I Know You Hate It When I Do This

But I’ve got to rant a little more about Mommy Blogging.

I love being a Mommy Blogger. I love that I’m a mother and I can only see the world through a mother’s eyes. I suppose I could try to change that if I thought it was broken and needed changing.

There is a new breed of blogger. They call themselves review bloggers. I call it a splog. Spam + blog = splog. I know it will infuriate people, and I know that they have value, but they don’t have value to me.

What’s sad about the blogging community is that the barrier of entry is set so low. All you need is internet access. There’s no guarantee that a blogger is educated, literate, or even that they’re a real person.

Pages and pages of reviewing products is fine. Just please refrain from calling these Mommy Blogs. There is a wonderful community of women who talk about mothering and daily life without having a big box store behind them. My blogroll is pathetic, but I’m adding 2-3 people a day until I get caught up.

If you want incredible edgy writers (many of the non mom community) check out this site. If you’re a publicist looking to build a massive number of links or if you’re wondering what the worst big box store would like you think then you should continue reading the mom blogs that seem to find themselves in the news.

There is room for PR inside a mom blog, but first make sure it’s a mom blog and not just a bunch of press releases with a few baby pictures tucked inside.

The women with the real influence didn’t need to worry about their relationships with publicists. I dare you, go ask Rebecca if she cares. Methinks not.

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Comments 38

  1. As a new “mommy” blogger I appreciate your comments. As a former newspaper reporter, I’m trying to make sure my blog includes basic journalistic principles. I’d love to see all bloggers start seeing themselves as journalists (independent thinking, publish this no matter what advertisers think, etc) even if it’s writing editorials on junior’s first poop. I’m perplexed at how the review blogs have readership. Other reviewers? Or, is readership even a consideration for the spammy PR people placing these products. I have much to learn.

  2. I completely agree. The review blogs are not worth much, to me, because at this stage in my life I’ve already established which brands get my money. I don’t enter cheesy giveaways, either. If you’ve read one splog, you’ve read ’em all!

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    but there are great giveaways here and there.

    I’m thrilled with some of them. I won a hard drive recently that I really need (dying computer) but yes, a poorly done giveaway is just… oh ick.

  4. I’ve written a review blog since 2007, and I really think I do provide value. I never considered myself a mommy blogger though, until I started a personal blog (www.multitaskingmommy.com) that doesn’t do any reviews or giveaways.

    I’d like to think I’m walking on the right side of the fine line. But I agree with you that there are many review blogs that are very spammy.

  5. I have a small (okay, weird word, but very few posts) review blog for the occasional sample that I’m asked to try and want. While I’m not out to cheat the company, my feeling is if they want to give my son a toy or me a hair product that I’m interested in, I’ll review it, and it’s up to them to assess their ROI. I don’t accept much, but I’m not popular enough to have many offers. And I never do giveaways if I haven’t tried the product. It’s separate from my mommy blog only because I’m not allowed (blogher rules) to post reviews of stuff over $40. If I get offered a party or nice product in my unemplooyed state I’ll take it :)

  6. I have a little blog that I use to write about books, and shoes, and clothes, and anything else that helps make my life a little prettier. Not once has anyone paid me to write it. I just do it for me and maybe the one or two people that stumble upon it.

    I suppose the best category for my blog is “mommy blog,” but it is so much more to me. And what I write on there is not up for payment because it is worth more than money.

    Would I like a paid writing gig? Sure! It’s my “someday far-far-away” dream. But not my blog. That’s my little corner to go and self-publish snippets of my life and views.

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  8. This ties into why so many people find the blogging with integrity badge to be so irritating. Some of these people got into the game solely for free crap.

    If the only way you can develop a community around your personal blog is by giving stuff away you are doing something wrong.

  9. My problem with review bloggers is the obvious cart before the horse phenomenon. I don’t mind the occasional product mention or giveaway interspersed in a more coherent narrative of a blog, but as a stand alone format? Not exactly. The real secret of mommy bloggers who review is that they are setting the bar way too low in terms of establishing a profitable business relationship. Was it the Secrets of Mommybloggers article that quoted a $20,000 for a mommyblogger event vs $20 million for television figure? That’s what’s pathetic.
    I think there’s this illusion that companies and PR folk love bloggers and venerate mommybloggers in particular, when really they just love their page views.

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  11. Great post. I am very specific when it comes to posting reviews on my blog. I look for things that can add value to my readers and that I enjoy. But mostly my blog is my place to write and express myself. I’m not getting paid to write on my blog, though that would be cool then I could quit my day job. LOL

  12. Heather, that $20k doesn’t go to the mommybloggers who actually write the review. I think they get what – $10 gift cards? I’m wondering what kind of influence that buys.

  13. Oh I know that $20k is just the overall expense of a program. Who’s at fault though? The companies or the bloggers undervaluing themselves to the detriment of the larger group?

  14. Pingback: Typology of the Mommy Blogger

  15. I got invited to a daddy blogger meetup in NYC a few weeks ago, even though my posts aren’t always about my kids.

    However, I don’t post paid reviews. I’ve posted reviews of a few things, but only after I, of my own volition, decided it was blog-worthy. Those are usually bad reviews :)

    Good post hun. Keep up the good fight!

  16. Let Darwin be your comfort. The crap review blogs — and crap blogs in general, where grammer is ignored and spelling is creative — will eventually die out. Why? Because people like me — PR gatekeepers with big clients to guide and advise — will not let our clients’ brands near those kinds of review sites. That said, there are certain kinds of review sites that are handled impeccably — as off-shoots of credible, established blogs with all the right disclosure statements in place (yada yada) — would I tell a client to send something to Stefania Butler or Liz Gumbinner in hopes it would end up on their review sites? Hell, yeah. And yes, I’m talking about UNPAID reviews.

  17. I actually like review blogs. I have won some cool stuff. And it is through review blogs that I found my way to blogging. But to me they aren’t mommy blogs. I look at them like I would some magazines. The magazines talk about products they get for free and tell you to buy them. The review blogs are the same.

    I consider myself a mommy blogger. I did one giveaway because someone I bought a hat from off Etsy asked me too. That I was happy to do.

  18. Jessica: You are always so meek and mild in stating your opinions. You need to work on that, missy, if you ever want to get a head (or is it ahead?) in the world.

  19. I completely and utterly agree with you, I like personal blogs whether they be mommy blogs or diaries, but calling a review blog a personal blog just isn’t factual. A personal blog can do the occasional review especially of products you have used and like or dislike.

  20. Sometimes, the personal blogs are so cluttered up with reviews and badges, banners, ad buttons I can’t find the meat of it…if there is any. I think that review blogs do have value, but if it is SERIOUSLY cutting into your “mommy blog” or you life blog or what have you, so much that people have to dig to find YOU in there, you’ve lost your way and should rethink your strategy.

    An occasional review on a personal blog is fine. I know I have found a great deal of AMAZING things from mommy word of mouth. And I think I would trust someone’s opinion who does the occasional review vs. someone who reviews til dawn.

    I’ve not delved into PR yet. I would like my blog and following readers to be well established before doing so. I’m not so sure anyone would want to do PR with me anyway considering the F-bombs and other bombs I drop. *snicker* I don’t want to change my voice to enter a partnership.

  21. It’s taken me a long time to jump into the foray that is becoming the (to use your word) splog-fest that seems to be going on, but I find it incredibly irritating that some of these women who do little else than pimp themselves out to gain what equates to swag, call themselves “writers”. OK- so I call myself a writer and that was one hell of a run-on sentence; I’m hoping my point will negate the grammatical boo-boo.

    Once a month I give away stuff I like. I reinvest what I make on my blog into my readers because I’m so blessed to have them as readers…they’ve supported me and encouraged me through one of the darkest times of my life. If it weren’t for many of them, I would not have had the courage to reach out from the depths of the murky abyss my life has become.

    One thing though…whatever I give away is something I use and can personally endorse. I’m never paid or sponsored to give anything away. After my recent Keurig giveaway I attracted the attention of Keurig itself and said no-thanks. I don’t want anything blurring my relationship with my readers…not only that, if I were to start accepting offers from companies to either review or give products away, I’d have to start an entire new blog for that purpose and ya know, that’s not why people read Barking Mad.

    Sorry for the novel-length comment. I guess I have a lot more to say on the subject than I originally thought.

  22. I was a blogger for a few years before I became I mom. I kept a Military Spouse blog, did no reviews, and had no conception of page rank and only a little of “stats”.

    I have a “Mom Blog,” too…but I just do not feel comfortable writing with the same level of raw honesty we get from people like Catherine…although I love reading her.

    For the past several years, I’ve run, along with a college friend, a “Product Review Blog.” I do not consider it a splog because it is all 100% original writing.

    To me, a splog is one that rips off writing from other sources and just aggregates it. I do not think that other moms who are blogging reviews, whether I think the reviews are well-written and honest, or not, fall into the same category as splog.

    I certainly understand some people not being interested in reading product reviews–but since the reviews don’t intrude into your space and time (the way spam does in your inbox), I think it is just a matter of personal preference.

    That said, I do find it annoying when I go to read a “product review” and realize it is just a word-for-word re-print of a press release (which I know because I just deleted that same press release from my own inbox).

  23. I’m mostly with you here. I think a few good bloggers manage to pepper in a few marketing-type posts. But they exist in a tiny ratio.

    That being said, I don’t think review blogs by definition suck. I just think MOST of them, as written by moms, currently suck pretty hard. But there are some stand out ones that consistently entertain me, either through an interesting perspective, good eye candy, or smart deals/solutions.

    Reviewing EVERYTHING SOMEONE WANTS TO THROW AT YOU is not valuable to anyone. Clearly it doesn’t involve any sort of searching or discrimination, and yeah, that sucks.

    I have a “parenting blog.” My latest post is one of the only three product reviews I’ve ever done. I was genuinely thrilled about the breast pump. I genuinely believe in helping moms pump, and I wouldn’t have been able to attend BlogHer without a functioning pump.

    Why do I feel the need to be defensive about writing a review on my personal blog? Cause the blogging atmosphere is so completely wack right now.

    Sigh!

  24. I think people can call themselves whatever they want. If they are a Mom and want to blog and call themselves a “Mommy Blogger” who cares? They are a Mom blogging, whether it be reviews, giveaways, or poop accidents!

    You take it so personally and I just can’t understand why. Let everyone do their own thing. Why worry about it?

  25. I am infuriated by splogs and the names and reputations that they are giving mothers that blog. Even worse is when they are look at as “experts”. Experts on what? Providing bullshit product reviews for a free gallon of laundry detergent? Saying what they think companies want them to say? I can’t even think about it without getting twitchy.

  26. I’m not a Mommy Blogger – but I know some really good ones! I’m a Mom and I have more than one blog – but that’s about as close as I come to it.

    That said, I think the system will self-correct. Honestly? If those blogs have no readership and no value to the people trying to use them for marketing, that will dry up quickly enough. But it they work for some people, then I guess they’ll keep going.

    But really? The only people using the “Mommy Blogger” label as a catch-all for any woman with children and a blog are those who are trying to write a sensational MSM story or those who are trying to put us all in a box and dismiss us as individuals with varied interests.

  27. Though I’m not a mommy blogger, I love your candid, frank, to-the-point writing. Having an opinion and not editing yourself is how you get ahead. At least the last time I checked.

  28. Although, to put it mildly, we disagree on some things, on this point I thoroughly agree. As a fashion blogger I am deluged with requests for what amounts to free publicity. Quite a few fashion bloggers actually work for public relations firms. Their posts often amount of short “You have to try this new Revlon mascara! It goes on in only one coat!” with a stock photograph.

    I only write about what I want to write about, and I don’t accept paid posts. If I am offered one, I in turn offer them the opportunity to take out an ad on my sidebar. It is also the height of absurdity to snd an email to a plus-size fashion blogger with the header “I Love Your Blog!” and the body is a request to write about cheap fares to Antigua.

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    @madfashionista it’s not so much that we disagree. It’s that until you post an apology I will have nothing but contempt for you. Respectful disagreement is fine, but you were both cowardly and a bully.

    It’s a dreadful combination, and it looks terrible on you.

  30. I think I wear the combination quite well, although not as well as a vintage Dior. And in what way am I cowardly or a bully? As for being respectful, did I write a blog entry saying “Being A Mother Is Bullshit”? “Orthodox Judaism Is Bullshit”? “Being a Rodeo Clown Is Bullshit”? Oh, dear, there’s actually a good argument for the last one.

    I would apologize for hurting your feelings, which I obviously have, but your previous post managed to massacre the feelings of thousands of people. Believe it or not, I believe in feeding children healthy food and limiting their consumption of sugar and fat, and I don’t believe teenagers should be given gastric bypasses, any more than I believe that they should be given breast implants.

    BUT I draw the line at writers who generalize about a segment of the population that already has to constantly deal with insults, misunderstandings and misinformation. Feel all the contempt you want–you already had it for my body size, you might as well have it for the rest of me. Ciao!

  31. LOL, Splog :-D

    I don’t have a problem with a review or sponsored giveaways here and there, as long as there’s actual content MORE than there are sponsored posts. Otherwise I don’t find it interesting or worth reading/visiting in the least.

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