As a matter of course, I do not generally discuss serious topics or the dreaded "blogging about blogging" here (KILL MEEEEE!), but circumstances of late compel me to do so now.
I started this blog for one simple reason: I was bored on maternity leave with T. That's it. I always loved to write, and was a literature major. In the past, if something funny would transpire on my way to work, I would basically turn it into a play in eight acts which I'd then email to my friends. While on maternity leave, I had just discovered the existence of blogs. It was just me and T, all day every day, and while I loved spending time with my bebe, none of my other local friends had kids yet, and I felt like I was slowly losing myself. Once I began reading blogs in earnest, I felt as though I’d discovered a whole world of hilarious/heartrending all-around incredible writing, and I thought to myself, "You know? I miss writing. I think I can do this, too."
My blog sort of sucked at first, but I found my groove; it got better, and I gained readers. I built friendships. I got to express myself—as sappy as it sounds--and my little blog that only my mom and husband read at first gained steam.
While I had no delusions or grand aspirations of making this blog The Next Big Thing, I did (and do) work hard to make my blog as good as it can be. Yes, I post infrequently, but that’s solely because I only post when I feel that I have something to say. I truly envy the people who have the fortitude to post quality writing daily, but that's just not me. Regardless, I never publish any post without spending significant time refining it and ensuring I convey my point (be it a treatise on my being a working mom, or my poetic ode to Road House) without ensuring that I've written it to the best of my (limited) abilities.
The point of all this is to clarify something very important: That statement regarding the time and effort I spend on posts extends to any and all reviews or endorsements that I choose to do here and on my review blog. I feel it is imperative to convey this because somehow, a number of people are under the impression that reviewing products (and running ads) on your blog makes you a "sellout". Unbeknownst to me--at least until recently-- the image of the mommyblogger (and I fucking hate that word) standing there with greedy hands out, mindlessly grasping for freebies and cash is apparently and unfortunately out there, and while I cannot and would not presume to speak for a group, I will do whatever small part I can to eradicate that by sharing with you my own policies related thereto.
As my blog has grown, I've been approached more and more frequently by companies/publishers wanting me to review products. I can unequivocally tell you that I say no far more often than I say yes. When I say yes, it’s not because I know in advance that I can give a favorable review about the product, but rather, that it's something I need/want/am interested in knowing more about. I work full time, have a husband and two small children. The majority of my time is devoted to my family and my job. This blog is a hobby, and a fun one at that. Why on earth would I waste MY precious free writing time and the time of a company taking something I know I don't need or want for the sake of having a "control group" of reviews, or some such shit? Or taking something I've used in the past and dislike? Isn't THAT problematic and disingenuous? Isn't my time far better spent accepting items from a company whose products I stand a chance of liking? And isn’t my time far better spent crafting posts about things I’ve enjoyed? To those who believe that acceptance of a product tacitly guarantees a favorable review, I direct you to my most recent post on my review blog. I don't bullshit just because I get something for free. That post is a prime example of an honest review. It contains positive points, yes, but it also contains detailed descriptions of issues and problems I had with the site that I was reviewing. It was done in a respectful, courteous manner, though, and I’m therefore satisfied with both the review and my personal integrity.
Furthermore, I stand behind everything I post, in terms of content, as well as quality. I have never and will never post a review or recommendation written in what I believe to be, for me, a subpar fashion, all but saying, “ProductXwassosuperterrificcanIpleasehavemymoneynowthanks.”I worry over each sentence in a review post in precisely the same way that I do a standard blog post. They’re my words, and I don’t want to look bad. And in the interest of full disclosure, I also always ensure that reviews are clearly marked as such, and convey whether or not I was paid and/or received free product in exchange for my post. The bottom line is that I will always write honest reviews. It is the prerogative of the company whether or not they choose to use them.
As for running ads on my blog, I don’t feel that I’ve compromised myself or given up a piece of my blog to have them. For instance, it’s clear that I occasionally curse on this blog. Certain advertisers won’t run ad campaigns on blogs that use expletives. Does that mean fewer ad revenue dollars for me here and there? Certainly. But I’m not going to censor myself over that. Say what you will about me, but I like getting a check every month from my ads. It affords me the opportunity to BUY EXTRANEOUS SHIT THAT I WANT. And I have absolutely no problem admitting that.
Blogs are by definition personal, so as I indicated above, I’m speaking only for myself here. I know that when we leave our blogs open to the public, we subject ourselves to judgment and scrutiny. To that end, I felt compelled to share with you my own experience and policies about products, reviews, and ads. To the extent that someone still thinks that people like me are sellouts or whores for free products and money, by mere virtue of the fact that we do reviews or have ads on our sites, so be it. But once I realized that impression existed out there AT ALL, I felt compelled to do what I could to clarify where I personally stand on this matter.