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So I have been blogging for over a year now as well as hosting reviews and giveaways. I have never charged for my reviews or giveaways, but am wondering what others who have established blogs do. So for those of you who host reviews and giveaways, do you charge or require reviews for giveaways?
(To give you a bit more info on my site, it is over a year old, has 590 subscribers, a Google Rank 3 and gets over 5,000 unique visitors a month.)
I'm not sure my blog is established but..... It's a bit over a year old. I do a number of reviews and giveaways on my site and I don't charge for them. I'm not sure it's really possible (at least for me) to do an unbiased review that I've been paid for. I do require that I receive a product in order to write my review. I don't see how I could write an effective review without actually seeing the item I'm supposed to be reviewing. After, I've seen/used the product, I write an unbiased review based on my thoughts and experiences with it.
Now if you're speaking of sponsored posts, that's another option. I've been considering it but haven't yet.
I generally don't do giveaways unless the company is willing to give me some form of the product. I don't actually charge cash, and often times I only ask for a sample of a product and then give away a regular serving. For instance, a company looking for me to give away a set of new insecticides with the "green" label on them would have to let me at least try one of the kinds they are offering before giving it away.
As for reviews, I always ask companies that ask me to do a review (meaning the are giving me a product) if I can give away one to my readers. Depending on the product and the company I am working with (I have some that I've worked with for 4 or 5 years that simply don't do giveaways but I've done reviews for them for a long time), my readers may not get an opportunity to win the item. And at the same time, I often give away the review copy of books. I am the only person going to read them and I do so gently and I tell the winner that I have read the book so it isn't brand spanking new.
The only thing that I actually charge for is banner ads. And, most of my banner ads are the result of companies who have either sponsored me at a conference or have given away a substantial gift in a giveaway like my 12 Days of Christmas. I did 3 giveaways for 12 Days and the companies that participated in that all gave rather large items so their banners will stay on my site til mid-February.
I don't charge for reviews or giveaways, and I don't require that I also do a review for giveaway items. While I put a lot of work into my giveaways just like my I do my reviews, it's not trying things out, taking pictures etc, and I can usually write the post up in a lot less time than my reviews. (granted, there's still advertising the giveaway, checking people aren't cheating, notifying winners etc, but it's still less thinking than a review itself)
The problem with charging for giveaways is that you may price your blog out of the market for little companies. If you just review larger companies and deal with PR folks, this isn't a problem. But if your blog supports Etsy artists, small online only stores, often their budget can't handle a giveaway item and paying to have a blog host it.
Thanks everyone. It is great to see what everyone else does. There were some great ideas and advice and I really appreciate your time to answer this question for me. It is hard to know what is worth your time and for your viewers. It has been a great year of blogging and I just want to make sure I make my blog the best it can be for me and my readers. I look forward to checking out each of your blogs and thanks again.