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Thursday, July 15, 2010

It’s not often that I use my blog to get into a “War of Words” so to speak and it’s even less often that I respond to the drama and craziness that sometimes consumes the blogosphere.  BUT when I read a July 12th Forbes.com article written by Jeremiah Owyang basically giving businesses a step-by-step guide to creating an unpaid blogger army to do their dirty work or as I like to call it…Businesses Blogging Bitches I had to respond!imageWhile the article did not come right out and refer to bloggers, I don’t think anyone will have a hard time concluding that bloggers are definitely the very ones he was referring to when he wrote, “Look for folks who have a background in influencer relationships and are savvy about social media.”  Now this in and of itself I have no problem with because it only makes sense to find people to help represent your brand who are knowledgeable, have a wide range of influence, and are social media savvy.  As a matter of fact, most of Mr. Owyang’s suggestions make sense except for step #4!  Step 4 in his Step by Step Guide for CMOs is as follows:
“4.) Give them a platform--but do not pay them. The crux of an advocacy program is giving fans a platform for communicating. You'll want to support their efforts by giving them a publication platform such as a group blog or community, so they can tell their story. Ensure they are properly kept up to date, and that the lines of communications are always open for discussion, even when there is negative content. Enable them with graphical “badges” they can put on their blogs, email signatures, T-shirts, and business cards as they become extended ambassadors to your brand. Microsoft MVP program showcases their advocates, and provides them with a variety of resources to evangelize.”
Is this man serious?  Don’t pay us for our hard work and opinions?  Instead maybe throw us a free shirt?  Is it written somewhere that just because we’re moms and  bloggers we are also stupid and not worthy or being paid for our time?  Because the whole, “Don’t pay em, they’re just bloggers” mentality that some companies adopt is getting old!  That somehow our honesty and integrity are thrown out the window when compensation for our time and hard work is involved is just absurd.  You want honesty and integrity?  How’s this for you…Honestly my integrity is the same whether I am being paid for a project or not and insinuating otherwise is just insulting.  We are the very people who buy your products on a daily basis and without a free t-shirt or a big fat pay check we tell our sisters, friends, and co-workers how much we love your products, but pay us for those same opinions and they are no longer valid or truthful?  Doesn’t make much sense! 
Don’t get me wrong MIBR will include product reviews and giveaways for as long as I feel like doing them…why?  Well that’s simple, I have been working with companies and PR firms reviewing products for years, long before I knew what a review blog was, it’s just something I love doing!  I have been introduced to so many great companies and worked with so many amazing PR reps along the way that I actually decided to transfer to a college that offered a BA in Public Relations.  I have found something  that I get excited about doing in the morning and the career I want to spend the rest of my life learning to get right! 
I can only hope that businesses take Mr. Owyang’s advice with a grain of salt and realize that while bloggers can be an incredible asset to your company in the form of Brand Ambassadors, it is a direct insult when you do not feel that our services are worthy of compensation!  Honest bloggers will maintain the same level of integrity whether we are paid for our time or not—it would just be nice for companies, PR people, and journalists to realize that what we do IS work.  We don’t blog for the “free stuff’ because there is nothing free about a product review, it is a lot of hard work for very little in return.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask your PR department to work for free coupons and “free products” and see how long they stick around…I’m just saying!
I also hope that more bloggers begin to realize their worth and understand that while the title of Brand Ambassador may be alluring, a snazzy badge for your blog and a couple of  free product coupons do not buy groceries or pay electric bills!

2 comments :

  1. So glad you blogged about this! I find myself getting more and more press releases with an offer of a hi-res image. Ohhh lucky me I get a hi-res image in exchange for working for you. No thanks!

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  2. Brandy I feel like as bloggers we are often looked down upon by companies. They want our traffic and they want our opinions but more often than not they want them with very little in return and I wish it were not like this.

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