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?

Views: 1

Tags: bloggers, business, events, moms, status

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Comment by Zipporah Sandler on October 23, 2009 at 6:59pm
Interesting. I have BOTH a review blog as well as a personal blog (which I also do reviews on occasionally). I see the two as distinctly different. Do I consider myself a "blogger" on The Review Broads? Yes...because I'm giving my opinion and writing from a completely personal perspective. Even so, I tend to be on the fence if you ask me if that is a true blog.
Comment by Olivia Vidal on October 23, 2009 at 6:51pm
I love product reviews and I tend to read blogs who do these reviews for real opinions. Not paid opinions. My blogs are not about product reviews although I have done a few. I shared my reviews because people want to see what real people think. They don't want an ad because it feels false. If some want to continue to bring attention to reviewers, I say keep it up. Great PR! Some people do not realize they even exist. I have become a customer because of giveaways. Many create their own status by placing others above or below them to suit their needs. I am happy with my blogs and have been for quite some time. I don't plan to conform. Not conforming keeps me unique and recognizable. If I wanted to blend I would copy everyone else.
Comment by Jennifer on October 23, 2009 at 6:38pm
I tend to avoid blogs that appear to have been taken over by reviews and giveaways. There is an art of reviewing. Some do it well where you can tell that their review is based on ACTUAL experience using the product and not the press info they read or information they obtained from the product Web site.

I will give props to Cat (3KidsandUs) who I think does an excellent job of product review. I am a regular visitor to her site and although it isn't because of her reviews and giveaways, but rather her blogging about life, I have more faith in the fact that she actually tried the product she reviews (because she shows us, etc.) and would trust her review over many others who call themselves reviewers.

I have nothing against review and/or giveaway blogs or bloggers because they are bloggers, but my interest tends to lean more towards blogs that feature story content rather than product opinion.
Comment by Lisa Mills on October 23, 2009 at 6:34pm
I think the term "blogger" is an umbrella for so many different types of writing. Some bloggers do product reviews. Some write about their home life. I, for instance, mostly write about work-at-home job opportunities, and only occasionally about my life. Does that mean I'm not a blogger? No. That's just my niche. Vive la difference!
Comment by Anna on October 23, 2009 at 6:31pm
I am a Review/Giveaway blogger. I don't do it for money...in fact I get paid a big fat zero for doing the blog. I don't take offense when some people say negative things about review bloggers...some people just have to hate Someone.

Our group of mommies did private reviews of products on a small scale, for my baby & maternity shop, to help me decide what products we might want to carry in the store. We actively shared our findings on a local basis, through our store emails and on our facebook walls. Then several months ago we decided to take our reviews to another level and share our reviews (and now giveaways) with other moms globally. Because we are not paid for our reviews, moms can trust that what we say about a product is our own -true and honest opinions.

I appreciate and respect all bloggers: review/giveaway blogs, mom blogs, dad blogs, or whatever. Anyone that has valuable content to share is welcome to share...if someone doesn't like it then they shouldn't click on links to the blog and don't read the posts...that is Your right!
Comment by Robyns Online World on October 23, 2009 at 6:23pm
I'm glad I think that I missed that Type A conversation - I would have been annoyed probably too. I really like reviewing things and I really enjoy giving prizes away. In my everyday life I am that person who always shares her opinion about products I've tried, heck I do it with strangers in the store even (drives my son nuts). I do think it would be nice if I could make a living (or at least some extra income for our family) with my blog, but I have to enjoy doing it still.

I don't think that people should be judging what is and isn't a blogger in this sense. I am just as much of a blogger as anyone that was at the Type A Conference. Let people blog about what they want and be what they want to be. Enjoy each other, share with each other, strive for your own goals, but don't expect everyone else to have those same goals.
Comment by Baba on October 23, 2009 at 6:14pm
I'm with you on that. Blog and let blog I say.
Comment by Hyla on October 23, 2009 at 6:12pm
"The very fact that anyone values our opinions, at all, is compensation enough."

I completely agree. Reading review blogs are not my thing. However reading a review on I blog that I enjoy for other content is ok. I have cut down on my reviews because honestly they are a lot of work. I am enjoying getting back to my blog beginnings.
Comment by Storm on October 23, 2009 at 6:10pm
I think review/giveaway bloggers are just the complaint du jour right now. If it's not them, it would be those who blog and complain about their daily lives picked on, the ones who use too many personal photos, etc. It will always be something, because that's just the way women are. :( Blogging is unfortunately, a lot like high school. One group will always be picked on.

(I'm certainly not going to be complaining about review & giveaway bloggers, since I post plenty of those on my blog)
Comment by MorethanMommy on October 23, 2009 at 6:07pm
Amen, Amy. I watched this conversation at Type-A with some annoyance from home. I think it's absurd that people who have been blogging for a year or two think they can define what is or isn't a blogger. A blog is a platform. What you do with it is up to you. What you call yourself is up to you. We need to spend less time worrying about labels, the behavior of PR people, and who likes whom. Can we just write, already?

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