Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SALE ALERT: Integrity up to 90% off.

I know I shouldn't write in anger... and I'm ticked off right now. As many of you know, I write a fashion blog, called The Coveted, it's a monetized blog. I don't make much money, but still, There is adsense, and affiliates from eBay and Amazon, which are the only ones I seem to have the most control over, how and where I place them.

Today, I got an email from a PR person that stated:

Hi Jennine!

We’d love to see this up on the site. Let me know what you think!

There was a 360px by 360px advert image attached noting a sale for a boutique I had covered in the past. I had mentioned them often because I really like what they carry, and I really believe in helping small business people. But this was a blatant request for advertising.

I said to the PR person, "That's a great little invite... would you like to put it on my site? I would love to have up, but of course we'd have to work out some form of payment for the advert. "

She then replied that they don't 'pay for advertising' that this was a notice for 'editorial content.'

I see sale alerts all the time on fashion blogs. In a lot of ways it's a great little service to the readers, informing them which boutiques are having sales, giving them a feeling that they are in the know, because of course, you are...

For some reason posting a sale alert in the body of my blog's content is a little dicey. On one hand, The Coveted's integrity is very important to me. Developing my ideas of what constitutes as viable editorial content is something that I have worked very hard at. On the other hand, it would be nice to have some kind of sale notification service for my readers... Daily Candy does it...

And finally, if I had three hands... the last bit, is, I'd like to get paid for what I do. Advertising is a fair way to get paid, and this kind of notification is definately falls in the 'advertising' category.

In the end, I told the PR Person, that I don't think I can post the image she sent me as 'editorial.' Told her I loved the boutique, and that I post about them as often as I can... and when they get their new inventory, let me know, to see if there is anything good there.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?


tricia of said...

i get a lot of emails asking me to post this or that. mostly, as a rule, i ignore them, because 80% of the time the site, designer, blogger, or individual really has no idea who i am or what my blog is about.

i have a rule to only post about people, things, websites, etc. that i feel strongly about, whose product or art or whatever agrees with me aesthetically or intellectually agree with me. if it doesn't, i do not post it. period. no matter how much someone begs.

also, i take issue with people who want something for nothing, like the folks you mentioned. they are essentially asking for advertising, but when it comes down to brass tacks, they aren't willing to pay for it. that's really distasteful, and lacks class.

jennine said...

yeah, esp when it's a boutique that sells cotton jersey dresses for $700.

i'm not going to respond to messages like that, but I guess i had taken it personally because i had already written quite extensive posts about them.

Miss Shoo said...

I've had a similar issue with a boutique I just love, but it wasn't a banner, the "new" PR person wanted me to speak about the sales they were having, but I wasn't interested. I didn't post-it-up, because it didn't fit. I love mentioning sales, but as you mentioned there are plenty of websites/blogs that do sales well, and I'm more than happy with posting a link to said sites/blogs.

I'm in a very odd place with my blog, I've never had any kind of ads up, including google. This has very little to do with how I feel about them, as much as me being a bit of a control freak and sort of having this mind of blog feng shui - if it doesn't fit neatly into what I've built over the past 2 years, it doesn't go up. This is why a lot of ad offers I receive I decline. I also have no desire to have ads up for things I wouldn't myself be into, and I treat posts the same way.

I say all of this to say (smile), that I would do exactly what you're doing.

Henna said...

Here's the other perspective - I've put notices up about sales all the time! And the ones I've done haven't been mailed to me specifically - usually, I've just been browsing the product's site, and managed to see that they are having a huge blowout sale. I love the brand, the sale got me excited, and I figured that my readers would be similarly pleased about it. So I put the flieer up. And I didn't mind. However, I wouldn't just put up a flier for any company and especially if the deal wasn't that great.

At the end though - you made your choice and your reasons were valid, so good for you! It's your blog!

Sandra said...

The only way I put up an ad for a sale is if it's a place I shop at or for products I think my readers will enjoy.

I do get requests for all kinds of crazy products that just don't fit. I ignore them as well.

What marketing folks should do is be honest and say it advertorial, not editorial. Mags do it all the time, but they need to understand that the blogosphere is a very different world. People trust bloggers (some) because were supposed to be "citizen journalists".

girlandthecity said...

Hmm.. I have to agree that a sale is not terribly editorial!!!

xox Girl and the City (in Paris)

bronwyn said...

I agree with you 100%. I think it's a nreve of them to expect you to do blatant advertising for free. And what nonense about it being editorial content! Who's leg do they think they're pulling!!!

Alison said...

I think you handled this just fine. I get press releases all the time that are blatant ads. Even if I like a product or service I can't legitimately put up that kind of release as content.

Well done!

what said...

I think you made the right decision. It is quite a fine line, but even in a more casual blogosphere journalistic credibility is important.

That looked totally like an ad, there didn't seem to be anything even "advertorial" about it. I would have assumed it was an ad if I saw it.

I have absolutely nothing against monetizing blogs, for the amount of time that I put in it would be nice to get a little payday.

Anonymous said...

I think that how you handled the situation was just fine. Btw, I just found your blog anf I love it. Keep it up!

grechen said...

yay for editorial integrity!!! you absolutely did the right thing - imo, there is a place for ads (and they should be OBVIOUS ads) and a place for editorial, and never the two shall mix. i have built my site up over the years adhering strictly to this rule (most of the BIG fashion sites/blogs DO NOT DO THIS) and have built up a very large, very loyal readership because of it. i post about what i love and find interesting/worthwhile to my readers, if someone sends me a sale notice or something and it's for a site i love, i will usually do a post about it using my own text/graphic/or item from their site, never a pre-fab graphic made up to look like an ad.

Lady Smaggle said...

Whoa! You totally did the right thing. That really annoys me that they would ask like that even after you had written about them before!

You did them a massive favour and then they totally pushed the friendship.

I mean fair is fair. You can post whatever you like but you should be paid for advertising like that!

Well done love. Handled like a pro.

Princess Poochie said...

I'm in the Marketing industry and try to send out stuff like that for a living.

But I totally agree with you. I would have told them no too.

Do they think bloggers are stupid or something? I know as a Marketer/Ad Exec, I do not.


Nuvany Nice` said...

yay so glad I joined the ifb ring...I so would have shut her down the same way you did in a professional manner...Its funny cause my blog is in no way comparable to alot of other ifb blogs...but folks have recently approached soliciting ads...but they aren't relevant to my site so I'd rather pass...this has really been informative to me thanks girls...integrity over money for sure!

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Katherine T. said...

i would be a little upset. just ignore i guess? =]

Shopalicious! said...

I think it would be fine to post the sale banner, considering that you like the boutique's offerings, etc. Realizing that you're advertising their sale for free, I'd then ask them to at least offer your readers a discount code that you could post along with the sale info, so at least you're getting something back from them!

Lisa of

Miss Elle said...

Firstly, I applaud your boldness! 6 months ago, I'd have been so elated to have been contacted by a boutique that I'd have just put it up without question... But as this blogging business has become my main source of income, I can completely relate to how you reacted. I think it was silly of the boutique to expect that you'd simply refer people AWAY from your site because they asked you nicely.



Oscar said...

i agree with you I recently alerted my viewers ( all 3 of them ) about a sale at chuckies, i have a mens fashion blog, but i figure valentines was around the corner so maybe it might help out. i didnt expect anything, but when people ask you to actually present your readers their sale, and not only that with what they provided you , YOU would have to do the writing, thats a different story, anyway , keep up the good work.

Pratishtha Durga said...

Jennine! I was so surprised to see you here! I have just started, with a difficult market like India. Fashion bloggers are, well, rare and just not that appreciated here. It's a struggle for sure. And when I see something like this, it really makes me stop in my track and wonder if all the hard work is worth it. I am learning the ropes and posts like these open my eyes to many issues.

Sigh! This seems like such a long way to go :P

Fashion's Darling said...

yay for editorial integrity! I hate seeing bloggers post on products just because pr people are sending them press releases. I study fashion pr (and intern) and I understand why pr people do it since it is a way to reach the general public from a trusted souce...but sometime it's just not worh it

Elissa said...

I completely agree with your reaction. The only form of free advertisement is recommendation, person to person, just as you were doing before by posting on their wares.