We all love free stuff and there are many bloggers out there who write fantastic reviews about the products they receive, but where do you draw the line between blogging and blagging?
Is it ever ok to ask for review items from brands and PRs? Is there an etiquette when asking for products for review? Is it the height of bad manners to ask for things and should you wait to be offered items? These are a few questions that we have seen crop up on several occasions.
Recently, there was a bit of a to-do on twitter when a blogger started tweeting restaurants asking to visit, try the menu and write a review. They used a blanket approach writing pretty much the same tweet over and over again to different restaurants. Many tweeted back to say they would be happy to invite the blogger along to do a review. However, one tweeter called them out on their rather impersonal approach and soon it came to the attention of other food bloggers who waded in with their opinions.
This raises the question of how best to approach brands and PRs in the first place. Is a tweet a good way to get their attention or should you take the time to write a longer email and explain what you are willing to offer in return for trying out their product for free? There are hashtags such as #prrequest and #journorequest in use, which are a useful way to attract attention to your request but perhaps not all bloggers would feel comfortable asking for something so publicly.
There are those who use such hashtags repeatedly asking for items over and over again, trying to gather as many products as possible, whether they are relevant to their blog or not. Do these blaggers give everyone else a bad name? Are PRs and brands going to become less receptive to blogger approaches because of the curse of the blagger?
On the flip side, why should there be any shame in asking for something if it is of interest to you and your readers? PRs are often very receptive to sensible requests and may be grateful to gain some coverage if their product is a good fit with your blog. Whilst PRs do a great job finding relevant bloggers to test products for them, they are often pleased to hear from bloggers they haven’t come across before and who are interested in working with them. If they can’t help you with your request this time, they may find a good fit in a future campaign.
We have asked a lot of questions in this post and would love to hear your opinions on the blogger vs blagger debate, but we shall leave you with one last question – is it actually any of our business how other bloggers conduct their business?