From my post on Mom Spark...

This issue has been boiling inside of me for a few months now, and was reconfirmed, again, when I attended the Type A Mom Conference town hall meeting, and heard the same conversation ignited.


Product reviewers. Giveaways. Apparently, it is a HUGE deal.


Product reviewers seem to be looked down upon, or considered the "bottom rung" of the blogging ladder. Why? Maybe because it doesn't fit inside the blogger mold? Some would even dare to say that review and giveaway bloggers are not real writers. But, then, what is a real writer, and can bloggers only be real writers?


I think the underlying issue is that, to some, review and giveaway bloggers are not bloggers at all, so this raises a very important question-

What is the definition of a blogger?


Definition of a "blogger" via www.dictionary.com.

bloggerdefine

And, just to clarify what a "web log (blog)" is, by definition:

weblog-1weblog-2

So, after reading the true definition of a blog (weblog) and blogger, what are the rules, now? Notice that in the definition of a weblog, it mentions "commentaries and recommendations complied by the user" AND "also may include journal entries". The definition is VERY broad. Basically, if you use a blog platform with "chronological order" of postings and "links to comments", you are a blogger. There are no other rules beyond that. YOU choose the content.


So, why the discontent for review and giveaway bloggers? I heard at the Type A Mom Conference that levels, such as the "cupcake level", is okay at first, but you obviously need to work your way up. You may have seen my tweet during the conversation that said, "What if you are content at 'cupcake level'"? My point being that not all of us are unhappy with our "level" or "status", yet there is an angst in the air that tells us we should be. The negativity is discouraging, and honestly, not necessary. Many of us are happy making little or NO money. Heck, some of us even feel blessed to have what we do, as little as it may be to some. Some ARE successful doing product reviews. None of us are entitled to ANYTHING, and I am embarrassed by fellow bloggers who believe they are. The very fact that anyone values our opinions, at all, is compensation enough.


The truth is, products are a part of our lives. A HUGE part of it. We are consumers, so in my opinion, it is natural to discuss products and give recommendations. Not all product reviewers are "sell-outs" or "product whores". If reviews and giveaways aren't your thing, don't read it and don't blog about it. There is room for all of us, and an audience for each one of us.


I say blog, and let blog. Support ALL bloggers.


What is your opinion of a product reviewer?

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Tags: bloggers, business, events, moms, status

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Comment by Amy {Mom Spark} on October 23, 2009 at 8:58pm
Dagmar- I don't think you are alone in thinking that, but if you look at the true definition above, a "blogger" includes "recommendations compiled by the user". I think a product reviewer would easily fall under that description.

My point is that blogging takes on many forms, and review blogs are just one of those forms. I think we need to change the misconception that review/giveaway blogs or not blogs, because they are, as this is why I pulled out the literal definition.

Everyone else- I agree with the comments that say writing a review is actually much more difficult than a personal post. It absolutely takes talent and skill to craft a nice review.
Comment by Karrine (Kay) McFarlane on October 23, 2009 at 8:49pm
I would say they are bloggers. I respect them as bloggers as managing any blog well takes a lot of time and work.

Having said maybe the question is 'Are they the bloggers that actually provide TRUE PR VALUE to the business providing the sponsorship (through compensation or free product).' My answer would be Not always.

If a PR rep wants to ensure they are providing their client with some value when giving away produc there are some things they need to look for in a blogger.

1) Site content. Is it relevant
2) Site layout. Is it user friendly and not over crowded causing focus to be taken away from the post.
3) SEO. Does the blogger understand and practice quality SEO practices ?
4) Qualifying traffic and the volume of the traffic
5) Ranking
and a few other things ...
Comment by Dagmar Bleasdale on October 23, 2009 at 8:42pm
I personally think that a blogger is someone who writes about their life, similar to writing in a diary or writing articles about your life. If you add the occasional review or giveaway, like I do, you are still a blogger.

But if ALL you do is write reviews and they don't include a lot about your own family, I don't consider you a blogger -- I consider you a product review and/or giveaway writer. There is nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I think of as "blogging."
Comment by Deirdre Smith on October 23, 2009 at 8:32pm
I write reviews on products, host giveawys, post deals , and blog about mommy stuff five days a week. I consider anyone who has tried to write a fair review that covers everything you think some should know a real blogger. Reviews take me the longest to write well. People that can do that often are very gifted.

The only problem I have is when I try to enter some giveaways on blogs and they say leave a comment on a non-giveaway or review entry I can't find any.
Comment by Carol Shwanda on October 23, 2009 at 8:31pm
Review bloggers serve a purpose too just like Amazon's book critic reviewers. However, if bloggers are compensated for their reviews, whether monetarily or in the form of freebie products, then the blogger has to develop the reputation and credibility to review the products.
Comment by Lisa Perez on October 23, 2009 at 7:49pm
I am a mom blogger(mom who blogs) while I do host giveaways and do reviews I also write about my life, and about anything I think may help my readers. I try really hard to be unique in my posts I don't want to be just another cookie cutter bloggin mommy. I also love to ENTER giveaways who cant appreciate a win in life. I am certainly not in it for money, I have NEVER been paid to review a product, my compensation is the product samples I receive. I give just as much attention to a 5.00 product as to a higher end product, If I agree to review then I give them all the same attention.
Comment by Laura E. on October 23, 2009 at 7:25pm
They are bloggers too, I agree. I just don't choose to read them or participate.
Comment by Amy {Mom Spark} on October 23, 2009 at 7:22pm
Thank you, everyone, for leaving comments! It looks like we all feel the same about what a blogger truly is. I appreciate it. :)
Comment by Tracy Iglesias on October 23, 2009 at 7:19pm
Seems like many responses here cover my opinion on the matter. Review bloggers are bloggers, they are writers, it may or may not be your cup of tea, but I don't think of it as the 'cupcake' level of blogging and glad I wasn't there when that term was bandied about! Talk about setting women back a few hundred years!! We should have respect for each other, or no one else will. The blogging community should be inclusive, this is a HUGE space and there is more than enough room for us all, and more than enough room for us all to express ourselves in the way that feels comfortable to us.
Comment by Vanessa Parrish on October 23, 2009 at 7:12pm
My blog is mostly about my life, but every once in a while I'll do a review. If I find a product in the store and love it I'm letting everyone know, that's not a review in my opinion, it's something I found in my everyday life that I know others might like and make their lives easier.
I'd rather hear what other people think of the product first, before I go out and purchase it.

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