I have a problem with Mommy Bloggers. I know I'm generalizing, but it seems like too many of them, especially those with larger readerships, are all about money -- and blatantly so.
I do understand that for many it's a business or, at least, a way to supplement the family income while working from home. But the idea of "pay or don't play" that many seem to use as criteria for what products and services they write about goes against the basic standards of journalism.
Many of these bloggers will write about a product in exchange for freebies. I don't have a problem with that, since offering product samples has long been an accepted way of calling an editor's attention to a product. Of course, way before blogging there were always a few editors who would take advantage by asking for an inordinate number of samples or refusing to return very costly sample items after the agreed-upon trial period was over.
But some of the Mommy Bloggers have taken greed to new heights. We've all heard stories of some who refuse to write about a product unless the company or the p.r. agency gives them expensive gifts or a free all-expenses paid trip to Disney World.If they want to monetize their sites, take ads. But no, they can't get big bucks for banner ads, so instead they try to hold up marketers for cash or booty. But when they take cash in exchange for writing glowingly about a product and telling readers it has their personal stamp of approval, they are doing the marketers, themselves and other mommy bloggers a disservice.
They are blowing their credibility... along with the credibility of other bloggers who fall into the mommy blogger realm. Over time, many readers will catch on and will ignore the glowing recommendations some marketers are shelling out for.
To me, it's about integrity. If you get paid for a product review -- in cash, with freebies or in some other manner -- you owe it to your readers to disclose that fact. If your blog posts are interesting, informative or entertaining, you'll hold onto your readers. But without full disclosure, you are not being fair or honest. Over time, you may lose readers, which will then diminish your ability to extort payments from marketers.
PR Newser had a story a few weeks ago about some of the bigger Mommy Bloggers who sell articles. It seems some are complaining about smaller Mommy Bloggers who give away ad space in exchange for freebies. That practice annoys the big guns who are trying to make money from their sites.
I say to those crybabies, suck it up and deal with it! Startup magazines often give ad space away in their early issues, in order to fill space and to make the book look good so they can sell space eventually to paying advertisers. If bloggers looking to build their sites want to give space away, that's their choice.So you bigger Mommy Bloggers -- stop complaining and focus on making your own content as good and unbiased as possible. If you so choose, then keep trying to sell ad or editorial space, as long as you clearly mark it for what it is.
And don't worry about what other bloggers are doing. You have no control over them anyway, so why bother?