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?