Late night ranty posts are almost always a bad idea, but talking with a couple of bloggers about how please-all posts are starting to be the very things that beauty blogging was supposed to replace has got me thinking.
Beauty blogging has largely replaced traditional media as the go-to last word on beauty. It’s the place where you’ll get to see the products, see how they swatch up and hear about how they look and feel to wear – there isn’t room in print for the level of detail on individual products that blogs provide. I read a lot of blogs – I tend to surf rather than stick to individual favourites so that I get a different overview every time I look.
I have noticed though, that there’s an upturn in ‘love it’ posts – you know, the ones where there is never anything wrong with any product and everything is wonderful. I can’t help thinking that they’re not really any help at all to the general consumer looking to part with hard-earned money. It may well be that some people are easier to please! I don’t doubt the reviews for one second, but I do wonder what happened to the products they didn’t like and why they’re not prepared to say they didn’t like them.
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It’s very tough to send out a negative review – but it’s real life – you cannot love everything! If I put out a review that’s not positive, it’s highly likely that the brand or the PR will be in touch to say their product has been misunderstood or even be asked to remove the post (which I don’t). I never, ever, post in anger or spite – if I don’t like a product, I feel I have a responsibility to say and have good reasons for it. I’m often having to remind PRs and brands that I don’t work for the brands, I work for the consumer. I often get asked to hold back a post so that I can ‘drive sales’ at a date convenient to the brand (wtf!), I very often get told there aren’t samples available because the entire allocation is going to print (safe option). And it’s not that unusual to find myself being played off against other blogs. And the trouble with that is once you realise you’re being manipulated, the trust is entirely gone. I’ve fallen for the ‘scoop’ so many times, only to then discover that the scoop has actually been split several times to spread the brand across a number of blogs. A clever PR strategy, but only in the short term. I actively have to stop myself being caught up in enthusiasm and scoops that are designed to be drip-fed out for maximum blog joy and positivity. If I haven’t tried a product, I’m happy to flag up it’s out there, and the review can come later. Or sometimes not at all. There are several brands that won’t send out at all because my timings don’t suit them or they won’t risk a review that isn’t 100% positive.
So, what if bloggers stop saying what we really think? The bottom line is that blogs just become girls with some make-up. And that’s not terribly interesting really. It’s really easy to get into the mind-set of actively promoting brands without thinking; it’s an absolute risk that if you post negatively then you may well never hear from the brand again. On the other hand, you’ll have provided a far more useful post for other women to read and helped consumers make a real choice – which is kind of why they come to blogs in the first place.
Then there’s the ‘nothing nice to say, say nothing’ attitude. Well, that’s what we had way-back when, and it didn’t suit us at all. There wasn’t anywhere that women (and men) could talk openly about products and hear the views of people who have actually tried the products. If blogs want to be a trusted voice, then turning a blind eye is the last thing that can happen. Obviously, a good range of opinions is what makes the beauty world go round – my opinion is just that – it’s not the last word on anything but it’s always good to have a range of views and not just a plethora of ‘love-it’ posts.
‘Love-its’ are always going to be the easy PR option, but they’re not the best option for the people who read blogs – you know, the people who actually go out and buy the products. And as we all know, a negative can boost a positive, so it’s a short-sighted strategy at best and I’d hate the blogging tide to turn into something that doesn’t reflect what really goes on in beauty world.
Let me know what you think. Too many love-its? Or is it better to adopt the nothing nice to say, say nothing attitude?
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