Before I start this post, I just wanted to say that this is my personal opinion and you may or may not agree with it. And that’s okay.
Recently I’ve been chatting with some blogger friends and one subject lead to another and we started talking about sponsorship, ambassadorships, and reviews in our little fitness niche. The market now is saturated with these opportunities, you can be an ambassador for socks, bracelets, everything and anything under the sun is fair game now. Companies are also sending out items for review! But where do we draw the line?
Do you take everything and anything for a chance of “exposure” or a discount? What about reviews? Do you think a free product is worth the time and effort you put into reviewing it?
So it seems that companies and runs have been pumping these programs out. Some you have to apply to and some are offered to anyone and everyone under the guise of affiliate sales or free promotions. In the past, I have been offered ambassadorships and honestly, half of them just see my numbers and want to use me as a mouthpiece. I get no benefits other than a minor discount but every time there’s a sale or new product, I’d be expected to announce it on all my social media channels. While I see how to some, this may be worth it, I find that people who take every and any ambassadorship thrown their way to be untrustworthy. Do you really like the product? Do you get a cut of the sales? Isn’t there a conflict of interest somehow if you take pretty much everything? Can I trust that this is the best sock ever if you’re an ambassador but suddenly you’re wearing different ones after I know the other company has been sending out their socks for free?
If I’m reviewing a product on my blog – it something that I already own or I would personally spend my own money on (a reason why most my reviews are positive) or if it isn’t, give you a review based on the facts, good or bad. As a blogger, I field quite a few emails regarding product review – sometimes I take it but most of the time, I turn things down or send them contact info of a more fitting person to review their product. However, more than 80% of the time, it’s a shitty deal. I’ve had a company offer to give me a “discount” in exchange for a product review and I’d have to promote them. All for a little discount. Of course I said no as I had no desire to test their product out in the first place so the discount means nothing to me.
However, sometimes I’ll see another blogger taking an opp that I consider to be an unfair deal and I’ve turned down and I think “really?” A few weeks after I turned down this “deal,” I saw another blogger who’s opinion I had trusted review it (without a full FTC disclosure too!). Maybe it was a coincidence and this blogger wanted to try the product but after a glowing review, I saw no mention of this product again (2 months and counting!) and it’s no longer showing up on her Instagram. Sketchy huh? After that incident, I no longer trust reviews that she blogs about. I feel as you lose your credibility when you say yes to everything that comes your way.
I understand that when starting out, you feel as any and every free product you review is your way of paying your dues or to gain exposure but your credibility should not be put on the line that way. I just see so many bloggers who are starting out and are great bloggers but I just cannot trust their product reviews and that’s too bad.
Anyways, I feel as if this post as gone on long enough! TL;DR: your credibility is important, don’t throw it away in exchange for free product or to be just another mouth piece. And if you do review stuff, don’t lie to your readers: use the FTC and be transparent. I just really needed to get this off my chest.
So tell me, what are your opinions on this matter?
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