Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We like bloggers... until they start making money off blogging.

Think about that statement. We like bloggers until they start to make money blogging. Isn't this true?
"I liked her blog until she started doing sponsorships."
"That blog was good until I was told to buy something."
"I stopped reading that blog because it's just a big advertisement."
Very accurate. All those things. And those feelings, those statements, those thoughts that people have? Are theirs to have and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe that people are entitled to their opinions and that if they don't like something {such as sponsorships}, then they have every right to not like a blog, or even stop reading it all together. No one can control another persons likes or dislikes, so in that sense, I could not agree more. Don't like a blog and what they are doing? Don't want to read anymore? You have that right, and I don't think anyone can tell you how you should or shouldn't feel.

However, with all that said, this whole "blogging and sponsors and making money deal" is still something that is on my mind. Partly due to the fact that, oh hey, coincidentally, I happen to blog, and I happen to make money off blogging. Did it start that way? No. Did it become a part of my blogging? Yes. Is it everything that has to do with my writing? Absolutely not.

The whole idea of betraying your readers and losing your voice is so interesting to me. The idea that somehow, as a "blogger" you owe something to the "reader". The idea that you are just doing it to make a buck and doing it under any which circumstance possible. The idea that you are no longer worth reading because you have advertisements on your blog. And lastly, the idea that well it's a shame that you accept paid opportunities by promoting a brand or company. Again, let me reiterate that last part, the fact that you accept paid opportunities to write.

Now. Before we start sounding like all we care about making money and getting paid, let me just say that I'm merely trying to make a point here. Life should never be about making money, however, if I could live life the way I live and do so for free? I would. Because life doesn't work that way and I still have 10 years of student loans to pay off, then it seems pretty silly for anyone to say that I should be doing anything for free when there are opportunities for compensation. Do you say no to a promotion? Do you say no to a free vacation? Would you say no to the opportunity to put money into your kid's college fund? 

Think about that. For a moment.

So now that we have mentioned all of the above, let's get back to a simple statement that holds a whole lot of truth {for the majority} and really think about why this is true:

We like bloggers.... until they start making money.

The whole idea of blogging is interesting anyway. You write about your life, you write about your thoughts and beliefs, and sometimes you may throw a recipe or outfit in there {if not all the time}, and then you hit publish for the whole world to read. And sometimes that means just mom and dad read, sometimes it means hundreds or thousands of people read. Whatever the audience may be, it's out there in the internet world. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There are times you stand proud and accomplished. Other times you frantically panic worrying that someone may take what you wrote the wrong way or read it through dimmed jaded expired glasses.

Slowly, you start to find your voice, your niche, and your place on the internet. Regardless of the amount of followers you have, you truly are not happy until you are most comfortable in the space that you are in and the words that you put on the screen. Once you figure that out, you feel like you can write for days, months, and years with no one stopping you. That is until you run into writers block. You connect with people, you put yourself out there via social media, and you really feel great about what you are doing. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it right? That's because it can be.

Then one day {miraculously} money starts coming in. Sometimes slow, sometimes small, and other times it may be big and fast. Sometimes just one opportunity here and there, and other times many come your way. You jump up with joy at this new accomplishment, and are calling/texting your husband telling him "See honey, I can get paid for this!" But, regardless of who you are and what you write about, or the amount of money that you make or the kinds of sponsorships that you accept, the minute {literally} that your blog shows evidence of an advertisement or paid opportunity, you are now officially part of a completely new list of bloggers.

Bloggers that accept money for writing. {the ones we don't like}

You can keep writing at your own pace. You can not miss a day of posts. You can still maintain your voice and drive, but you have completely lost the attention of many people. Losing interest is okay...like mentioned above, you cannot control what someone likes. But it's the backlash that interests me. You know, the ones that feel it necessary to tell another person about their writing.  I say backlash because although it would be great if people would just not read what no longer interested them, or if they would just peacefully go on about their way, it doesn't quite work that way. Instead they tend to leave that little bit of "criticism" just so you know that they are leaving. Kind of like slamming the door on the way out. Make it known, loud and proud. Except, I'm not sure what there is to be proud of.

I find this interesting. I find it interesting that people have the desire to want to make another individual feel guilty about doing something that is benefitting them, the writer, instead of the reader. I find this interesting because I have learned a lot from bloggers. Many great recipes from their blogs. Awesome, easy Becky-proof DIY projects. Home improvement ideas. And even parenting advice from some ladies that I admire and have "known" for years. To see them get paid for their time that they have put into their blogs? Bravo. BRAVO. Some of these moms are able to stay home with their children because of the money they make from blogging. Some are able to go and pamper themselves, something they have not been able to do since having children. Some are able to take a family vacation or go on a nice dinner date with their husband {much overdue}. And some? Some are able to keep their electricity going and water running because of opportunities that have come their way.

Do they have to share this with you? Would it be okay if you knew where the money was going? What if the blogger donated every penny they received? Would it change your perspective then? Do you share where your money goes with others?  Does the blogger, or anyone for that matter owe that to you? To explain the details of their financial situation?

I think not.

At the end of the day, what difference does it make. How someone makes their money, and better yet, how they spend it.

You know what I do when there is an advertisement or sponsored post that does not interest me or cater to my lifestyle? I leave. I click the x and I leave. Do you know how much time was wasted doing so? Going to the blog and then leaving? Approximately 5 seconds.

I'm not saying that you have to like every blog that does sponsorship. I'm not even saying that you have to accept it and keep reading. What I'm hoping to do is try to make you {general you, the audience that this may pertain to} understand how silly it sounds for one to make a gesture that a blogger is betraying their audience when they start making money.

Why does it sound silly? Because it is silly.

You know what would be even sillier? If I asked you the reader to pay me for my writing. Go ahead, laugh at me. I know, it's pretty obnoxious and ridiculous. I'm just a blogger over here writing about nothing but my pretty normal life. It's not something that I would ever ask for because, like I said, it is pretty darn silly. So, if it is silly for a person to ask you to donate money to read their website, then wouldn't you say it was silly of you to ask them to meet your demands and needs and likes or dislikes. Wouldn't you then agree that it would be silly for said blogger to then say no to companies that are willing to pay them for their time? And if you still disagree, would you then agree to pay bloggers so that you no longer have to see ads? Silly, one would say---it takes 5 seconds to scroll to the next blog post, or better yet leave, WHY in the world would I pay money not to see it?

Same reason as to why in the world one would complain about it. Silly, I know.

Look, by now you probably are getting where I am going with this. Will I ever apologize for doing paid sponsorships or advertisements on my blog? Never. Not one bit. And I hate to see bloggers do so because I want to tell them that there need not be a reason to apologize for doing what they love to do while still getting compensated.

Why?

Because although I wish I was buying Louis Vuitton bags every month with the "extra" money that I'm making blogging, my bills just don't allow me to. Instead I'm able to to put money in my kid's college funds, put money aside for our retirement, and even pay those incredibly ridiculous student loans that gave me the career that I have {and very proud of} today.

I want people to remember that behind the computer screen is a person. Not just a robot writing for the popularity of others. But a person. A person that has a life, that has needs and wants just like you and I.

If you remember that, then you will remember that blogging is just a part of someone's life. Whether they find pleasure or paid opportunities in it, or both, should not matter. What matters is why you read and what keeps you coming back for more. And if you leave? You have that right. Just don't do so with slamming doors.

Would you expect a friend to apologize to you for taking a promotion at work?
Would you expect that friend to apologize for moving for a higher paying job or one that is better suited for his/her family's lifestyle?
Would you expect that friend to say no to opportunities that come her way if that meant that a credit card bill would be paid off and one less stressor taken away?

I can't help but imagine the answer would be no.

And if you answered no, then how could you expect me or anyone else out there to not do exactly what your friend is doing? Accepting opportunities that help my family financially.


So am I a blogger that makes money blogging? Yes.
Does this mean that you may no longer like me because of it? Yes.

Will I ever apologize for doing so?

No. Never.

35 comments:

  1. High five girl! Great train of thought and keep up the great work ... sponsored or not, I'll keep reading :)

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  2. I'm one of those long time readers that was here before the ads...every time I see an ad I do have an opinion and it is this, "Get that money girl!" I'm proud of you and where you have taken your blog. I follow you on FB, instagram AND Twitter! ;)

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  3. So well written with both sides of the argument acknowledged. I am like you...if the post doesn't pertain to me that day, I x out and return the next day to see what else my favorite blogs have going on.

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  4. I really like this post. I am very very new to blogging but at some point would like to start making some money. I have started to realize that there is a stigma to making money from it which is weird to me. Since I am new I am not sure what the "rules" are to all of this but I will continue to write about real things in my life.

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  5. I love this. I love reading blogs and I see nothing wrong with making money from it (I wish I could!!), but I really don't like when bloggers start making money and the blog completely changes. When every post is one big advertisement. Sponsored post. Sponsor spotlight. I'm not knocking making money, just when it changes how the blog used to be... If that makes any sense.

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    1. Makes total sense! At the same time though, we have to remember that that's the choice they made and we cannot assume what the circumstances are that brought them to that decision. And I always try to remember that with time, all things change. Including blogging.

      Heck, I think blogging is kind of going downhill... not up.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts friend! I always appreciate your viewpoints :)

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  6. love love love this!!!!!

    its sad to me how mean people can be sitting behind a computer screen and "bully" people when they know it is something they would never say to their face. To each their own what they do on their blog...their own PERSONAL blog, their space, their words & their feelings.

    Like you said, you don't know what they are doing w. that money....yes it would be nice if we could all make money on blogging just to have to waste away on pampering ourselves and buying those LV bags...but some of us, need that money to pay bills.

    I just wish women would stop ripping each other apart and start supporting each other....like you also mentioned if you don't like something, no one is making you read it,that is your own choice...you don't like it leave and unfollow that person, but don't knock someone down until you know what they are going through or til you walk in their shoes!

    All we can do is pray and pray hard for these people.

    keep up your amazing work Becky!!! I look fwd to coming and reading your blog every day! xoxo

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    1. You nailed it---women tearing women apart. That is what I would hope people would take away from this post. To remember that every situation is unique, and that no one person is alike. To make assumptions puts us at fault, not the person that we are making assumptions about.

      Life is too short, and I'd rather celebrate success than tear it down!

      Thank you for sharing Cari, I have missed chatting with you friend! Hope you and that family are doing wonderful!

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  7. it is insane to think there are people out there that expect you to take time away from your family to post a regular basis but are angry when you accept financial reward from doing so. They want this to be your job but you're supposed to do it for free? This is what i love about your posts. absolute honesty and truth. you're awesome.

    Nicole
    www.hausofharnois.blogspot.com

    Nicole
    www.hausofharnois.blogspot.com

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  8. YES GIRL!! This spoke to my heart today!! Especially with my hopes for my little growing blog...and my preparation to be a future SAHM! Thank you for this truth. Beautifully illustrated, thoughtful, and insightful words. BRAVO to YOU, love! And THANK YOU! xx

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  9. Gah, couldn't have said it better myself. It blows my mind when I hear comments like this because I just feel like those people would never, ever turn down the free things and/or the money if offered to them. It takes a lot of work to run a blog, especially one that makes money. I don't think the negative people REALLY understand that its, essentially, a second full-time job for most of us.

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    1. Yes, WORK is right. I have had to set my alarm {too many times} for 5am just so I could wake up and meet a deadline. It's work, but there are rewards that come with it, and I refuse to let anyone make me feel guilty for doing the same thing they are doing---working.

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  10. Yes. Just yes. I'm another reader who has been here long before the advertisements and sponsored posts. I just suck at commenting. I got a lot of backlash from longtime readers when I "commercialized" my blog as they liked to put it. I blogged for years without any ads or sponsored posts and I was happy doing that but when the opportunity presented itself for me to make real money doing what I had already been doing for free....I couldn't turn that down. I have 5 kids and I'm a stay-at-home mom, money is very tight, and quite honestly the only reason my kids will wake up to gifts under the tree this year is because of the money I've made blogging this year. So I also refuse to feel guilty or apologize. Period.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your own personal story. I wish I could sit here and lay out all my finances for the year and how blogging has been one of the greatest blessings for my family. When my kids go to college and not have the student loans that I have today? I'll remember blogging, and will forever be thankful for the opportunities that have come my way.

      Have a Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  11. It's funny how people try to put rules on blogging. Which is just plain stupid. If you can do something and make money doing it? More power to you!

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    1. Blogging has changed SO much through the years, and if there is one thing that I have learned along the way, it would be to never assume one person does {or should} do things like the next.

      I always love to hear from you Hilary, and hope you {and that baby} are doing well! You are going to be an amazing mama!

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  12. Well said! May be because I'm a blogger and my perspective might be different than someone who is a non-blogger reader but I actually think that the ability to land paid opportunities and have paid advertisements on the blog validates the content! No one is going to pay $ to a site that isn't worthy of it. When you hit that point it should be like a little seal of approval that your content is worth supporting and partnering with. I think the real issue is jealousy that someone makes money by a means that people think is easy...which it is most definitely not. As you said, if the content doesn't apply x out for the day, if the ad on the sidebar doesn't interest you don't click it. I appreciate the content that does apply to me. I appreciate tips on products I may never have heard of before. In fact I just purchased a Christmas gift for my husband from a tip from another blogger. It wasn't a paid post but most of her links were affiliate links. I don't care because I learned of a new product and have a unique gift for my husband under the tree!

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    1. Yes, yes yes! I just move along. I rarely spend time reading blogs, so when I do? I read what interests me, and not read what doesn't. Like you said, it is wonderful when I find a deal or product that I wouldn't have otherwise if the blogger hadn't shared it with me {even if they are paid to talk about it}. I do my own research, and if I like what I read, I buy!

      Thank you for sharing!

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  13. I'm not opposed to bloggers making money blogging, what I don't like is when someone who I love reading starts doing ONLY sponsored posts and doesn't continue to write from the heart as well. You are good about mixing it up which is what I like. I also don't like when bloggers don't state that a post is sponsored even when you can totally tell it is. I just like people to be genuine when doing it and not sneaky. If you are proud of what you are doing no need to be sneaky (this doesn't apply to you!)

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    1. Yes, it would be hard to no longer read what the writer once shared with their audience. I think this is something that is expressed by many people {and rightfully so} when they describe that the voice is lost. I think what I hoped to express is in this post {and maybe failed to do so successfully} is that sometimes things change, people change, and certainly blogging changes. And I don't think that the writer owes anything to anyone that is reading for changing directions.

      I guess my thought on this whole topic is how many people actually lose sleep over someone taking sponsorship {no matter the amount or how often}? Probably none. Yet, people are quick to express it very loudly when given the opportunity.

      That isn't really directed at you Shannon, as it is just the general audience of people who talk about people doing strictly sponsorships or any other paid opportunity. I do agree though that disclosures should always be made.

      I truly appreciate your feedback, as always Shannon!

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  14. This is a great post and so well said. Thank you!

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  15. I'm with Shannon, I don't feel any bloggers owe anything to me, and I am not upset that they are making money, it's when everyday it's post after post of ads and giveaways, and I just don't hear their voice anymore, and that just makes me sad. As a photographer, I understand how easy it is to let something you love doing turn in to something you need to do, and sometimes there is just a part of me that's a little sad about that, for me, and for others who go through it.

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    1. Great thoughts, thank you for sharing. I guess my only question would be is why one would be sad for someone that has not expressed that they are upset {unless they have} or that they are unhappy. Again, without knowing their financial situation, what if this is the happiest they have ever been with blogging. Now that they are making money, maybe actually NOT living paycheck to paycheck, or paying off bills that they wouldn't otherwise.

      I think that's something people need to remember---that our own experiences cannot be applied to another persons.

      Therefore, need not be sad or feel sorry for them---I'd rather celebrate and be HAPPY for the success of another individual.

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  16. Love this post!! Right on!

    -diary of a fit mommy
    www.fitmommydiaries.blogspot.com

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  17. This topic has been on my mind and heart for a while and I'm glad you wrote about it. Makes me mad that suddenly I can't be trusted because I'm getting paid...I love the part where you said "Do you share where your money goes with others? Does the blogger, or anyone for that matter owe that to you? To explain the details of their financial situation? I think not. At the end of the day, what difference does it make. How someone makes their money, and better yet, how they spend it." Amen. It's really no one's business anyway! I might have to sound off on this again so I'm not leaving a super long comment ;P

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  18. Last month was the first month my family has been able to pay the bills without borrowing from savings in years...because of the money I made blogging! It's not a lot. It's never a lot. But it makes a huge difference to us. And if I have to lose some readers to help pay the bills, you better believe I'm going to do it. I often just skip the sponsored posts by bloggers I follow, and I don't see why my readers can't do the same. And sometimes, I do discover cool new products and I trust bloggers to give me honest reviews. It is win-win in my opinion. Why get down on someone for making money on their hobby, doing something they enjoy? Do people get down in their friends when they start selling their crafts at craft fairs or start a etsy shop because they are selling out and no longer doing what they live for free?

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  19. Very nice post. As a longtime blog reader and recent blogger myself, I've always felt that outspoken critics of sponsorships have been condescending, hypocritical and obnoxious. With that said, I tend to steer clear of blogs with a huge amount of advertising, pop-ups, sponsored posts. Of course, huge is relative.

    It doesn't mean I don't "like" them anymore but I stop visiting their blog for the same reason I don't read magazines with tons of adverts stuck in between the real articles and for the same reason I leave a blog if the visual design is extremely distracting or puts me off in some manner. Also the same reason why, if I am watching tv at a friend's house, I will change the channel when a commercial comes on and come back when I think the commercials are over. I just don't like watching/seeing ads. I will still follow through my feed reader but I just stop visiting their actual site b/c I don't want to be bombarded by ads.

    If I turn on my adblock plugin, it's pretty good about getting rid of them but it turns off some script functionality as well so I don't always have it on. I'm happy and intrigued people make money off their blogs. It's truly an incredible age we live in. I have ads on my blog. As a sidenote, I would never expect my readers to "support" me by clicking on my ads just because they're reading my blog. I know you didn't say this but I think some bloggers do feel like this is an equal exchange. I don't blog to receive something other than conversation in return.

    For me, it's just a personal preference.
    Anywho, great topic and glad somebody wrote a thorough post on it! :)
    x atelier zozo

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    1. Also, I don't think comparing it to a regular job promotion is quite apt. If my friend were getting a promotion in exchange for putting an advertisement on her house or car, I may or may not voice my opinion on that depending how close we were and how open she was to me butting in. I would NEVER want or expect an apology. I deeeefinitely don't think bloggers should have to apologize for any sponsorships they take on or explain their financial situations. The backlash you're talking about is all about entitlement and I can only assume mainly stems from envy.

      For most of us, "working for the man" is a necessity. Etsy or other craftmaking or writing such as through self-publishing are different matters altogether. That is a direct exchange of money between maker and consumer.

      We all have bills to pay. There really should never be any criticism of the ways people find to take care of them unless it's directly harmful to another being. Blogging is neat because you can control the hows and whys and whens, though in the end, the big company is still the ultimate winner. A person may receive some monetary compensation and free goods and the company receives an infinite number of years of free advertising thereafter with a presumably vast audience. That's just the nature of sponsorship in blogs or videos. It is what it is and as mentioned above, it's incredible that anybody can pick up blogging and start to make money. At the same time, I have a hard time believing that everybody taking on sponsored posts truly likes everything they get sponsored for. That's the cynic in me I suppose though the reverse seems terribly naive.

      Hopefully my words are just construed as more food for thought.

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    2. Thank you for your insight and taking the time to comment. I think you explained it better than I did---it's just like a magazine, or advertisement on TV. When you don't like it? You move on to something else. I truthfully don't like when a site takes too long to load either due to ads, and will find myself leaving. I don't think there is anything wrong with leaving or not liking something anymore--that is our choice to have. So yes, I agree 100%

      As far as the promotion thing? Not sure how a job promotion and an advertisement on her house makes any sense? That is, unless she is in advertising? We are comparing apples to oranges here. A website would be expected to have advertisement as that is in the same area of "work." Now, unless your friend worked in advertising for homes, then I would understand. But I'm not sure where you are getting with throwing that out there---and on top of that, not sure why you would voice your opinion to her if it was not hurting anyone? I guess I just didn't understand that example.

      Which brings me to the "working for the man" is a necessity for most. You didn't explain what you meant, so I won't sit here and assume, but it kind of sounded like you meant that people who blog or get paid to blog are not doing it out of necessity? Correct me if that's not what you meant. I won't go into my thoughts on that, because I just don't want to assume anything.

      And as far as everyone loving what they write about in sponsored posts? No, not all may love it, and not all must love it in order to write about it or promote it. Again, one does not know a person's financial situation and if writing about toilet paper or anything of that sort {something they probably are not PASSIONATE about} means that they get to buy Christmas presents this year? Then right on girlfriend, go write! But again, I'm not sure that anyone has ever said that either about sponsorships---that everyone loves what they test out or write about. Sounds like that was the impression that you were under?

      Again, thank you for your thorough thoughts. I always enjoy reading different perspectives.

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  20. Yes! I accept sponsors and paid opportunities on my blog, because I put a lot of time and energy in my blog, and I'd like to see a return. Even if a small return. I have absolutely NO problem with other bloggers doing the same. I expect it!

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  21. I'm not a blogger but I do enjoy reading many different blogs. I skip over sponsorships/product reviews because I feel that I can't trust the honesty of the blogger. I have yet to see a review where the product was not giving a favorable review. Just like a celebrity, I don't trust that they really believe in x miracle cream when someone is clearly paying them to say it/wear it.

    I also find it hard to read blog posts with postings by the same company on the same day. I understand they put deadlines on it but it's a turnoff.

    I love your blog, respect the work you put in in and am happy that you're able to make money from it. Keep up the good work.

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