I got an invitation today afternoon to attend some opening party or something by a new local startup. At first I thought it was cool. Its nice to see people embracing the new media. Although I got an appointment that day, I thought maybe I could pop by to check things out first before heading over to my appointment, since its just nearby.
The person in charge was talking to me on MSN. Funny, instead of emailing me, he choose to use MSN. Anyway, I had a short conversation with him. I felt abit uneasy when he ask me to email him once I’ve blogged about their company and he will send me the invite. No blog, no invite.
I turn down the offer politely and explained my reasons for doing so.
It is easy for me to write about a company or service to get a ticket to a free party with food, wine etc etc. I don’t lose any money by writing stuff on my blog. But how would my readers feel if I’m writing something about a company just to get benefits from them? How many readers will still read my reviews after discovering that I’m getting benefits for writing good words?
I want to write about things that I feel is worth mentioning. Things that I feel my readers would be interested in, or at least things that I’m interested in. I’m not saying that company is not good or anything. I mean that I still don’t know that company well enough to judge it. Its too early for me to decide if I want to blog about that company or not. That why I turn down the offer.
Freebies offered to bloggers should not come with any strings attached. As a blogger, I should be allowed to decide if I want to blog about it or not. I’ve a few friends who got some products samples and services from company, yet they didn’t mention a single word about the company in their blog. It is not that they are playing with the company or taking them for a free ride. But they feel that the product or services are not worth mentioning in their blog, thus they choose not to post anything about it. And the company knew about it and respected their decision. I admired these bloggers and those company.
I know there are bloggers out there who just blog about a product or service regardless how good or bad it is. Sure, you can fool your readers once or twice, but you can’t fool them forever. End of the day, they are throwing their reputation away.
I have a reputation to protect in the blogsphere. I want my blog to come with truthful reviews and recommendations. I don’t want readers to get the impression that I’m writing about the product or service just because I’m getting freebies from the company. I want my readers to know that everything I mentioned in my blog are all things that I feel are good and worth recommending. A truthful review that money can’t buy.
End of the day, I have a blogging reputation to protect. A reputation that I took many years to built up.