Ok, ok, I know this one has been done to death, but a Twitter interaction last night has caused me some angst, and I want to do one last post, to set the record straight, to reassure some people, or just to dispel the attitude once and for all that bloggers who do regular product reviews are somehow the cockroaches of the blogging world.

What are blaggers?

A lot has been said about bloggers who approach PR’s for free product, in return for a review on their site. They have been labelled ‘blaggers.’ The Oxford Online Dictionary defines blagging as obtaining something by deception or guile. I take issue with those using the term to judge other bloggers, for the following reasons:

  1. Bloggers do not usually deceive PR’s. They may ask for free product to review, but PR’s do not have to oblige.
  2. PR’s know what they are doing when they offer a product for review. They have been in the game a while, and they know the deal.
  3. Bloggers offer the PR something in exchange – a window to their readership, free marketing. There is no deception here.
  4. Those who review are usually open and honest about their motives. There is no guile here.
  5. PR’s are grown-ups. They can say no. They are not naive.

Finally, before I hit publish on an angry post, I want to point out that I rarely do reviews. (Update Aug 2013, I do a few these days but the following statements still stand). Β If approached by a product ambassador for something which I can personally experience and talk about (remember here that I am 7, my brother is 4 – vouchers for discount bars are not really up our street, and yes, we have been offered those), I will write an honest opinion and state that my post is sponsored. If I did do a lot of reviews, I would be a review blogger, and not a blog cockroach. And provided I did that honestly, there would be nothing to criticise me for.

Please stop using this stupid word to denigrate other bloggers. It is not nice, it is not fair, and it is not accurate. #TheEnd

47 thoughts on “Blaggers”

  1. Very well said hun, I have been put off slightly from blogging, got a little too much for me last year, I forgot why I started so took a complete break.
    I am happy to slowly get back to blogging my way, which is just doing a online diary that I happen to share and if I chose to do a review then that is my choice and honest opinion too!
    Thanks for setting the world straight and you really are a very loquaicious 7 year old πŸ˜‰

  2. We all blog for our own reasons and no one should be criticised for how they blog. Sadly the negatve stuff has always gone on and always will. The one thing I’ve learnt is find your own way of doing things and stick to it no matter what! (and ignore the horrible stuff)

    • Thanks Emily. Still grates though when someone accuses you directly, and those with lower confidence could be badly-affected by it. That makes me feel bad so I just wish everyone could stop it πŸ™

    • Great comments from everyone and not surprising as this is a great post. The Mummy Blogger/Blagger argument is old and tired now. PR’s want to advertise their products so why shouldn’t we do it provided we openly say that we are doing it?

      I do lots of product reviews and sponsored posts and I am proud of it, I have been through various stages where I thought about giving it up because of the stigma attached but why should i? I enjoy doing product reviews and it’s MY blog, my stats are still on the up so obviously my readers aren’t unhappy with that.

  3. My site is sometimes quite heavily review based but then again I may write other types of posts. Depends on how I am feeling and as it’s my space I hold the view that that’s my decision and no I don’t like the word either πŸ™‚

  4. well said! I used to work as marketing assistant for a company that distributed nursery and baby products and we were actively seeking bloggers at times for certain products – occasionally we were approached for stuff and we would look at blog/ stats etc carefully and if they seemed right we might send some goods for review – if not we politely declined. We weren’t offended it was just business.
    I have done a couple of reviews but not that keen on doing them so I’m getting pickier – I’ve never approached anyone – it’s all been offered.

  5. Well said….and also, if your readers thought you were taking the piss (sorry I know you’re only seven, but my 7yo knows all sorts of naughty words), then they are free to go elsewhere. I say take what you can for whatever you are comfortable doing. There’s a lot of other bloggers starting up that would do it, so you can too. And no, I do not feel one little bit guilty for what little stuff I have been given in exchange for solid webspace which I work hard to create. Bollocks to the critics (sorry again).

  6. Agree with you – reviewing products is no more blagging if you do it on a blog than it is if you do it for a newspaper or magazine. And no-one would ever call a reviewer who goes to first nights of all the top shows in London for the Evening Standard a blagger would they?? x

  7. Well said. I get annoyed, as I have done several review posts just for my own enjoyment. I didn’t get anything free, I didn’t get paid, and I didn’t even get much notice. For me, the point is to 1/ give my opinion so others may benefit and 2/ possibly get more traffic to my blog by reviewing something that someone may be searching for. My Fisher Price post has generated thousands of hits in the last month or so.

    That said, I have also been offered several free products and/or payment recently, and I have only taken on ONE post. And it was one I believe in wholeheartedly and didn’t feel bad about being sponsored for.

    Those who badmouth reviewers are ill informed. End of.

  8. Not much left to add except keep your reviews going, they are helpful to others and there is a certain trust and honesty in the mummy blogging world that makes a review a worthwhile read.

  9. I’m all over the place on whether I want to do reviews. I have done two and it was a lot of work for not a lot of reward. I have accepted to do another for something that is of little monetary value, but I actually enjoy the product (it’s baked goods, what’s not to like?!) and I was looking for a bit of blog fodder so I agreed.

    I find that some people criticise bloggers for even doing one review, saying that we’ve sold out, that it should be about the writing. I have to justify to my husband why I spend so much time on my blog and having a few perks/small advertising income generated from the endeavour helps me in that regard.

    The jury’s still out for me on the whole thing, but I know one thing. It’s my blog, and if I choose to do a review (with honesty and integrity), then that’s my choice. If someone chooses to unfollow me because of it, well that’s his/her choice also.

  10. well said that there girl…….but are you saying that (hypothetically speaking) if someone were to offer, saaaaaay some tins of gin, for example, you would say no?

    If you do can you please send them my way, cheers!

  11. Did someone call you a cockroach GG?

    Do you want me and the Bug to get them for you?

    Every your protector

    Little Rhino

    Ps The bug is not a cockroach bug, I always think of him as a little beetle bug x

  12. I am a blogger and I review things, things I have bought myself and things I have got from a company in exchange for a review. All my opinions are honest and I put some time in testing and producing the review.

    Do I contact PR companies? Yes! Do I beg for freebies? No! I simply ask whether they work with bloggers and that’s it. I certainly don’t ask for freebies! I now get approached by PR companies more than I contact them.

    I see my blog as something to do in my spare time, I am a full-time mum and I sometimes need to do things other than entertaining my little girl (when she is asleep, busy drawing etc).

  13. Well said hunny.

    Yes I’m a blogger and I have done heaps of reviews but are nothing compared to the amount I daily turn down. I am picky, if its relevant and I can use it or my family can then I’m happy to write about it however I don’t sell on these items so if they have no use to me then I will say NO – simple as.

    I honestly don’t think these people have an idea of what goes into writing a review or into writing a blog.

  14. Hi AM, I had a crazy December so missed all this Twitter blogger/blagger stuff but have since seen a few people discussing it.

    I don’t tend to do regular product reviews, mostly because I don’t have the time to post as often as I would like to, so when I do get some propler blog time in, I like to write my own stuff.

    However, when I am invited to advanced screenings of films that I want to see anyway, that are being held in swish hotels with canapes and wine provided… then I make the time obvs πŸ˜‰

    However, my view is that it is of no concern to anyone else what someone chooses to write about on their own personal blog. It’s your space.

    And, are emails from ‘blaggers’ to PRs requesting to review products any less annoying than emails from brands asking bloggers to review products? If I am not interested, I just press delete…
    I do hope someone wasn’t being mean to you on twitter xx

  15. I like to read reviews! If the product interests me I’ll read, if not I’ll go read something else. It is a big, big internet out there… always something else to read. All the bloggers I read that do reviews are very open about the fact that it is paid/ or a free product or whatever. I don’t see anything wrong with it – their blog, their choice of content, right?

  16. Good point well made. Time for a confession. I’m an ex-PR (beauty, how very cerebral) As a consumer, I would far rather read a review from a like-minded blogger, or a consumer on a site like Amazon, over taking the word of a journalist that a product is as good as they say it is. I won’t go into more detail – I may need to worm my way back into the industry if the writing career ever falters!! As long as the blogger is up front about the nature of their review, where is the harm? Consumer reviewing is where it is at and it is here to stay. If you don’t like it, skip to another blog, it’s not like there’s a shortage.

  17. Well I learned something new from your post. I had never heard of blaggers. I would hate to have people who are real bloggers critique my blog. I’m just an armature with no talent but for some reason I enjoy doing it. I hope you enjoy blogging also and just ignore what others say. I believe all Moms are heroes. I blogged for books until I found out it was work. I enjoy reading book reviews. Keep up the good work. Doylene

  18. Crikey! That image nearly had me swatting the computer screen… ewww! Anyhoo, before I make a “significant purchase” I always google product reviews to find out what “real people” think. And I’ve started writing them too and enjoy it. Also, did you know that two of the Wiggles (Anthony and Jeff) were members of a popular Australian band in the 1980’s called the Cockroaches? #randomfactoftheday

    • Holy moly that’s worse than the Jitterbug (get it? Oh ok I know it was corny!)
      It is pretty much becoming the norm now, which is why it makes me so mad that people get on their high horse about it. It puts PR’s in a bad light too, as it makes the assumption that they are being taken for a ride by deceitful bloggers. Somehow I think PR’s can handle themselves!

  19. I missed this first time around. Thanks to SussexMummy for the RT. I’ve also been refered to as a blagger for doing a few reviews, and I’m fed up of bloggers still being seen as blaggers. I’ve not had high value items like buggies or holidays, but if I was offered it I’d accept it πŸ™‚ I’ve only asked for things a couple of times, got a few polite “no thanks” replies but I also got waterproof bedding, not glamorous I know, but I couldn’t afford it then and my son had a bed wetting stage. So I asked, not one but two companies and they both said yes. I hope I’vehelped those brands though, as bedwetting is a common search now on my stats.
    I’m not ashamed, and I’ve been honest all along, and disclose its a review in return for a free item. But is it really “free” when I take photos, write a few posts, share on various social media etc for a Β£25 item. I’m sure if you looked at these things as an hourly rate then us bloggers that review do “earn” the occasional “tester” item.

    • Exactly. Most of us work hard when we are given a product or service to review. It is a transaction, where both sides benefit. There are a few who are in it for the wrong reasons, but for the most part, reviewing is a useful way for a brand to get their product talked about. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that.

  20. I was a newbie blogger when this all kicked off before and I had never been offered a review so it all went over my head. That said, I was always of the opinion that if its mutually beneficial who dates!
    Fast forward almost two years and I am lucki enough to be offered reviews regularly. Sometimes I turn them down if they’re not suitable but mostly I accept them. I am a childminder and a variety of toys is always beneficial – I always disclose its a review and I work hard to make sure it’s accurate, honest with lots of photos…….I take pleasure in my reviews and puts lot of effort in which takes time!
    I hate the term blagger and completely agree with what you say – I have approached a company or PR before, sometimes they say no, sometimes they’ll offer me a discount and sometimes they will give me a product……but I know I will spend a lot of my free time to promote it for them!

    • I think most of us do a good job as you say. Rash generalisations and labels aren’t helpful to anyone. Didn’t know you’d only been blogging 2 years!

  21. Missed this first time round, but great post. Like you back in the day, I do very few reviews and will only review things which are of genuine interest to my family. That way I am being completely honest in my reviews. This is the important thing. I am not lying to anyone or deceiving them – nor am I making anyone give me anything for nothing! Now, I need to write that school shoes review…

    • Exactly, and I think the professionally done reviews are the ones that will get read. And those done by reviewers who are professional. Two different things!

    • Do you know what, when someone is persistently critical and rude of others, I tend to believe it’s about them, not me. Somewhere along the line they’ve picked up an insecurity, probably in this case that you’re doing well, and they don’t want to hand over any of their percentage of success to you. Very small-minded.

  22. So incredibly true, and these reviews involve a lot of work! Anyway, I was always told to worry more about what I was doing, rather than what others were. πŸ˜€

  23. Each to their own, my blog my choice, your blog your choice, whether I read your blog- my choice! Blogging is a funny thing, I personally had NO idea you could ‘get stuff’ when I started, and I have had some wonderful opportunities for my family through it, but those opportunities only come because I work hard at making my blog interesting, well sometimes interesting, well, OK, I fill it with nonsense- but that nonsense is HARD WORK sometimes! Haha!

    • Good point. Do as you see fit, and let PR’s and bloggers come to their own conclusions. If you’re happy and not hurting anyone, that’s all that matters πŸ™‚


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