There has been quite a buzz in the blogosphere in the last several weeks about bloggers needing to be open and honest about whether or not they receive free products from PR companies or are paid for the posts they write. I’ve been reading up on several opinions on the matter and decided I would explain my personal philosophy on it and exactly how I run things here on Mommy Cracked dealing with disclosure.
Yes, I do run ads in my sidebar that generate money. As of right now I participate in Google Adsense and JuiceBoxJungle. Am I getting rich from these ads? No, absolutely not. It takes quite an amount of money to receive a payout from one of these ad companies (which I reach once a year if I am lucky) and the other ad network is still getting off the ground, thus I have not been paid from it yet.
Paid Posts- I do accept payment for some of my posts and before you say. “AHA!!”, let me explain this also. I do not charge a company for a review of their product when I have personally been given a product to try myself and/or give away to my readers. The only time I charge is to publish promotional content or give my thoughts on a website or a service and that charge is simply for the time it takes me to review that and post about it. I do not charge inflated prices for this and more importantly, I will never accept payment for a post that does not offer relevant and worthy content to my readers, period. I gauge this decision by asking myself if a particular post would be something I would find helpful or informative were it published at another mom blog. Am I getting rich from this? Again, absolutely not. These posts are few and far between as of now and my personal content will always be what I am most interested in posting here.
Product Reviews- Yes, I do occasionally receive products from companies to review here on my blog. Again, what I accept to review has to be something I care about and is family friendly and worthy of a post. I do not charge for these posts where a product we can try/giveaway is received BUT some places I do reviews for do occasionally throw in a gift card as thank you along with the product. I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some great companies and haven’t received anything that has been a pure “dud” as far as products go and I think that is due to carefully considering what to accept to try. I don’t accept everything that is offered to me because sometimes I just can’t use it, period. More importantly, please know you will (and have) always read my honest opinion of any product I try, good or bad.
BUT….BUT….BUT…. (and this is where I have to roll my eyes at some of the uproar)
For crying out loud, PLEASE do your own research on things you read about on blogs and DO NOT buy a product just because “Becky Blogger” said to. I know bloggers are influential voices for products now more than ever, and this is not a bad thing. I’ve also ran across posts about women feeling duped because “Becky Blogger” said a certain crib/stroller/whatever that cost $300 was the bomb dot com and they went out and bought something that ended up being nothing but crap. It’s these stories I have to shake my head at because this is where common sense should come into play. My suggestion? Read as many reviews on a product as you can, and not just from bloggers who received the product for free. Go to the store and test it out if at all possible. And most importantly, make sure whatever you buy has a return policy you can personally live with. This is how we do things here at my house, whether it’s inexpensive or high end purchases.
So what DO I do with the money generated here at Mommy Cracked? If you’ve read my blog for a period of time, you know I like change. I would say that 99% of the money I receive here goes into paying another blogger for her time and talent to change my blog template or header. I also donate to various causes and things going on around the blogosphere and pay membership dues for other online forums I am a part of. So in a sense, any money I make goes right back into the great online pie in the sky. The products we receive are actually used by us and what we are finished using/have outgrown (books, clothing, etc.) is donated elsewhere. We do not live high on the hog here at the Cracked House because of my blog. (Just typing that made me laugh out loud) To make it in the real world my husband and I both work and don’t rely on anything from this blog to pay our way. This is simply a passionate hobby of mine with a few great perks, period.
The bottom line? If I have personally deceived any of my readers in any way from any reviews or informational posts I have made here because you didn’t know the facts behind it, I sincerely apologize. It was not my intention and after careful thought and consideration over many, many posts I’ve been reading in the blogosphere about disclosure, I have added a button in my link bar that says “Disclosure” where you will find my policy about it and this post. From here on out I will also put a small button that says “I Disclose” under any post in which some form of compensation was received, because I know this matters to some of you.
I would love to know your thoughts on disclosure, though. Please feel free to leave a comment. I promise I am reading and listening.