Promoting, False Reviews and Greed – When Blogging Gets Ugly

 

I wasn’t planning on doing another post until after New Year’s but this topic really got me thinking and I felt I had to put my thoughts out there while they were fresh. As my fellow bloggers, particularly bloggers in the fashion and beauty fields, will know, reviewing can take up a generous amount of our content. Whether it’s the latest skincare products, beauty salons or new clothing ranges, the role of a fashion/beauty blogger is to ‘road test’ these products and services for our readers, as genuinely and honestly as possible (I emphasise the honestly here).

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However, in recent times, I’ve been noticing a lot of,..I hate to use this term because I respect anyone who decides to set up a blog, but ‘wannabe’ bloggers. I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way whatsoever, and I’m not saying these are new bloggers either, some that I’ve noticed are well-established bloggers. I’m referring to those who use their status as a blogger to receive free things from brands for ‘promoting purposes’, solely for their own benefit.

All newbie fashion/beauty bloggers will agree with me when I say it’s incredibly tough starting out on the blogging scene, with regards to getting credibility from brands and businesses. It takes a large amount of time, effort, and most importantly, passion, to make a name for yourself in the hugely competitive Irish blogging scene, and I’m sure it’s the exact same in every other country.

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When I started blogging first, I got a lot of stick for it. I think this is mostly because coming from a rural town, I was seen to have ‘notions’ about myself, simply for having ambition and following a dream. I never started blogging with the aim of receiving free things. I’ve always had a passion for literature and writing, and as one of the most opinionated people you’ll ever meet, my blog became my place to express my thoughts. As cliche as it sounds, I became a blogger for what I could give, not receive.

With regards to the reviews I post on my blog, I can safely say they’re 100% my own views and opinions. I have been lucky enough to receive recognition from some amazing brands (along with a minority of not so great ones), who have been generous enough to send me products to review and write about. When reviewing these products, I’m always honest about how well they work, but still keeping in mind that one product won’t suit everyone.

On the odd occasion I receive something, test it out and absolutely HATE it, I simply won’t publish a review. I have no problem posting little bits of constructive criticism and for e.g, rating a lipstick 7/10, but if a product is loaded with flaws, I won’t post that on my blog. Why? Well it’s as simple as this. I know how hard it is to even attempt to start up a business and how difficult it can be to perform to expectations. Disappointing products can still be sold by hard working people and I would never contribute to ruining a brand’s reputation for this reason. Instead, I send a frank, detailed email, explaining why I didn’t like the product and how I think it could be improved. In most cases, the brand is more than happy, and also a little relieved that I took this approach. It’s something I’d encourage all bloggers to do, you come across as far more professional in my opinion.

What really irritates me is seeing a blogger rave about a product they’ve been sent complimentary, only to see a dozen others criticising the same product. I feel as a blogger with a substantial following, it would be very wrong of me to falsely promote something that doesn’t do what I claimed it did. Bloggers have so much freedom of speech, but also a responsibility to be honest and reliable. Otherwise, you’re going to have followers wasting money, complaining and inevitably, unfollowing/dissing your name. You don’t want that now do you?

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Lastly, I think it’s important to note, that not all products you see in blog reviews have been sponsored/gifted. In my case, my Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette, Cocoa Brown tan and NIMA Brushes, to name just a few, are all products I genuinely wanted to try out, loved and wrote about so others could discover these amazing products too. Like I said before, writing is my passion so if I write about something, it’s never just for the sake of it.

I hope this post was an eye opener to blog readers, and to my fellow bloggers too. I also want to reiterate that I know it’s a small minority of dishonest bloggers that are practicing what I outlined above, and that there are so many amazing, honest ladies and lads who are totally worthy of following and relying on for honest, helpful reviews. I’m sure there will be mixed opinions about what I’ve wrote and that’s totally grand, after all, blogging is all about self expression.

Here’s just a few of my favourite bloggers that I admire for their honest reviews;

Paula’s Beauty Blog – http://www.facebook.com/paulasbeautyblog

Rosemary Mac Cabe – http://www.rosemarymaccabe.com

Rosie Connolly – http://www.heartsheelsandhandbags.blogspot.ie

Cliona Kelly – http://www.peachesog.com

Ciara Brickley – http://www.facebook.com/foodfashionandthefight

Kerri Dowling – http://www.saoltales.com

J x

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