Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Blogging with Integrity

I have started to get quite a few emails from PR companies wanting me to feature products and reviews on my blog. It probably has something to do with my inclusion in the Tots100 Top UK Parents Blogs and I admit it's flattering to be asked. But it's also raised a lot of questions for me.

The most straightforward reason that I've not agreed to review anything is because what I've been approached about just doesn't fit. This blog is a bit of a strange beast, I would consider it a crafting blog before a parenting blog, with geekery and humour thrown in. And PRs aren't approaching me about notions or fabric (but they should, clearly), it's children's products or services. And seeing that my children show up mostly as models or angst-bearers, unless the PR companies are offering me a magic wand, high protein Ryvitas or a straightjacket, it's unlikely to fit into this blog.

And here's the other reason why I've decided not to do product reviews. Last week I saw a glowing review on a blog I read and it piqued my interest. I thought it might help us in our sleep battles with Jamie, which unfortunately have recommenced after months of improvement. I was excited about the product and pointed it out to Steven. But when I went a site to buy it, it had terrible reviews, from impartial people who had bought it and were dissatisfied. And that was a clincher for me, I'm not sure I could be impartial about things that were given to me. I'm not questioning this blogger's integrity, she probably had a good experience with the product. I'm talking just about me.

I normally over-research products because I like to see the bigger picture, to be certain of things before committing. I look on one site, I look on another, I ask people, I do more research. It's one of my more maddening endearing traits. That makes me loathe to commit my one voice to a review. Maybe someone similar to me would read my review, and then others, and think 'She's not being objective'. Or maybe someone who doesn't research as much as me would take my word for it. And if someone bought something because I said it was great, but it was not great (even for them) I would feel responsible, that I had mislead them.

So what does everyone else think about sponsored posts? Is there a place for them within blogs? Or within separate, reviews-only blogs? Do they alienate you? Are they ever objective? Do you trust them?


  1. It's been an awkward one for me, too. I didn't object when Ecover asked me, or when Yellow Moon did because they were companies who were relevant to my readership but I wasn't paid and I was explicit that my review would be searingly honest. I don't know how I'd react if I was sent a product that I thought was crap.

    It is an awkward one isn't it? I'm guilty of believing everything I read, particularly if it's written by someone I admire or have a lot of respect for so I can understand the draw for companies to utilise Mummy bloggers.

  2. Oooh I don't know. I've not really thought about it. I think I would be honest though. If they don't want your honest opinion then they shouldn't ask you.
    In return, you can only give your opinion and people have to read it as that. Just because it worked/didn't work for you, doesn't mean it will be the same for others.

  3. I agree with Nic, honest opinion. I always answer surveys, obsessively, because I want my voice to be heard. Also if you don't like it, one of the best ways to change something is to say "But do you do it in yellow"/"I don't like the new shape"/"It doesn't work".

    You could always put some kind of disclaimer before or after any review "Reviewed by me,and is only my opinion and that has been enhanced by Jamie and Maia's assistance today" or something!

  4. I agree with you completely about being 'nice' about something you have been given, we just have good manners. But I too would say no, as you say some people would take your opinion as gospel and then may be disappointed. Way too much responsibility there. And I think they really should be asking you to trial lovely new fabrics instead!

  5. I have to say that I don't really like blogs which review products or have adverts on the sidebars of their blogs. It really puts me off and I don't read those posts. They just don't interest me. Its kind of like when you go to Venice (pre children) or centre parcs (post children!) and you realise how nice it is not having any cars aound. Thats how I feel about advertising on blogs. Its refreshing not to see any because you are bombarded with it everywhere else. I don't mind people raving about a product they have come accross that they love but thats different to being sent something to review. Can you really be totally objective?

  6. I reviewed a wee dress on my blog a couple of weeks ago, and in the middle of writing the review I really wished I hadn't agreed to do it. I don't mind doing reviews on independant websites (eg. parenting ones) but I don't think I'll do another one on my blog. Whenever I scroll past it it just jars with the rest of my blog.

  7. I agree with you that it puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. However if it were something that fit in with what your blog is about then it would be fine. I don't think product reviews would fit in with the style of blog you have. It would just be odd. Whichever you choose, good luck!

  8. I empathise as Search Press send me review copies of their books. I feel comfortable reviewing them as they are relevant and I am as honest as I can be about how I find them. The books are then given away on the blog, I don't like when products are given away after you visit a sponsers site etc.

  9. If bloggers are just talking about stuff they like in a day to day way then thats cool, or if for charity they are raising the profile of something then great. True reviews should be on review sites IMHO, and blogs should just be that, not product reviews or ads. HTH