Product Reviewers are Bloggers, too.

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-1 weblog-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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Amy Bellgardt

AMY BELLGARDT is a wife and mom of two boys, as well as founder and lead blogger at Mom Spark. Amy also manages Mom Spark Media, a social media marketing firm.

68 Responses to “Product Reviewers are Bloggers, too.”

  1. #
    dddiva — October 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I personally am disgusted with the holier than thou who think what THEY DO is the only right way- kind of like religious zealots.

    There is room for everyone, find the place you are comfortable and let others do the same.

    That being said, so called review bloggers who basically say my family got to try out this product it’s cool and the rest is ONLY cut and paste from the sponsoring website aren’t exactly blogging… or reviewing. So not sure where they fit in but while I may be interested in the prize I am not giving credence to their endorsement of a product and may in fact make me see the company in a bad light. Hehe I did a whole post on this in my random rants Tuesday. ;)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

      I see your point about the “copy & paste” method of reviewing products. I like to say, “info taken from the fact sheet” or something similar if I’m taking information directly from the brand.

      [Reply]

  2. #
    Liz@thisfullhouse — October 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    My opinion on reviews & giveaways — I think that there is a precedence being set here and, as long as no one is taking advantage of you, or your readers (which, pretty much holds true for everyone, no matter what your niche) then blog away, my friend.

    However, I do keep my “personal blog” separate from “my shopping blog,” (just easier to keep my focus) and I am more careful about who I choose to partner with, on both.

    [Reply]

  3. #
    Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net — October 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Awesome post, Amy! I’m so glad you brought in definitions to SHOW people that there isn’t a mold for blogging.

    I did a post a while back about the Rule Book on Blogging, simply saying there ISN’T ONE!!! People need to get off their horses (or sponsored horses, probably) and realize that it’s our own space, it’s a big place to play, and not everyone has to like it! We can get along and NOT bash one another and it will be more joyful :)

    I have read the issues people have with review blogs and the only legitimate concern I can see is ensuring reviews are authentic and disclosed (when received FREE product or $$). If people are using an honest, unbiased voice, then it’s fine. But, even then I think reviews will still get a crooked eye because it’s so objective – it’s your personal review, it will be (and these companies surely want that).

    I can tweet I love a product or organization on twitter and it’s not sponsored. I am simply sharing something that I like. People have come back and suggested my comments were paid. C’mon, do we have to get paid for everything? That’s an entirely different subject and it goes back to everything being our own space and voice. If people don’t like it, they really don’t have to read :) I know my worth, and I’ll do what I believe to be right.

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

      I think a few bad apples have ruined the Product Reviewer name. Some do it just for the products or money, just like how some writers choose to stir the pot to get more traffic.

      [Reply]

  4. #
    Debbie / Cranberry Fries — October 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I like what the ladies have said so far. I keep a personal blog and a public blog. I try not to do too many giveaways because I want my readers to care about the products I talk about and know that they’re products I really like, or really think could be awesome for them.

    In fact other than maybe 3 or 4 I’ve actually gone out seeking to get the prizes or paid for the prizes with my own money because I really just love them that much (aka tons of signed books by authors, etc.)

    [Reply]

  5. #
    Donna — October 22, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    When I was new to blogging I used to share about products I liked…before I knew people actually got paid for that, I did it on my own accord as a woman, mom, friend who wanted to let people know about stuff that really worked! I was so oblivious to the paid to blog world=)

    I hate that people have to actually write…I DID NOT GET PAID TO WRITE ABOUT THIS…who cares if you did or did not, as long as you are truthful. And when you are passionate about stuff, like saving $, couponing, testing baby products etc, share it, don’t hold it in!

    Seriously who wouldn’t want some free stuff or money to check out a product??

    I have never come across a blogger who was conceited about what they do, fortunately.

    Blogging has been great for me to share, to learn, to meet other moms like me. Kinda like being in your own community meeting people, and just like that you are gonna meet unhappy, rude and mean people who need to keep their opinions to themselves.

    And by the way MOMSPARK is awesome!!
    I’m happy blogging at my personal site with my 6 followers;)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

      I hate that we have to write “I did not get paid to write about this”, too. Thank you for loving Mom Spark, I love you, too. :)

      [Reply]

  6. #
    Samantha @ Mama Notes — October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I agree.

    I am a blogger and my blog is mostly a resource for moms and a journal of my motherhood, but I also do reviews/giveaways usually 2x/week. It’s important to me that I dont do more than that because I want my main focus to be on writing good stuff. However, I do the love the opportunity to give away awesome products to my readers! ‘

    [Reply]

  7. #
    Aimee — October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I’m a fairly new blogger (launched about a month ago) and I only just started reading blogs a few months ago. I’m surprised that there is disregard for reviewers. As consumers, aren’t we all reviewers? Don’t we all share great finds with our families and friends? I am a blogger who has chosen to do both – I’ll mostly discuss things that are important to me as a mother but I’ll also talk about products that I enjoy or find useful. And I’ll give them away when the opportunity arises. I’ve already had one give-away for a great toy that I love and plan to have more in the very near future. I’ve already made a commitment to myself to only review and give-away products that I believe in. I didn’t start a blog to make money. I started it because I believe I have a voice that resonates well with others. I also love to inform people of great finds, so why not combine the two!

    Thanks for the great post.

    Aimee
    http://www.aintyomamasblog.com
    twitter – @aintyomamasblog

    [Reply]

  8. #
    Kimberly/Mom in the City — October 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    “What is your opinion of a product reviewer?”

    It depends on the product reviewer. Some will write a positive review about anything if they get money/a product/a trip/etc. out of it. Those, I don’t tend to read.

    Others share about how the product works in their real lives. Those, I like. In my opinion there’s no better referral for a mom-marketed product than another (honest) mom.

    I’m an information fan so I tend to like (and produce!) more information-centered blogs anyway.

    Overall, I say “Do you”. There is enough space on the web for everyone.

    [Reply]

  9. #
    Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy — October 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I should probably do this on my own blog because I may venture off into a rant, but here goes.

    If someone wants to only do reviews/giveaways on their site, knock yourself out.

    I think a lot of this current divide is coming from the fact that so many people who have been doing this for awhile are starting to realize they can make a career out of it and get paid for doing something they do well.

    As we all know, reviews and giveaways take time. The idea of giving away the milk for free is starting to not sit well with a lot of people. The idea that, if we want our blogs to be a business we need to treat them like one is starting to take hold.

    Unfortunately, there will always be people who have zero problem giving it all away just to keep the free things flowing in. It’s making it harder for those who have taken a stand of sorts and want marketers/brands/companies/PR (however you want to label it) to know that it’s time to get serious and put their money where their mouths are to some degree.

    No, we don’t have to get paid for everything. But, if I’m sitting at my computer for hours a day helping a product/company reach it’s marketing objectives, well, that sounds a lot like a job. I don’t know anyone who’s willing to continually do a job for free.

    I forsee a shift within the blogging community. Sites that will post any and everything that comes their way (which, as a PR person I wouldn’t look favorably on, but whatev) will see the gravy train slow down a little. There’s almost *too* much happening and messages/products are getting lost.

    I see the idea of recycling press releases and calling it a review becoming less attractive. Same with a company being OK with a person claiming how much they ‘love’ product A and a few weeks later here comes product B, which is in the same category, and ‘love’ it too (a laundry soap for example). Again, it’s just my opinion but when I see things like that I will take that person’s site with a grain of salt.

    A site may pull in huge numbers but not have very much actual reach or influence. In my mind, there’s a definite difference between the two. To me, drive by traffic isn’t worth nearly as much as the loyal, repeat visits.

    I would challenge anyone who is feeling attacked to take a step back and figure out why. If you are comfortable with your site, secure in the content you’re producing and enjoying yourself, there should be no reason to be on the defensive.

    Another reason I think the review genre is getting a bad name is for the sites that started out as personal blogs but then turned into infomercials with no sense of balance between the two. That’s a whole ‘nother topic but I’ll shut up now. :D

    I agree with Andrea, there are no rules. I’m not going to bash anyone who blogs differently than I do. If I don’t like what I read, I stop going, it’s as simple as that.

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

      I appreciate your comment, Melanie, and you make some great points. Yes, it looks “bought” when you review similar products, so it isn’t the smartest. On the issue with traffic being loyal or not, I will have to disagree a little. Yes, some review & giveaway traffic is artificial, but you would be surprised how many times I hear, “I found you through your giveaway, but love your blog”, and they keep coming back! Like we keep saying, there are no rules in blogging!

      [Reply]

  10. #
    Laura Rucker — October 22, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Wow, how timely this post is. My blog is about whatever the heck I want to write about. Lately, I’ve been writing about products because I felt there must be an audience for this. Nothing more. I know before I spend my hard-earned cash (I’m work FT out of the house and have a 10-year-old daughter) that a person’s opinion is much MUCH appreciated. As I get older (an 41 now), I care less and less what people think of what I do and say. I’m SO not into keeping up appearances. BARF! Thanks for the post. REVIEW BLOGGERS UNITE!!! :)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

      I actually meant to say the same thing in my post. I am SO not worried about what people think of me, and I am SO not starstruck by other bloggers. We are all just people, for goodness sake! “BARF!” <– LOVE THAT. It is hard enough to be a mom, much less worrying about what people think of our blogs. Who cares!

      [Reply]

    • Christine Mack replied: — October 30th, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

      Oh Gosh I love that barf comment lol! Good for you sister!

      [Reply]

    • Angie Knutson replied: — November 1st, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

      You are so right! There is a huge audience for review and giveaway bloggers! We all love free stuff, and lots of the products we review are products our readers would never find browsing the shelves at Walmart or would never hear of otherwise. Some of my favorites products that I use daily with my kiddos are ones I heard about on someone’s blog {ex: Boogie Wipes}! “BARF” LOL!! I’m gonna steal that one! :D

      [Reply]

  11. #
    Lisa @ All That and a box of Rocks — October 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Very nice post. I have to admit that I really enjoy a blog better if there is a good mix of reviews, giveaways, and content rich postings over a strictly review blog. But a blogger is a blogger is a blogger in my mind!

    [Reply]

  12. #
    Nicole Elliott — October 22, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I COMPLETELY agree!!! I just hopped on the product review/giveaway bandwagon myself. At first I was worried about what my previous faithful few followers would think. Guess what? They LOVED it! And now I have tons of other people who read my regular content as well. I normally discuss the products I use with everyone so why not get something out of it?! I don’t believe it’s “selling out” at all! I say, let us be cupcakes! Cupcakes are sweet and tasty after all ;)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 22nd, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

      Ha, “let us be cupcakes”, that is awesome.

      [Reply]

  13. #
    Toni — October 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Great post Amy! I think it’s sad that review bloggers are looked down upon. Everyone should just get along and let each other be.

    [Reply]

  14. #
    Laura — October 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with writing product reviews. I would much rather hear what a regular consumer thinks of a product than hear the company’s selling pitch. You can’t trust companies anymore, and I want to know what real users think before I purchase something.

    [Reply]

  15. #
    Allison — October 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    That was a real asinine thing for them to say about product reviewers!

    I think any blog that is brought together by someone’s own thoughts and words – should be considered a blog.

    [Reply]

  16. #
    Jenn — October 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Great post! Very well written.

    I have been blogging for over six years and have a number of urls that I blog on. One is more personal then the others but I have one very strong opinion on this subject, if you don’t like what I blog about be it reviews, giveaways or any of my opinions, don’t read my blog!

    It doesn’t make me less of a “Blogger” because other don’t agree with how I run my blog. I think some people are just looking for drama.

    [Reply]

  17. #
    Mommie Daze — October 22, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Well said Amy!

    That’s the great thing about blogging. There are no rules. Anyone can do it, and make it their own by doing it their own way. It’s a big world wide web out there, and there’s room for everyone, including review and giveaway bloggers.

    [Reply]

  18. #
    niri — October 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    We have spoken on this a lot so you already know how I feel but here goes.. I feel the mixture of having a bit of everything gives some spice to my blog so I write reviews and my own views. Some fans of the views enter the contests and some contestants become loyal fans of my writing. Each lends to the other. I am more aware of latest trends and products and my reviews have very much my story telling of my non review posts.

    People who are authentic won’t get lost in the mesh with people who are not as time will tell. I think bloggers who are trying to control need to realize they cannot and just move on.

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 11:04 am

      Yes, “each lends to the other.” So true! You are awesome, Niri.

      [Reply]

  19. #
    Allie — October 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I really have no patience for people like this- the web is big enough for everyone. They are just insecure. If they were confident in their own work they wouldn’t be bothered by any bloggers whether they blog about diaper, cupcakes or porn. Who cares, worry about your content , your integrity and rise above this pettiness.

    I love your line blog and let blog!

    Great post Amy!

    [Reply]

  20. #
    mandi @ it's come to this — October 22, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I think you brought up some very good points – I’ve been struggling w/this for a while. Honestly, I’ve started to just tune review posts out. There’s a lot that I’ll trust, but overall I wish I saw more bad reviews. I know alot of bloggers will just tell the company they didn’t like it as opposed to spending the time & effort on a blog post, but I think it’d give me more faith in their good reviews. You know, that they want to tell their readers the good & the bad – even the really really bad.

    But either way, I’m totally fine with a blogger blogging about whatever they want to – it’s their blog!!

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 11:16 am

      I totally hear what you are saying. In my time in reviewing products, I have only had one item that I did not like, and it was a skin care product. It was difficult for me to really give a good, honest review because my skin is already REALLY sensitive, and I really shouldn’t have taken on the review in the first place. I told the company that it didn’t work for ME and just returned the products. I try not to take on something that I know I’m not going to recommend in the first place, simply because I’m not a exclusive review blog and don’t have the time to go through several products. Thank you for commenting!

      [Reply]

  21. #
    Meg — October 22, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I am not sure how I feel about giveaways on my site, just because -honestly- I am not sure I want the responsibility! I love that my site is a place to vent, share pics, write what I feel, share what I know, ask what I don’t know. There is no set schedule, I can go a week with out doing anything and no one will notice!

    I like reading review posts because I am a frugal consumer. I don’t want to waste money on a product that I won’t get money’s worth.

    I like entering giveaways. I only enter the ones that I would actually care to win. I don’t enter a lot. I have won only won one (It was a MomSpark CD giveaway- Rock of Ages which I listen to all the time!) but overall I think they are fun. In these times where it isn’t okay to “splurge” all the time or even often, it is nice to have a chance to win something you wouldn’t otherwise spend your own money on.

    I don’t know from experience, but I am guessing that give away and review sites are a lot of upkeep. Kudos for all the hard work to those of you who do it!

    So I say- Yeah, they are bloggers. Hard working bloggers!

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 11:17 am

      Yes, it isn’t doing reviews, unless you just copy & paste most of it, which most of us don’t. Good point about giveaway blogs being a place for moms to “splurge” and win a little something out of it. Never thought of it that way.

      [Reply]

  22. #
    Kim Craftymamaof4 — October 23, 2009 at 9:07 am

    thank you so much for writing this! I often have the same feelings you described in your post about review bloggers. I often leave the conversation feeling like I don’t belong because the majority of my posts are product reviews. I like the definition of weblog where it says “that are of interest to the user” products are of interest to me and my readers. I feel so much better after reading this.

    Like I said at Type A Mom I am happy with my cupcakes :)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 11:20 am

      You should never feel that way about your blog! That is what frustrates me. There are lots of bloggers who like to conduct reviews, and like their cupcakes! THAT IS OKAY. You keep doing it, girl. :)

      [Reply]

  23. #
    Kasandria — October 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I totally agree with you. I am a review blogger and am completely happy in my “status”. Those who do not consider me a “real” blogger can click the red X on my blog. I am comfortable in my own skin and consider myself a writer. I think sometimes we let what others thing of us weigh to heavy in our mind.
    Kasandria

    [Reply]

  24. #
    OHmommy — October 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Good points. I have no opinion of review blogs. There are always people behind the blogs. We should be more supportive.

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

      Thank you, Pauline. I would be SO awesome to just support each other, I agree.

      [Reply]

  25. #
    Jyl (Mom It Forward) — October 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I’m with you, Amy! Blog and let blog! We’re all bloggers, regardless of our niche! :)

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

      Don’t you think we need to create t-shirts that say “Blog, and let blog.”? Also, Niri said the EXACT SAME QUOTE on an older blog of hers, so she gets full credit!

      [Reply]

  26. #
    Sarah — October 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Love this post! If you don’t like review blogs, don’t read them and don’t do reviews. It’s that simple. The internet has plenty of space for everyone.

    I’m still laughing about “cupcake status” – in my book cupcakes are always a good thing.

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 23rd, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

      Yeah, aren’t cupcakes a GOOD thing? lol

      [Reply]

  27. #
    Megan — October 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I just started doing product reviews on my blog – UNPAID I might add – and only for products I use or really really like. I don’t pursue companies, or as for products to review – they contact me first. Companies are figuring out that blogging at a target market helps them out. Just like when a little google adsense ad pops up on a sidebar – its the same thing, but with a personal touch.

    What is the donut level or the Charm City cake level anyway? The moms who get to get free trips to Disney world? Isn’t that the same freakin’ thing??

    [Reply]

  28. #
    Ellen Christian — October 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I really think it depends on the blogger. Personally, I prefer to have a mix of real life, reviews and giveaways. It gives me a feel for the blogger as a person which I like. My site is a combination of all three. I won’t review a product that I don’t feel “fits” with my site or is something that I really like. When I agree to review a product, I actually review it. I try the product or read the entire book & them post my thoughts. I snip a portion of the review from the book/site so the reader can get an idea of what the product is supposed to be but 99% of the review is mine and mine alone. It is frustrating sometimes to see book reviewers giving away copies of books with nothing more than a cut & paste job from the author’s site – no indication that they ever read the book let alone have an opinion on it.

    [Reply]

  29. #
    Del — October 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    If anyone is still reading this. My thoughts can be found here: http://www.delthedad.com/?p=355.

    I put some time into this, so please insult me all you need to. I like constructive criticism.

    [Reply]

  30. #
    Condo Blues — October 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I think it’s more productive for the blogging community to concentrate on the quality and sincerity/balance of a product review than who’s a “real” product reviewer vs. who is into product reviews just to get free stuff. The name calling is getting old. Why don’t we concentrate on writing balanced reviews and original content if product reviews are what you like to write about?

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 27th, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

      I couldn’t agree more.

      [Reply]

  31. #
    Angie Knutson — October 30, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Thank you, Amy! I’ve been waiting for someone to say just this. Someone like you, who people will listen to. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    • Amy Bellgardt replied: — October 30th, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

      Angie- I know you work really hard on your site, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed!

      [Reply]

  32. #
    Christine Mack — October 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    BRAVO! I dabbled in reviews at one point but it started to consume and overwhelm me…I am a food blogger..that is my identity (I feel anyway)..so when I was losing the whole reason I started..I questioned myself…do I get the same joy I did as before? No. I make some money but its not much. Its nice though. Having said that. I have much respect for the product reviewing and giveaway community. That’s is some hard work and they deserve every penny or every product they get. I like to consider them the advertising part of the newspaper…while it is popular you aren’t going there for literary value…its an alternative to magazines and T.V. as a way of advertising..its more personal…and mroe in our demographic. Heck who doesn’t like free stuff…heck who doesn’t like an honest opinion? It may not be front page news but its a big part of our proverbial newspaper. Not everything has to be editorial.

    AND I know of a mommy blogger who balances giveaways and blogging about her life very well…I love her to death…she is a fantastic mom, she honestly shares her life, and is kind enough to not only review products but asks the owners of the company to part with their wares. So there…lol..to answer your question I agree!

    [Reply]

  33. #
    Nicole (SAHM Reviews) — November 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I, also, maintain a separate personal blog from my review blog. However I find myself posting less and less on my personal blog because my reviews are essentially stories that mention the product I’m reviewing. I hate that people cut and paste data from the manufacturers website as the bulk of their post. Quoting the manufacturer as filler or clarification is different than making it the majority of the post.

    While I can see that there’s a divide between bloggers with different styles, that’s just life. There’s always going to be different sides to the same issue and that’s what makes things interesting.

    Awesome post, Amy. I agree that we should be happy with our status no matter where we are… or we shouldn’t be blogging.

    [Reply]

  34. #
    Screwed Up Texan — February 17, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I regift by doing give aways on my blog. I bet that opens a can of worms.

    [Reply]

  35. #
    Cyndi — February 17, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Great article! I agree 100%. Live and let live. My own blog is primarily of the journal variety but I do the occasional product review/giveaway too. Why not? And for those that focus on product reviews/giveaways…why not? It really is embarrassing how catty and petty people can be. The interwebs are big enough for all of us. :)

    [Reply]

  36. #
    arf — May 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you for Posting & I got to read nice information on your site.

    [Reply]

  37. #
    Henway — November 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I think everyone has a right to write what they want. If you want to do product reviews and make lots of money, then so be it. If you want to write from the heart, and avoid reviews, that’s valid too. Let everyone do what he/she does best… And u’re right, products are a huge part of our lives… let’s not delude ourselves

    [Reply]

  38. #
    Virginia — March 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I can’t believe there should EVER be ANY standard for bloggers. It should be whatever we want. If someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to follow. Goodness! I completely agree with you.

    [Reply]

  39. #
    BrooklynBeka — March 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I agree 100%. I also believe that to call yourself a blogger, you need to have regular posts and comments. Hence, why I don’t consider myself one yet.
    The other thing I feel is that even if I have regular posts and comments, that unless I had my own domain name, it also wouldn’t be considered a blog.

    [Reply]

  40. #
    Angela — November 7, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Well said, Amy! I have personally discovered some really great products for my family by reading reviews on other blogs. On my own blog, I try to keep things balanced by offering resources and information, in addition to product reviews and giveaways. I consider the reviews/giveaways I offer to be a benefit for my readers. I just don’t understand all the bashing that has been going on recently. Why can’t we just respect and appreciate each others differences?

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — November 7th, 2011 @ 9:00 am

      @Angela, I’m not sure why reviewers are considered lesser than other bloggers. Writing a good review requires skill and trust, not unlike any other niche.

      [Reply]

  41. #
    Aly Mashrah — November 7, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I like to review the same category of products because my blog is about me and my son and the products I review reflect mom and baby. The majority of reviews and giveaway I’ve done in the past include cloth diapers because I am passionate about cloth diapering and the benefits. However, just because its the same product yet different brands and styles, that doesn’t mean I’m not giving my complete honest opinion about them. If there’s a feature I don’t like, I state it and state *why*. If there’s a feature I absolutely love, I state it and state *why*. A review is suppose to be about your honest opinion and it should include the good, bad, and the ugly. I notice that a lot of product reviewers will only write positive reviews. Well, what if the product totally sucked? Wouldn’t you want your readers to know that they shouldn’t waste their money and efforts on such a product? I think so. I rely on a lot of product review blogs to give me true insight before I make a purchase. I always want to know the good AND the bad features and experiences. So, as a product reviewer myself, I do the same. I can’t stand reading a product review where there IS NO review and it’s just “cut and paste” from the company website along with the giveaway. That makes no sense to me. And that’s where I don’t sit well with a lot of reviewers who do that. Just my two cents!

    [Reply]

    • Mom Spark replied: — November 7th, 2011 @ 10:05 am

      @Aly Mashrah, Thank you for sharing your perspective. This is a whole other issue that needs a post! Each blogger conducts negative reviews differently. Some avoid the time it takes to write a negative review and will simply mail the product back to the company privately. (with reasons why they sent it back) Others tie in the negative parts with the positive parts in their post. Some only state the negative parts of the product, and not the positive. There is no right or wrong way to do it, really. It mostly depends on each blogger’s style and what they feel is most beneficial to their readers. (and worth their own time)

      [Reply]

  42. #
    SupermomWannabe — November 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I agree we’re all consumers and tend to advertise stuff in general. The mom blogging world is a place for moms to chat and sound off to one another so it makes sense that product reviews would be part of that. Free stuff and income is a bonus. I find product reviews helpful. Reviews often make it or break it for me during my “research phase” before purchasing something. I have to admit that I love mom stories, humor, and mom advice/ conversation in the mix though. There are some sites I’ve come across that really seem to be review-only sites, lacking personal stories and touches. So I think a good balance is key. Though it’s true that each woman’s blog can and should be whatever she wants it to be.

    [Reply]

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