Thursday, July 16, 2009

PR Blackout: Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

The blogosphere is all a~twitter as the PR Blackout '09 strikes fear in the hearts of bloggers, pseudo-journalists and PR reps alike. All because a group of us decided to take a one week vacation from PR. Wussies.

Yeah, I said it. So what?

Here's the skinny:


I am participating in a
PR Blackout from August 10-16, 2009. This was created by Trisha & Kim from MomDot.com to help combat the bloggy burn out we have all been feeling lately. This blackout was also created to alleviate some of the pressure that many bloggers have been feeling regarding their stats, page rank, Alexa, Technorati, etc., which have come to mean far too much in the blogging world. And trying to figure out how to become bigger and better is a real bitch.

But it's a double edged sword, as high stats are needed in order to even be considered for any paid advertising on our blogs or a product review. I got turned down for Juice Box Jungle ads last week because my monthly page views weren't high enough.


Yep, I'm a loser.

Hardly any PR reps. {With the exception of the four I am working with now, who I love}, apparently, care that I can, in fact, write well and that I am also a contributing author for
MomDot.com. No, all they see are numbers. And statistics. And popularity. It's like High School all over again and I am not running with the right crowd. Yo, Dooce!

But I digress...


Trisha' s whole point is to get us back to the reasons why we started blogging in the first
place. Our love of writing and having our voices heard. Helping Stay~At~Home~Moms actually get some adult conversation and create new friendships. Some validation. And yeah, as a possible way to make a bit of money online, legitimately, while doing something we love.

But then bloggers get lured into product reviews. They hear about Dooce and that Pioneer chick making $40K per month from advertisements on their blogs and figure, like I did, that it can't be that hard. I only wanted to make $1000 per month. I was naive and believed all the media hype. Guess what? It's hard. And PR, for the most part, wants you to be Dooce in order to be worthy of paid advertising.

By the way, no "Mommy Blogger" that I know even considers Dooce one of us. But that doesn't stop the mainstream media from showing her face or interviewing her any time a story about Mommy Bloggers comes up.

So here is the crux of this story:

Apparently, some
dipshit who calls herself a journalist only heard the controversial part of this challenge and wrote about it without A) reading the whole article and B) listening to the Friday Night Live Show on Blog Talk Radio that spawned this whole thing. I call that yellow journalism...at best. At worst it is a pseudo-journalist who only wanted to get hits, and not caring how she got them.

I don't believe in misquoting the subject of your article nor do I believe in not doing your research. Isn't that the first rule of journalism, check your sources? Freedom of the press does not give you the right to misquote or misconstrue anything. And you better have the facts to back it up.
Yeah, I'm talking to you, Caroline McCarthy at C|NET.

She even had the gall to admit that she has never read a Mommy Blog or really even knows what one is. Ethics, baby, ethics. But she will judge Trisha and the PR Blackout '09, huh? She even went so far as to infer that Mommy Bloggers that do reviews are ignoramuses and whiners. She touted the superior intelligence of her Manhattanite friends who are on "hiatus" from their high level corporate jobs and just blog on the side as proof that the rest of us suck.
I don't have kids, and even if I did I don't think I'd blog much about them out of the concern that their future sixth-grade classmates would find a way to use it as blackmail, so maybe I'm not at liberty to judge. But I think MomDot is sort of missing the point. Working with the public relations industry is core to any journalist's (and now blogger's) job, as is the use of press releases and in some cases review products. What MomDot is assuming is that "mommy bloggers" are simply rehashing press releases and posting photos of stuff they got for free, turning less into independent bloggers and more into PR mouthpieces.

That's a little bit insulting, in my opinion, to the scores of smart, funny, and critical bloggers who happen to write about their lifestyles as mothers. Many of these women are blogging as a side project while they take time off from very successful corporate careers to focus on raising their kids. I'm not all that well schooled in which mommy blogs are worth reading, but I'm willing to bet that plenty of them are willing to read a press release or play with a new product and promptly write about how stupid they think it is.

First of all, my dear, you obviously know nothing about Trisha or the MomDot community. She has done product reviews herself and knows for a fact that it is not just a copy and paste kind of thing. Unless you are reviewing a press release, then that is just fine.

Quick and simple:
Look at this nice jpeg. Isn't it lovely? Such vivid colors & nice contrast. Although the writing was a little less that stellar. There were misspellings & the syntax was all wrong. But go visit the website anyway.
Are you getting the point now?


I get at least 20 requests to review a website or press release every week. At first I did some of them {Not all of them were relevant to my blog or readership}. I was so afraid of alienating any PR rep because I wanted to do reviews and have paid ad spots on my lil' ol' crazy Mommy blog. But then, when I didn't respond to a couple of them right away, I began to get emails that were more and more insistent and sometimes, downright indignant towards my lack of responsiveness. Now tell me, is that a good way to cultivate a relationship with someone you are asking to give you free advertising? I think not.

So I ignored them, because, quite frankly, they pissed me off.


I have a marriage and a child and real life issues that are not going to be pushed aside so that I can respond to rude emails. Especially those telling me that I need to post for them. Or why haven't I done it yet. Or whatever.
First of all, I never said I would post. Second, what am I getting out of this deal? You are getting exposure and I get bupkis because I am not an A-List blogger and therefore am not worth anything, right? WRONG! I am worth something. you know it and I know it. But you PR reps have to justify your advertising budgets in this Depression somehow, don't you?

Some of you, not all of you, but some, actually think that using a Mommy Blogger to advertise your product is cheap and easy. And sometimes it is. However, no one seems to get that we have to spend uncompensated time reviewing, photographing and composing a well thought out post about your product. Yes, we get a free product {How are we supposed to review something we don't own?}, but does that fully compensate us for the time spent actually reviewing the item? More often than not, it doesn't.

And if the company wants a contest run, well then how does a $20 product compensate for all the time involved in doing that? We must check to make sure everyone has followed the rules of the giveaway, pick a winner, contact that winner, contact the sponsor and sometimes take flack because the company didn't live up to their end of the bargain.


A PR rep actually had the cahones to leave several scathing comments on
Tammy's post about the PR Blackout. He/she/it {they did not disclose their gender} accused Trisha of only doing this for traffic and said that all Mommy Bloggers were greedy and stupid. The Shim {what I call those that won't state their gender} PR rep said,
The "Mommy Blog" movement is a joke as far as I'm concerned I would never submit a product to be reviewed on my own accord. Unfortunately, I've had clients that have insisted and I find it to be a complete waste of time.
Wow! How did you ever get to be in public relations with that attitude? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!
DAYUM!!

The Shim also stated,
So you have to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing and writing about a product...that you get to keep? Really? And what about those on the other side that spend the time to do the research, create the pitch and then if there's a green light, take the time to prepare and send the package? Knowing of course, that the free product won't be returned, a review might not show up and if it does it is usually written so poorly and reaches such a small audience that it doesn't move the dial in terms of sales.
Ummm, you get a paycheck, right? I am certain that your salary is far more substantial than how much it costs to send a dumb little Mommy Blogger a box of $2 snack cakes to review.
It's nice to know what your ethics and beliefs are right up front, though. Oh, and IT'S YOUR JOB to pitch a product and get it advertised, Asswipe.

As I understand it, there is now a "list" of the bloggers who are participating in the Blackout, supposedly started by Jessica Knows, although the details are still a bit sketchy. There is also a list of those who won't be participating. Scarlett Letter, anyone? Or is it just your run of the mill blackball?

I do want to stress that neither I, nor anyone else involved in PR Blackout '09, hates PR. Quite the contrary, we love them. But there are some who only see Mommy Bloggers as free advertising and even cheaper labor or as completely stupid and worthless. It is those reps that we want to hear our voices loud and clear. We also want all Mommy Bloggers to realize that they are worth more than they are given credit for.

I personally want all those haters out there to know about Bloggers Give, a charitable site that Trisha started in order to give to worthy causes. So all of you who think she is just doing this for the traffic and is using us, her mindless little followers, to increase her rankings and be the center of attention can go suck it!

The pseudo~journalists also need to prick up their ears and listen when we say we will not simply sit by while a rally cry for a vacation is misconstrued as a call to bash PR. To them we say GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE YOU STIR THE POT.

I still don't get why this is so controversial. Everybody deserves a break once in a while. Even us unpaid, ignorant Mommy Bloggers.

And hey, it's only seven days, not an eternity.


If you have written a post regarding the PR Blackout, please link it up below.



11 comments:

TuTu's Bliss said...

Thank you for sharing. I hadn't heard about it. That is not the most offensive thing I have heard about "mommy blogs". I read that mommy bloggers are all "fat scrapbookers" that can't spell in another blog.

Joyce said...

completely agree with your post!

Kate Hanke said...

Very good points! I think you should do what you need to do to refresh yourself. I think you should only do a blog if it is an enjoyable time for you!

LadyStyx said...

Amen Kate Hanke!

Mom101 said...

I think there is so much good discussion to be had from this, so many ways to unite the blogger community around the idea of reshaping priorities, and it's truly admirable that MomDot wants to take a leadership position in this.

But shutting down dissenters as "whiny bitches" and wussies might not be the best way to get a conversation going and rally people to your side. Just a thought.

Donna said...

I find it sad, really, that so many bloggers weren't writing for themselves to begin with. I have been blogging for over 15 months now, mainly because I love to write. I do not write every day (I wrote a lot at first but, in fact, I'm lucky to put up 2 posts a week now), because I do have a life. I don't have the traffic that many bloggers involved in the blackout have; I average around 13,000+ unique visitors a month and to date I have never had a review/contest/giveaway. So I'm proud that my traffic comes purely from my content.

I have for the last 3 months averaged 3 PR emails a week wanting me to do reviews, etc. I just replied back with thanks, but no thanks or deleted them. That being said I am going to start doing some reviews/giveaways but only if it's something I would buy myself.

But I do thank you and others in the momdot community because I will make sure to NOT stray from what is important.

I btw, have absolutely no problem with bloggers making money from their blogs. And every blogger should take a vacation. I do several times throughout the year. No I may not be compensated while I'm on "vacation" but I also am blessed to get to work from home and make my own hours. And best of all spend more time with my family! That pay off is far better than a paid vacation!

Donna
http://www.blogbydonna.com

Tammy said...

Great post. You have a way with words. I just don't understand why people insist on taking something and blowing it out of proportion. Trisha shouldn't be attacked the way she is for doing something we wanted her to do. We wanted to take a week off and we wanted to do it together. It has nothing to do with our feelings towards PR. I love the PR people I work with. They have been great. They also understand that I want a break and support me taking a week off.

Queenie Jeannie said...

First of all, the picture you posted is SOOOO going in my "to save for a rainy day" file folder. Hysterical!!!

I dunno, I think this is a whole lot of fuss about nothing. But I'm not involved either. There are stupid people everywhere, doing and saying stupid, thoughtless things. I just refuse to let 'em under my skin anymore and let them dig their own holes.

I blog for totally different reasons and never wanted ads on my blog, nor to make money from it. (my card shop blog excluded, obviously!) I blog because I love to write, I love to talk about being a wife and mother, I love having my own place to rant, I love meeting new friends from all over the world - I just love it!

Except the bitchiness that comes with grouping women together. That always sucks monkey ass.

There you have it folks, my two cents.

AccidentalMommy said...

Ok, so I laughed a lot but that's cause you are funny.

There's not much left to be said, you covered it all I think.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I don't see your pic and now I have to take another dump.......but the two aren't in ANY WAY connected, fyi.

GrammyMouse said...

Way to go Shann!

Faythe

 

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