Blogger Bashing

Monday, 11 November 2013


Blogger bashing is all the rage these days but this takes the cake. The poorly written and researched article for the Australian Telegraph is infuriating because it insinuates that "Anybody can go out there, put up their own blog, make some incendiary comments and purchase themselves half a million followers, and then this is supposed to be credible." This sweeping overgeneralization is a surprise coming from David Chalke who is considered one of Australia's leading social analysts. Well, David,  if it's so easy to grow a blog into a financially viable enterprise, we'll all be rich. And I won't have a painfully small Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest gaggle of followers.

The first sentence barely disguised his disdain for fashion bloggers. In fact, it reminds me of a colleague who once said to me "I'm not racist but I think there are just too many Asians in New Zealand". Hmm......

What companies want from bloggers is numbers. Lots and lots and lots of big traffic to advertise their wondrous products. Unfortunately, to rise up to the top of your game and be the creme de la creme of blogosphere, you've got to be an incredible photographer, fabulous writer, graphic designer, resilient, have a phenomenal drive and be pretty enough not to appall your audience. Did I mention that you'll have to have a full time job to pay for your camera equipment/traveling/website hosting/graphic design costs?

A number of representatives from a few well known companies grumbled to me earlier this year about having to pay bloggers for the work they do for them. Say, what?! So, let me get this straight. You want a blogger who has spent years building up a credible and substantial following, be actively involved in social media (a very time consuming exercise) AND be able to convert their link clicks to sales but no, you want them to work for free. Like you do everyday for the company you work for.

I don't disagree about the fact that not every blogger should attend the Fashion Week. It's unnecessary and tiresome to see the same photos circulated within the blogosphere. However, there are some who have the eye popping traffic to backup their popularity which effectively means, they're a walking advertisement for the brands that they support or they are essentially an independent voice or fashion oracle.

Yes, it's important to disclose any paid editorial posts or gifts though it's really such a grey area at the moment that most of us aren't even sure the right way to go about doing so. It's painful having to turn down offers of sponsored posts despite knowing that you have bills to pay for reasons such as 1) the product does not not fit well with the content of your blog  2) as lovely as the products are, you don't like nor will you ever wear/use them. You don't want to ever compromise your ethics and integrity. And if you're a parent, it's hard to preach the values to your kids when you're not upholding them yourself. If you have a moment or two, check out Nicole Warne's response (of Gary Pepper Girl). What are your thoughts on this subject matter?



 


15 comments:

  1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention... I too am very disappointed in such a naive and one dimensional view of blogging. I've tweeted your post to share as well.

    Quinn

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  2. I read Nicole's response last night, but hadn't read the original article - thanks for sharing it Marlene.

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  3. It's such a fraught issue, as blogging by its very nature, attracts hobbyists. The NZ professional food writers did treat food bloggers with some disdain, but as the industry has matured, they are now actively courting food bloggers to join the Food Writers Guild. Not many takers as you can imagine.

    Here, the bigger issue sometimes is the PR firms. I may not blog professionally, but I value what I do, and it's such a disappointment when some PR companies cold call and expect you to provide free advertising or as a last minute 'rent-a-crowd'. Seriously.

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  4. Marlene, I don't know what to say, it's just infuriating! Why are they trying to take all the fun out of it, it's just blogging and they need to get over it! If someone can make a credible career through blogging, then thats amazing and if not, so what?! It can be a fun and productive hobby to have. I think what you have said is perfect :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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  5. Great post!

    XoXo
    http://pourquoimoi.es/

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  6. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention Marlene. I'm just shocked about the article and how narrow-minded the writer is. Blogging is just a hobby for me. But I can only have respect for the ones that manage to turn their passion for blogging into something profitable.

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  7. Hi Marlene- I really believe this bashing of bloggers is 'all about the Benjamins' as we say in the US. Those of us who love fashion, style and all things beautiful have turned away from the dictator like shrieking of the fashion magazines and instead read the blogs where we can learn from others who share a common aesthetic. Haven't you noticed how thin magazines are lately? That means advertisers are no longer buying that very expensive space. The paradigm has shifted and that is good news for the rest of us. So- thank you for the time you take to create such thoughtful reading so many of us enjoy.

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    Replies
    1. Now that you've mentioned it, I was rather surprised how light my magazines have been lately!

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  8. i read this the other day - it's obviously been making its rounds down under - and felt nicole was unfairly targetted by the author. i can't help but wonder if all this started because she declined an interview with him!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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  9. People feel that they can judge bloggers because they are part of a relatively new field - one that can be stereotyped and judged. But there are definitely many different types of categories of bloggers and it is unfortunate that professional bloggers are lumped with those that just want to express a thought or pretty picture. The US has clearer guidelines on disclosure and I find it unfortunate that some US bloggers still aren't acknowledging that they post affiliate links. At the core, we should always be happy with the content we put out (whether silly, superficial, and now sponsored). After all isn't the blog an extension of ourselves and why would we ever compromise ourselves?

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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    Replies
    1. You are so right about affiliate links. After reading this article:
      http://fashionista.com/2013/08/how-personal-style-bloggers-are-raking-in-millions/
      I felt so cheated on.

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    2. Only a handful of bloggers are making really serious money. I have affiliate links but that pays for expenses to run this blog. Even then, it's pocket change compared to those who rake in thousands per campaign.

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  10. I'm absolutely shocked by the article and the use and reference to Nicole Warne (Garry Pepper) especially. It's such a superficial view that the article portrays. I'm 100% with you. I personally enjoy a variety of blogs from small very personal blogs to the well known ones (ranging from home, design, fashion, food and travel).

    The bloggers that make it work damn hard for countless hours and have to graft to get through the long period where no one follows them or comments. The idea that 'purchasing likes/followers' makes someone successful is an absolute joke and it also implies that the big companies don't research who they are investing their money in to. It's a slap in the face of both bloggers and the fashion industry really.

    Fashion as an example... Sure not all (most) bloggers stem from the fashion industry but that is not saying that they aren't worthy. Nicole Warne for instance.. if you back track through her blog you can clearly see her growth and how she is definitely now a brand, recognisable and yes absolutely worthy of her status.

    Maybe if the haters in the fashion/editorial community (I'm not slagging off the open minded ones) didn't get caught up over a turf war or the 'bloggers don't deserve to be here because they don't have a masters and/or history in the industry' spiel, then they could appreciate that yes bloggers can be successful too and there is a place for everyone which is pretty self evident from the popularity of blogs. Oops.. long sentence. That's not correct writing skills...

    Lastly, yes there are bad bloggers but there are also poor journalists and no so popular fashion designers. Do we really need to group everyone together? Wouldn't it be nice if we could just look at a person's credibility and just have a little respect for diversity in all of the industries.

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    Replies
    1. Mandi, I think you've said it far more eloquently than I have. A lot of it boils down to envy, pride and yes, ego. It's always far easier to lump everyone together and criticize.

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