Friday, February 01, 2008

Blogging and the "Traditional" Media

I wasn't sure if I should blog about this issue or not, but I've decided that I probably shouldn't just ignore it. So, I'll write about this today, leave all the comments you want (comment moderation is always on, I won't see them until I get home on the 6th), supportive or not. I hope that my disclosure is helpful and that you appreciate my honesty.

The New York Times has long been a favorite of mine. This newspaper was required reading for a class when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and I've read it ever since. Usually on-line, and often just the Style and Real Estate Sections, but I do read it. I'm not sure that I'll be reading it ever again.

They've just published this article on beauty blogging. It's caused a large stir in the beauty blogging community, partially because those that were interviewed were very much mislead about the article's topic, they were misquoted, misrepresented and because of the overall snarky tone of the article.

My reply to the article could not really be summed up any better than Elke, the founder of the Beauty Blog Network has already done, so read Elke's Reply Here.

I'm more than willing to come clean about my involvement with beauty companies:
1) I have no contracts with beauty companies and have never been paid by a company. There are some companies that I work with much more frequently than others, but this is because I chose to be more involved with them. It is because their PR Reps are easy to work with, I enjoy their products and I think they deserve to have everyone know about them. The obvious companies that I feature frequently are well known to my regular readers, but they include Bond No. 9, Bioelements, Dr. Brandt Skin Care, MAX Factor, Kiehls, Lancome and MAC. Watch for a lot more from Shu Uemura, a company I'm learning more about and loving! All of these are companies that I would be severely loyal to as a consumer if I didn't have a blog, so I feature them often on the blog.

2) I do receive free items from companies. Honestly, without this free stuff I would review only about 25% of the products that I do. A lot of this stuff is not full sized, it is frequently not in the "normal" packaging (look at the press samples on those Spring 2008 Lancome lipsticks, that is not a normal Lancome tube), and frequently just arrives at my doorstep unsolicited. I try to feature all products (good, bad or just ok) that I recieve.

3) While I have approached companies about their products, I approach them asking for information and images. I pretty much just want the information. I can drive myself down to Sephora and Bloomies to check out a product I'm interested in. However, if a company approaches me about featuring a product (which happens a few times a day), I would much rather feature a product that I've tried and can tell my readers my opinion about. So, if a sample is offered, I will request one.

4) I have given bad reviews in the past to items I received as samples. I'm not as obvious about my opinion when it isn't good (I don't usually come out and say, "I hated this"), but if you read between the lines it's actually pretty obvious when I'm not a big fan of something. I strive to have much more in-depth reviews of products than other beauty blogs, so I will comment on the science behind a product, my experience with it, the way it smells, etc. I'll be honest about each of these aspects and let you decide.

5) While I do have to admit that I was excited about free stuff when I first started this blog, I never dreamed that I would actually get anything for free. I was basically shocked when the first PR rep contacted me, and I still am shocked at the amount of stuff that is sent to me. Now it can sometimes be annoying to have stuff show up, I have run out of storage space and will soon need to schedule a day with my friends (Kim, Arlene and Melanie, I'm talking about you!) to get them to take some stuff off of my hands.

So, what do you think?

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