YES, I’M A SELL OUT. SO WHAT?


Once again, there’s been a whole pile of hoo-ha about sponsored posts, and review products, and whether or not people should accept them on their blogs. 
I’ve spent the past 20 years writing for women’s consumer magazines, so I understand the symbiotic relationship between editorial, and advertorial. I don’t have a problem with reviews, and relevant forms of advertising – provided the mix is right, and the content is engaging and interesting. 
If I’m giving up my time (time I could be spending with my children, or reading a magazine, or sleeping) to give a product exposure, I don’t see any problem with being recompensed in some small way. 

I don’t insist on it. In fact I often write about products just because I think they’re fab, or because I want to support a great company, or a cause that strikes a chord with me. 

People argue that the best professional review sites and magazines don’t accept freebies, but what they forget is that the journalists are being paid a salary. They’re not doing it for nothing, so why should we, if we don’t want to? (if you want to, fine – go for it!)
Keeping a review product doesn’t mean you can’t give an honest opinion about it. If I come across something I can’t wholeheartedly recommend (which is not often, since I carefully select what I want to feature) then I let the PR know I won’t be posting the review. My blog isn’t about slamming bad products, it’s about highlighting great ones.
I’m careful to strike a balance between review posts, giveaways, memes, and my own musings on family life. I personally don’t like going on blogs that are just review, after review, after review. I do enjoy reading about new products, but I also like to get a sense of who the blogger is, and feel like I’m being granted a sneaky peek into their lives. 
I think I get the mix right most of the time. I’m sure some people still don’t like my blog, but that’s fine. I don’t expect it to appeal to all of the people, all of the time. 

Now, with that out of the way, you really should check out this great competition in the post below, being run by my lovely friends at Wow Toys. 

No, I haven’t been paid to tell you this, or bribed by a mountain of their great toys, it’s just something I reckon you might want to know about… 


23 Comments

  1. MUMMY'S LITTLE MONKEY (@Jax2000) - July 20, 2011

    Midlife Single Mum: Phew, I still have one follower left then… ;)

  2. Katie aka @mummydaddyme - July 20, 2011

    I am very new to the blogging world but I also agree with everything you are saying. x

  3. KiwiLinz - July 20, 2011

    Two actually – go for it Jax. Give us a call re Lucia b/day xxx

  4. Alexa - July 20, 2011

    God why not!! It’s your time, you should be rewarded!!

  5. Mari's World - July 20, 2011

    AH, sigh of relief, someone else who thinks like me. Thanks for this post, if I like it (and that can be anything) I’ll blog about it and that goes for products too. Nice tip on choosing products carefully I have one that I don’t like and not quite sure what to do about it

  6. Victoria - July 20, 2011

    your blog. do what you like with it. blogging is about you and connecting with like minded people who are interested in what you say and do. if I am not interested in a post, I won’t read it. If i am, I will. Its not rocket science. keep it up Jax xx

  7. LauraCYMFT - July 20, 2011

    Agree with you 100%. Do with your blog as you please!

  8. Bloggomy - July 20, 2011

    I try and strike the same balance as you – and after all your blog your rules is what its all about x

  9. Sally - July 20, 2011

    I haven’t seen any hoo-ha on this for a long time now. Didn’t we all agree to do what we enjoy and makes us happy on the basis that if it’s your blog, it’s your business what you choose to do with it?

    No Jedward videos though. That would just be wrong.

  10. TheMadHouse - July 21, 2011

    You know what I don’t care what people write as long as they disclose the sponsored and paid for stuff, which you always do.

  11. vegemitevix - July 21, 2011

    This debate goes round and round the parenting blogging circles, and I think some of the angst behind the comments is simply due to envy and insecurity. Blogging is a lot of work. Like you I’ve worked (and still do) writing for an income, and I think when you’ve had that experience you are more confident about your opportunities and obligations when it comes to sponsored posts or advertising material. I think the other key point is that of balance. Just as readers will stop reading if a magazine is too full of ads, so online readers will tune out if every post is a sponsored one and the site is cluttered with ads. Balance is key, and not a particularly easy thing to achieve. I think you do well to present an online mag that’s relevant to your readers. Vx

  12. Jennifer Howze - July 21, 2011

    Great post, Jax. I agree. I used to work for magazines and newspapers before I got into blogging and people are deluding themselves if they think that Vogue or the Times don’t receive for free a lot of the products they write about. The industry couldn’t function otherwise.

    There’s this idea out there that blog posts written about products blogger receive are somehow “tainted”. In fact, credible bloggers are so concerned about their transparency and their own brand that they don’t want to lose readers by looking like shills. This is what the Bloggig With Integrity campaign on BritMums is about. (Sometimes bloggers can even be more critical or even nitpicky so as not to appear biased.)

    There is nothing wrong with valuing your work and expecting to be remunerated. Hear, hear.

  13. kateab - July 21, 2011

    Completely agree with you, Jax. I read this post earlier and had to come back to it to comment. I pretty much think like you. I haven’t yet had a bad product to review but I do try to be fair and balanced. I’ve also done paid reviews – where I’m paid by Netmums for my time reviewing the product. Apparently, that’s a sell out too and after all, how could I be negative about something I’ve been paid to do? Well, if you read the reviews over on Netmums, you’ll see that some of the bloggers have had negative experiences with some of the products and said so. They got paid too. Hey, being paid to have an opinion, how terrible. ;)

    I think we need a sell out badge for our blogs yanno….

  14. Emma - July 22, 2011

    Agreed…your blog, your rules! Emma :)

  15. Lena - July 22, 2011

    Completely agree, I get paid for sponsored posts, I get sent stuff for reviews etc but I’m always fair and I won’t do more than one review a week so my blog isnt tied to review after review xxx

  16. singleworkingmummy - July 22, 2011

    I’m new to blogging and haven’t done any product reviews yet, but I completely agree…If people don’t want to read it, they just move on. Simple x

  17. chuckalicious - July 22, 2011

    Interesting read. As someone very new to blogging and still learning about how to increase reads on the site, I have no idea what people want to read, what they find annoying, what is acceptable in the blog culture etc.

    I was tempted to review some products i’d bought (I don’t have enough readers for anyone to pay me to write a review!) but wasn’t sure if the few people who did read it would go “eh? that post wasn’t about his child, or parenting” etc…

    So it was nice to read your post about doing what you felt was right for your blog.

  18. Crystal Jigsaw - July 22, 2011

    Great post! I have to admit I don’t do reviews though do get asked quite often by PR emails. It’s just something I don’t want to do on my blog. However, I would never slam anyone for doing a review, it’s their choice and no one has a right to say what is right or wrong about a blog post. I actually find that thought quite appalling if I’m honest.

    I hear about PR’s who want to send out items for review and ask for them back. I can’t honestly the logic of this for 2 reasons, 1) the item would have been opened and used and will be of not use to anyone else and 2) exactly as you said in your post, journalists get paid so why not bloggers who review? Being paid in material goods is probably a cheaper way for the supplier to pay out anyway.

    Like I said, this is a great post.

    CJ xx

  19. Julia Boggio - July 23, 2011

    Completely agreed, Jax. I’m really excited about some of the brands I’m starting to work with because they are brands I believe in and I want others to know about them.

    Hey, remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when she goes into the vault of clothes that Vogue has been given and creates a whole new wardrobe? Who would’t want that? ;0)

  20. YM - July 25, 2011

    I agree too. If I use something good I want to share it with other people so they too can reap the benefits! And why not get paid for doing so..?

    On a purely selfish note – how do you get to review products? As a SAHM who also blogs it is something in which I am interested, yet have v little idea of how to go about doing it?! Thank you!

  21. SAHMlovingit - July 25, 2011

    Well said Jacqui (sorry, I’m very late catching up on blog reading at the mo).

    I chose not to go down the review route but have done 2 which I felt fitted in with my blog. I turned down a great paid one a couple of weeks ago as it didn’t fit with my blog but if one does and I think it will benefit the reader then I will do it.

    I’ve said many a time I’m of the opinion each to their own. If we were all the same life would be very dull indeed.

    I think you’ve got a great mix on your blog and I for one, will keep reading x

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