When I started this blog a year ago, I did so without the intention of commercialization. I was just a girl who had a few things to say about poop and hangovers.
But after a few weeks I noticed that many other bloggers had installed Google ads on their sidebars, and even though it made my blog look like a big hot mess I thought “Extra money for pancakes? Don’t mind if I do!”. But after two months of waiting anxiously every day for the mail man to deliver my big payout, nothing came. Then I read the fine print and realized I get like a nickel for every 10,000 clicks.
So I quickly removed them.
Then my blog started to gain momentum and I got my first pitch from a local PR company. I accepted because:
1. They adequately compensated me for my time
2. It was for a company who I truly admire (they do a ton for the community)
3. I had worked with the PR company a few times when I was working at the ad agency and I have a lot of respect for them
4. I was overwhelmed that someone actually read my blog and liked it well enough to invite me to write a review
Little did I know at the time, but this is not the norm. Immediately following this review I started to have email exchanges like this:
from: XX On Behalf Of CSNPromoTeam
date: Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 3:12 PM
subject: Giveaway Opportunity with CSN Stores
My name is XX and I’m part of the Promotions Team here at http://www.csnstores.com , a Boston based company. We have been seeking out high quality websites and blogs, gauging interest in doing a giveaway with one of our sites.
We love the look and feel of your blog and think that your US and Canadian readers might be interested in a giveaway of a gift certificate valid on any of our 200+ sites!
Have a look at a couple of our sites; www.AllModern.com , www.Cookware.com , www.EveryGameRoom.com , www.PetsByCSN.com , , www.LuxeByCSN.com , or www.ShoesGotSole.com and let me know if you think that this might be something you’d be interested in. I’d be happy to brainstorm some other ideas with you if you’re interested. Alternatively you could do a review of something from our site.
Please let me know if you have any questions for me. I hope to hear from you to further discuss the details of the giveaway or review.
from: Hannah Mayer
to: XX On Behalf Of CSNPromoTeam
date: Sun, Jan 9, 2011 at 1:48 PM
subject: Re: Giveaway Opportunity with CSN Stores
Actually, your timing is perfect!
In the coming weeks I’m going to begin training for a marathon and I’ve been shopping for a BOB double jogging stroller. I am going to chronicle my training with periodic video and text posts on my blog throughout the next 10 months.
If you would be willing to send a double stroller I would not only be happy to do a product review but I would also include you in video and text posts as well as my regular Facebook status updates about my training until my completion of the marathon (if I don’t die trying to run it, which is a possibility) in October.
Let me know your thoughts, or if there is any additional information I can provide.
to: Hannah Mayer
date: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 3:01 PM
subject: RE: Giveaway Opportunity with CSN Stores
Hi Hannah, Thanks for getting in touch with me! I’d love to run either a review or a giveaway on your blog www.skidmarking.com. This time around I’ll be providing you with a $20.00 promotional code to use on any of our websites. It’s worth noting that not all items ship for free so please take shipping costs into consideration when selecting your review item.
All I need from you is a post prior to your review OR a post announcing the giveaway (we ask that you choose one or the other), depending on which you would prefer to do first. When you are ready to do the initial post, please link the term “tv stands” to http://www.tvstands.com as the FIRST link in your post. I would just ask that you have it flow as naturally as possible within the context of the post. I am currently responsible for improving traffic to that site, so it would be greatly appreciated if you could do that. Below is a similar example of a giveaway and a post prior to a review I recently helped set up that you can use as a point of reference.
· Review Teaser: http://XX.blogspot.com/2010/03/kid-essential.html
· Giveaway Post: http://XX.blogspot.com/2010/04/hurray-50-csnstorescom-giveaway.html We do have some general terms and conditions for the post:
1) The post should not be noindexed or nofollowed (if you have no idea what I’m talking about don’t worry about it!)
2) The blog post should be posted on the blog we agreed upon
3) The post should remain on the site for at least a year (can be archived)
If you choose to do a review then after you have received the item, you will then get an email from us asking to review the item on our site, please fill this out as soon as possible and we will be good to go! The review on our site will take anywhere from 4-7 days to appear, so please don’t worry if it doesn’t show up right away!
Please let me know if you’re interested in this opportunity and definitely let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help. Have a great day and I look forward to continuing our conversation!
from: Hannah Mayer
date: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 5:28 PM
subject: Re: Giveaway Opportunity with CSN Stores
WOW! A whole twenty dollars for hours of my time and months of hard work and dedication in generating thousands of blog followers that you can use to your advantage? Sign me up!
And, as part of the ethical bloggers code, I am informing you that I will be doing a negative review of your company on my blog.
And tweeting about it.
And sending it to my hundreds of business page fans as well as personal Facebook friends.
And offering negative commentary about your company on every site where I see you have placed a banner ad.
And writing negative Google reviews.
You shouldn’t worry, though – it’s only $20 worth of negative publicity.
That last one was after my daily glasses of wine but I would have written it anyway.
And then… THEN… this happened.
I got a pitch from a PR company to sit in on a conference call with a D-list celebrity who is promoting her new DVD with the promise of a Q and A. So I asked my Facebook followers if they had any questions they’d like to ask, and several did.
So there I am, on the “call” (which was actually a Web-X – you don’t get to talk) and every question I had was ignored. It went something like this:
Moderator: So, does anyone have any questions?
Me: I’m interested in how XX got her own show on Bravo.
Moderator: Any more questions, anyone?
Me: Yes, how did XX get her own show?
Moderator: Well, if there’s no more questions I guess that’s it!
I later Tweeted about what bullshit that was and the moderator told me that questions about the show were off-limits. WTF? That’s the only interesting thing about this woman.
So anyhoo, as an incentive for sitting in on a 45-minute Web-X where my questions were ignored and writing a post on her new DVD bloggers were promised a gift basket.
This is what came in the mail yesterday:
They sent me toilet paper. TOILET PAPER!
Each blog post takes me between 1-3 hours to write. You know why? Because your time is valuable and I feel like I owe it to you not to just shit something out because you choose me over the other 500 million blogs out there.
Whether I have 1 or 10,000 readers I would do the same.
And I get toilet paper.
I write all of this publicly with the full knowledge that I’ll probably never be contacted by another PR company to do a product review.
But you know what? I could give a shit. You all don’t want to hear about that crap and I don’t want to write about it.
All I can hope is that other bloggers will express similar frustration with working their asses off for nothing and companies will start compensating them for what they’re worth.