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Are companies taking advantage of Bloggers?

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cartoonDear General Mills,

I am not sure I would make statements like this anymore:

Overall, the program resulted in 5 million total impressions and over 8,000 comments with no media costs. (General Mills does not buy ads on blogs, Witt said.)

1) First off, Mr. Witt (Can I call you Dimwitt? Oh, your used to it? Great.) You do buy ads on blogs. Or you employ companies that buy ads on blogs….I know because you owned a space on my blog for a mere $500 a month for a span of 3 months. You know that whole Fruit Rollups campaign? Hello, down here, measly blog you purchased on. So your either lying or ignorant of your own statements. Either way…not so flattering. Get out of your leather chair, join twitter, and realize you’re a moron. Kthanxbai.

2) Number two…Making an official statement like this is beyond me. The whole article comes off as a slap in the face to bloggers. You clearly claim that the 5 million hits from the blogs you got for sending out some $3 can of yogurt have larger circulation to many (ah hem-currently dying) newspaper circulations, but also state you had no media costs. Thanks for the wake-up call, I appreciate that. (want to tell General Mills how you feel? Go here)

Listen up you corporate pigs: If you keep talking crap about the hand that blogs for you, pretty soon bloggers are going to wise up and stop being taken advantage of. In fact, you should not just be employing PR, who by the way still send pitches like “Dear Tammy” “Dear (Fill in the name)” and “I would love for you to blog about this motorcycle” to our blog, you should be employing a professional blogger or a blogging team to school you on what your doing wrong and how to start doing it right. My consult fee starts at $75 an hour, which is cheaper than my ad costs, toss me an email. But not you General Mills. Your fee is $125 an hour because I have a feeling I am going to have to talk slower.

Bloggers, Read this article, GET A CLUE and get it fast.

Social media has not passed us.  Its not something that started 10 years ago and we are snorting around for some breadcrumbs to feed our empty stomachs. Its the present and its the future. Companies are creating army’s of PR reps and focus groups to deal with US.  If we don’t put together some rules on what we are doing with our blogs to work with PR and corporations, we are shooting ourselves in the virtual head.

Stop selling yourself short. You are worth something. This isn’t about disclosure, it’s about business. Your time, your space, your marketing. Bloggers need to understand how many skills they have. Companies would have to hire 10 people to have as much professional knowledge that is floating around our blog. Blogging moms own webcams, video cameras, digital cameras, websites, they create graphics from ground up, slogans, html, scripting, they belong to Ning, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Digg, Stumbleupon, and hang on forums with other bloggers. We created these communities of which we live in and are so influential.

WE DID.

No one called me up and said ‘hey trisha, I need you to create an entire community of bad ass bloggers that fall between 25-34 and are women (the buying power of america)“…but I did, and so have you all. Now everyone wants it. Know why? Cause it works. These links, these referrals, these reviews, and these giveaways are powerful. Companies can’t just create a forum and expect us all to show up and swoon over a jar of spaghetti sauce. But a mom can do it.

Unfortunately, right now bloggers are pretty much equivalent to a woman in an abusive relationship that keeps going back over and over again. But not for the kids…..for the freaking yogurt cups.

I think its really awesome that PR and bloggers have met…but they are not meeting in the middle….as a blogger I’m way over here on the left side being smothered-and unpaid. The PR and the corporate offices are pushing products down our throat and it just doesn’t taste that good anymore. It feels like they expect me to not only work for free, but to be happy that someone wants to give me a TV dinner to give away. If you give me that tv dinner in a hotel for 4 in the South of France, I am all ears. If I can go to Walmart and buy it for $3.50, I am insulted.

Maybe its the condescending attitude, maybe its the unappreciation, maybe its the freaking 5 MILLION hits with NO MEDIA costs that piss me off, but bloggers need to virtually unionize and set some personal standards.

Over on the MomDot forum a blogger recently posted that she was pitched by a company and offered a $25 dollar gift card to pick out an item from their site to review. The problem was that 95% of the items cost over $25. so she would be out of pocket. The kicker? They also wanted a YEAR LONG TEXT LINK on her sidebar.

Snort.

Are you done laughing yet?

Of course its not all bad. I have some amazing PR Reps. AMAZING ones. They know who they are. They offer us great opportunities, we are the first ones they contact for paying positions, and they don’t take advantage of who we are. They stick around long enough to realize we have a job, they have a job and it makes us both really happy. Actually, I really do love most of our PR.

But the companies behind the PR have to stop smoking the crack pipe.

Reward us for our loyalty and buy some ads. Send bloggers to conventions. Support the women that support YOUR company. Holy crap, we not only buy from you now, we advertise you for free.

Do you know that MomDot worked with Dyson (which happens to be a product I used and loved well before being a blogger) to create a mom panel that included an opp to test a vacuum and then receive one for free. Dyson did not pay us to do that. They did not pay us for our graphics involved (which another blogger donated to us, a skilled blogger), they didn’t pick up the hosting, they didn’t do one iota of advertising for it. We did. I really wanted to help bloggers have a chance to work with Dyson so I took it. Now when BlogHer came around I asked them for a sponsorship. Nope. Not one penny.  Lesson learned for me…Gravy train has left the mashed potato mountain.

My blog is not a charity case that is interested in peddling wares to make myself feel accepted and happy that I was acknowledged . But you can guarantee if you see a giveaway on this site I have a special relationship or reason its here or its an ad space.

These are the ways you can get on my blog:

  • 1) You can piss me off
  • 2) You can buy editorial or ad space
  • 3) You can be a mom company or blogger that I am interested in sharing cause you kick ass
  • 4) We can have a mutually beneficial relationship of bartering

That’s it.

You know, come to think of it, maybe the heart problem is stress related. Blog stress related from watching all the bloggy abuse. Someone sue them if I die. Or blog about it and link your text link to “killed a blogger” for me.

Oh, and for the record General Mills …these are no follow links. Hire a blogger and figure out what that means.

~Trisha

 

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Comments

  1. smart socal mom says:

    I SOOOOO agree with this blog. In my neck of the woods every “mom blogger” kisses Disneyland’s Ass so they can feel like they are media and go to “special events” mean while Disneyland never spends any money advertising with them only throwing them little bones here and there and making them feel special. It is true that these companies suck but it is also true that there are many many many bloggers out there that don’t know squat about business and will continue to be corporate puppets. This does not apply to real bloggers that blog out of interest and passion.

  2. Um.

    Can I kiss you?

    Amazing!

  3. In this age of safe-speak it sure is refreshing to read your candid, honest opinions in this article. While I’m not a mom, I have one and am married to one and sent them both the link to your site so they can participate in this community.

    Good job!

  4. So true! Thanks for speaking out.

    For more affirmation that you are spot on, read “What’s a Friend Worth” in this week’s issue of BUSINESS WEEK(one of the last print periodicals I still read.) Corporations are paying huge money to social science/marketing companies that track interconnected relationships, to learn which networks and blogs connect like-minded people. Why, then, would they financially ignore the value of the bloggers who write the content that draws the readers?

    Writing is the tool that moves information and makes connections. It’s hugely valuable.

    You rock. Stand up for your value.

  5. You’re my new hero.:D

  6. Dear Tammy, (just kidding)

    Speaking as someone who’s on the corporate/marketing side of the equation, I think you’ve really encapsulated the changing mood of everyone involved in “blogger outreach” for companies like General Mills.

    I think there will always be a need for case studies that quote traffic stats and such, otherwise a large chunk of old-schoolers will simply never give us the resources we need to make these projects more rewarding for both sides.

    But I think the onus is also on us in marketing/PR/whatever to explain to corporations that this isn’t about exploiting popular bloggers for free coverage. It’s about finally proving that brands actually care as much for their customers as their ads say they do.

    I’ve got a lot more to say, but I won’t clutter up your comments. You’ve given me (and a whole lot of other people) a ton to think about. Thanks for your candid writeup and for prodding a conversation that needed to happen.

  7. Wow! I like you! Nice job!

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