Another post was going to go up today, but that has since been rescheduled in favor of my take on #BloggerBlackmail.
I may be slow on the uptake, but I didn't want to jump aboard the bandwagon before I could fully formulate my thoughts. In this fast moving world, by today the hype may have already died down and is totally yesterday's news, but I think it brings up some pretty important issues within the blogging community at large.
So, if you're not a UK blogger or you've been living under a rock, I'll recap the details. Basically, a little local London patisserie (which sells amazing looking cakes, btw) called Anges de Sucre had a blogger approach them for a review. They invited said blogger along and there seemed to be a dispute over what the blogger expected to be given and what was given to her in exchange for her review. Anges de Sucre explains that they gave her a gift box in addition to some hot drinks, whilst the blogger states that they were only giving her two teas and expected her to buy any other treats. What ensued was the blogger taking to Instagram to slate the business and their products and then the business, in turn, naming and shaming the blogger.
You can read Anges de Sucre's take on the issue here and the blogger's here.
But who was really in the wrong? Should bloggers expect freebies as compensation for their time when they so often are not paid for their work? Should business expect bloggers to pay for their services to review to in turn bring in more business? The blogosphere seemed split, however it is pretty clear from networking (and my own personal policy) that most bloggers don't work with brands for free. And any brand that asks you to put out your own money to give them extra publicity typically earns their email a prize spot in the bin.
The issue to me seems pretty plain: miscommunication and childish behavior on both of their ends. If the blogger expected a certain compensation, she should have stated it from the outright. However, if the bakery did, indeed, not offer any compensation other than hot drinks, that is a bit ridiculous. You cannot expect someone to come to a party you have invited them to and then be requested to purchase items. I understand that a lot of people feel as though bloggers are greedy, but I don't feel that is the case. As bloggers, we are often invited to a variety of places during the week. Those of us who hold other jobs or do other things with our time do need to be compensated in some way for attending. It's not that attending parties is a chore, but when you're invited to several at once, it simply isn't possible to pay out of pocket for every little thing.
The thing is, as bloggers, no matter how small or "insignificant" we are (Ange de Sucres was pretty charming in calling anyone with a smaller following "irrelevant") can be a huge asset to brands, particularly the ones we love and have an ongoing relationship with. Although I've never invited myself to an event, I don't think Ange de Sucres should have accepted had they not been willing to compensate. But I also don't think the blogger should have complained about it in such a public manner.
TheDrum.com put it nicely with, "Bloggers can be huge brand assets. When you get the right blogger paired with the right brand it is a beautiful thing. It shouldn’t just be about one-off reviews, but an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship where that blogger becomes a brand ambassador. Someone who promotes the brand organically not because they are continually being compensated in some way, but because they truly love the brand."
In the end, they were both trying to take each other's business down and for what? £100 and a childish vendetta? Please!
In the end, bloggers shouldn't work for free, but shouldn't be demanding freebies either. And I'm afraid both came out of the situation losers (despite the fact that those macarons look really effing good) and extremely unprofessional....not to mention difficult to work with to boot.
What are your thoughts?