There have been a ton of posts and even television spots about mommy bloggers, selling out and losing the trust that is so important between bloggers and readers.
I have feelings on both sides of the issue, so I am going to share them here with you.
For the companies, it is very cheap PR. Send a product, maybe offer one to give away and you get advertising. Offer a trip, a car to test drive, redo your living room etc... and you have mommies begging to get in on the action.
What's in it for the bloggers? Free products for their families, everything from hairbows to Keurig coffee makers (which, btw, I am seriously lusting after, so if you want me to review and give one away let me know!!!). Seriously who wouldn't want a bounce-house or play-yard or awesome new (fill in the blank) that is expensive to go out and buy?
I can tell you right now, I don't know many people who would turn down swag.
I do not have a huge blog or a ton of giveaways, and I know if I put more into it I would get a lot more offers, but I have been very, very selective on the few I have received and turn down more than I accept.
I got into blogging as a hobby, and a fun, creative outlet. I have been doing some behind-the-scenes things to make my blog better than ever and I do hope to someday have a few select sponsors, but I intend to never suffer from mommy-blogger burnout.
While I feel for these bloggers, I can't help thinking that the choices they made, to turn their blogs more into businesses than personal blogs, is why they are finding they spend too much time doing reviews and giveaways and neglecting their personal lives, etc...
More than one reminds me of a child having a temper tantrum or when I used to chat- someone would be all I hate this I am never coming back again- until everyone begged them to stay- I even got sucked in at first- and I used to really feel compassion until I learned these drama queens use it as a tool to keep the focus on them. If they really meant they were done- they would quietly be gone. Sad, but true. I am not saying it is this or that particular blogger because it is not, it is just a generalized statement. (Yeah, I know it doesn't mean that for 100% of them this is the reason, but things become generalized for a reason and the majority of them, this is at least one of them.)
Like most areas of life, I think there is a happy medium and I hope that they will be able to find it, whether it be by taking breaks when necessary, only accepting those offers that genuinely reflect what their blogs are about, limiting the time they spend or whatever they need to do to balance blogging with the rest of their lives.
As you know, entering contests and giveaways is one of the hobbies I am most passionate about. I absolutely love being able to give things to family and friends that I might not be able to otherwise afford.
But. You knew that was coming, right?
When it is not fun for me I take breaks- sometimes days, weeks, even months. And that's okay, the prizes will be waiting for me when I am ready to get back into it.
Same thing with blogging. For me it is a hobby and when it is not fun, I won't do it. I have refused to do reviews for a variety of reasons, the main ones being that a product was not a good fit for our blog, the sponsors expected certain things I am not willing to do and/or there was a glut of giveaways and reviews on other sites for the same thing at the same time and quite frankly, when I get sick of seeing the same dang reviews posted on handfuls of sites, I am not going to add it to mine.
That being said, I love blogging and blogs, reviews and giveaways. I have found some amazing products and companies that I would never have found out about otherwise. I do appreciate the time and effort it takes to host a review and giveaway and I am grateful there are bloggers that are willing to offer them.
I love that many blogs disclose that they were compensated, I think that should be a mandatory thing, but don't do it in such a way that some might wonder- ie: I was lucky enough to get my hands on when what you really mean is awesome company sent me this wicked cool dealio and I loved it so much they are letting me offer one to y'all as well. I can get my hands on stuff as well, but if you are given something, be honest about it- we'll ALL respect you more.
I would like to offer one piece of advice to fellow mommies, fellow bloggers, reviewers and companies- don't do cookie cutter reviews- yes, I will enter them and hope to win but it does NOT put the company or the blogger in a favorable light.
Now, I am going to get back to entering, I LOVE TO WIN!