Hold on to your knickers before they get in a twist and brace yourselves for my honest opinion of the ongoing 'bloggers and brands' saga and some of the responses to it. There's been a lot of discussions, blog posts and other such things around this topic over the past few months; more recently over the approach of a certain brand asking plus-size bloggers to contribute to their blog (for free). I'm not going to discuss the ins-and-outs of said request as most of you are probably familiar with it; if you're not (or otherwise want to read more about it) I'd recommend checking out Big Fashionista's post here which addresses some of the issues.
Anyway, I digress. There have been many mentions about bloggers only being interested in brands, payment, freebies and whatever else; because 'someone out there' decided that we're not allowed to operate in even remotely similar means to any normal business these 'interests' are viewed by some as a negative. This narrow-minded opinion that all bloggers are part of some homogeneous collective irritates me somewhat. However, it doesn't irritate me nearly as much as comments I have read that have implied that bloggers are stupid and/or naive to accept certain terms (writing for free, for example). Okay so none of this is personal and I haven't received any remarks aimed directly at me, but you may as well replace 'bloggers are' with 'I am' in the majority of cases where such comments can relate.
So in the interest of clarity, FYI-ness and generally getting things off my chest...
1) I am running a business. I may not write everything (like this post) from a business perspective but I am registered as self-employed. If I want to and I am able to earn money then I have every right to do so. Nobody has the right to dictate to anyone how they earn a living. I invest in my blog financially and I am sure that nobody would disagree with me at the very least recouping that investment through paid work (yeah, blog designs and hosting cost money y'know, they're not paid in internet fluff).
2) I am not stupid or naive. You have every right to have a different opinion or disagree with someone, but you do not have the right to imply that I am somehow wrong by doing it. I am a qualified administrator and by the end of this academic year will also be a graduate; I am by no means stupid. I have experience of working with national organisations and managing multi-agency events and meetings. Basically what I am trying to say is that if I choose to do something, I do so fully understanding what it is that I have committed to.
3) I am not 'all about the brands'. The sponsored posts and reviews of gifted items that I have done are few in comparison to my overall post count. I only undertake 'work' that is relevant to my blog and that I think my readers will find interesting/useful. Whilst my blog is a business, it is primarily a hobby and I do not rely on it as a source of income (although if I did, there's nothing wrong with that). At the end of the day if you don't like it, don't read it.
4) I am not responsible for maintaining the earnings of other bloggers. I've read on more than one occasion comments about people working for free meaning essentially that brands won't pay anyone for anything and that doing so is somehow 'undermining' the 'community'. Last time I checked I wasn't responsible for anyone's business strategy, pay check, blogging ethics or anything of the sort. If blogging isn't working out for you as a full-time means of income then I am genuinely sorry to hear that, but it isn't my fault.
5) I take the fact that anyone wants to work with me as a compliment, whether they're paying me in money or not. At the end of the day, if I couldn't write to some sort of reasonable standard I don't think it would be wrong to presume that brands wouldn't want to work with me.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that there's a whole load of opinions out there and people are entitled to have their own thoughts, but what is NOT okay is making mass presumptions about other people, their decisions and/or dismissing other people's opinions/decisions because they don't match yours. Period.