Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pondering du Jour 1.20.10

There has been something I have been thinking about a lot and would like to hear some feedback on. It has to do with companies sending bloggers free product and that whole FTC thing.

Let me start off with, I think it is fabulous how beauty brands are reaching out to Social Media and taking them seriously and is no way do I think it is wrong for a beauty blog to review products sent for consideration. I actually think it is great and gives bloggers the opportunity to try out things they may never had heard of or thought to look at.

I have been sent a number of things few, some of which I haven't reviewed yet but I sure as hell will because I LOVE them. With that being said, I also have turned down MANY offers because #1 I wouldn't comply with the "rules" of them sending me the product (having to do it in a positive light, link back, give them my followers email addresses or whatever) or #2 I do not like the product and do not want to review it.

However, when I see a blog that post after post having the annotation having to do with the fact that it was sent for free has me doubting the sincerity of the blog. Again, this is a case by case thing, as I do understand when a very well known blogger is sent a massive amount of stuff daily because their traffic of readers benefit the beauty company. But, what about when it is a blogger that has under the 400-500 follower mark? I also doubt the blog when EVERYTHING they review is sent for consideration, it surely makes me doubt the reliability because I think "well, would they have bought everything that they are reviewing with their OWN hard earned money?"

I guess for me it comes down to the mix of the reviews. When reading a blog I want to know they are doing it for the love of beauty! What are your thoughts? Do they go out of the way and ask for product?

The first reason I started thinking about this was because at work I was forwarded an email from our customer service department from a not so well known blogger ASKING for merchandise to review in a round about way. I was actually horrified and disgusted, is that normal? As being a beauty blogger I felt that this behavior completely was detrimental to bloggers.

I think its great about the FTC and how bloggers need to disclose when and if something was sent for promotional purposes, it really helps to weed out blogs. One blog that I think does a fabulous job is Temptalia. She writes very honest reviews on products which I appreciate. On the other hand, when I see a blog reviewing and reviewing free product and loving everything I am doubtful.

I would love to hear some feedback and your thoughts about this above ramble...


  1. The myth that only the big guns are sent things to review, needs to be crushed now. Some PR companies will send items to a blogger whether they have 18 or 800 'followers' (urgh, hate that term).

    TBH I read reviews but ultimately I make the decision whether I'll buy an item or not. Just because so and so says it's fantastic doesn't mean I'm gonna run and get it, if it serves no purpose for my skin type/hair type/complexion get the idea.

    I'm really not bothered whether people are sent things or not, just be true to yourself when you're reviewing an item and don't say it's fab when it's clearly shit!

  2. Thanks for your feedback Vex, always great.

    I am never bothered by it either, but do you feel when someone ONLY reviews things they are sent it makes it less reliable?

  3. I agree with a lot of your points and Vex's points. I do buy based on what I like for myself and not because X number of bloggers or one specific blogger reviewed it.

    I think one key point is that as bloggers we shouldn't feel a sense of entitlement -- the freebies are a bonus/nice-to-have but not a given. Anyone who is in this just to try and get free products is in it for the wrong reasons in my opinion.

    I blog about products I love and most of the time (unfortunate for my wallet and budget) it is for products that I have bought myself. I do get offers to review products but I don't always accept them. It all depends on if the products are what I would likely buy/use myself or something I think my readers would be interested in.

    When I do receive a product for review, I will try to be as balanced as possible unless the product really sucks. If it sucks, I will say so. But I honestly haven't come across any terrible products to date to be honest.Ok I am rambling and not sure if I'm making any sense. Anyway, you've given me a lot to ponder!


  4. I follow a fair few blogs, and one or two (no names will ever be mentioned) do seem to only review products they have been sent.

    From my experience these types of blogs usually have a review which reads as if it had been transcribed by a PR company, quite often never ascribing a product any faults which I find totally untrustworthy - I mean for me, 99% of all poducts have at least something that could be improved!

    But of course, and as you say, it works totally on a case by case basis; some bloggers you trust more than others, no matter the subscriber count. There are a number of bloggers who I would trust above and beyond to always give an honest review, and some not so much. It's only the bloggers with a wide variety of posts and a clear love for what they are talking about who can convince me when it comes to reviews :-)


  5. Well I really don't want to be harsh on beauty bloggers, because I do love to read reviews regardless of the products being sent from PR companies or purchased by the reviewer, but...

    My point of view is this: if I had a new product to sell, I would strive for all the advertising my budget could get me, I would try to make it known as much as possible with minimum cost. I would send this product for free to 50 bloggers for review purposes, and let's say that 10 of them decide to make a review on it- assuming the worst case, that all 10 bloggers gave a bad review, then at least my product became known to a certain amount of potent buyers.

    I tend to believe that even mentioning the product on blogs, whether giving it thumbs up or down, serves me (the company, the seller) the purpose of advertising, because it is wrightly argued that what doesn't work for someone may be the "Holy-Grail" product for another person. So I guess that the writer's opinion on how the product performs is of little importance to PR companies, their job is done with a lot less cost than paying for an advertisement on a page of a magazine.

    I have to agree with Vex in the City, my "advice" (hate that word) to all blog readers would be to know your skin, what colours suit you the best, what formulas are suitable for your needs, to read between the lines, and then decide for yourself whether the product mentioned is worth splurging on.

    [Ps Sorry for this long comment and my weak English... Greetings from Greece]

    1. Trang tri noi that nếu chủ hộ là một người phù hợp khoảng không nhiều tông màu, chủ căn nhà có thể biến tấu noi that nha bep diện tích căn nhà bằng các sáng kiến sáng tạo trong bài viết này. sử dụng giấy dán tường trang hoàng giúp giảm giá thành đồng thời có thể biến tấu nhanh không đề nghị nhiều công nghệ, thời gian giống cách sơn tường cổ kính.Nhìn vào những hình ảnh liên quan đến việc phân bổ bình thường tiêu dùng hoa văn nhẹ mộc mạc. Có những bức tường được xếp đặt Tham khảo thêm dịch vụ thiet ke noi that - thiet ke nha hang - thiet ke noi that can ho - thiet ke noi that chung cu- thiet ke noi that van phong - nha dep 2016 - thiet ke noi that shop - thiet ke noi that showroom - thiet ke noi that phong ngu - thiet ke noi that phong khach đồ trang trí trong nhà say mê với giấy dán tường hoa văn bằng cách tận dụng gam màu xám thanh lịch thường thấy trong khách sạn, doanh nghiệp theo phong cách châu âu. Đó chính là tông màu trung lập và mềm mại. tiếp theo sau quy trình pha chế nội thất noi that phong khach , nền của những chỗ ngủ nghỉ được làm đẹp với hoa văn nhưng vẫn thanh thoát hoa văn dư thừa cho phòng ngủ thêm phần hài lòng. Một số style khách thường được nhiều kiến trúc sư đồ dùng trong nhà phòng ngủ sử dụng là sự kết nối lặp lại làm nổi bật nét đẹp chính của phần lớn căn phòng gồm cả noi that van phong còn được gọi cách khách là xếp đặt hình học của do go phong ngu .

  6. I have seen a few blogs lately go the way of only doing reviews and they can almost become advertorials rather than blogs. Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with bloggers getting items for free, it's more that it makes me question the motivation of the blogger - have they been swayed by the compensation they might be receiving (or the fear that if they give a less than glowing review that they might not be offered any products from anyone)?

    I have to also admit, as much as I love reading reviews, I also like to see looks and posts about the blogger's life, not just the description of an item pasted from the PR spiel sent to the blogger and a couple of stock pictures. That to me is not a review, that is simply an advertisement as it does not mention whether the product actually performs.

    I originally started reading makeup and beauty blogs because I wanted to find out more about how you could use products - eg tutes, swatches and long term reviews of products with befores and afters. I guess that's still what I want from makeup and beauty blogs today.

    I also agree with you about whether the blogger would have bought it themselves - I guess that's what I really want to know at the end of a review - would they repurchase it at retail price?

    Phew, that was long. Sorry!

    Miss Neesh

  7. I don't mention when something is sent to me in my reviews anymore cos personally I tend to switch off a bit when I read "this was kindly sent to me ...". I'll still read the review but it will kinda spoil it for me. I'd rather not know to be honest. I hope that my readers believe that the reviews I write are genuine and if somebody really felt that they weren't would just unfollow me rather than sit there rolling their eyes as they read my blog. If somebody asks in my comments then I'll happily tell them though.

    I don't review everything I'm sent but have no problem writing something negative in a review of something I HAVE been sent,which I HAVE done in the past. The PR company in question (Pure PR) emailed me and said that they preferred me being honest than say something positive for fear of upsetting them. Funnily enough I then gave the item to my Mum and she loved it!

    If somebody ONLY reviews things they're sent (I don't think I've come across any blogs that do this though), then you have to question why they're blogging. Are you in this to get as many freebies as possible or cos you genuinely go OTT for all things beauty related and like sharing your loves and loathes with other MU crackheads! LOL

  8. Wow, thank you all for such amazing thoughtful comments, I am going to need to take some time to write back and think about them. You all have raised such great points and I totally agree.

  9. I think with most things in life you will always get people who do something just to get stuff out of it and not because they have a real passion for what they are writing about. I have come across a few blogs where they get oodles of freebies but who knows whether they ask/beg for it or whether they get sent it. I haven't really got an issue if people email PRs asking for stuff if they have a genuine interest. I would like to think that PRs and readers would become wise to these antics and tell them where to go.

    Personally all the blogs I have on my reader are ones where it mixes a bit of life with makeup with all sorts as I find that more interesting than just pure reviews and most importantly whose opinions I really value.


  10. Hi! Im a new blogger, really love your posts, very informative.

    My 2 pence worth - whats the point of doing a review if your just giving any old schpiel to please the company who sent it to you? I think the people who do this are fairly easy to spot so I think we should just boycott them =D.

    I've only done one review so far and It wasnt very positive so I doubt I'll ever get anything sent to me LOL



  11. ShangriLa- I totally agree, I love blogs that mix it up, its way more interesting to me as well!

  12. Noobarella- Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it!

  13. I've gotten to the point where I feel like no one wants to listen/cares when I have something bad to say about something anyway so I always let 'er rip whenever I do a review on anything..I honestly have SO much makeup that I could care less whether I am sent anything ever again. I'd say with an attitude like that I am going to be pretty honest about a product! lol. =) I agree with Vex though, I used to not mention when something was sent to me because why should it matter? If I like it I do and if I don't I don't.

  14. Aleksis- HAHA let er rip!!! You always have the most honest reviews, I really respect your opinions and reviews because of that!

    I am with you on that as well, I have SO much damn makeup that it doesnt matter either!

  15. I find it hard to read reviews of products that people were sent for free, but on the other hand I dont think it's a bad thing either. I get sent loads of stuff, and always offer my honest opinion as the reason i started my blog was for the love of beauty and it shouldnt matter if something was free or not - that shouldnt effect the opinion.
    It's good to balance it out, you can clearly tell when somebody is being genuine and giving an informative review. X

  16. I totally agree on this. I read reviews based on their opinions about the product that they love/hate. Right now, this will be my first time recieving a free product to review on since I've never been sent a free product to review on my blog before. Also, I buy products that interests me to buy and not what other people are buying.

  17. Muhsine- I agree with you personally, Sometime i find it hard also, but then again I don't think its a bad thing! Sometimes it can introduce you to something you never knew about!

    Exactly, it is all about balance! x

  18. Michelle- thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you on all of your points. Does your opinion change when they ONLY review products that they receive? I have noticed some blogs go in this direction recently plus on top of the email i got at work for a blogger straight up ASKING for product.

  19. I've been thinking about this post all afternoon! I have come across blogs where they post press releases only or review only products they are sent. From my perspective, it's so obvious so I take what they say with a grain of salt -- and to be honest I won't likely go to their blog regularly. I prefer reading reviews that offer actual insights into the products and how it worked for that blogger. I think that is what differentiates or what should differentiate blogging from mainstream media. For the most part, I like to think that most of us blog about beauty because we love it and want to be part of a community that loves it just as much.

    As for those who email asking for product, here's a couple of perspectives: Are they 'demanding' product? Do they feel they deserve it or have a right to free product because they are a blogger? Or are they simply asking to be 'considered' for product reviews. I think it would be fine if they wanted to be added to a media list or considered for reviewer programs as long as there was no expectation.

    Just a few more thoughts!


  20. Thanks Michelle, I really appreciate your thoughts on this. I love to hear everyone's individual opinions on it.

    As for the email at work, it was not demanding product. She was asking if she could be sent some free product and in return would review it on her blog.


  21. I think I'm pretty much with you - it's a little tiresome now that some people's blogs feature reviews of freebies quite so heavily - even though they're up front about it, it does take something away knowing it's not something that person CHOSE to buy. I used to like the fact that some people loved such and such a brand, and some others whereas now it feels like someone else is pulling the strings.

    I suppose the official-ness of it just takes away some of the natural vibe of blogging and makes it all feel a bit corporate.

    But hey - what do I know.. I'm sure it's just my subconscious jealousy that I've never been asked to review everything!

    p.s. I like reading these musing type posts!

  22. I started my blog as a New Year's resolution because I am a makeup addict...not because I feel insecure without wearing it, but because I am infatuated with all colors and the transformations possible. I'm a fashion student right now, but I will be enrolling in a MAC-Pro makeup school in March (yay!). I feel that the two industries are definitely interlaced in many ways, and one might open up a door to success for me in the other!

    Anyway, I understand many of the points made that people who blog for the sake of free stuff are in it for the "wrong reasons." However, it's a tough economy out there, and if you can get products that quicken the pulse of the glamourista in you--for free!--by all means, do it! Just don't brag about it or rave about a product if it honest! That's the whole purpose of a review! And if the company asks you to do otherwise, then they're stupid and just want to increase sales rather than make their products better.

    As for me, I currently have only 7 Followers in my short history on Blogger. But you know what, I don't care if I only have those 7 for the next ten years, because as long as ONE person cares enough to read what I am writing about and gains some sort of knowledge/confidence/joy from my blog, then it's a success in my book. I'd love to have lots of Followers eventually that I would interact with on a more personal basis, do international swaps with, test products for, etc., but that is not the ultimate goal. The goal is to put my heart into my number one passion: the art of makeup.

    Great blog, great topic...keep it up! ♥