones, too — fragrance companies are worried. Accustomed to receiving glowing reviews in magazines, executives are freaking out whenever their latest juice is deemed a stinker. Says the Times:

In Perfumes: The Guide, [Tania Sanchez] chided that the perfume industry “hasn’t yet figured out the benefits or relaxing control.” She told of a prominent blogger threatened with a lawsuit by a perfume company because she had deemed its product only "O.K.," and "a little disappointing."

Overreact much? Yes, perfume is big business, but everybody's entitled to sharing her opinion. And I've certainly learned more about fragrance from people I've met on the web. In the long run, an informed consumer is a good thing — and maybe it will force companies to work harder at developing excellent perfumes.