I’m Calling Out The Carpetbagging Mommybloggers

Why are you here?

It’s a simple question really. One that I am asking more and more frequently as I meet many of you. Because the lines are blurring and instead of guessing, I am just asking.

Why are you here?

The truth of the matter is I really don’t need to ask. I know why. I can tell. It’s obvious. However I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I ask.

Turns out a lot of you lie. You tell me you’re here to hang out. You tell me you’re here because you’ve made so many cool friends. But your site is packed with nothing but reviews and products and freebies and giveaways, so I know better. You want me to do you a favor, as a friend. You want me to read your link, click on your ads, enter your contest, use your product.

You’re here to get rich quick. You’re here to try and make some cash. You’re here to start a business.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

You may call yourself a Mommyblogger, but you don’t really blog about being a Mommy. You may attend the same events and tout your influence…but without any content. And just so you know, I’m not doing more than nodding, smiling, and dismissing you entirely.

I’m dismissing because you’re missing the heart of this whole thing entirely. The whole reason we’re here. The whole purpose of doing what we do. You don’t get it and you don’t care to.

You scream about your power and you yell about your influence and you position yourself in articles and demand attention, but there’s no THERE THERE. Why are you powerful?  Is it because you write so wonderfully and make us all laugh or weep when we read? Is it because you participate and write endlessly about the rest of us? Pointing out who’s talking about breastfeeding or who’s got a great point about potty training?

No, you’re hosting a giveaway, selling all our souls for a new mop, and lowering the bar for the next to come along.

You know there is a beautiful old dinosaur of an idea that traditional media has taught us. You clearly separate ads from editorial. Ads and editorial are not the same and you don’t blur the lines. Reviews are clearly marked and disclosed. Giveaways are just that…giveaways, where in you admit you too got yourself the giveaway item. It’s what makes you”credible.” No really, it does. And let me tell you sister right now you are far from credible. But these companies are so desperate to get online and they find you and you find them and then ALL our credibility drops. Thanks for that. Not.

It IS a big Internet though, and this isn’t some exclusive club. You get to go peddle your snake oil wherever and whenever you like. Lucky us. I guess your “authentic voice” is an infomercial. Mine? Parenting, politics, and my life. To each’s own?

A woman with a blog can be a very powerful thing. A woman with kids and a blog can be a very powerful thing. A woman with kids and a BAD blog with no real content will, eventually, fall by the wayside.

Back to how you’re missing the heart of why the rest of us do this. And I think maybe we need a bit of a history lesson here. You see, for those of us who have been blogging since before the trips and free video game systems and parties, there’s a bit of a revolt going on. Why? Because some of you have forgotten the most essential part of what we do. The ENTIRE REASON why we do it…

Community.

Not to make money, even if we are. Not for the free stuff, even if we get it. Not to go off on trips and party without our kids in some hotel bar…even if, holy hell, we like that.

You see we actually did this, and still do it, because of the people we’ve met and the friendships we’ve gained.

If the free stuff and ads washed up tomorrow, I would still be here. If the free stuff and ads washed up tomorrow- would you?

Something tells me you’d be gone and on to the next thing. You wouldn’t be here. And that’s the difference between me and you. You’d drop us all in a heartbeat and we’d stick around to support each other.

It’s wonderful so many women, mothers in particular, can use social media and the online world to make a few extra bucks, or make a career. I am beyond lucky to get to hang with my girlfriends while earning a living. However if my job went away tomorrow, I wouldn’t. DO YOU GET THAT? Do you SEE the difference?

There is a strong and beautiful community writing about their children, their lives, their worlds. We were here before and we’ll be here after. Oh and in case you didn’t notice- we’re on to you.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope you make oodles of cash, but I also hope you move onto the next thing quickly. Because I like my community without the carpetbaggers. The good news is we know who you are, we know what you want, and we’re rolling our eyes.


Thanks to the few of you Mombloggers who pushed me to write this. You know who you are.

*”I want to acknowledge that I’m an employee of BlogHer, but this is my personal blog and reflects my opinion alone. In keeping with my journalistic training, I think there’s a way to do this and to keep your credibility. How?See the paragraph in bold above.”

Comments

  1. And thank you for writing this. You didn’t ask … but my current pet peeves (in addition to the I WANT TO MAKE A BUCK blogger) are 1) The Comment Whore who leaves hundreds of comments all over the blogosphere not because she’s read or is interested in anyone else’s blog but because she wants you to comment back and make her POPULAR and 2) The blogger with a small to average sized blog who truly believes she is a RAWK STAR and tells everyone just that at every opportunity. Sigh ….

  2. Interesting.
    I did a few giveaways (I didn’t get anything in exchange) and it just seemed very draining and exhausting. And I sort of resented having to blog about this item that had nothing to do with me. So it’s not for me. I also don’t visit review blogs, because, frankly, I don’t care. But if someone wants to do it? Are they any less part of the mommyblogging community than I am, who blogs about having to fucking clean my bathroom because I can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me?

  3. The person who is in it for the love and not the money ALWAYS has the better blog. Loved this!

  4. You know, I’ve had my moments where I’ve been jealous of all the cool free stuff people get to review for their blogs and have these big giveaways that get them more blog subscribers and Twitter followers.

    Thank you for reminding me that my mommy blog is still a mommy blog, and that’s something to be proud of. I’ve gotten my Twitter followers by actually talking to people and making friends.

    As for the free stuff, I’ve won a crazy amount of giveaways, and I’ll admit that it’s pretty darn cool. But the people I consider friends aren’t necessarily the ones who give me stuff, they’re the ones who talk to me and ask how TJ is doing, and who thank me for starting Dear Kid Saturday because it’s something we can save for when our kids get older.

    Mommy bloggers rock. :-)

  5. it’s a big internet marinka- but are they a mommyblogger if they aren’t blogging about being a mommy?

  6. Awesome and brave Erin. So I’ll join you. It is at the point where I don’t want to be called a mommyblogger at all. I hate that word. It cheapens what I do. IMHO mommyblogging has become a metaphor for cheap slut.
    When it gets to the stage that women who have been here for a long time, offering (non-press release) information, commentary on a topic and authentic engagement begin to consider wiping any reference to motherhood from their brands, their blogs, their persona – it is time to call out the women who are tainting the pool.
    I like getting free stuff, but it’s not why I’m here, and I will continue to question why anyone would offer it to me in particular. LOL.
    It’s highly unfortunate that I class women into two groups. I’m proud of the one I stand in, and I love that I can learn from the women in that category. The others, and I fear there are many more of them, whore themselves around the web, looking for their next trick.

  7. And THAT is the difference too. Is it that you’re doing the occasional, very transparent and above the board review or giveaway, or is it that you ONLY look for the perks and don’t even BOTHER writing anymore. Do YOU STILL WRITE?

  8. I try, as a rule of thumb, to never never ever comment on “cally outy” posts, but as one of the moms here before the ads, before the schwag, before the conferences, and one of the ones who will be here when it all goes away, I’m going to give you a big fat hallefuckingllujah.

    And now I’m going to hide my head in shame for breaking my own rule.

    But still, hallelujah.

  9. I like to read someone who gives me something to think about. It’s interesting that this link turned up in my Twitter feed at just this time. I’m a long time blogger, but mine went by the wayside because I was tired of just this. All the links in my blogroll were either no longer active or painfully lacking content other than ads. I’m in the process of reworking my blog, in part because I miss that community you talk about. I miss the outlet for my thoughts. My blogging waned because I thought I found that outlet on Facebook, but while I like to share the cute things my kiddos do with friends & family on there it isn’t quite the same.

    I’m ready to get back into it, but struggling because my life is also so tied up in my business website that I don’t want it to become what you just called out. I hope I’m successful in finding the balance I think I have in mind. The theme is being created now and I’m looking forward to filling it with content again. Real content, I hope.

  10. i have a giveaway here and there but i always disclose and always post fresh REAL content on top of it. I know some very nice gals running what amounts to giveaway/review blogs and have nothing else cooking. I don’t go there to bond, hang out or otherwise feel b/c I know that everything they write about is a review, no substance.

    What I don’t get, is why companies are interested in blogs that have been created with the intent of pimping products and no real content behind them. To me they lack the “authenticity” and “authority” these sponsors are seeking.

    You know what gets me the most interested in a product? When I see a real blogger posting pics and their real family happens to be using a product or a mom posting about how sleepless her nights have been and now she wants to make out with her new baby swing. I feel like i can trust that.

  11. That is it EXACTLY fidget. and they are getting that “authority” off our backs. off OUR stories and lives. thus the carpetbagging.

  12. Hi Erin – I want to say that it was really nice meeting you at SxSw and thanks for commenting about the coolest things in Austin. I had never heard the term Mommy Blogger until one of my partners and I went to BlogWorldExpo last October. We started our blog so we could write about what we wanted, and not what an editor told us to write about. I had no idea that there was this awesome mom community everywhere (yes, I do live in the middle of the boonies).
    Kudos for this post and venting about the issues.
    For the record, if anyone offers us a hotel giveaway, I jump on it so that one of our readers can have a chance to get away. However, I feel really good when we get comments from readers who find our blog useful.

  13. I’m not a mommy blogger (nor a mommy) but I see this so much, folks getting in on the game because of money and perks. I ascribe it to the MLM industry, and affiliate marketing. Like when Google started selling ads and people would just put up a page of ads as a blog. It’s also what makes you (one) an A-lister, as your content and community is so much separated from the fluff and crap.

    I see it more on Twitter than at conferences (which I rarely attend). It’s like, yeah, I’ll follow you, but you won’t be in my “friends” (or social marketers, or email marketers) panel on Tweetdeck until you prove yourself with your content.

    I’m comforted in the fact that readers use discretion when they email, and simply calling yourself a blogger is far different than actually having a devoted audience.

    thanks for writing- and I love the use of the word ‘carpetbagger’!

    Anna

  14. I miss the days where writers were the norm, writing about their lives and their children and everyday situations that made us react in some way. That’s when we could trust why people were in this community. Now I have to wonder if I can even trust fellow “bloggers”. Are they reading me and commenting because they enjoy my writing or because they like my audience?

    It makes me sad and it makes me miss those days. I certainly still participate in some reviews and giveaways, but I’ve learned very quickly not to tell my soul, or sell out all together.

    There is no greater perk then the perk of community when it comes to blogging. Unfortunately, many lose sight and think the material perk is the most important thing.

    GREAT POST.

  15. correction: readers use discretion when they READ (haha, email is my niche and it takes over my writing!)

  16. I admit, I love doing a giveaway. But I have always been a better giver than receiver, and up until this last week, all of my giveaways were items I purchased myself.

    When I started my review blog, it was because I wanted to give a HUGE shout out to a company that gave me such fabulous service and being new to BlogHer ads (but not new to blogging have been blogging for over 5 years) I was under the impression I couldn’t do a “review” on my personal blog.

    I have started getting “pitched” lately and feel I am being transparent in my latest reviews and giveaways.

    Why do I feel like I am defending myself? Because I fit on both sides of this fence. I have never been a “mommyblogger” and I despise that term anyways. I blog (notice I don’t say I write, I am also not a writer or a journalist) about whatever the hell strikes me. And if I can find a Pay Per Post relevant to me and my life than, whoopdedoo then I can make an extra $2. But I am not going to write about a exterminator if I have not had termites. I won’t write a review for a product I haven’t used. And I will ALWAYS be honest. That is the key, if you are fake on your blog, what does that say abot the rest of your life?

  17. but that’s the key Adrienne- you are being TRANSPARENT.

    And you have another blog with content. Honest to goodness posts with content.

  18. Um. Whoa. This one took me by surprise.

    I blog because as many as 90% of those with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted.

    Out of fear.
    Out of misinformation.
    Out of the negative connotations associated with disability that come from a wide slice of society.

    I blog to show that even with Parker’s extra chromosome AND the imperforated anus, pulmonary hypertension, tethered spinal cord, ostomy bags, trach, 24/7 oxygen, vent and staggering medical bills, his life is worth living AND we are nothing less than thrilled that he came to us.

    I blog to give new parents hope and insight from someone further along the road than they are. I get emails from parents all over the world who have a newborn with a colorectal malformation. Many at their wits end with worry……and embarrassment. Let’s face it, non-working butts aren’t talked about much in our society.

    I blog to show the need for health care to get a kick in the ass in this country. Utah especially. I blogged about my local Republican Rep that I invited into my home to talk about Medicaid and his goal to balance the state budget by slashing it.

    Let’s just say I’ll be leading the back to put someone else in his seat next election.

    On 5 Minutes for Special Needs we have done a few giveaways. Because quite frankly nobody could use something for free more than a family with a kid with special needs and a ton of medical bills.

    Truth be told, most companies don’t want to waste their time advertising directly to special needs parents. How many kids with disabilities do you see in the GAP or Nintendo advertising. Which makes me wonder if my dollar is worth less than that dollar coming from a parent of a typical child. But that is me going off on a tangent.

    My hopes for Back Talk to do a feature on Special Needs isn’t for any gain of popularity, but for awareness. Awareness that a kid….any kid…….is first and foremost a kid. And deserves to be treated as such from insurance agencies to school districts to local communities.

    And to help make the case for neighborhood Moms to include the kid with the wheelchair, crutches, extra chromosome, etc., the next time they invite the class over for a birthday party.

    I realize that you may mainly be speaking to the big time bloggers. Not peons like me. This may be associated with no BlogHer ads on blogs that do giveaways. It may be to help even the playing field at events like BlogHer.

    But stick around with those who are trying to make a difference for our own little niche as well as the community at large.

    If the pittance of free stuff and ads that have come my way dried up I would absolutely still be here.

    Like ugly on a frog.

    Or a certain Republican Representative from Utah.

  19. I’m pretty sure that Mr.Lady summed up basically everything I had to say.

    I’ll add that I hate it that I never know who to trust because of all the carpetbaggers–except that in this case, I feel as if the carpet bag is actually one of those hideous Vera Bradley monstrosities.

    I hate when someone wants to be all buddy/buddy up in my face, and I never hear from then again until they want me to vote for them for some award, nominate them for whatever the popular heinous bullshit is or tell them that pictures of their kids are cute. Cute kids are a dime a dozen; good friends aren’t.

  20. Erin, you rock. Love this post. It’s not about cash and selling out. Stand for something. Be someone. Represent what you care about and have passion. This works whether you’re a mommyblogger or a tech blogger or anything. Rock on.

  21. A few months ago I said that I thought mommy blogging had become the new Mary Kay. Boy, was I surprised to find out a couple weeks later that some bloggers were **actually**, not figuratively, turning their blogs into MLM schemes! It just showed me how far things had gone.

    This post needed to be written.

  22. I have to say the tipping point for me was the diva attitudes I watched people develop overnight. It was like watching friends turn to monsters from a distance for the sake of publicity or “internet fame”. I’ve literally watched other women on here cut each others throats and throw one another majorly under the bus to get what they want. What i’ve seen is the absolute opposite of community and looks more like a VH-1 reality show (one that I like to laugh AT, not with). Especially when people are living in tents and Wall-street is going gansta on us, its hard to get excited about a mop (as you brilliantly pointed out in the post lol). What I don’t mind is moms working together to support other moms businesses– but like you said, there is a fine line.

  23. I started blogging as a means to maintain my sanity, and now I keep doing it for the community. For a while I thought I MIGHT want to be one of THOSE bloggers, who do reviews and giveaways. I even got a couple of email from companies who wanted me to review their products. But after trying the products, I didn’t like them enough to even mention them to my (six) readers.

    I do a few reviews, but they’re ALWAYS stuff I love, stuff that I feel will make other people’s lives better. I do it as a community service, really. I did one giveaway, and it was…eh. Not feeling a need to do it again anytime soon.

    Thanks for saying it’s okay to “just” blog.

  24. I’ve done exactly one review on my blog, for a CD I loved. LOVED!

    And I still felt a little, well, dirty.

    There was another opportunity in connection with that review I had to turn down, because of the contract I signed with BlogHer. I was bummed about that, but in the long run I was relieved.

    Yes, I MIGHT be able to “make” more per month with the occasional giveaway/review opportunity than I do with BlogHer ads. (I make barely enough to cover my minimal Web hosting and site tracking fees.) But, I don’t think I’d feel good about myself.

  25. You know, it’s not just the mommybloggers. It’s infiltrating book blogging too. There are book bloggers that I’ve followed (not anymore) that only write about review copies they are getting in their mailbox. Funnily they don’t ever seem to read them. Or if they do they don’t seem to post about them.
    Sigh.

  26. This is a great discussion.
    While I think it’s great that you’re calling the “carpetbaggers” out, I think content will remain king either way.
    Why?
    Because it’s the readers who will ultimately decide who will succeed and who will fail. And let’s face it, people will stop reading if the content is not good.
    However, I know of many moms who have blogs I love reading and are doing more paid reviews because of this economy. Maybe their husband has been laid off or taken a pay cut. I’m not going to stop reading a favorite blog because they’re turning it into a business, too.
    To play devil’s advocate though, I can’t help but notice that you have an entire widget dedicated to reviews about a specific product in your sidebar. Are those an exception?

  27. I don’t review things. I’ve gotten maybe two free things the entire two years I’ve been blogging. I do blog for the community. And I make like $5. I have blogherads for the headline rotation more than the ads b/c the ads bring in like no money.

    But you know what, I never thought about the other stuff until you mentioned it. I feel like blogs are ice cream. Or wine. Eat what you like, drink what you like. Read what you like. Some people like really bad wine. Me, I’m a wine snob.

    Great post.

  28. Would love to have you discuss this more. What about the other side. The companies that are buying eyeballs are contributing to this as well. I think this is exactly what we have debating when we talk about “sponsored conversations”. Would love for you to be a part of that as well.

  29. Well. I couldn’t have said it better myself….or rather I couldn’t have said it as well.

    A-men.

  30. I wrote something similar today and my friend Fidget dragged me here. You said what I *wanted* to say had I not been doped up on narcotics.

    In the end, I think, one can only effectively add to the blogging community if they actually give back. I don’t need another ode to a mop or a discourse on the amazing paper towel. I want to know YOU, not what marketing companies want you to be.

  31. Gretchen says:

    Your point seems to be that these people are misrepresenting themselves, pretending to be something you don’t agree they are. Maybe I’m not “in” enough to see that. I don’t belong to the community, I read blogs (mommy and otherwise), I read twitter (and sometimes engage), I enter giveawasys, and I blog for my family.

    I guess I just have an issue with the term Mommy Blogger, you blog about politics and it was that which brought me to your blog. Although I also enjoy your blogs about your family, those do not define who you are. What make a blogger a Mommy Blogger? What percentage of one’s blogs have to be exclusively about one’s children to qualify one for the exclusivity of Mommy Blogging? If one’s kids are grown and gone is the author still a Mommy Blogger? And what pray tell makes a Mommy Blogger more special than a non-Mommy Blogger. Are they okay to have just giveaways if they call themshelves a Giveaway Blog? Do Giveaway Blogs have a place in the blogging community or are they not good enough to be included?

    I received and email giving me the opportunity to sponsor my own giveaway after entering a giveway for said product on a different blog. I blog very infrequently and have a readership of maybe 10 (all people I love dearly). The companies that sponsor giveaways either check out the content of the bloggers they choose or not. That’s up to them. To say that these bloggers are carpetbagging on the hardwork of others is ignoring that choice made by the sponsoring company.

    These blogs are what they are, you make a choice to read them or not. You also make a choice who to engage in conversation. Those choices are your responsiblity.

  32. I agree with you – I have read a few self-professed mom bloggers where I couldn’t tell you a single thing about their kids because nothing was ever mentioned.

    When I started blogging, I had no idea it was even possible to make money from it. The best “perk” I could hope for was a community of people who understood me and I enjoyed talking with.

    I like trying out stuff (I think many could admit to that), and I give my honest review of it, although I could never do it as a full-time money making thing. It takes me two weeks to send out any giveaways I host now – imagine if I had more! No one would contact me! I appreciate a good giveaway as much as the next person, but I agree that transparency is a must, and if the blogger calls herself a mom blogger, I do expect to see some personal content somewhere as well.

    If the giveaways and free trips dried up tomorrow (which, honestly, much of the “big stuff” has dried up for me and is sometimes going to the very people you described because they have a better page rank than me), I’d still be here. I can’t imagine giving up on the friends I’ve made. I chat on Twitter and go to BlogHer to be with people I like to hang out with, not to worry about marketing and positioning and stuff I’ll never begin to fully understand.

  33. The ones that are doing nothing but reviews to try to get free stuff, and still trying to call themselves mommy bloggers, sort of drive me nuts. They are not mommy bloggers, they are review bloggers, and there is a difference. That doesn’t mean a mommy blog can’t do reviews and giveaways, but if there’s nothing else to the blog? Then, well, it’s boring. I love blogging. And I love that PR reps are starting to contact me for reviews and giveaways. That’s a lot of fun. But that’s not why I’m blogging. I’m blogging because I like to write about my life, and for whatever fracked out reason, people like to read about my life. And through blogging, I’ve met some pretty amazing people. People who hang on my every word (scary), and subscribe to my blog, and want to know what’s going on in my life. People who comment on my posts over and over, even if I’m just talking about how me the slob is turning into me the not-quite slob. If I were doing nothing but reviews and giveaways? I wouldn’t get that interaction. I wouldn’t meet those people. I’d only ever see entries for contests. And that, frankly, is not why I blog.

    Great post!

  34. my blog is new. i like your style. rip me to shreds i’ll listen. i do it out of boredom. keeps the hinges on with 4 under 5. you be the judge.

  35. One more thought. I have been guilty myself of not paying enough attention to the community aspect of blogging–that’s because I am a writer by profession. When I’m online my first priority is research and writing; everything else has to come second so I can make a living. So for me, when time is tight the community part is the first thing to go, not the writing. (if pressed for time I’d put a post on my own blog before I’d comment on somebody else’s.) An yes, my blog is one way I market myself, so to speak, as a writer. So I do understand that some people are here to make money via their blogs through more direct routes (advertising, selling products, etc) and I don’t have a problem with that. I think where it annoys me is when people act like something they aren’t. I’m a blogger, but I’ll always present myself as a writer first who happens to blog about motherhood as well as other things. I’m NOT a mommy blogger and don’t think I have much right to lay claim to that community as I haven’t been a consistent part of it over the years (though Twitter has changed that for me, somewhat).

    Not sure what I’m getting at here except that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being an entrepreneur or in using your online presence to market yourself or your work or business. I think what Erin is getting at here is something much more disingenuous.

  36. Loved this post! As someone very new to the blogging community, I’m trying very hard to get my bearings. One friend, who loves giveaways, suggested that I do giveaways to gain popularity. I don’t participate in that kind of thing though, so why would I do it?
    I realized how annoying it is when I looked for the most popular mom blogs and put one in my reader only to realize later that there was never any interesting content for me to read. I wonder how these people get so popular, is free stuff that intriguing to people? I appreciate a blog with real content and if they throw in a contest here and there because it’s fun for them so be it. I’d like to say it’s all about being yourself but some people are all about free stuff and money. What about having a great record about your family and what’s going through your head? You can’t buy that and you can’t win it.

  37. Yes Meagan that’s exactly it. The opportunists.

  38. I get what your beef is. I hear you. But two things to note: First, there are plenty of authentic moms who blog and write about their families and write reviews and do giveaways. Your post doesn’t necessarily acknowledge them, even though you do mention them a bit in the comments here. I just wanted to put that out there…

    Second, I personally feel icky when trying to tell anyone how to blog. To each her own, and if it’s any good the readership will follow.

    I have blogged for 5 years, well before the media or the businesses took notice, but I enjoy that writing about my kids and my life can now include telling my readers about stuff I like, and giving stuff away on occasion. It’s fun. My blog isn’t defined by those things, or defined by how much I write about my children. I do want my blog to reflect ME, and so my own personal rule is that there must be plenty of “diarist” or “memoir-ist” posts in between. I want to keep a neat blog house.

    I’m curious though…who was crowned king (or queen) to be in charge of all the term “mommyblogger” encompasses? Some marketing company? Are moms who blog about travel, deals/coupons, politics, life — still mom bloggers?

    Someone in the comments above said she felt icky writing about a CD. I don’t get that — you like the item, you wanted to review it, you’re probably telling your friends and neighbors at home about it, where’s the ick? I would only feel icky posting about something I didn’t really care about, or that I never liked. I’ve never done that, but I’m militant about being real on my blog. Not everyone is, and those people are usually figured out and they fade off into history when they move on to a new hobby.

    I don’t mind having things I do questioned, anything worth it’s salt to me should be able to withstand scrutiny. I just think that a discussion of an extremely gray area won’t really have a right or wrong…

  39. P.S. Erin you covered my first point right above my comment (while I was taking forever writing a novel. Hee.) :)

  40. Great article.

    For the most part, I stay away from Mommy Blogs. I have no kids, have never wanted kids, and unless you’re a friend of mine, could care less about reading all about kids. It’s just not my thing.

    Even tho you have kids Erin, I don’t consider you a Mommyblogger. (That’s meant as a compliment, fwiw) You’re an awesome blogger that happens to be a Mom. Big difference, in my book.

    It really does come down to being transparent. And you do transparency just like you do calling BS – very well!

  41. Kath hits the nail on the head. It comes down to being transparent and SO MANY ARE NOT. They need to go play somewhere else before they ruin it for all of us

  42. Wow. You beat me to the punch. I’ve often wondered about others’ blogs and how they came to have all the visual stimuli next to the meat and potatoes, and why it’s there.

    Even more serendipitous about your post: I’m not a mom, and my blog isn’t about one particular topic (although you could argue I was politically preoccupied in the fall)…and my last post was about moms!!

    I don’t take pride in my blog not having any ads or sweepstakes entries or sponsors…it’s merely a personal outlet for me to sound off about whatever, and invite others to do the same. I just hope mine doesn’t fall under the “non-mom, bad blog” category.

    I didn’t create it to generate money, although I understand moms who need the dough who established theirs to get college funds rolling. I created mine to write and invite people to express themselves as well. Maybe because I don’t have advertising I don’t have as much of a readership as other blogs, but that’s okay, too…hits on a site doesn’t mean a reader stays with your post.

    Loved the entry!!

  43. At first I thought you were saying that giveaways in and of themselves were the issue.

    But now as I am reading the back and forth, you are saying that it is the transparency that is the issue. Those who call themselves members of this community, but are in actuality using it to make money, while only pretending to be a part of this community.

    They may have little cartoon characters of a family on their blog, but they post only about the latest gadget they want to give you an opportunity to win. Cause the more that enter to win this gadget………the bigger the next gadget and payday they’ll receive the next go around.

    Like the next door neighbor who pretends she is your best friend while you have something that is of value to her, but is gone once that resource has dried up.

    You know who the pretenders are, literally. (Some of us however are kind of clueless. )

    Add on sleep deprived and menopausal to that clueless and you’d have the perfect description of me.

    Am I kind of in the ballpark now?

  44. Yes Tammy

  45. I really miss how it used to be. I do appreciate having the opportunity to make income from ads on my blog as well as being able to go on some of those great Mommy blogger trips, but I do feel like our credibility is being compromised by those giveaway & review bloggers with tons of comments and traffic (mostly because people followed a link to their site to win something or to “be seen” and not for deeper or truer reasons.)

    I feel this way because I have seen the advertisers only have eyes for big stats and lots of Twitter followers. If only they knew the truth and value behind that “influence.” Or lack thereof.

    And on those Mommy blogger trips I often find myself in the minority as a Mommy blogger among Review bloggers in the disguise of a Mommy blogger. There IS a difference.

    Like you said- *we* know the truth. And thinking back to how it used to be, that’s all that matters in the end.

  46. i’m just a posing lurker in the mommyblogging circles, but i like and respect a number of awesome moms who write really good stories and make me think about interesting issues – issues about parenting, politics, life in general… i don’t ever want to feel like someone is taking advantage of my time and attention for monetary gain, and when i do feel that way, that blogger loses a reader.

    thanks for being real, erin.

  47. This is why the FTC is getting involved in sponsored conversations, isn’t it? I’ve seen a lot of outrage from bloggers who swear the FTC has it in for them and will kill their income… but it’s not about that. The FTC just wants sponsored reviews to be disclosed as such, and for reviewers not to make false claims about the products they review. I think the FTC should go right ahead with their plan, because that would make everyone own up! If you’re disclosing your relationship with the product company and providing an honest review, you have nothing to fear from the proposed legislation.

  48. I’m kind of in To Think Is To Create’s camp…I mean, yeah, you can read a blog and *hear* someone scrambling to write a post about a mop or a book–just so they’ll get the free stuff. But at the same time, that’s what SOME people want to write about! And just because some of you have been blogging since time began (like oh, 6 years ago) doesn’t mean that someone who starts a blog w/the intent to get review items FOR THEIR KIDS or their family is not a MOMMY BLOGGER. As if Mommy-ing is the ONLY thing that defines us.

    Coin a new term. Be an old-skool-mommy-blogger so the rest of them can get a free mop if they want.

  49. But Amanda I cant condone it when they are not disclosing their deal and not separating the ad from the content.

  50. If only it were so black and white.

    Here’s my response in blog form:

    http://jessicaknows.com/2009/04/what-or-who-defines-the-term-mommy-blogger/

Trackbacks

  1. [...] around the blogosphere and Twitter.  It was started (or at least brought to my attention) at the Queen of Spain blog, and Jessica Knows has chimed in as well.  It’s sort of a twisting evolving discussion, and [...]

  2. [...] what in the hell I’m talking about? Go read Calling Out The Carpetbagging, and excellent post over at the Queen of [...]

  3. [...] “I’m Calling Out the Carpet Bagging Mommy Bloggers.”  It’s a great editorial piece and the current state of affairs in this section of [...]

  4. [...] Books and Resource Centre. (And, NO, this is not a paid advertisement. With all the talk about carpetbagging mombloggers, everyone’s paranoid! Even those of us who WOULD NEVER! — [...]

  5. [...] start with bloggers. Queen of Spain Blog featured a great post, I’m Calling Out the Carpetbagging Mommybloggers. Bloggers, you need to do some soul searching. Why ARE you blogging? If it is just to make a buck, [...]

  6. [...] have been following some interesting conversation on Queen of Spain and that led me to Single Mom Seeking, and of course I left a comment yesterday on Jessica Knows, [...]

  7. [...] feel compelled to write this disclaimer after the controversy over at The Queen of Spain. [...]

  8. [...] I’m Calling Out The Carpetbagging Mommybloggers — 3:44pm via Google [...]

  9. [...] for.  So, naturally I figure if others are interested, I might be too.  So, I went to Queen Of Spain ’s [...]

  10. [...] this talk about mommy bloggers and authenticity initially seemed like a continuation of the conversation we’ve been having about advertising [...]

  11. [...] who once rallied mom bloggers to “become a business,” now outs new bloggers as “carpetbaggers,” because they skip the “content” part of the writing completely, and just do [...]

  12. [...] out the interesting things from among the racket. Bloggers complain that too many people are just in it for the money, thereby killing sense of community that has built up over a period of years. And it’s [...]

  13. [...] of Spain asked: what about community? A bright line between editorial versus [...]

  14. [...] top of that, many non reviewers out there are speaking THEIR mind about what they think about the review bloggers, ethics, and so [...]

  15. [...] problem right into their own hands. They should fully disclose in EVERY post that the trip (or product or hotel stay) was provided free of charge or was substantially [...]

  16. [...] Even with the simple receipt of a free review copy, questions can remain about a reviewer’s integrity. I, for example, have a shelf full of books because I prefer to keep the materials I have reviewed. No one has accused me of whoring out reviews to stuff my bookshelf, but it is possible that someone can. Few reviewers can maintain objectivity in the face of freebies. It is incumbent on both parties to make clear that the material is not provided in exchange for a favorable review. It is provided for a review, and even then, the better reviewers know that not reviewing something at all is in better form over posting a negative review. Take, for example, what has gone on with the “mommyblogging” community. [...]

  17. [...] in what it all means for affiliates, but points to a fiery Queen of Spain post by Erin Kotecki Vest spotlighting recent drama over the tendency of some bloggers to accept freebies without telling their readers [...]

  18. [...] “I’m Calling Out the Carpet Bagging Mommy Bloggers.” It’s a great editorial piece and the current state of affairs in this section of the [...]

  19. [...] In some sections of the blogosphere, it’s reached a tipping point. [...]

  20. [...] stuff or just for the cash have been criticized lately in the media, as well as in great posts like I’m Calling out the Carpetbagging Mommybloggers (with more than 250 comments!) and SwagHer09. Some do Blog with Integrity, but those that [...]

  21. [...] was this post, and this one and this one.  A lot of people got upset and many more had opinions on these [...]

  22. [...] went wrong? Could it be that a shameful few who have burst onto the scene to make a buck or get some free swag have ruined it for the rest of us who are playing nice with the big [...]

  23. [...] a radical shift in thought that I believe began around the time of Erin Kotecki Vest’s “Carpet Baggers” post.  For bloggers who chose to monetize in the brave new world that mixed marketing with [...]

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