Just the other day, the New York Times got me ranting about Target, and now I find myself annoyed with Times. Yeesh!
If you read the popular beauty blogs, you are likely already familiar with the story. The New York Times ran an article (free registration required for reading), portraying beauty bloggers as women who exist to beg for swag, and who write as slaves to the product companies. The paper interviewed a number of popular and influential bloggers, several of whom have taken issue with the resulting article. The common theme among them is generally that the Times' reporter entered into the project with an agenda and practiced selective editing to meet a preplanned goal. Thus, statements from the bloggers were taken out of context and information was presented inaccurately.
Most of the bloggers interviewed have posted reactions: Beauty Addict, Bon Bons in the Bath, Jolie in NYC, Shake Your Beauty, and My Inner French Girl. A number of bloggers who were not interviewed have have also posted reactions. For example, you can read some more thoughts on the matter at: Sugar Shock, Beauty Blogging Junkie, Jack and Hill, Temptalia, Canadian Beauty, The Beauty of Life, Spoiled Pretty, The Life of a Ladybug, The 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic, The Non-Blonde, and even on the Beauty Blog Network Blog.
Those women cover the topic quite well, so I don't plan to dwell on it except to state a bit about my own freebie policy. First off, yes, I get freebies from various companies. I do not beg for them-- they tend to contact me--and I generally do not get swag of the types mentioned in the article. Trips to Paris? I wish!
I also strive to provide accurate reviews of products whether I purchased the items or received them for free. I do not promise positive reviews, and I have never been made to feel like a company would blacklist me or otherwise retaliate if I posted something negative about their product. Many of my reviews observe both up and downsides to any given product. Although I am frequently asked to do so, I do not accept compensation for reviews or for any substantive content on my sites. I do, however, have sidebar advertisers and use affiliate links.
I have never made a conscious effort to indicate when I received a product compared to when I purchased it. However, I do often mention that I "received" an item, meaning that it is a freebie, and I often mention where I made purchases. Thus, things are usually pretty transparent. I will try to do more of this, but in all honesty, I don't want my writing to become a formula that includes plugging in product disclosures simply because the Times decided to write a negative article. So here is what I ask. If as a reader, you ever want to know about where I got a product for review and it is not clear from the article, please feel free to leave a comment and ask. I will happily tell you!
Oh, and if I do ever really get some serious swag doing this, I'll let you know that as well. I don't do this for swag, but darn if I wouldn't accept it and enjoy it. I won't hold my breath waiting for it though.