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Friday, December 18

Bloggers Work Too

I just got this message from someone I've never done business with, nor communicated with {that I'm aware of, maybe I know them on Twitter or maybe they comment on this blog}. If it is you, and you are reading this I have removed your name and website to protect your identity.
e-mailrequest{click for larger or read the text below}
Hi Blogging Mommies and Friends!   My name is ******** and I am the owner of ***************. Some of you are familiar with our store, some of you have had giveaways or reviews, some have purchased from us and others have things for sale with us. I am a stay at home - homeschooling mom. I started this business three years ago wanting to help other moms stay home with their children. As you can probably understand in this economy we are struggling. We cannot compete with the big companies such as Walmart who bring items at cheap prices! That is why I am turning to you. I am a loyal reader of your blogs and know the power of a blogging mommy (and grandma)! :)  
We are a very small online business that supports other work at home moms. We carefully choose our items and only bring our customers quality items. Our items are often personalized, hand made and made to order. A unique gift!  
I am writing you today to ask for help (begging really). We are on the verge of losing our business. I would love to be able to stay afloat and keep some income coming in to the moms with items in our store. I am asking you to open your blogs and post about our store. A button to our store would be great as well. We do not have anything to offer for your advertising other than a huge heartfelt thank you from other mom's. I know many of you get paid for advertising. We need the help this season. If you could take a look at our items *********************, blog about some of your favorites and promote some hand (mom) made gifts that would be wonderful. If you are able to post about us please send me a link to your post. I would love to thank you personally. If you can pass this on to other blogging mom's that you know could help please do. I cannot express my gratitude in words.  
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
When that message arrived in my inbox I couldn't believe it. But I visited their website to check things out before I made my final judgment. And what I found on their website was not encouraging. I felt the items were overpriced {and not just compared to Walmart}. I can support WAHMs and homeschooling moms on Etsy without burning a hole in my wallet. I don’t spend money at businesses just because they’re mom-owned. I spend money at businesses because they deserve it.
Please explain to me why I should give away one of the only products I have {just because it's digital doesn't mean it has no value} to save someone else’s business? Why should someone get for free what my other sponsors pay me for because they couldn’t keep their business afloat? If one’s business can't make it without me saving it maybe they ought to change what they’re doing. And maybe I'm just heartless but if I gave free advertising space to every WAHM who wasn't making money I would never make money either. It is not my job to make sure every one else stays employed. And while the government might give out bailouts to industries that are "too big to fail" and that employ probably hundreds of thousands of people I am NOT the government and this business is NOT an entire industry. They say 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 90% in the first five. Is it my responsibility to prevent that from happening by giving away what my business provides?
I find it rude and ridiculous to send me an unsolicited request for free advertising, especially when not offering anything in return. It's pretty common for bloggers to contact companies to set up reviews/giveaway {though in most cases businesses contact us} but we're providing a service in exchange for those samples. Offer a discount code for me to share or a gift card to host a giveaway for my readers. It would have provided publicity and traffic to the web store while giving me the opportunity to give my readers something worthwhile. 
See, I try to limit reviews/giveaways on my blog for a reason. I want my audience to have good content. I don't want to be a corporate swag sell out. I haven't yet done a review that didn't come with free stuff for my readers too {and I’m hoping to keep it that way} nor have I written up a business or product I don’t personally like. 
But all that aside I DESERVE TO BE PAID FOR MY WORK. My work is blogging. I have worked very, very hard to make a good looking site and I work hard to post regularly and with interesting content {something that has suffered a bit during our move and the holidays but I digress...}. And here's what I think offends me so much: by asking me to not get paid for MY work so I can make sure she can continue to get paid for HER work, she has essentially said that HER work is more important/legitimate than mine.
I wouldn’t send an e-mail to a business saying “Could you send me some free shoes for my kid? I’m a SAHM! I can’t pay you but I’ll send you a big ‘thank you’!” So why is it OK to come to me and say “Could you spend your time writing up free publicity or give me free advertising? I’m a SAHM! I’ll send you a big thank you!” This woman says she started this business because she wanted to help moms stay home with their kids. Well, what about me?
Blogging is work too. My blog is not just some digital scrapbook/diary to keep my family up-to-date. It is a product into which I put a freakin' LOT of effort. And if you are really a "loyal reader" like you say then you should know that. If you were a "loyal reader" you should know better than to try to manipulate me into giving away my work with a sob story and compliments that, frankly, feel less than sincere. You have offered nothing, not even publicity {though, even then, I’ve seen some compelling arguments against bloggers writing unpaid in exchange for publicity}. You, a complete stranger to me, want me to save your business in exchange for nothing. No discounts for my readers, no giveaway, no publicity, nothing. And by doing so you are essentially telling me my work is worth nothing.
Well I disagree. I think my work is worth something. That’s why I charge for advertising space {with the exception of non-profits}.  Maybe some people think that because I don’t make much {and believe me, I really, really, really don’t} then I won’t care if I go from making pennies to making nothing. I do care. Any professional blogger {or blogger with delusions of professionalism like myself} should care. So will I give away the one source of income I have on this blog to save your failing business?

11 Stubborn Stains:

Criss L. Cox said...

YES. Excellently put.

pamela said...

wow i cant believe the nerve of people! WTF. Most companies at least would offer something for publicity (EVEN a discount code!)

buttttt im kind of weak when it comes to shit like that so i probably wouldnt have said no...

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

okay, I might be in the minority here, but I don't think it's that big of a deal. She was very nice and polite in her email and was asking for a favor. That being said, I wouldn't do it for her for the reasons you stated, but I wouldn't have been offended by it.

I dont' do paid reviews, even though I have been asked to do so many times before and I also look at my blog as a small business and spend a lot of time and money on it.

So, I don't know. I wouldn't be offended by that email I guess and I can see where she is coming from. But free advertising probably isn't fair, I mean we ALL need the money, right? I don't think she was telling you that your work was worth nothing.

Just my thoughts :)

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

Oh, and p.s. I don't think you were being mean or anything. I get you.

serene kitten said...

I won your giveaway for the Wee Essentials gift certificate. It was totally worth it -- in fact, I went back and bought more nursing pads after the fact.

I want to support WAHMs where I can, since I'd love to be one, someday. I might have even considered posting a blurb about this site (I don't get paid to blog, nor do I sell advertising space). I'd want to check it out, first, to make sure the cost of their items is reasonable for the quality. From your post, it doesn't sound good.

I understand where you're coming from -- they could at least give SOMETHING in return.

The work you put into this blog is evident! I'm envious. :)

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...


I see where you're coming from. And I didn't think you were saying I was mean. And I can also see how someone might not be as bothered by it as I was. I guess I was already thinking about the issue at hand because of another incident earlier this week.

I didn't mean to say that she was intentionally saying my work is worth nothing. I mean to say that her actions indicate an worldview in which that is the case. And *that* is what bothers me. It bothers me that people think/act as if bloggers' work isn't legit or valuable. No matter how politely worded her request was {and even the nastiest of insults can be worded politely so I, personally, don't give much weight to politeness}, no matter how nicely it's said, it doesn't chance the fact that it's indicative of a larger problem. Bloggers are not respected, and we often have ourselves to blame. Because we often do give our work away at times we shouldn't. And we don't stand up and say "Hey. No. It's not ok to treat us like this." They say people treat you how you teach them to treat you. So I decided to stand up and say that's not how I want to be treated..

Anyway, that said. I don't accept paid reviews either. The only "payment" I accept for a review is the product to sample. :)

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Serene Kitten,

Wee Essentials is one of those companies *I* approached. I liked her product so much I wanted to promote it. :) And since we've worked together in the past if she approached me to say she was concerned about her business I'd be a lot more likely to help her out. The person who e-mailed me today I have never worked with. I don't even know if I've ever communicated with her before. Perhaps I have under a screen name. Perhaps she's one of my readers. I don't know. All I know is that if I do know her, it's not well enough to take kindly to a request to give my product away for free.

Sarah @ barefaced approach said...

BRAVO!!! You go, Holly!!! You should get paid for your work because as far as I am concerned you do an excellent job at it.

KK said...

Your work is definitely worth much!

Anonymous said...

Great post Holly! I have received a couple of emails pretty much asking me for free advertising and I respond with my ad pricing. Needless to say I have no ads on my site. So far my blog is not profitable but someday it will be. Or not. Whatevs.

Crystal HW said...

So True Holly! You do great work, and deserve every penny you get, and more!!

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