sewing machine

Blogging Is Not A Competition

Todays post was originally going to be an entry into a competition by a company to win a ridiculous amount of shoes.

But obviously, its not. (I think I just heard Alex breathe a sigh of relief.)

Recently, there have been so many “competitions” and “awards” where the main objective for the company has seemed to be to get as many incoming links and mentions on Twitter, increasing their own visibility whilst masquerading as giving something to the blogging community. That may be a very cynical way of looking at things, but before this shoe company (I won’t put the name here, but I think most of you will know – and really, if you don’t, its irrelevant anyway) started their “ambassador scheme”, I doubt many people had even heard of them, and before their competition was announced, I hadn’t even been to the site. The competition is to write about a pair of shoes from their site – before I started this post, I was intending to enter and spent a few hours idly browsing their website and even contemplated a purchase. Job well done, shoe company.

Before Big Fashionista posted her post yesterday about the popularity contest side of things, the shoe company intended to narrow down the hundreds of entries down to 5, then “let the public decide”. My least favourite part of any competition. Y’see, companies have realized that instead of getting a small team together in house to pick a winner based on their actual entry for something, they can instead get the finalists themselves to hunt for votes, whoring themselves as much as possible. You may remember last year, I was one of the final four in a competition to write for a lingerie company website. I felt incredibly uncomfortable asking people to vote for me (I’ve blogged recently about how I dislike promoting myself) but I did as much as I felt comfortable with. I didn’t think I had the best entry, but I didn’t think that the eventual winner was the best out of the four. Does being able to ask for votes really qualify someone to write well?

Which kinda brings me on to blog awards. I’ve made comments on Twitter (of course, its where I get my bitchyness out!) but haven’t really had a chance to get things out properly. Cosmopolitan, Marie Clare, More, Company, Look, Glamour…the list of magazines starting to use bloggers as features is increasing. A number of these magazines have blog awards, and two of them are ongoing at the moment. While I am pleased for my friends who are nominated, it feels quite uncomfortable to me that the prizes in these awards is often the “chance” to write for the magazine. You win the chance to provide them with free content? It just doesn’t seem much of a prize for those of us that blogging and writing is a hobby rather than a career. However much I would love some recognition that non blogging friends would understand, the truth is in my industry, an award for blogging is about as useful as that 400m swimming badge I got when I was…um…15.

The worst part about these awards is when there is more than one person in the category that you like a lot. I ended up registering with a few different email addresses for the Cosmo awards recently so I could vote for each of the lovely ladies in the fashion blogger category – which seems rather pointless!

Blogging is not a competition. We shouldn’t be fighting (politely, of course, but still fighting) over something, but working together. Instead of being evasive over what you’ve said to a company or something, what is wrong with sharing the knowledge? (I’ve gone all evangelical, I do apologise – but I never know how to respond to emails about my blog and I would find it so useful to be able to get help from other people besides poor ol’ Sarah.)

I don’t know. I’ve spilled out my thoughts on this, but I don’t feel any better for it! Am I just burbling away crap to myself, or do you guys agree? Are awards and competitions actually beneficial to the blogger who wins in the end?

A Readers Dilemma

Till these hearts keep flowing, my love for you will keep growing. (explored), originally uploaded by .neha.

No, not the Nelly/Kelly song that ruled my first year of Uni.

The lovely Young (if you’ve never seen her blog, what. Go over there now and admire her photography. I’ll wait for you) asked on Twitter a few weeks ago*:

If one of your favourite bloggers posted something that made you lose all respect for them, would you tell them?

(* Yes, it’s taken me this long to try and get my thoughts on this down in a coherent manner!)

It’s a question that’s got me thinking a few times but not one I’ve actually thought to answer. Personally, if a blogger I admired posted a picture of them smoking (or using a cigarette for a prop) then I’d be disappointed that they thought this was a good image to project to their readers. Even if its just being used as a prop, by using a cigarette in a picture, the blogger is implying that cigarettes are cool (At least, thats how I see it). However, I probably wouldn’t say anything to them, because I would be just one voice. (I know, not the right attitude to have!)

Natalie (another awesome photographer, you should look and admire her stuff too.) mentioned that she found bloggers who talked about the free stuff they got “tacky” – that it made the “person’s life seem artificial/bought by a corporation.” I agree with this to an extent – as you’re probably aware, I’ve been given opportunties by companies like Aussie and 3MobileBuzz to experience a product and then if I wanted to, I could write about the experience. The reasons why I’ve blogged about it obviously vary on the event, but with things like the Aussie Events, I write about those because they’re always such fun, and an experience I wouldn’t normally have. With 3MobileBuzz, I’ve written about how I’ve found the MiFi’s that I’ve been lent in the hope that it will help someone make a decision on whether the item is a good choice for them. Also, there are some blogs that just wouldn’t work if they weren’t offered freebies from time to time. Think about the best make up blog you read (for me, its the lovely The more items that a blogger recieves, the more they can review them, and then (in theory) the more people that will go out and buy them. I’m fully willing to admit that I’ve been influenced by Charlotte to buy make up items I wouldn’t have thought about before – a good example of this are the Revlon Colorburst Lipsticks.I’ve bought two of these lippies and have found them to be amazing. I probably wouldn’t have bought one (never mind both of them) previously because Revlon always seemed an older age groups sort of brand.

However, with all the good bloggers that will give good reviews (and provide good images as well), there are the ones of course who will happily accept the free products sent, and give a vague review or worse, just have a blog which reads like a collection of PR releases. There are the companies who will inundate bloggers in the same circles (Eyeko, I am definately looking at you here) with the same products, of which not much can be written about. Once you’ve seen one review of a new nail varnish, you’ve seen 95% of the others. The companies whos product ranges are at a higher price range sending out review items to people who then write (and I’m paraphrasing/reading between the lines, of course) “I’d probably use this product, but its too expensive for me”. (This actually annoys me more, because if a product is that amazing, then the price shouldn’t be that much of a factor – this obviously depends on the persons situation, but even so)

I think I’ve gotten a bit lost here now. I think that it is a great thing that bloggers are asked to trial and review products and services, but disclosure is important, as is a unbiased, original review.

How do you feel about items being sent to bloggers? What do you like or dislike about sponsored posts? Tell me your thoughts – I love to hear both arguments :)

Best Haul Video Ever

I’ve never quite understood the whole “haul” video thing. I’m not really into vlogging at all, but haul videos just seem a bit too showy, showing off the latest purchases of make up and clothes. I switch off most blogs after a minute, because it seems odd to be watching someone talking to a screen. (And don’t even get me started on people who edit the “um”‘s out.)

However, I had to share this haul video with you. Even if you love making and watching haul videos, you can’t help but laugh at this one!

via FashionBinge

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