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Monday, July 20, 2009

PR Nightmare

As you all know, there are occasions in which me and the fam receive products from companies or PR people or wherever. I get numerous offers a week, but only accept the ones I think we are really interested in trying.

When this happens I generally designate a small amount of space on the blog to discuss my opinions regarding the particular product.

I make sure to include my personal opinions about it, and I always write these in my own words (as in they don't tell me what to say, if it's awesome I say so, and if it sucks, I say that too.)

On other occasions we (I guess, me really) are approached to write reviews (for cash) about various products and places.

Generally, in these instances the company usually includes blocks of words and/or links that they require you to use in your post. Sometimes, the chunks of required words are small, or consist of a couple of links. Other times they are essentially paragraphs that set the tone and (pretty much) opinion of the post and the item.

I DO NOT do these types of shameless product propaganda reviews.

I NEVER write reviews for items I haven't tried or places I haven't been.

And, I don't write reviews for companies that want to tell me what to say in my review. You know how I feel about bullies.

Not even for cash.

Some people do this.

I'm not one of those people.

Not because I can't use the cash; 'cause I totally can.

It's just something I'm not comfortable with.

It feels a lot like lying to me. They tell you what to say, and the tell you how to say it, and they give you the proof to support what they are telling you to say. And then, they tell you, "Oh, and we don't want you to say we gave you money to do this, 'cause, you know, that might make people not believe you."

I'm all for lying when necessary (ie. Hubby asks, Did you finish the cookies?". I say, "No, the kids did.". Or, kid asks, "Do you have any more cookies?". I say, "No, Daddy ate them.". See, necessary lying.).

This sort, that really doesn't benefit me at all, is just not necessary. I'm not even really a "review site" (although I'm not 100% sure what I'm considered).

I do reviews that fit into my overall theme (which, in case you didn't know is Awesomeness and how to be it) because I like the product (or thought I was gonna like it before I actually tried it).

I do reviews on items my family uses regularly, or places we go, or things we do.

And, I do these because I like to.

I like getting free crap (who doesn't it?).

And, since I generally only accept crap I know I'm (probably) gonna like or use, I don't mind writing about it.

Plus, I like to share things that I think you guys might be interested in.

Do I care if you buy it?

Nope. (PR suicide, perhaps.)

Do I get any benefit if you buy it?

Nope. 'Cause if I did, I might care, right?!

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

And, I may be chocking on it soon since I inadvertently probably ticked off some other (way more popular) bloggers about this opinion.

Apparently, this topic is a source of major debate over on Mom Dot at the moment.

They (among others) are planning a full out PR Blackout (for various reasons that I won't get into here since I'm not sure I fully understand and I think I've done enough to make them hate me, so yeah. But if you wanna know, click on the link) sometime in August when they will not be talking to any PR people at all.

I got in on the debate (which I didn't realize was so heated since I didn't read the initial post, or the responses, or anything. Just did the whole speak before you think (or research) bit) and accidentally (on purpose) pitted myself (or at least my opinion) against the head honcho over there.

I'm not too concerned about that, since she probably won't even notice little ole me and my big mouthed, uninformed opinion, but I am concerned that this whole thing is such a huge issue.

I just don't understand why people are so up in arms about it.

I don't get why anyone cares if I want to spread my bloggy legs like a $2 hooker for PR reps and companies pushing their free stuff on me.

I'm not gonna go the route of the review-anything-for-a-buck-flashing-in-your-face-buy-me-buy-me-buy-me-ad blogs (sadly, no one wants to advertise here anyway), and I'm not gonna sell out to "the man" (always wanted to say that!).

But, if you want to do that, and it works for you, and your readers are down for it, rock on.

I don't think I'm awesome enough to have a blog focused entirely on myself, or what I buy, or like, or do, to garner any support from any where.

I'm pretty sure you all come here because you like to read about the dudes and sympathize with them for having such a underachieving-uncreative-largely-misguided-pig of a mom.

And, possibly to laugh at me having near death experiences with playground equipment.

But, I plan to continue doing the occasional review/giveaway (I know you guys like free stuff to, right?!). And by occasional I mean pretty much every Saturday. Some of them are of free stuff I got from companies, some of them will be stuff I bought (or want to buy like this cute bag)

So if you hate my reviews (and apparently, someone hates me for some reason b/c I lost a follower. Didn't know people ever actually quit following someone. I mean, if I got fed up, I would just not read anymore, but apparently, this person was so annoyed/irked/irritated/or possibly disgusted by me, that they went through the trouble of un-following me. Obviously this event has upset me because I really like to know why people hate me. Not so I can make improvements or anything, just so I can talk crap about it on my blog, encourage people to disagree with the Dumb Mom naysayer, and in turn, rebuild my confidence which is so easily bruised by the mean people of the world), do yourself a favor and don't visit on Saturday.

But, be sure to come back on Sunday (if you like pics of the dudes) b/c I'm gonna be doing Photo of the Day every Sunday, just 'cause I want to:)


ck said...

Should I be sad that no one has ever approached me to review their crap? Well, other than my kids, who drag me by the arm into the bathroom to inspect theirs on a regular basis. They don't pay me, though. And it's never, ever cool.

(PS: Don't feel bad. You're awesome incarnate. And maybe you lost a follower because they took down their blog and no longer exist in the blogosphere.)

blueviolet said...

I like doing reviews/giveaways too but like you, I don't do those pay per post type reviews. I don't even read them on people's blogs because they're just ads.

You keep on being you and we're in good shape over here!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

...about the following thing. An interesting thing about following I learned last week. Blogger has a max you can follow, than if you follow another person it looks like you added them but you didnt.

blogger doesnt tell you they werent added they just don't add them. The bottom line is you can only follow 300 people than you can add as many people as you want and blogger wont add them.

So it might not be you. It just might be that someone wanted to add someone else :)

I get that thats still kinda personal but not as much. probably. sorta.


Drahdrah said...

I have a question. Would you accept payment for doing a review of a product you like? Would you consider that "selling out", since you would have written a favorable review anyway? Just curious. I'm pretty new to blogging, so reviews and PR are still a little foreign to me.
I agree with CK on the lost follower. Sorry to break it to you, but it probably has nothing to do with you !!!

parentingBYdummies said...

Well, good, about the follower thing. I'd hate to think that someone was so mad they just didn't want to talk to me anymore. At least, tell me if you hate me. I can take it (not really, but I can pretend!). And,my issue w/accepting payment is that they want to tell you WHAT to say. Don't like having my blog hijacked by words that aren't my own. Plus, they don't let me tell you that they paid me. Seems like a huge secret then...

MammaMania said...

I have been reading all about this PR blackout thing and it is fascinating. Yes, these mammas are very opinionated on one side or the other. I have to tell you though, that I feel the same way you do. I don't know that I could promote something like, um, a Swiffer. That is just not interesting to me. Now, a bottle of wine= awesomeness. I will work for wine or diamonds or whatever. But Pledge? Notsomuch. Besides, I don't like major review and giveaway sites anyway. I never win and there is nothing there to really read anyway except glorified ads. Anyway, that is my humble opinion.

Lolli said...

It's funny about the follower thing--my numbers go up and down slightly all the time. I'll get excited because I've got another follower and then the next day, I'll be down 2. Whatever!

I have become more picky about the reviews that I do. But in the end, I really do enjoy getting the stuff. But only when it's stuff that I like. LOL!

Lee said...

Haven't yet figured out how to get the free stuff for reviews! Guess I'm just not popular enough. Oh well, I was never with the "in crowd". Stopping by from SITS, and I love your blog.

Amethyst Moon said...

I totally agree with you on not selling out by accepting money to post someone else's words as your own, and I find your frankness (cousin of lochness:) to be refreshing. Of course, there may be some people out there that need the money, and find it hard to say no to it with today's economy and all. So I wonder...Is there a price that would make it okay to write someone else's words? If you were asked to promote something you hated for say...$100,000 would the money somehow make you learn to like it? because I think as strong as I am in my values, I could probably, ick, love pickled pigs feet, yuck! for a price, a very big price mind you, :0)

parentingBYdummies said...

Yeah, I'm sure I'd do it for a large chunk of money (not that it's even a possibility!). Like Shaq really cares about Comcast and for some reason he was on the recording this morning when I called to inform them that their service sucks!

Shannon said...

WOW! Sounds like a big debate... I may just read about it... and because I'm a big fat nobody here in blog-land I don't have to worry about it! That un-follower is CRAZY... I am addicted to your blog - seriously!

Ummmm.... come on over to my blog today if you have any free time... I'm trying something new... if you are interested (not that you need any ideas about what to write)I'd LOVE for you to play along! ;)

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

I'm relatively new to the blogosphere (only been up since late March), but I've never been approached by anyone asking me to review anything. Still, I've thought about what I'd do when or if the time comes when someone thought I was cool enough to *ASK* for my opinion on a product - and I couldn't state my plan of action better than you just did.

Would I try something I wouldn't normally need/use/want? No. Would I give a less-than-spectacular product rave reviews just because it was free? No. And would I let a company put words in my mouth (or on my blog?) NO.

I don't see a problem with any of it otherwise. So you keep on with your awesomeness ... and anyone who wants to un-follow will be missing out. :)

Tammy Howard said...

Yeah, I don't get the whole review thing, but like a previous commenter mentioned - it's probably because I'm so small potatoes no one has ever asked.

Hang on to your integrity, babe!

Shannon said...

you are quick!
Thank you!
And no worries..
I know how Mondays are around here :)

confused homemaker said...

Yep. I was pretty surprised by all the stuff going on since I never really paid attention before I jumped into the blogging side versus the reading side. But even Newsweek has picked up on it

Kathy B! said...

I lost a follower, too!!!

I say keep doing what you're doing. You have to be happy or else your blog is gonna suck! So just be happy and write on and let the rest fall into place from there :)

Profound, wasn't it?! You're welcome.

Jennifer said...

Oh who cares what anyone else thinks, I think you are great! And I like it when people like you do reviews because then I know they are honest. I do mine the same way. And I've NEVER been approached by anyone (because I'm tiny... or my blog is), but if I see or do something I like then I write about it. Period. Isn't that kind of what having a blog is about... Well at least that is what mine is about, ME.

Another follower thing, and I totally don't know if this is true, but I think that blogger may drop people that haven't been around, like signed into their accounts, in a while. I "lost" a follower, that I know checks in every day because she emails me, but she hasn't signed into her account because she forgot her password. And she just emails me her comments.

Debbie in Nashville said...

I've lost a follower before too. I wondered for a moment if it was because I didn't post often enough or what it was. Then I realized there is nothing I can do about it.

I am still so new to this whole blogging and giveaway thing it shocks me that people are getting upset over all this stuff. I guess I can see why. I don't think people should pass things off as their thoughts just for money. If I read a review I want it to be true otherwise I can just watch TV commercials! Since you are being honest with your reviews I think you should keep doing them!

Molly @ ADB said...

I think you've got a good outlook on the whole thing. I'm not popular enough to get asked to review anything, but I would if it were something I'd actually use. I wouldn't accept money for posting about random crap, though. IMO, that whole pay-per-post thing is shady. I suppose if you label the post as "sponsored" or "paid post" or whatever, that's fine, but I've seen too many bloggers who try to pass off sponsored posts as their own thoughts and don't acknowledge that it was paid. To me, that's a dealbreaker, and I generally stop reading the blog at that point, because for me it calls their integrity into question.

angie said...

Urg. Now people are going to click over to MOM DOT and she's getting just what she wants. More publicity. Tell your readers NOT to click. j/k.

I think the whole thing is beyond juvenile and stupid.

I'm with you.

Everyone's blog is their own. They make the decisions.......and why not make it a week of going back to the basics, or a week of writing for the joy of writing instead of a PR blackout. LAME.

Kristin said...

We've lost followers and I've always wondered what it was that drove them away. You are entitled to promote or ignore whatever you like. It is still America right?

marymac said...

rock, on, dude. i think the "PR blackout" is a pile of crap. bloggers are intelligent enough (or should be) to make our own decisions regarding what we're gonna post or not post, and we should respect each other's choices. dude, and don't waste energy worrying about followers. you rock, and if someone doesn't agree they can eff off- why miss em?

Alicia said...

i love that you're staying true to yourself! good for you! and as for the followers....take it with a grain of have a fab group of followres!

Courtney D said...

You are awesome. I'm passing along this blog award to you for said awesomeness- not that you would need the validation, but because I think you're the coolest! It's here:

MrsM said...

I think everyone who is anyone has lost a follower.

Of course, that means I have. But I know why, and I'm okay with the reason, so it doesn't exactly eat me.

I do reviews and giveaways but I DON'T do them for cash because I want to be able to give things to my readers that I like, in hopes that they will like it too.

However, I agree with you-if someone else wants to do pre-written cash money reviews hey, it's a free country. If that's what they're into, and their readers are into, who cares right? It doesn't reflect on or affect any other blogger.

Mira is triplet crown said...

Everyone's so elegant and refined in their responses. I was just gonna say eff 'em. They aren't worth your time. That goes for anyone who doesn't like your one stinkin' day a week of reviews or anyone who stops following you or anyone who is mad at you for expressing your opinion. eff 'em all.

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I have had only a few "reviews" and I would LOVE to do more - so when I first heard about the black out I was kind of shocked. I agree with you do it if you want to and don't if you don't. Read it if you want to and don't if you don't - pretty simple. As for me I would love to have free stuff!! Send it my way!!!!

Lisa Anne said...

First off love the photo you posted on saturday. That's a great picture. I'm also happy to say I added myself as a follower. =)

Anyway I think it's great you give honest reviews. Your blog reminded me of an icarly episode of how the shoe maker told her the shoes were great so she told her friends they were great they all bought the shoes and then they blew up and fell apart and all her friends were mad at here. Kids shows on NICK, you have to love em.

Anyway props to you for resisting the temptation and reviewing honestly.

I'm jealous though, how's you get PR people to approach you as I think that would be so fun to try products and review them etc.

Are you a mystery shopper? How'd you get into that? I always wondered if it was a scam.

Heidi V said...

- Still following =)

Thanks! Crazy Suburban Mom about the info, I follow a lot of blogs I didn't know it had a limit.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Ah, the controversial Momdot PR Blackout. I will be fascinated by who actually ends up participating in this event. :)

As for the lost follower, how about I get my act together and finally follow you? Let's get that number back up!

I heart you and all that you do.


Amy B. said...

I've had a "to each his own" attitude about this whole blackout from the beginning. I personally think it's silly, but I couldn't care less about what any other blogger decides to write about. If I don't like it, I don't read.

But what I've found very off-putting is how bully-ish some of the MomDotters have been to people who aren't in complete agreement with them. It's very unattractive.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Question: How are we not as awesome as you?


Deb said...

I think it's sad that ethical bloggers/reviewers are forced to come out and reassure that they are indeed trying the products and giving honest, original opinions.

The timing of this brouhaha irks me, since I'm still new and finding my way and have already flapped around plenty of my own uninformed opinions within the blog world and found myself on the defensive in the actual world (even though I have yet to do a single review).

I don't read a lot of reviews (I like reading about moms and kids and near-death playground experiences), but recently agreed to do one for a product I'm actually dying to try. But it's been over a week and hasn't shown up yet (odd?).

Anyway, I may just break tradition and check out your Saturday reviews--since I think the rest of your blog is indeed awesome.

supah ~d said...

I just lurve your blog. I have delved into the review sector but only because I love trying new products. Love helping mostly mommy companies and of course enjoy the perqs. A lot of work goes into securing sponsors etc.. trying the product, reviewing it, promoting it and hosting a contest if need be. For real. The free tube of chapstick: is very little payment in return for the work done when it's all layed out on the table. But my moms and friends enjoy it. :) I think blog land is all about doing what you want. When you want and how you want. I had an etsy person call me fowl mouth today and I have just been stewing and stewing over it. 1. Cause she can't spell. 2. Because it made me judge myself. In a place where I feel free to be just me. No rules. NO kids.

Grrr.. for you.
Grr.. for me.
I love reviews that are real. :)


Maureen said...

I guess I'll check out mom dot, not sure I want to get into any turmoil. I'll review stuff if it's something I used. I don't even wait for companies to contact me, I just review it. I got a good chuckle about your unfollow feelings!

The Main Ladybug said...

Hmmmm, I never get approached (well there was the one time I got some granola to review - and I ate all of it and spoiled my hard earned weight loss success). Why doesn't anyone like me? I wanna be able to review cool stuff :( and reject the not so cool stuff!

BTW, I've officially declard that your blog is my new favorite!!! Go over to my place to see a pic of your future daughter-in-law!!!

Jessica said...

Mom-101 has your back. She recently wrote a post expressing her confusion over the PR blackout, too.

I think the blackout is misguided, too. Instead of biting the hand that feeds, Mom Dot should have called for a Back to Basics sort of thing, i.e., just blog about you (not a product) for one week, or something.

I totally support bloggers who do reviews based on their own opinions. Not too sure about the pay per word sorta thing - that's just a commercial on a blog and who loves that??

RE: the loss of a follower, try having 27 and then going down to 26! Someone UNfollowed me, too! And I can hardly afford to lose a single person! Can't imagine I was that inane to chase someone off... oh well.

Scary Mommy said...

You know how I feel about this all. I'm all for the blackout. I hope the PR folks ditch those participating and send us all the free stuff!

Aleta said...

Wow. To be honest, I didn't even realize people do the reviews and got paid anything. I don't care if someone reviews something, gets paid, or whatever. It's my choice if I buy it, bottom line. My choice, my buck. So, blog about it. I'm always interested in hearing about new products. Or don't, but yeah, I'd appreciate the honesty. Sorry that someone got upset with you about the issue. Seems funny to me.. but then I don't do any of that, so I'm not much to go on. Lol.

Anonymous said...

You know, I just love your blog. Sometimes I start to read it and a boy gets up and I can't finish and I forget and when I get around to it again, I feel like kicking myself for missing you.

As for the follower, hell, my stats have gone crazy since the beginning of summer. I'm sure you'll be back up in a blink of an eye.

A Psych Mommy said...

I, too, only do reviews of products that I think are fun/useful to my family, etc. and don't get paid to do it. I put up a disclosure thingamajig on my blog that states this just in case someone stumbles on my blog and wonders if my opinion was paid for so they would know that it is not.

But anyhow, I think this whole PR Blackout thing was just blown out of proportion and was misunderstood from the beginning which fueled fires and started rumors. I came across several blogs that actually started doing personal attacks (which I think is way wrong). When I signed up (you'll see I'm like comment number 7 or so--I obviously read the post early before it got all heated), I was more excited about the suggested topics to blog about and then blog hopping on a linky to support others who needed a break for a week. Unfortunately, I think the name wasn't wisely chosen (I would have named it something else like "Family blogging week"--but of course that sounds pretty lame and boring) so that didn't help much.

Anyhow, just wanted to say that I love your blog and I will follow you for as long as Blogger doesn't mess with our virtual relationship.

Giving away two copies of the movie Extract starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. Contest ends 4/2/10.
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