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


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


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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Comment by Laura Day on November 4, 2009 at 2:26pm
Personally, I don't do product reviews, but there's no particular reason why not. I have been asked to write articles that matches my blog (teen blog). Some I have done & some I feel didn't really fit my blog. And personally, I like to see more on a blog besides just product reviews, but I don't feel I have a right to say a product reviewer is not a blogger. Like the definition says, if you keep a weblog, then you're a blogger & be proud of it no matter what you blog about.
Comment by Kim Lloyd on October 26, 2009 at 9:07am
A good review should always talk about the good and the bad of product. No product is perfect. The reason why no product is perfect is because a product depends on the perspective of the consumer.

Since no one is alike, no product can meet everyone's needs. That should be disclosed as part of the review process. I give some specific advice on how to do that here:
Comment by Diana on October 25, 2009 at 9:48am
I think I forgot to answer the question. Are they bloggers? I've been blogging for two years, but just recently considered myself a blogger. Partly because of my inexperience but after jumping into the social networking scene and having some people who are regular followers talk with me online, I found enough courage to actually say that I have a blog.
Comment by Diana on October 25, 2009 at 9:39am
I have a cooking blog, but I do post reviews, and giveaways, and about anything relating to food - including how to freeze peppers and sharing family dinner time, recipes I made up, recipes that were sent to me to share. I don't get paid for any of those, except through advertising which is enough to help keep the blog going. Maybe someday it will be bigger, but mostly it's a learning experience for me.
Comment by Loralee Carey on October 24, 2009 at 11:08pm
I think that the blog world is big enough for everyone. If you enjoy participating in and hosting giveaways, then just do it! A lot of moms have tons of fun doing that. The moms who write up product reviews and those who follow those blogs obviously enjoy what they are doing as well. As long as the blogosphere is adequately self-regulated and free from unnecessary government regulation, there is be time and space in the 'sphere for everyone. I personally just post about family and friends - photos and journal-type stuff - but I wouldn't mind making a little extra money doing it. Who wouldn't? But I know it takes time and effort. Kudos to those who can do it, I say!
Comment by Usedtobeme on October 24, 2009 at 8:52pm
I agree with what you say. My review blog started as a review of a bar that my husband and I went to, unlike any we'd ever been to, and it was so positive, I wanted to share it, but in a different voice than that of my "personal blog." Then I tried some new food product that was really good and I thought other people might be like me, afraid to try new products because what if they sucked, then I'm out that money. I have had one paid product review and a few reviews of product sent to me, but I have only made money off that one review. And I don't care. Because that's not why I started the blog, ya know. I don't have the audience for a sponsorship or other big money maker and I don't care about that either. Because again, that's not why I started my blog. I'm quite happy with my little corner of the blogosphere and at this point, it is all manageable to me, so I'm in no hurry to change that.
Comment by Mary Davis on October 24, 2009 at 3:03pm
This is all very interesting conversation, Amy. Thanks for bringing it up. In terms of your main point, yes, I agree completely that product reviewers ARE bloggers. There are so many dynamics to blogging. Everyone is going to have their preference and their opinion. What many don't do in their arguments is give credit to their fellow women. The comments here have proven that we are smart enough to see the quality reviews and to benefit from them. Those that are spammy or that don't come from a genuine place are easy to spot. I wish the haters would give us all credit to make our own judgment calls.
Comment by kdc521 on October 24, 2009 at 1:33pm
Like I shared on your blog, my opinion of a product reviewer depends on the reviewer. It is obvious that some are in it just for "the get" - products/trips/etc. Those I tend to avoid, but they are still bloggers. Then, there are those who are obviously trying to share useful information (including information about products) with their readers. As a lover of information, I like (and try to produce) those types of blogs more than any other type.

At end of the day though, my philosophy is "Do you." There's a reader for every type of blog. They are all blogs. I don't think that anyone needs to be looking down on anyone else anyway. I've been at many events where I was the only blogger among "traditional journalists". Many of them look down on ALL of us - memoir writers, product review writers, etc. SO it really doesn't make sense for us to be divisive amongst ourselves.
Comment by MorethanMommy on October 23, 2009 at 10:59pm
Just wanted to respond to Tracy Iglesias: "Cupcake level" blogging isn't as demeaning as it sounds. In the discussion, one of the bloggers said that she'll happily blog for cupcakes, meaning she doesn't care if she's paid. Some of the more established bloggers took on the attitude that it's a "first step" that you graduate from. I think that's true in the sense that once you become more established, companies tend to offer bigger and better perks and as you move on to those, it can be harder to justify blogging for cupcakes. On the other hand, some bloggers never get "established" in that sense, so they stay with the cupcakes. Personally, I love cupcakes. =}
Comment by Amy {Mom Spark} on October 23, 2009 at 9:02pm
Karrine- I understand where you are going with your comment, but the issue I'm discussing is accepting product reviewers as bloggers in the blogging community. Your issue could be a whole other post! (hint, hint)



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