Have you seen the el stinko over mommy bloggers and pay-ola? Ethics and freebies and transparency, all being debated online…and the conversation made more intense by gazillion dollar swag bags women were grabbing at BlogHer ’09. (Follow the links at the thoughtful Mom-101 and you’ll get all caught up.)
I have thoughts. Long rambling ones all mixed up because of my journalism background (I would have been fired for doing even a teenie tiny bit of what some review bloggers do) and the Pollitos business. Blogs have been very good to us, but I have long been creeped out by the way bloggers have approached me, what they have wanted in exchange for “reviews.” One blogger wrote a snotty entry because — and I am convinced — I didn’t send the size t-shirt he requested for his son.
As a public relations and marketing consultant (yes, I do that too), I have jumped up and down telling other business owners to skip the freebies to blogs and hit newspapers, magazines and TV hard. It’s free! And, magazines will send your product back if they request a sample. If you want your product on a blog, you’re often better off buying an ad. Hell, even start your own blog. Of course, the giveaways work for some, especially if some mega blogger/reviewer loves you, but I am not convinced the return is worth all the free samples and time. Or, maybe that is just me and my cranky reporter ass.
As a blogger, I have been offered everything from body wash to toothpaste. I mostly pass on graft. I don’t think you guys care what kind of toothpaste I like and I don’t get that much joy from setting up giveaways unless they are extremely targeted to you — Latin music and books, and maybe soon, some Pollitos and Chichi&Flaco, because why should other blogs get all my freebies? I realize now, I should have been throwing free t-shirts at you for years!
(By the way, we will gladly do many more (ethical) giveaways and contests over at Tiki Tiki. It is a different animal.)
Oh, and let me add that I — and other Latina bloggers — don’t get nearly the amount of pitches and product other sites get. Maybe because we have smaller readership, or maybe because marketers haven’t yet realized we too buy Bugaboos, love iPhones and will jump at the chance at sponsored spa trips.
I did set up the Boonie Blog to help sales of Los Pollitos Dicen. I knew that having a regular conversation with a variety of keywords would help buyers find our photo-heavy, SEO-fail tee site. Indeed, it has. But, I hope the conversations we have here allows you to deal with a limited amount of my shameless hawking. If I send you over to the Pollitos Amazon store, it is an obvious affiliate and if you buy something, I could get a few nickels. (You think my prose comes free?)
And, I hope you know that any product I write about is personal preference and honest. No pay-ola.
And furthermore, when I get that free bag of chicharrones a PR firm has offered, I hope you know I did it for you.