I have a blogging reputation to protect

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.

24 comments

  1. Totally agree with what you’ve said. Seems like that company who approached you is just aiming for a free ride? Tsk tsk..

  2. Lol… i will do it. In fact, I will do it for LG Shine phone… WTH, I will do it for a MacDonald Happy Meal even!

    πŸ˜›

    Bad PR is better than no PR.

  3. Thumbs up to you. I suppose integrity is important to you. I think that in the long end is the way to go.

  4. “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.”

    One point to add for clarification: It is perfectly fine when bloggers blog about bad products and services… so long as they are giving an honest (negative) review πŸ˜€

    Personally I have probably written an equal number of positive and negative reviews, including one that called for the boycott of a popular local company. That post made it to tomorrow.sg.

  5. From my experience, none of the companies who approached me forced me to write anything about their products although some could have done better with their blogger relation skills. And thankfully I haven’t received any crappy products yet. Phew.

  6. *salutes*

    It’s a pity that this kind of things still exist. tsk tsk. But thumbs up for upholding integrity πŸ™‚

  7. I agree with Veron on blogging about the bad products and services. It’s good to let readers read about them too. You can’t always be publishing the good things. Leave that to The Straights Times.

  8. xdiorangelx: I won’t call it a free ride. There are benefits for both side. Just that I don’t feel comfortable doing it.

    Paul: Aiyo…. Happy Meal you also want. haha.

    Oceanskies79: Yes, I think in the long run, I’ll benefit more. πŸ™‚

  9. Veron: I think I’ll be in a dilemma if someone give me a poor product/servoce. But still, I think I will write the truth.

    IZ Reloaded: Not really force ba. More of blog in exchange for invite. Which I don’t really like the idea. I think they are still new startup, that why their PR with bloggers aren’t that good yet.

    wokking mum: Thx. πŸ˜€

  10. Nicole: I think they are still a new startup, that why they wanted something like one for one. But sad to say, this doesn’t work for the new media like us.

    ECL: Yeap yeap. I will also blog about bad stuff. Else everytime you all see good stuff also sian right?

  11. I applauded for your action and integrity in β€˜blogsphere’. Having said that, such marketing tactics are very common in states eg. Originated Payperpost principle. Singapore is still new and is testing out such marketing ideas, Telecom & beauty industries especially. You never know your blog might be selected to do trial on new hps.

    I like to do review as well but mostly negative reviews.

  12. DK, will you be willing to do a review of my software? In exchange, get a free hug from me? πŸ™‚

    P/s
    DK and I joke about such stuff so pls dont take it literally! hahah

  13. Way to go DK. I think this is how one should conduct oneself in the blogosphere, where transparency, integrity and sincerity rules over hard-headed commerce. Asking for favours before giving something in return is in bad taste regardless of whether its online or offline.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that one cannot be a blog-based entrepreneur. So long as one declares one interest from the onset and be open about it, I don’t see any issues.

  14. planter: I think there are quite a lot of companies that give bloggers free sample of their products without requesting them to do anything.

    Paddy: I would love to do a review of your phonebak software for SE phones. But you can keep the hugs. πŸ˜›

    cool insider: Yeap. I agree. In fact, I enjoyed reading blogs by blog-based entrepreneur or startups using blog as a form of communication.

    One of my fave is pitstop cafe’s blog. πŸ˜€

  15. Hahah! Nah, no worries once the software is ready for trial will pass you one to test it out.

    Too bad you dont have a Mac, else can pass you that CD that nite at Geek Terminal. πŸ™‚

    ‘startups using blog as a form of communication.’ No wonder you vist bak2u’s blog lah. hee hee

  16. being a blogger and in PR myself, i think as long as the blogger makes it known, to the company, that he/she will not be ‘committed’ to writing only positive stuff about the product…and have total freedom over his editorial content, there should be no problem.

    and…

    no PR is better than bad PR. unless u have a really good recovery plan. =)

  17. i work in PR also, and i agree that the blogger has no obligation to write postive or negative reviews, or to even run the story.

    any freebies given is of the own volition of the company or the person conducting pr. it’s just something like the invitation to make it worth your while to come down and hear what we have to say. what you wanna do later, is up to your journalistic/blogging integrity.

    if you want to be endorsed, that’s a different story and probably comes under marketing instead. i mean, everyday, bands and musicians are endorsed by guitar companies to use their products exclusively, but those come under different arrangements. hope that helps make things clearer -) mutual respect for one another is how i see we can maintain good relations in both the comapnies and new media side of things -)

    – brian

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