disclosure blogging

Blogging with Lemon Lime & Bitters

Last night as I was doing my usual blog trawling, I was perusing the lovely Margaret Zhang’s blog, Shine by three, (check it if you haven’t, she’s aces) and came across a post she wrote regarding investment pieces and what’s worth spending your hard earned dollars on and what isn’t. Now while this was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was the comments after the post that actually got my mind ticking. You see, like most big bloggers, Margaret has plenty of lovers, all sending her positive vibes and happy thoughts, but there was one commentator, who was fairly sharp in her disdain for the post. She basically said Margs should reference her position of privilege in getting free stuff and stop pretending she doesn’t use a credit card. (see the post here)Kinda harsh I thought, but it got me thinking, do we as a collective blog browsing society, really just have the lemon lime bitters towards bloggers these days and if so, why?


Margaret Zhang at MBFWA

As a blogger myself, I can see the two sides of the coin. Most people wouldn’t realise that there are many a blogger out there who don’t get paid for their posts, who don’t jump at the chance to receive free goods and more importantly, who don’t ask for them either. (Me) Seriously though, there really are these peeps out there and they fork out the money to pay for their own flights to events or fashion week and legitimately buy most of the new clothes they post. Yes, they may get show & event invites but generally, an invite doesn’t equal flights, accommodation and spending money with a cherry on top, unless you’re a particular celebrity or the highest level of fashion blogger, and we all know who these guys are. So before we get too comfortable on our soapbox, maybe we should ditch our assumptions & try to see whats really going on, because remember kids, Instagram isn’t the real world, having lots of followers is like being really rich in Monopoly, it’s not real. Which brings me to the other side of the coin, and this side is Xtina dirrrrty.

Unfortunately, the volume of less sincere bloggers seems to seriously outweigh that of the aforementioned and these guys are seriously damaging to the world of blogging. Why? Because when social media & blogging came about, the reason for it’s rapid success, was because it provided a platform for everyday people, you and me, to communicate and share our ideas, images & thoughts without motive or incentive. Amazon is the perfect example of how the peer recommendation program took off and is living poof that we peeps, prefer and trust a recommendation from a real person, a friend or someone we know as opposed to a paid advert and you know what, companies and advertisers also know that, hence the inadvertent next step, to mix advertising with blogging. It was always going to be the eventual outcome, because where there’s opportunity there’s usually a business dollar driven strategy not far behind. And thats ok, but the bigger problem is that for many, this unabashed lack of integrity is quickly turning people/readers, viewers off and thus making them bitter toward the blog world, claiming it’s nothing more than paid advertising space, which sadly isn’t that untrue. Now see all this could be avoided with some disclosure, a concept lost on many.

Is this maybe why there are some ice cold commentators out there? Possibly. Most likely. Ironically though, at the same time as the trust fading, the blogger rise to fame is continuing and reaching new heights everyday. They now face campaigns for just about anything, from clothing businesses to electronics to even car companies and it would be remiss of me to say that building a business out of your blog is a sell out, because it isn’t, it’s incredibly smart, as long as integrity remains paramount and by this I mean, ensuring that your ventures remain in the realm of what ever it was that brought you to your fame in the first place. Too quickly, bloggers can jump at the sight of gifts, payments or free things, despite a lack of meaning or relevant connection to them, hustling and bending themselves over backwards in a desperate overkill of daily instagramming, spamming their followers feeds, all in the name of ‘blogging’. We all know these people, they’re the ones shamelessly ‘loving’ & mentioning a new brand everyday without any form of disclosure, the simple little word that could change everything, because in the world of social media despite what some people think, honesty & openness is still highly valued. Now this might sound harsh, but sadly it’s these people who are taking blogging to a nasty place driven by endless endorsements and faceless two way deals, “Hey, we’ve never met but I’ve got heaps of followers, so you tell everyone how much you love my blog and I’ll tell everyone I’m dying over your style”. Um, No, it’s transparent, desperate and ruining it for readers/viewers/followers who are more interested in genuine content or the actual blogger as opposed to the products they’ve been endorsed to promote.

Now this is starting to sound a bit ranty which was definitely not my intention, so Dan, pull your head in and lets look at some pictures. Seriously though, as you can see, it’s a very two sided story when it comes to blogging, and I guess you never really know who’s being paid what or if they’re the ones actually paying, but what I do know is that for me, as soon as I get a whiff of meaningless narcissistic advertising, sorry I mean Blogging, I’ve hung up. Mentally. And hopefully increased your bounce rate. No thats just mean, I don’t really hope that, I wish you happy thoughts and leave quietly…

If you’re interested in reading more about this sort of stuff, then check out the following articles:

Fashionista – How Personal Style Bloggers are raking in Millions

News.com.au – How Fashion Blogging has become big business

Buzzfeed – Fashion Bloggers make tons of money from brands, so what?