Kath’s earlier post about freebies on blogs got me thinking. Word on the street is that the Federal Trade Commission is about to lay down some strict laws about how bloggers can review/endorse products on their blogs (which — FYI — I think is a ridiculous and borderline Big Brother). Here’s another article about the issue that a reader named Whitney passed onto me.
Given the fact that this is a rather hot button issue right now, I wanted to state loud and clear on the blog my thoughts:
The FedEx man and I are BFFs for life. I get various products from companies mailed to me about twice a week. Why? Well, some companies stumble upon my blog and think it would be a great way to do some social media marketing so they contact me directly. However, most of the time, I get freebies because I e-mail the company and ask for a product to review. I do this because: 1) I’m a married gal living on a tight budget to put my Husband through medical school, and without free samples, my eats would be boring! And 2) I know you guys like learning about new products.
Furthermore, there are certain companies that I think are doing great things with their wealth and power, so I like to support them. For example, I love Stonyfield because they are organic and donate 10% of their profits to non-profits that help the environment. Similarly, I like to support local restaurants and shops, so I often take pictures of their signs and hyperlink back to their site.
When I tell you guys about a website (like this morning when I talked about Breaking the Tape), it is either because 1) I stumbled upon the website and thought it was worth sharing or 2) The website e-mailed me to tell me about their site, I checked it out, and then I thought it was worthy of sharing (examples include Racevine or Fresh Air Fund).
Trust me, I’m not a sell-out. I get requests from companies that I do not support and I say "Thanks, but no thanks." Or, if I receive a product and it’s not up to par, I say so. Product review requests don’t mean, "I’ll send you my product if you say it rocks." It means, "Please check out my product and give me your honest opinion." Similarly, sometimes I get requests from websites to be featured on the blog and it doesn’t strike my fancy, so I say no.
I almost always remember to tell you that a product is a sample the first time it is featured on the blog. Kath pointed out that it would be repetitive and difficult to state every time the product was on the blog that it was a sample. So, I usually state it the first time. Unless this is a major issue for people, I don’t really want to change this operating procedure because it’s the least time-consuming for me (and you all know I don’t have much time).
….Which leads me to a disclosure statement about the Healthy Living Summit. To host this event, the planning committee approached our favorite companies and asked for sponsorship. We would have never agreed to be a sponsored by a company that we didn’t feel was in line with our ideals as bloggers.
So, the Summit is being sponsored by Stonyfield, Foodbuzz, and Zesty Cook. This means that they gave us a LOT of money to host the summit (tickets are only $30 because the sponsors were so generous). As part of this sponsorship, I am asked to eat certain things and mention the sponsors several times a week. I have no problem doing this because 1) I feel the sponsors are all good companies with excellent products and 2) this sponsorship agreement has allowed us to give you a great Summit.
Furthermore, Nasoya is sponsoring my activities when I am in Boston. This means they have given me a stipend to enjoy while I am traveling. I agreed to this sponsorship because, first of all, we did not save any of the Summit budget for said expenses while in Boston because we wanted to give YOU the best Summit possible. (Note: we are not making money off the Summit. I think this is obvious but I just wanted to reiterate it.) Secondly, I accepted the Nasoya sponsorship because I spent about 5 – 15 hours a week (unpaid) for the last four months planning the Summit. And last, I LOVE Nasoya tofu and am proud to be affiliated with the company.
I’ll end this (long) post by saying that I really do not understand why people are in such a tizzy about giveaways/sponsorships on blogs, as long as the bloggers are honest with their readers and do not sell out to get a lot of free stuff. Sponsorships and giveaways have allowed me to bring YOU a better blog (in my opinion).
I will always respect your rights as consumers by being up front and honest with you regarding any agreements I have with companies.
**Update: I have created a Featured Products page, which you can also access via my FAQs **
I think you are totally right!!