Monday, May 23, 2011

what I really wanted to say

You have a message From randomblogger on Etsy.
Subject: Blog Review

Hi! I am a stay at home mom and I have a blog that I frequently update at called RandomBlog. My blog has over 800 followers and a Google page rank of 3. I do a feature on my blog called the “Etsy Shops I Love”. I just found your shop, and I was wondering if you would be interested in sending me one of your adorable products, and then I will post pictures and a review of it on my blog. I can also do a giveaway of your work! I'm sure you would get some new business from it!! Please let me know if you are interested and what information you would need from me.
Thank you!!!

I get these emails on a semi-regular basis. I don't know why, but they are mostly from women who have blogs dedicated to raising children in aesthetically pleasing environments. Somebody, tell me why this is. And don't tell me it's because these are former corporate sharks who gave it up to be a stay at home mom, and now they're broke and want free cupcake stands.

Mostly, I ignore these emails, because it seems to me a transparent trolling for free stuff. Bloggers who have opinions that actually matter-- and by that I mean bloggers who can write about someone and that someone will immediately be slammed by overwhelming business-- not only never ask for free product, they will usually not accept it if you offer it up. I know of one exception, and I would love to write about this person, but since he did not try to hit me up for free pottery but a good friend of mine, I have to hold back.

This last email I received was particularly annoying to me, which is no big deal since I get annoyed very easily. And all the time. Perhaps, I should do more yoga, or stop drinking so much coffee. If I have a minute I want to burn, I will take a quick peek at the blog just to see what I'm dealing with. This particular Randomblogger gathers followers by offering giveaways to people who become a follower and post a comment. I guess the majority of followers are people who want free stuff. Not my demographic. Most posts had zero comments. Not surprising, because the posts were in depth discourse about family trips, baby milestones, and free-ranging opinions regarding the pluses and minuses of stuff that I don't care about. Which is fine, bloggers are free to write about whatever they want, but don't use your blog with a google pageRank of 3-- which is not very good-- as a quid pro quo.

This email itched at me. I think it's unethical to ask for free stuff that you will then write a "review" on. It's intrinsically biased, and I would not be very happy at all if I discovered a blogger I liked to read for opinion and recommendations were going around asking for free product from the people they were giving glowing reviews to. I really wanted to nail this person with a scathing email, but then I realized I was losing my mind again over something stupid. But I had to say something. I managed to write back a non-scathing email that I saved for all future trollings:

Dear RandomBlogger,
Thank you for your email. As a policy, I never give away my artwork in exchange for a review, a blog write-up, or as a giveaway. Bloggers write about my work all the time because they want to spread the word to their readers and support what I do for a living. I have found that giving away my work does not generate meaningful business. Thank you for thinking of me and good luck with your blog.

I did not hear back, thanking me for my subtle slap in the face. And my blog has a pageRank of 4.