A note about the blog, compensation and sponsored posts

by DaniGirl on March 16, 2013 · 12 comments

in Editorial asides,Reviews, promotions and giveaways

There have been a spate of complaints on some of my sponsored posts over the last few months. I’m not quite sure why people are complaining (mine may be one of the least monetized blogs I know!) or whether it’s several people or one person with several aliases who are posting the complaints. I’ve tried addressing the comments with comments, and then just deleting them, but since they’re continuing, let’s talk about sponsored posts out here in the open.

I blog for the connection with you, the reader, and for the joy of sharing a view of our lives as I see it. I blog because I love to do it, and if I weren’t making any sort of profit from it, I would still be blogging in more or less exactly the same way I have been doing for the past eight years. But yes, I write occasional sponsored posts. I have a great working relationship (and a one-year contract) with Fisher-Price, and I just finished a set of sponsored posts with Conceivable Dreams. I chose to work with these two organizations because I like them, because I would promote them even if they weren’t offering compensation, and because I think they offer something that may be of interest to the people who read this blog. On the other hand, I turn down dozens of pitches each week for various promotions that I don’t feel I could personally endorse, or that I don’t think would have any value to you as readers.

The negative comments that have sprouted up recently are along the lines of “stop selling out with these sponsored posts.” I don’t see being compensated for my time and effort as selling out, I see it as perfectly reasonable. Aside from the out-of-pocket expenses relating to keeping this blog running (domain and hosting, etc) why shouldn’t I be compensated for my time and effort? Like ads on Google or commercials on your favourite TV shows, the sponsored posts help me keep generating the rest of the content that you might prefer.

There was a time when I felt more equivocal about advertising and sponsored posts, and perhaps because of that I have always tried to minimize the amount of sponsored content I post. I am very selective about the advertising and other paid blogging opportunities I accept because whatever I share here on the blog is the equivalent to a personal recommendation, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. But if an opportunity arises to support a brand or cause that I like, and that opportunity involves monetary or non-monetary compensation, I see absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t take it on.

Maybe you have a different opinion? I’m open to your thoughts here, on this post, and I am genuinely happy to discuss the issue. But this is my space and like it or lump it, my rules apply. If I visit your place and I don’t like the new lime green sofa, I’ll just choose to sit on it and keep my mouth shut or sit on another chair – that’s just good manners. You are welcome to not read the sponsored posts, or to not visit at all, if they truly offend you that much.

If you have genuine concerns and would like to discuss them, let’s do that – but simply scrawling “stop selling out” on every sponsored post isn’t a conversation, it’s graffiti, and I’ll continue to delete those comments from now on.

What do you think, bloggy peeps? It’s not 2006 anymore; blog monetization is the rule rather than the exception for most successful blogs, I think. And I have genuinely tried to be conscious of balancing sponsored and non-sponsored content so the latter largely outweighs the former. Are you perturbed by the sponsored content or do you think it has intrinsic value of its own?


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carly March 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I’ve no issue with them at all. I agree with you that you’re one of the least monetized blog I regularly read and I don’t mind the odd sponsored post at all. I’ve certainly stumbled across other blogs, liked what I read and started following them regularly, only to be turned off by the sheer volume of sponsored posts (up to 5 per week). If I don’t like, as in this particular case, I simply choose to go elsewhere.

Frankly this is your blog, your space and yours to do what you want with it! If an overwhelming number of your followers came forward with some concerns, I’d hope you take their feedback into account, because I do think it’s worth pleasing your readers at least some of the time. :)

But to change things up for one (or even tens of naysayers)? I think you make an excellent point above – if you don’t like it, either skip that post, keep your mouth shut or move on!

I do think there is some value to a sponsored post – I certainly appreciate hearing the opinions of other moms when it comes products and services and while I haven’t agreed with every single one of yours, it doesn’t bother me that you write them! I skim and wait for the next update that I’m even more interested in.

The “stop selling out” comment is exactly as you’ve described it – graffiti – and I’m happy you’ve decided to delete them. :)

2 Coffee with Julie March 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Yeah, I agree, I’m all for a good hearty debate but if a person can’t share more than just “stop selling out” then I endorse the “delete” button whole-heartily. You are paying for this space to exist so you can delete or add whatever you like to it as far as I’m concerned.

I monetize my blog as well. I make no apologies for it.

3 Jody March 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm

OK. So, I’m not thrilled about the proliferation of sponsored posts in the ENTIRE blog world. I feel like the companies came in and changed an environment that I loved, and I didn’t want it changed in the ways that they’ve done. There were a lot of things I loved about blogging and blog communities in 2006 that don’t exist anymore, and monetization is one of the things I like least about the new blog world.

I think we’ve discussed before how I’ve stricken pretty much all the “regular sponsored post” people from my blogroll — although the sponsored posts are usually only ONE signal of how those particular writers’ intentions no longer match my interests. Truthfully, most of the people I read most in 2006 are gone now, as am I (for all intents and purposes).

I don’t think you are “selling out.” I appreciate that you post your sponsorship warnings at the tops of your posts, because that seems like best practice for blog writers. Let’s face it, I’m not really in the market for Fisher-Price toys, so I mostly just skim those posts anyway, you know? I just want to see the pretty pictures.

Ultimately, although I wish things were not so commercialized and monetized and branded in the blog world, and I know I would not be opening a blog now if I were just having kids/just getting started because the mommy-blog world feels SO different, I don’t hold YOU responsible for those changes and I think you should continue to delete the obnoxious comments as they arise. (Also I think you’ve given more than enough space and time to this issue, and more than any troll-commenter deserves.)

4 DaniGirl March 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Aww, see, this is what I love about blogging. You bring up an issue and you get smart, erudite people contributing valuable insight to the conversation. The opinions of people who are willing to spell them out and defend them (and those of you who’ve been around for a dog’s age) are WAY more meaningful than anonymous graffiti.

Sigh, I do miss blogs circa 2006. I have to stop saying that because it sounds so pathetic, but I do. It makes me sad that the comments are less lively, and how the raison d’etre seems to have shifted from storytelling to capitalizing. I hope we can preserve a little bit of that here.

I meant to add in the post, too, that my intention in putting this out there is so I can point people to it as a sort of comment policy if the complaints do continue so I can easily justify the deletion. Not quite as funny as The Bloggess’s Wil Wheaton collating, but done in the same spirit.

5 Sara in Montréal March 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Your sponsored posts for Fisher-Price were not those I found the most interesting coming here. But I just skimmed through and took what I wanted. It’s your full right to do so and you are not abusing it by any means. And I agree that the sponsors you accepted were directly linked to the main themes of your blog, it felt like you took an opportunity – which is waaaaaay different then selling out.

6 Karen K March 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

I’m another one who started blogging in 2006 with a lot less success than you! To me, getting monetised is almost a badge of honour. Something that takes what we do from noodling around in the living room with the tv on in the background to an actual lucrative endeavour (I was trying hard not to say “job” since blogging is supposed to be fun LOL!). I know my husband wishes I could make a bit of money at this as I spend so much time sitting here.

Anyway my point is: do what you need to do for yourself. Who cares what a few vocal idiots think? Those who “know” you and like you are on your side. Every post isn’t about Fisher Price, for goodness sakes. Just don’t read it if it offends your sensibilities. That’s what the internet is about. You customise it to what you enjoy.

Dani, just keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you happy and doesn’t hurt anyone. Life is too short to do otherwise. Oh, and if you turn down any juicy, deep pocketed sponsors looking for a blogger that talks about little more than herself, send them my way!

7 Windex March 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

No one else’s business what you do on your blog…you do not force them to read and they are of course free to stop visiting.
Do I read sponsored posts here? Not usually. Does it annoy me that you do? No I simply bypass them and spend my time elsewhere. My bypassing them is often more to do with not being interested in the product (i.e. I do like F-P toys most of the time but I have no use for their website and it has actually turned me away from them a bit – lol but I digress). I do read sponsor post elsewhere when they are interesting. I do stop visiting sites that sponsor all the time or that the sponsors have nothing to do with the content of the blog…but you can usually tell a blogger that likes it and it is a bonus to get the money and those that are only in it for the money. But blogging is not a in your face bothersome advertisers…we all have a choice to continue to read or to keep on going.

8 Holly March 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Hi,

I don’t often comment on posts (sorry!), but read with interest.

I think that this is your space, so you get to post whatever you like!

I don’t mind the sponsored posts and, more often than not, I read them. This is partially because I like your writing style, and partially because I think that you have chosen to accept appropriate sponsorship for you and your blog “audience”. If I’m really not interested in any post (sponsored or not), I just don’t read it. This applies to all Internet information, not just your blog, however. Seems like common sense to me – Don’t like it? Don’t read it! It’s not more complicated than that.

9 Allison March 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

Totally the author’s call as to sponsorship and what the equation is for their blog. Totally the reader’s call if they want to visit or not. Not sure why people would feel compelled to complain in the comments vs. just moving on?? People are strange!

As for me, do I read sponsored posts? First, it depends on the product — is it something I’m in the market for or would be interested in right now? Then yes perhaps I will! It also highly depends on the author. If it’s well-written and written in a manner that is more natural than sales-y, then more likely to read it as it feels like a natural discussion about a topic vs a ‘look at this product’ type of thing. And if I regularly follow the blog, then an occasional sponsored post is totally cool. If it was all sponsored posts – well, that’s probably not a blog I’d follow, but hey might work for some, too!

I think you do a great job with your blog. Your articles are interesting. Your users are engaged. And you’re an influencer in the community that brands have recognized. Kudos to that!!! Keep up the great work, Dani!

10 Sarah McCormack March 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

what? do they want their money back or something? it’s the WORLD WIDE WEB people, find another blog to read if you don’t like this one! i will stay here!

11 Lisa Thornbury March 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Hey Dani,

This is something many of us are struggling with right now. There’s a major difference between “selling out” and receiving compensation for a post about a product you absolutely stand behind and actually use. I only write about products/services that I would honestly recommend to a friend. That’s not selling out — it’s sharing, with benefits. ;)

Carry on. :)

12 selling note April 2, 2013 at 1:34 am

I don’t mind the sponsored posts and, more often than not, I read them.This is something many of us are struggling with right now.This site is very interesting site and very useful site. This site is thought for interesting.

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