Spoiled, Not Stupid

BlogHer ’08 squees have faded and hundreds of powerful women bloggers are now back home with their families.

Companies are furiously entering new email addresses into their databases and I am going through the three totebags filled with everything from gift cards for photo prints to thumb drives to toys for my children.

I’m used to it.

I’m not impressed.

I’m spoiled by the big stuff. The video game sytems and the hottest electronics. The humidfiers and the loaner hybrid SUV’s.

I’m spoiled.

But while I revel in my swag, I fully realize these ‘gifts’ are bribes.

I’m not stupid.

The assumption that I am, pisses me off.

Just like any business, some people will act professionally and some will not.

Just like any friendship, some people will latch on to a person to use them and some will not.

I’m not stupid.

There is an assumption floating around the internet that we silly mommybloggers have no idea how to handle all this ‘fame’ and ‘fortune.’

We are taking free stuff and not being transparent when we write about it. We’re taking free stuff and thumbing our noses at any offering that isn’t the best and most expensive.

I’m not stupid.

I’m wondering if the tech bloggers were all called spoiled when they started getting the new notebooks via UPS. I’m wondering if the fashion writers were called spoiled when new designers sent over their spring lines. I’m wondering if any publishing site, anywhere, at anytime, for any reason was called ‘spoiled’ when they were sent the ‘newest’ or the ‘latest’ or the ‘most recent innovation.’

I’m not stupid.

It might make some of these larger names or sites or companies uncomfortable that this Mom of two in her PJ’s, drinking her morning coffee, conducts the business of blogging from her laptop while the rest of the industry toils.

I’m not stupid.

I’ve spent 3 years now wondering why you didn’t take me seriously. Annoyed you refused to acknowledge the revolution occurring. Pissed off I had to jump up and down screaming to have you notice me. Then, while being called spoiled, I realize something;

We do it better. We do it easier. We do it on our terms.

You are jealous.

I’m not stupid.

Hate. Criticize. Do whatever makes you feel better. I’m going to conduct the business of mommyblogging. The best of my community will continue to rise, the less transparent will fall. The typical cycle of any new medium will play itself out from rockstar, front page headlines to being replaced with the next best thing.

I’m not stupid.

And while it all plays out, my spoiled self will have paid some bills, met some amazing people, engaged in some unreal opportunities, all while you called me spoiled in my oversaturated market.

I’m not stupid.

I will also continue to do what I do, WHY I do it- for this hobby that became a business, but was always about my friends, my life, and my community.

I’m not stupid.

Spoiled…but not stupid.

Comments

  1. The assumption might not be so much that you’re stupid, but instead a hope that you’ll actually use the product and talk about it. That’s not so much a bribe, but simply, advertising.

    Reminds me of the first week I was in college, where every freshman in the dorms got a welcome kit. Mine included Edge shaving cream. Once that sample was used up, I bought more. And I don’t think I’ve ever voluntarily purchased another brand. It’s been 13 years.

    If there are items you don’t want, I bet we can find people who want them. :-)

  2. Well said.

    I think it is so hard for those who criticize to understand why so many of us blog. The Mommy blogging COMMUNITY wouldn’t be where it is today if it was about the swag or compensation.

    I couldn’t agree with you more – this is a labor of love that is “about our friends, our lives and our community.” That is what is making this work…and creating this thriving segment of the marketplace.

    Of course we’re not stupid – we’re taking care of business, recognizing what we’re worth (finally) and taking steps so that we can continue to do what we love doing.

    We’re not spoiled or stupid…just multitasking (as usual) and some folks just can’t tell the difference.

    So glad you had a great time at BlogHer!

  3. Provided there is transparency, a simple comment along the lines of “I bought this,” “I was given,” or even “This item provided by” I really couldn’t give a rip where a blogger gets their toys. As long as there has been publishing, companies have given samples hoping for positive buzz.
    I don’t understand why it is any worse for a blogger to promote a product than for any given talkshow host to yammer on about Tempurpedic (forgive me it’s pre-coffee and no other products are coming to mind). I’ve always thought it was obvious that they were given the product in return for on-air promotion.
    There was a recent tempest in a teapot over a little promotion done for bloggers in my hometown. As far as I was concerned the refreshments provided compensated for travel and time. Others assumed the gesture was meant to patronize and secure loyalty.
    Perhaps I’m naive.

  4. a mommy blogger says:

    Of course, as usual you seem to think that you can represent us Mommy bloggers. Full of crap and always want to make some kind of controversy to elevate yourself. Get off your high horses already. I’m so smart unlike you all of you talk is is so fuckin annoying.

  5. Excellent points.

    And yes, I am jealous of this year’s swag. Sigh. Hopefully they’ll still be throwing stuff at us on the Reach Out tours. Because while I, too, am not stupid, I am totally shallow. :)

  6. I think I missed the genesis (original commentary?) for this. All I can say is that my kids flipped over the moon to see me on TV on Sesame Street with Grover, and then double back flipped over the moon when Grover said hello to *them.* Sesame Street already had me at “Sunny Days,” LOL. They didn’t ask anything from me but they gave a lot and it will be impossible not to mention them on my blog. Very well done.

    The swag? Absolutely spoiling.

    GM? GM lady? Absolutely awesome.

    Will I include it in my discussion of the weekend? You bet.

    But yes, I’m not stupid.

  7. I like this post, thanks for starting an interesting discussion.

    I don’t feel spoken down to by the PR companies, but then, I have figured all along that I don’t deserve the fancy stuff. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms all in it’s own. Why do I feel I don’t “deserve” it? Anyhow. The swag was good this time. Not great, but good. My kids loved the stuff that was for them though, and that made it pretty worth it.

  8. Queen of Spain says:

    1) I intentionally left off the original commentary on this because really, it doesn’t matter, and I also know how our community rolls. I had a feeling if I linked it, some well intentioned people might take down another well intentioned person for using the term ‘spoiled’-

    2) wazzzup ‘a mommy blogger’? lol. I suggest you click away. If you’d like the links so you can go validate that there is a rather large social media discussion going on about Mommybloggers and how we’re ‘spoiled’ in an oversaturated market, I’m happy to send them along to you privately. But hey, google works too.

    Oh, and #suckit

  9. “Get off your high horses already. I’m so smart unlike you all of you talk is is so fuckin annoying.”

    I love when smart people write in cryptic terms. It’s — exciting. There’s a thrill in attempting to decipher their “smart people” code. eSPECially when they do so anonymously. Bravo, smart-people representative, “a mommy blogger!”

    Erin, it was so good to see you. This post nails it. I love when you nail things.

    heh.

    p.s. your dinner at the french laundry can #suckit. ;p

  10. Advertising has one goal: sell stuff. So you have the right approach going on here – realize something was given to you because you are considered a powerful force in this arena, appreciate the gesture, use your power for good not evil.

    And um, how does one get the loaner hybrid SUV?

  11. I’m glad you raised this point, because I keep going back and forth on it. I think it’s great this community is available to me as a 20-something. I feel encouraged and supported by it.
    However as a marketer, the mommyblogging community scares the crap out of me. I ran a contest alongside the conference and I was terrified the entire time. While overwhelmed and excited by the immediate response and the reach of this community, this also means if I put my foot in my mouth by accident, this community can make you or break you by the reach it has. I think that makes it difficult for any marketer to step even lightly into the community. I wouldn’t use the word spoiled, rather entitlement. But it’s hard to call it that because the greater good is being served. Obviously, I have an on-going battle I have yet to reconcile about this community.

  12. This was well-written. You and the other bloggers at the top of this blogging pyramid are in an interesting struggle, one that bedevils any new industry. You are jockeying for position — not so much one with another (though there may well be more of that than my tired brain has paid attention to), but for legitimacy as a form, as an industry.

    While good writing, excellent brains and savvy promotional skills have carried this new industry far and will continue to do so, the infighting will only hurt you (I can’t say “us,” not with my paltry readership). The fight comes from those who perceive others’ success as a threat (see a previous comment or two), and take personally everything written about the group as a whole. (Sorry to go on and on, and sorry about “bedevils.”)

    – Laurie @ Foolery

  13. Well crap, I must be stupid, cause I’m not getting spoiled :)

    Glad you folks had a great event! (If any of those companies slipped a nice case of spare ribs or anything BBQ related, then I am going to have to learn how you do that!)

  14. from the perspective of someone who has been known to send minor schwag on occasion to bloggers whose might have some kind words about it, i don’t ever assume anyone is stupid. i have actually only done this twice at this point (we’ve only just begun the social marketing bit, thanks to my nagging), and nothing more impressive than an award winning kitchen gadget to a kitchen blogger. BUT. i knew, when sending, that they very well might say ‘this sucked!’ (though, after a couple of prestigious awards, i had a feeling they’d be nice). and they were.

    moral of the story? perhaps the larger corporations with their washed corporate brains, think they are manipulating bloggers with goodies. i on the other hand, take everything at face value and expect, well no, not expect, but i hope for honest evaluations in return.

    bloggers are influencers. we who are in the business of (if not making stuff, then designing it), have a need to court y’all with shiny presents, because we want to tell people about our shiny things, but we know they’ll listen to you more. we hope that you mention our names & spell our URL right. it’s actually kind of win-win if you think about it.

  15. bloggers *who* might. gah. horribly typo. it’s late.

  16. canoe chick says:

    you got to eat at the French Laundry?? that is my dream!! i am so jealous!! my husband is literally saving pennies, so we can one day make it down there and eat….

  17. From SCS says:

    Erin,
    Why do you think that you have been granted so many liberties throughout childhood? Your father worked hard and your mom stayed home with you. Why do you think your family has been so comfy? What would have molded you if you were left to fend for yourself? You should be afraid of leaving your children. Not for fear itself, but for the mere fact that you are not giving them the same upbringing that puts them in the place where you are. When have you aborted a child and thought “holy crap, I killed a human being?” When have you had to struggle for lunch for yourself when you were nine? You are idealistically living the life you want everyone to have. It is admirable at a minimalistic level, but you are not qualified to be the voice of this nation.

  18. Being a dried-up cranky old spinster instead of a young, fabulous and fertile mommyblogger, I rarely get stuff even if I DO make a really quite decent income…but when I get stuff, I consider it carefully.

    The GM folks did good by me. They gave me a plush Chevy Tahoe Hybrid to drive WITHOUT MAKING ANY DEMANDS on me at all. I didn’t have to do squat. But dang me if I didn’t like it. Me, a former SUV-hater was converted by a weekend of driving around in a gigantic vehicle that got 24 mpg. It was kind of cool. That is the low-key marketing approach that I like – try it, and tell us if you like it, no other strings attached.

  19. amen sister

  20. Ditto Suebob.

    But this is why I get so exercised about all the PayPerPost bashing that went on. What do you suppose I would rather have had? A free bluetooth headset to try and blog whatever I wanted, or $5 for talking about its features, sight unseen.

    As long as the former wasn’t a possibility, the latter at least gave bloggers an opportunity to make some money so maybe they could buy one.

    It still galls me that the MEN went after PPP with such a passion, aiming to utterly destroy them and the bloggers who were getting some benefit for their effort.

    GM has the right idea. They made it easy, fun, and made me WANT to write about them. It won’t all be perfectly positive, but it will be honest. And yes, it will be search friendly.

    And I hope lots of folks visit, read about it, get excited about a hybrid SUV and buy one. More power to GM.

  21. 1) Damn, I have a “green” blog and I don’t have some loaned pimped out SUV hybrid. I must be stupid and have the wrong PR firms and marketing companies barking up my tree.
    2) Great post Erin. I mostly read your blog verses commenting. I don’t believe you represent Mommy Bloggers rather you represent what you do and if those of us that follow your logic and reasoning want to agree with you and chim in, we do. To say your a masscot for us mommy bloggers is deemening to you. You’re far more than that–oh, “mommy blogger” that comment was to you!

    3) The idea of advertising, marketing and PR is changing when it comes to blogging, in my opinion. Not everything is cut and dry and the biggest thing is indeed, transparency. Regardless of who you are, what you blog, where you work or what your represent.

    4) This is my last thought (for now) on this. Mommy bloggers just aren’t understood. The business isn’t understood because there isn’t some traditional job description. Maybe someone needs to write out what mommy blogging is and more people will get it, find it legit and then shut up so we can all go on with what we do! Sounds good to me. Erin, bring it on!

  22. Blogging and bloggers will continue to evolve and the marketing world will continue to play catchup.

    It would be nice if content was king and if a POPULAR blog was based on it’s quality and not how monetized it was or how many google ads it had.

    It would be nice for all areas of blogging mommy and not to be respected and given the chance to monetize in a non icky way that showed respect for the content and the power of the review or the good word or whatever

  23. Erin, didn’t know if you’d seen this:

    http://www.wimnonline.org/WIMNsVoicesBlog/?p=1137

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  1. [...] Blog Hop at all, you probably heard about the BlogHer conference, and, even if you didn’t get spoiled by the swag there, you might still be pretty blase about bloggy giveaways. So, free underwear? Even 50 dollars [...]

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