So, a couple weeks ago, I got an email from a business wanting me to arrange a giveaway or a promotion for one of their online stores through my blog.
Obviously, alarm bells started ringing, but a few emails back and forth and a bit of research showed they were legit.
I told them I wasn't interested in arranging a giveaway or anything like that, but mentioned I'd be willing to review one of their products on the understanding that I wouldn't be asked to pay for anything, and that I'd be writing an honest, independent review, not a sales pitch or a rehash of their marketing.
Well, I heard back today, and the idea is that they'd give me a free credit to their online store that I could use to order something to review.
That's where we hit the snag. Part of the 'agreement' was that before I'd get the credit, I'd have to post a pre-written marketing blurb about their store network, complete with a links to specific stores.
Maybe I'm just enjoying the chance to feel important, or maybe I'm just right up my own backside, but I've been writing this blog for six years now, I've built up a respectable readership…and in all that time I've never put up any spam or advertising and I've never reviewed something I haven't specifically used myself.
Ultimately, I turned down the offer. The simple fact of the matter is that I'm not willing to recommend something to you that I have no experience of. Writing an honest review of a product is one thing…cutting and pasting a blurb about how awesome this online store is without having any experience of it is something completely different.
I'm willing to be a reviewer. If I ordered something from this store, got good service and the product was good, I'd sing their praises and highly recommend them. However, I'm not willing to be a marketing proxy. I'm not going to allow a company I've never heard of to use my blog like a billboard for rent. That's not the deal. There are a million blogs out there that will allow anyone to post anything if it's going to make them some money…but this blog isn't one of them.
Yup, I know I'm just a blogger and taking myself way too seriously…the idea of 'journalistic integrity' on a blogspot blog is laughable even to me… I just think blindly throwing up an advert disguised as a normal blog post, especially after all the posts I've written about advertising and spam, would make me the worst kind of hypocrite there is.
Last month was this blog's fifth anniversary. That's five years without me spamming you…let's go for another five, shall we?