I have one rule for myself when it comes to accepting paid insertions and sponsors on this blog. If I wouldn’t be happy to recommend them to my family and I won’t do it. I trust that you, my readers understand that. If I make a mistake, I’ll admit it. If I’m out of line, call me on it. But don’t ever question my ability to monitor my own behaviour and level of integrity.

Not that you have. I’m just saying.

I actually think too much gets made of this whole issue. Transparency of paid posts and mentions etc. I think a blogger who sets up a blog for the sole purpose of selling things to readers would be better off setting up an eBay shop. Simply put, real is what matters here. In this world, you won’t be given much time if you’re not honest, real and genuine. You’ll be found out and unearthed sooner or later. Probably named and shamed.

It’s a given that people should be told if you have received money for a post. I also think that you should mention if you’ve received items for free. But let me be very clear to whomever is out there that the product or brand would not be here if I wouldn’t happily promote the same thing for free. These days, I choose not to, that’s all. Sometimes I do and people assume it’s paid content.

Genuine is the crux I think. Do I genuinely shop with the brands I work with on this blog. YES. Absolutely. Do I investigate the products and brands to the best of my ability with the information available at the time, for sure. Am I the first to discuss if there is an issue. You bet on it. I am an open book because I charge people money for space on here. I have to be open.

What say you Sugers?

  • I think when starting out we all do things a little trial and error. So far I haven’t charged and at one stage was doing loads of reviews of products and receiving the product for free. I got over that pretty quickly and now just review something I like. I’m coming to the point where I want to charge and then I will always disclose this. Even when receiving the free sample I would say I was sent it but time has taught me it’s better to be clear then assume your readers know what you have and haven’t been paid for.

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      It can be a time consuming process, sometimes charging can sort the wheat from the chaff {errr, farm reference – Ha!}. Clear and honest communication is key.

  • I think I am yet to come across a blog who is not being upfront about this – but maybe that’s because I read the most awesome of blogs. My blog is tiny (grow little bloggy, grow!) So I do not have advertising yet but am totally open to it (and agree would only want to endorse products I would use or actually recommend in real life.) I just added three affiliate links to my blog but all of them are to something I believe in and have been useful to me (and still are). Love your blog Suger, and it’s pretty obvious you are a genuine blogger with loads of integrity. 

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Thank you. And I believe that if someone was being shady, they would be found out. Sooner or later.

  • Deborah Cook

    I haven’t had the opportunity to work with brands yet, but am keen to… but I’m so honest and blunt it’d be hard for me to not be genuine or work with a product I didn’t support myself!


    • Melissa Walker Horn

      I think this will serve you well.

  • stinkb0mb

    if you’re happy doing what you do – who cares what anyone else thinks? i have to ask though, why so many bloggers of late [and in the past] feel the need to write posts like this? why do YOU [and everyone else who writes them] feel the need to justify what YOU do on YOUR blog? why do you feel the need to explain your choices to anyone?

    be brave, write what YOU want on YOUR blog. people will either read it or they won’t. people will like what you say or they won’t. some may send you emails deriding you for what you’ve written about but honestly why would you care what someone who you will never likely meet and who will never likely read your blog again, thinks about what you choose to write about?

    own your words, your thoughts and your choices, what brands you choose to work with, either paid or unpaid – without feeling the need to justify them because really you don’t need to justify them, as your words, your choices, they’re your right to own them, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

    with that being said – i’m not a fan. i don’t judge people who choose to work with brands, to do reviews, to enter comps and then flog that comp and ask people to vote for them, that’s their choice but does it make me stop reading? yes, even if it’s just those posts. i’ve taken a huge step back from the blogosphere because i just got so sick of reading “vote for me”, “buy this”, “try this”. that’s not blogging for me BUT that’s just me and we’re all different.

    you’re genuine Suger, as long as you stay genuine, you’ll be fine, regardless of what you blog about.


    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Thanks Rach. All great input. 🙂

  • sheribombblog

    Having only just put paid advertising onto my blog, I wanted to be very clear about this kind of thing too. In a post, I introduced the advertisers including why I like them and why I think my readers might also like them too. I was very clear that the only products or brands that will be given space in MY space are ones that I fully believe in, support, trust and have experience with myself.In regards to what Stinkbomb bought up in terms of why we feel the need to justify, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me it’s because my blog space is a very personal space and value very highly the people that visit it and the community of regular readers and commentors. I would hate for them to feel like I am trying to force something down their throats because I actually care about them! If I was sitting, chatting with a friend in my loungeroom and was banging on and on and ON, raving about a product or brand that I loved they would probably wonder if I’d just become a rep or something. Of course you would assure them that you’re not trying to suck them into a pyramid scheme and that in fact, they should try this product too because you think it would really help them. It seems natural to me that as bloggers we recieve support off brands we love and we in turn support them back. But it also seems natural to want to remain transparent to our readers. Often, readers think that a bloggers voice may change once they get on board with commercial brands and products, I don’t think it does any harm to assure your readers that just because you now offer paid advertising doesn’t mean every second post is going to be a stuffy product review. I HATE that! Gauranteed to stop me reading a blog. So I’d definitely want to explain to my readers that hat certianly wasn’t going to happen.

    But that’s just me.

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      All great. Thanks so much for sharing Sheri. Great!

  • rinniez13

    I have just contacted a brand that i aleady use and love and been sent a free sample of a new product. I cant wait to try it out and then post my honest experience using it! I chose to contact the brand myself because I wanted to share their great products with my readers, the free product is just an added bonus and if i hadnt been sent it, I probably would have bought it and blogged it anyway. Its definately important to only share brands you actually use and love.

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Agreed! Good luck with your review.

  • I have a confession to make – I can only be open and honest. Not just about brands or products, about everything. It’s one of my most loved (and hated) traits. Also – I genuinely  like working with brands and products, probably becasue I used to work in marketing. It has occured to me that if I wasn’t so compelled to be open and honest then I would have been more succesful in my career, but now that I am a blogger, I don’t feel the need to curb this impulse. I feel more strongly than ever that I must remain genuinely myself.

    I’ve been doing a few product reviews and giveaways lately, and although the stats are great for them, the comments are almost non existant, which leads me to believe that people might think I am ‘selling out’ and are reacting to that. This won’t stop me doing product reviews, because I like doing them, and it’s my blog. MINE. I will continue to be open and honest with my opinions about everything.

    Sorry peeps, that’s just how I roll.

    • Melissa Walker Horn

      Ha. No apology necessary. Your space, your way. Full stop! I enjoy your reviews. I read them all at once rather than click through daily or whatever, BUT I always come through and read them sooner or later.