New Column! Blog Discussion:

March 31, 2011

Thanks to MyMonography for the beautiful photo above!

Hi friends! So in the spirit of promoting community, I've decided to start this new column titled "blog discussion" - where a topic is posted and we discuss it! Super simple. The topics will be mainly related to blogging, since that's what we all have in common, but there may be some other topics thrown in along the way. Some of them may be controversial. But I know you guys and trust that we can all be nice and respect one another's opinions :)

The reason this came about was because I recently had a situation where I faced with what we're talking about today. I honestly did not know what to do and I wondered what you, my dear readers, thought about the subject.

So today's blog discussion is: receiving items for free (aka gifts) in exchange for some sort of blog post/advertisement/promotion.

In my situation - I was basically invited to go on a trip to attend a conference. The subject of the conference was not really related to my blog, and there was really no way to spin it where I could tie it in. A trip did sound really fun, but I just couldn't do it. Occasionally I'll get an email from a company that wants to send me their product in exchange for a blog post or review. I usually just turn it down because even though it may be a cool product, it's just not related to the content of my blog. While I don't want to compromise the integrity of this blog, at the same time I think it's fun to get free stuff ;)

I think that at a certain point, if your blog gets to super-star status, lots of shops will shower you with free stuff in hopes that they'll get a post on your blog. I think that's understandable.. One speaker at ALT told us about how she gets lots of things sent to her, and I'm sure her readers know the items she blogs about are things she receives for free. But some blogs I come across have a disclaimer stating that they don't accept things in exchange for blog posts.

We learned at ALT that trust with your blog readers is #1. If I started posting about random things unrelated to this blog only because I was getting free stuff, would that upset you? Cause you to unsubscribe? Would you care? If it was fully disclosed in the blog post, would that be okay? Perhaps there are some of you out there who are all for accepting free things! or don't care if a blog accepts free things & posts about them. I don't know, but I am quite curious to know your thoughts! Have you ever accepted anything in exchange for a blog post? How did it go over? How do you feel in general about the overall topic?

So yea, based on how this discussion goes, next week I'll post about a free car I got. just kidding! I wish. That would be pretty awesome though, huh? ;)

59 hello's:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this discussion. I've just begun my little journey in the blogging world and I've been thinking about things like this because some blogs I read do talk about free stuff they receive and others opt out of such things. I believe that it is most important to stay true to your audience and if they're coming to you for a particular content that's what you should blog about. I wouldn't necessarily unsubscribe from a blog that posts randomly about free things they receive but don’t really blog about, but I might not stay on the blog for quite so long that day or awhile. I think it is totally acceptable to receive and blog about free things that pertain to your content. On a side note: I would totally do a happy dance for you if you were given a free car regardless ;)

  2. lol. No... I wouldnt be upset or unsubscribe if someone wanted to give you items as long as it was related to your blog. This wouldnt make you a sell out at all because it is relevant. and as long as you are honest about it - refreshingly honest in cases and not everything is perfect then there is NO REASON why you shouldnt accept gifts in exchange for some exposure!

  3. I always think about my audience - yours is a bazillion times larger than mine but I feel the same is true. If you did not pay for it, why should they? Sponsoring is cool. A few props to a good product here and there is cool but there really is not much value to the readers to have to read ads...

  4. This is a great topic, Danni. I've been offered a few free things and the only thing I've ever accepted is food from a company that I already believed in and loved (it's actually my pizzelles post today). I think transparency is the key, as well as being picky with what you say yes to. Free stuff is cool, but I'd rather have readers who trust me and know that they're getting my real opinion than anything else.

  5. I'd never post about something that I don't like and that doesn't match what I pictured my blog's content to be like.
    Sadly, this also means that I automatically don't like blog owners who act contrary. Sometimes, I think I react childish, but then... this is how I feel about this topic.

    I don't review products, but I once reviewed a new magazine. Suddenly, I got mails from other magazines, asking me to review an issue. This was okay and I felt honoured. But I still did not review another magazine because there was always something I didn't like (silly mass e-mails from the magazines bossed addressed to "dear blogger"; low quality production of the magazine etc).
    I could have received free issues and whatnot, but I would never sell my soul for free stuff if I don't like it.

    If YOU review something, that doesn't match your blog's content, that you don't like - yes, I'd be upset.

    If you review something you really, really like (I think reading between the lines is possible :p), then it would be totally ok for me!

    Excuse my English, it's not my mother tongue :/

  6. I like the way your blog is, and I enjoy your topics now! I think it would be a little frustrating to just be reading about all the free things you've gotten... haha :) But I'm sure I would still love to read it no matter what! You're a good writer, and come from an interesting perspective, and I don't think that will change no matter what youre writing about.

  7. I think this discussion is a really interesting one. For me, the matter really comes down to honesty. As a reader, I would not like to see a blog I enjoyed begin to post about unrelated topics and products simply because they received something in exchange. If a gift is consistent with the taste and aesthetic of the author and the blog, I don't think that it is wrong to share. However, I think it's important that the author be very honest about receiving the item for free. Personally, I don't think I would ever accept gifts in exchange for exposure on my blog. I think it's OK for others to do so as long as they are very open about it with their readers.

  8. I think it's a case by case basis kind of thing. For you, I agree with your decision. If it's not related to the blog, it's not going to enhance the content of your blog in any way and it will confuse readers. Sure you'll get free swag... but you have to decide what's more important to you. I read your blog in particular because I enjoy the content, and if you started posting about stuff you've gotten that had nothing to do with that content I probably would drift away eventually.

    I don't disagree with bloggers who are paid to review a product that relates to their blog. I appreciate that they have a disclaimer stating that they were paid to do the post. I think moderation is key here, because when a blog I love turns into one that has a product review or giveaway on a very regular basis, it's unsubscribe time for me! I suppose I like the personal aspects of blogging more than free stuff. I want to get to know you, not get to know that you're in it for the money and/or stuff!

    I do disagree with bloggers that I've seen who say, send me your stuff! I'll review it, and I'll either keep your loot or I'll do a giveaway, and it'll be a win-win situation! To me, that's very shallow and comes off as the blogger trying to get swag, when in my own experience, I know that doing giveaways has not helped my business whatsoever to make sales.

  9. hahah! a car would be great! look...i send a necklace as gift to a lovely blogger to have a blog post on her is blog related cause she has a fashion blog and for me it was to promote my little etsy shop. it helped a bit, but for me sending a handmade necklace is big deal because the shop has totally like 30 not much. If insteat it is totally not blog related than it would maybe be wear, bit if it doesn't became "normal" to have every second day a not blog related post so it would be ok, if they do it tooo often i would subscribe. You have a really large discussion blog so I think most of the things ARE blog related (like fashion, design, graphic, food etc...or whatever vintage...).

    what i hate are blogger who JUST blog about things they get for free and not about everything they love!

  10. This is an interesting topic within the blogging community.

    I wouldn't mind if you talked about a product you received for free if you fully disclosed that you received it for free.

    If the product was completely unrelated to your blog, it would seem weird and fake. I like your blog because you are so genuine and I think preserving that is important.

    Love this new colunm idea, btw :).

  11. I have a really small blog, so I don't really run into this situation. However, it seems to me that if the product or offer you get relates to something you would be likely to blog about anyway, then there's no issue.
    For instance, my blog is mostly about the things I do in my day to day life- cooking, crafting, picking out cute outfits, etc. So, if I received say, a fun cooking tool, or a cute top from an online shop I liked, then I would TOTALLY blog about it. If it tied in with what my blog is all about, then I would go ahead and do it. Besides, I think part of the appeal of blogging is sharing new finds, and ideas with your readers. Maybe a product you got for free is truly great, and somebody reading your blog would really benefit from knowing about it.
    I also think it's important to be up front about the products you promote. If you did receive a gift in exchange for a blog post, a simple "hey, btw I got this for free," goes a long way.
    Like you said honesty with your readers goes a long way. If you do that, and promote products you are truly in love with anyway, then I think the practice is not only acceptable, but beneficial.


  12. I tend to agree with what most of your other readers are saying. I'm ok with a blogger accepting gifts and doing posts about them, even if they're paid. In my mind, this is part of how a blogger makes money or receives items that might help in their business. Granted, it should be business/blog related. The only time it annoys me is when it becomes a frequent thing. I feel the same way about giveaways. If I have to scroll through tons of posts about giveaways or reviews of products, it gets a little frustrating. I'm there to read your original content, not reviews or enter every giveaway you do.

    On the other hand, sometimes reviews and giveaways are nice. I've been swayed on products if I feel the blogger is giving a real, honest opinion. It can often be helpful, even.

    I guess what it boils down to is making sure the items relate back to the blog and that they don't begin to consume your posts. I can always keep scrolling if I see the occasional post related to something I'm not interested in and you have every right to put those things on your blog.

  13. As long as you are honest about getting something for free I don't care. I agree with the comments above in regards to random posts that have nothing to do with your blog content being rather strange. I think that if you're fortunate enough to receive free stuff, then go for it. To each her own.

  14. As long as you are honest about getting something for free I don't care. I agree with the comments above in regards to random posts that have nothing to do with your blog content being rather strange. I think that if you're fortunate enough to receive free stuff, then go for it. To each her own.

  15. I think you spend a lot of time and effort on creating this's something wonderful that all of us enjoy for FREE. So, if you want to get a free do-dah or can opener or trip to Vegas, well them you go for it!

    My only request, for you or any other blogger, is to be honest about it. Don't try to hide the promotion as something other than what it really is: advertising. Just say "they sent me this thing, I tried it, and what do you know, it's great (or it's poopy or whatever)"...word of mouth is such a powerful force. We all appreciate your opinions. Your HONEST opinions :)

  16. I agree that honesty is key when it comes to receiving and promoting swag. Blogging takes a lot of time and energy and I'm all for little perks along the way! That said, however, I would personally never accept anything and agree to blog about it unless it was a product that fit in with our style and was something that I would actually use or love. And I would make sure that readers know, in some small way, that it had been given to me. I don't enjoy reading blogs that have random vacuums and toilets given to them...I get it that they may be in the middle of a renovation, but I don't need to see those types of freebies :)

  17. Such a good question. I don't see the problem with accepting a gift and posting as long as it relates to your regular blog topics. I do think that people should put a little disclaimer though.

    just my little two cents. :)

  18. This is a really conflicting topic for me because my wife and I are just starting to post regularly on our own blog. I know that the first time someone offered us something in exchange for a post on them, I would be pretty excited and probably want to accept the offer right away. It would kind of feel like "we're making it" with our blog, and it'd be hard to turn down.

    At the same time, I want our blog to have integrity. If the item is completely unrelated to what we're about, then I feel like we'd be using our readers for personal gain. I don't ever want them to feel cheated.

    On the other hand, if it's something that we would potentially blog about anyway, it'd be fun to be able to be in the position to write a review on a product that someone actually wants coming from us! That sounds like a lot of fun actually.

    Thanks for starting the discussion!

  19. As long as full disclosure is used, I don't mind a blogger talking about free stuff--but I do mind if the "stuff" is totally unrelated to the blog. Then it just seems greedy.

  20. Isn't it a little pretentious anyhow for a company to throw a product at you that has nothing to do with your blog? It's like the company is too good to care about the integrity of your sweet blog and just wants to use you for advertising. I would be offended honestly.

    However, I think its awesome to support the blog community (as you do so well) by advertising for likeminded bloggers or their Etsy store etc...

    I can see the dilemma, and temptation of a free trip or car though! Maybe just fess up in your blog post that you just couldn't pass up the offer....I don't think I could blame you! :)

  21. In my opinion a blog is supposed to be about you right? This is your baby, you've created it from scratch, you've written (mostly) every word on here. If you really like the product, if you stand by it 100%, or if it is related to the theme of your blog and you didn't like and don't want other people buying it then why not review it? If you give your honest opinion, and look out for your readers who may potentially purchase the product then i don't see anything worng with it. This is your blog, and you can do what you want with it. If you loose a couple followers, what's the big deal? This is about you, and your life, and the things that matter to you. And if the product/trip/service matters to you in anyway, then why not post about it.
    A blog is supposed to be like an online journal, and it just so happens that you have thousands of people reading yours. So do what you want, and write what you want to write about, forget about the rest.

    I will continue reading your blog no matter what you decide to do, because even if you have an odd post about something unrelated, you still have thousands of other inspiring posts that i love to read, and years of archives that are just as inspiring!


  22. First of all, good for you that you have reached a point where you actually get offered free stuff:)
    I have never been offered anything in return for advertisement, but I can imagine that I would feel very torn too.

    I would definitely be tempted to accept a free gift. I used to hoard free pamphlets simply because they were free, until I realized that I never got around to reading them. So I can definitely sympathize with losing focus at the mention of "free".

    I have to admit though, that I often skip blogs with a lot of product reviews. I prefer reading about people's thoughts and experiences.

    When it comes down to it, I think accepting a gift in exchange for a review would be okay as long as it has some relevance to your subject and you remain honest in your review, but when you start compromising and it becomes a commercial rather than a review, that is when you start to lose readers.

  23. What started out as a fun way to communicate a passion (blogging) has since become big business. And why shouldnt someone in big business earn some $, receive free items etc. As long as the items being discussed are pertinent to your blog's personality I do not mind at all and I assume, although maybe naively, that you are being honest in expressing opinions about those items. I do not, however, like to read about some cleaning product or unrelated items on a design blog. I say, stay true to yourself and enjoy those freebies

  24. I would PREFER the posts you write to keep up with the theme and integrity of your blog, because that's the reason I read your blog. If it all of the sudden changed themes I probably would read it less.

    However, I wouldn't mind a disclaimer now and then . . . a little mix up never hurt anyone. I say you just follow what YOU think is best. You've gone this far doing what you want and love to do, I'm sure your instincts wont lead you astray :)

    P.S. there is nothing wrong with accepting free things! Companies and businesses are constantly receiving "gifts" from others. That's a natural part of business.

  25. I say honesty is the best policy. Personally it doesn't bother me if people talking about products relating to their blog on their blog. As long as it's an honest review of their product, and not a gushy "this is so great, how did I ever live without it". It's all about information sharing right? I like blogs that have free giveaways for their readers from their "sponsors". I've done a couple of these on my blog and it seems like a nice bonus for the hours they give me out of their life.

  26. From a reader's point of view, I'm all fine and dandy as long as the blogger points it out right from the start that it's a free gift (that obviously they ARE interested in because I don't see how anyone could blog passionately about something they're not) or that it's a paid advertorial. I think a normal reader can judge and choose for themselves whether they want to read a certain post or not. Even on blogs that I really, really adore or ad-free can have content that does nothing to interest me. However, I also understand that there may be other kinds of readers who will go to the extreme (i.e. unsubscribe, boycott, say bad things) and you really can't do anything to avoid that.

  27. Great idea! I hope you will do some sort of follow-up roundup after all the commenting has slowed down.

    I think a lot of the responsibility lies with the person doing the offering. It's tacky to offer up a gift with the expectation of getting something in return. Period. If a gift is given, it should be just that - a gift, no strings attached.

    I think the "superstar blogs" are a lot less likely to do reviews in exchange for stuff - I think it's the small ones (like me). It's so exciting to have a company or individual single you out & ask you to review something or do a giveaway or be a sponsor, and the urge to say "yes" (because it's so exciting & it might help your blog grow) is huge! So as bloggers, I think it's always important to slow down & really consider carefully whether it's a good match before ever hitting "reply," despite how exciting it is to be singled out.

  28. I think it would be totally, completely fine if you accepted the stuff in exchange for a review or whatnot. We love you, and personally, I think it would be awesome for you to get free stuff.

    Then there's always the option of a giveaway. If it's something you really love but don't need, pass it on to a reader.

    It's a win-win.

  29. I think blogging should come from a pure place of what interests you, what you are loving at the moment, what is going on in your life, what is inspiring you. If it happens to be something you got for free, then that's great! But insincere 'swooning' over things that you are only writing about because they were free doesn't fit with my idea of what blogging is all about.

    Slightly off topic, but what I really don't like are giveaways where people who want to take part have this long list of things they 'have to do' like follow the person on twitter/blog/facebook. I want people to follow my blog because the enjoy the content, not because they are hoping to get something for free.

  30. P.S. Looking forward to more blog discussions! xo

  31. hey danni! i love this new column idea! you are always coming up with something new, love you for that! :)

    this is a really interesting topic, i don't think i would really mind if you accepted free stuff and did a blog post about it, but i do think it should fit within your readership. although you have a REALLY WIDE readership so i feel like lots of things may fit and who knows, you may get some lurkers to come out and comment!! i definitely think that it is YOUR blog and you can choose to blog about what you want! of course if you started blogging about random things like teenage mutant ninja turtles or something weird, people may question it.

    can't wait for next week's discussion!

  32. My thing is trust but also in another way. I get these emails from people saying they want me to review and stuff but I'm worried that it's spam or a scam. So I don't even reply because I'm afraid of what will happen if I do. I feel rude but I'm really weary.

  33. Hi Danni. Nice idea with the discussions!

    This topic is interesting to me - I write about notebooks, stationery and the like. I find new products and "showcase" them on the blog, but I also write reviews. I would love to buy every single notebook, pen and stationery product out there and review it, but realistically, I have a limited amount of money to spend on such things (mind you, I often go overboard). So when a company e-mails me and offers me a product to review, if I think my readers will enjoy the product and if I myself am interested in the product, then I have no problem accepting it.

    I think that as long as the free gifts in return for a post or review pertains to your blog, it's perfectly fine. In fact, I think it's more than fine. It's one thing to blog about some nice items you see online, but it's another thing when you're actually holding it in your hand, examining it yourself. There's so much more that you can say after actually playing around with it, whatever it may be.

    I can see how some people would feel obliged to say nice things about something they receive for free, but if they can't write their honest opinion about the product, then it might be best not to accept gifts. Sure, free gifts are given with the hope that the blogger will enjoy it and praise it, but I'm pretty sure that whoever manages the PR for the company in question understands and even expects some negative reviews. They might think the product is great - at least I would hope so, since their job is to market it, but that doesn't mean that everyone else will too. I faintly remember a quote that goes along the lines of - it's not good unless it's controversial. I think that refers more so to art, but you can imagine it in this context too - a good product will always have its fans and haters.

  34. It all depends on the content of your blog. If the free item ties into your blog then I think it is perfectly normal to post about it.

    On the other hand you do not want to be posting about every single free thing you do get for that person(s) or shops exposure.

    This is a great discussion. Thanks for posting.

  35. I commented earlier today and found a great example over at Design for Mankind...Erin discretely included a list and disclaimer of all the great items they had given to them for their kitchen renovation. I love her honesty and think it's amazing that they were able to put together such a gorgeous kitchen with some help...
    Love this new discussion space's had me thinking about this topic all day :)

  36. This is a great conversation. I'm no where near getting requests for people to be on my blog, or for me to reivew anyone's items.. One day... But I would find it odd for bloggers to review items that didn't have anything to do with thier blogs. If it happened a lot, I probably would quit subscribing. But if it was just here and there, I would just be annoyed. But when the items are on the same subject line as the blog's overall subject, I see nothing wrong with reviewing items. I hope one day I can make this decision pertaining to my blog! :)

  37. I think it's fine, I just think you put "Sponsored Post" as the heading or similar.

    And maybe sometimes make it a giveaway, so your readers can occasionally also get some cool free stuff! :)

  38. Honesty is the key....honestly - where did it come from??? Honestly - does it make you want to post??? Honestly - how do you feel about it.


  39. I feel the same way. If it relates to you, and your ideas, and you feel like we/the readers would LOVE what they sent and want to all means do so:). If its something totally not the style of your site, then don't post. We love your site cause we love your opinion.

  40. I agree with you and most of the commentators so far, honesty is really key in maintaining a trusting relationship with your readers. I am okay with bloggers reviewing items they received for free as long as they state so and that it's something they're interested in posting in. If a blogger posts about something purely for the sake of getting it free then I would question the integrity of their blog.

    Giveaways are a nice treat for readers because regardless if I win or not I love being exposed to a new designer or product I may not have known otherwise. However, this too should be of something the blogger is interested in or thinks their readers will be interested in.

    I have recently started blogging so I have not encountered this yet, but hopefully when/if I do I will make the right decision in keeping my blog sincere and genuine. I think you are a great example of this! :-)


  41. i think you should do anything that makes you happy, it's your blog-your content and you know instinctively what you should or should not do with it ;)

    hope all is fab with you Danni! love this column idea!


  42. Hey Danni, I don't think there are a few things to consider:
    1) How often do you receive such gifts? Could you limit the ones you agree to have to maybe 1/month or something along those lines? Just so long as people come here and not keep reading ads, I think the occasional reviewed product would be fine.

    2)How about having a separate section for reviewed products so that only people looking for reviews will click on the section, and when they do it's so convenient because everything is all in one place?

  43. I love your blog! I'm sorry, I don't comment very often {I quietly enjoy the view!}. Danni, you always post what you love and find interesting. I can't imagine that if you were to get something for free, knowing that you were having it to post about it, that you would ever take it and review it just for the sake of getting it for free. I know that's not you. I would know that you really believed in the product or the artist {even if it was unrelated to your blog}! ~ And one has ever offered in exchange for writing a post {if I loved it, I would}..I once {and only once} had a company wanting to put a big sponsor ad {I've seen it on some blogs}...but, it wasn't me..I turned it down.

  44. I would not stop following if you began accepting free gifts - I understand, to an extent, that blogging has a lot of behind-the-scenes work and sometimes comes with perks.

    However, I love your blog THIS MUCH MORE because you choose not to accept free gifts. Thank-you for your integrity - if I could follow your blog twice, I would =)

  45. I really appreciate your being honest with your readers. It makes us feel that we are also appreciated.

    I totally enjoyed and get so inspired reading your posts... Especially if it's about what's happening in your daily life...

    However, posts non-related to you blog doesn't really mean that I will unscribe or not to read it anymore... But to be honest it gives me less time to stay... I just look at the photos, browse a little and move on...

    But nonetheless it doesn't mean less readers right? I know that even if it's a non-related topic, you can still find a way to make it like it's still part of your blog. I'm not sure if get what I mean...

  46. This is a way cool feature and I love the fact that it's discussion about things that really can be talked about from different perspectives and we can all learn a bit more about ourselves and this little community we're in!

    I actually do feel that it compromises the integrity of the blog if it's filled with posts of the blogger wearing all the free things they got. I do not think that recieving free things is bad, at all! I do think, though, that it has got to be genuine! I won't "stop reading" a blog if they post about free things if it's occasional and relevant to their normal content. But I probably will not care about those posts so much if there are tons of them. I stopped reading quite a few 'fashion blogger' blogs when all they seemed to post was them wearing outfits full of things that were "courtesy of _____". It like, stuff overload with no real content. You know?
    But if a blog still has a real personal element to it, like yours does, and there's good content and everything, and you post about a bag that you recieved and you love it and want to show us? Of course it's ok! In fact, since we love your blog/you, that means we'll trust your opinions and if you love the product that you recieved, we'll probably be more inclined to like that thing and kinda want it.

    In summary? If the "free thing" is relevant to your content? It's ok.
    If it's way too often? It's annoying.
    If it's a super random unrelated to your blog thing, it's selling out.
    But we know you'd never do that! was a car. :D Which is ok.

  47. This has also been something I've had to navigate, although my blog is much smaller than yours. :)

    I only review products I believe in (would use myself) and that are related to my blog. It's very much a personal decision, but I think that we, as your readers, trust your judgment. Thanks for the discussion!

  48. Danni,

    I'm excited to see this column on your blog! This topic is a tricky one for me, too. I love hosting reviews/giveaways, but then I got an email from a blogger I respect/look up to saying how disappointed she was that I was doing that. It definitely opened my eyes to the demographic that don't like sponsored content at all.

    Thing is, I'm always transparent about what I get for free & I don't write negative reviews or positive things about a product I didn't genuinely like.

    Most of the reviews I've done, I've actually sought out because I'm genuinely curious about a product. While it's a lot of work, I like it better.

  49. I prefer to accept free things, only if they relate to the content of our blog and if they benefit our readers in some way. For example, if a book company asks if they can send us a copy of a new book related to our content, then I would say yes, but only if they sent an extra copy to giveaway to one of our readers. It ends up costing us a little bit in shipping, but I enjoy giving gifts to our readers.

    As long as bloggers are honest in their reviews and disclosure and if they keep a balance of not too many sponsored posts, I see no problem with accepting free stuff.

  50. such an interesting topic that has obviously touched many people. first i think it's quite admirable of you to address it this way with your readers. crakerjack and well-formed post. second, i trust you 100% and would be A-OK with anything you choose.

    i'm fairly new on the blog block and haven't had anything like this come up but to read about your thought process is a helping hand to me for the future. not necessarily regarding "gifts" but in general, the way you've included everyone in this decision speaks miles about your caliber of a gracious girl. ♥

  51. I'm against the free stuff. It seemed kind of fun at first, but you're right - I'm not in it to spin my life with links to 'kids backpacks' or other things. I am against the free stuff for posts. It turns me off when bloggers do it and I feel like a fraud when I've tried.

    Great post. Good food for thought.

  52. Oh, Woow! I just found that you used my photo for your blog post :) Great choice hehe :)

  53. Wow! wonderful posts and discussions here. I want to get some suggestions regarding teen costumes. I want to make a teen costume by my own but I am confused to choose a type of costume.

  54. Great discussion! Some of the coolest things I have seen have come from something a blogger got and is posting about. I especially like when etsy sellers (private individuals) send bloggers items and then they feature it on their blog. What I feel weird about is when bloggers do posts that are sponsored by major products like Gatorade or something like that. A couple of my favorite bloggers even have a second blog where they do these sponsored posts. Most of the time these posts seem forced and a bit contrived. That's a huge turn off for me ... makes me look at the blogger in a completely different way. You described it best ... makes me lose trust in the blogger. There are too many great bloggers to waste time reading what amount to "commercials".

  55. Just to clarify ... I'm not opposed to a blog advertising on the side bar or having sponsors. I love clicking through the cool ads on many of my favorite blogs. Lately I've seen more of the sponsored posts. It's an entire post solely about the product. The product pays them to do it and it's basically a commercial. Bloggers have a second blog for these posts so as not to conflict with BlogHer. I don't care for that and I don't read those posts.

  56. GREAT DISCUSSION for our first topic - thank you dear friends!

    I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful & supportive readers, you guys are the best.


  57. hi danni..
    chiming in a little late on this one. i have been doing a few free product reviews in exchange for goods. i try to make it fair by being up front about the freebie, posting a truthful yet positive review and taking a good picture of it. most importantly (and this has happened to me), if i don't think i will like the item or receive it and really am disappointed i send it back. i don't want to give them a horrible review and i don't want to give it away as a giveaway either.

    the majority of the time, i am thrilled with a fun new etsy product that i would've never known about before. it's always nice to support handmade small business owners, a lot of them women!

    so i think if it's something that appeals to you and YOU would enjoy receiving it (or gifting it), then we'll love to know about it. you are a great resource for inspiration.

    p.s. LOVED that dinner party. you are too cute. xo.

  58. I read a LOT of blogs and while I don't have an issue with them accepting freebies on occasion, I _do_ mind when it has nothing to do with the subject of their blog - ie: a home design blog that starts posting about Windows 7 phones. Wtf? That completely turned me off that particular blog, even though the blogger had made a big deal about making the posts as advertisements and such. So what? It still has nothing to do with the content and really just proves that you're greedy and can be bought for just about anything.

  59. Even though the post is a year old, I think this topic will never die. I personally am all heads up to 'free' reviews, as long as it fits with your passion, and maybe you will have even bought an item yourself to write about. If you think about how much time, effort and though an honest blogger put in one blog post, we could argue, if free really is free, since we pay for the item in our time. Also I am supporter of smaller, maybe not that well known brands, so I think it is a perfect opportunity for them to get a very needed coverage.
    As long as you go with your heart, and stay true to yourself, it is fine.


Friends, Thank you so much for reading + supporting my blog, and for taking the time to leave me a comment. Your comment support truly means so much to me. Have a lovely day! xo, danni