Urghh.. I’ve been watching a so-called blogger over the past few days tweet out to every brand she can think of to ask for their details to get in touch. Once you supply them, she emails the PRs a little shopping list of products she’d love to try. Once the products have been sent out, she then says they haven’t arrived, please could they send again. And she emails relentlessly, scattering her missives with flattery and urgency at the same time.
I’ve seen her emails to various PR agencies; they’re pretty well all the same. It’s never a one-product request, but a multiple request and often for different skin-tones. And she rarely, if ever, posts about the products. In fact, in over a year she has just over twenty posts in total on her blog. So low are her stats, that she doesn’t even register on Alexa, other than to indicate that as far as world ranking are concerned she is somewhere around the 13 millionth mark. Um, that equates to about five readers.
In fact, the stats that she sends to PRs aren’t even stats.. they’re oddly all about bandwidth. Claiming 1000 visitors a day in one sentence, and yet, several thousand a day in another, it’s pretty clear that she has no clue about stats. Actually, I challenged her directly on Twitter, and her response was that ‘there is no rule about not asking for samples’ and then blocked me.
On the one hand, I think this is none of my business and that the PRs should check each and every blog before they commit to anything, but what you have to remember is that in the real world, PRs are woefully under-resourced when it comes to adding an entire new media spectrum to their already heavy work-load, and things will slip through. When I can see them slipping through, I feel that I do not want the blogging community brought into disrepute by one bad apple. So, I warn them. But, I can’t do it all day, every day. The beauty blogging community is brilliant at policing its own; not one single genuine blogger wants to see this stuff happening. But, if ever there was a stark warning to check the blogs, this is it.
The thing is, anyone can have a blog. Like, anyone can own a dog. It is quite correct that blogs should be (and are) open to all – it’s one of the world’s greatest levellers. But, having a blog and calling yourself a blogger in a way that indicates you are doing this as a hobby or job and are part of the wider beauty blogging community when you are clearly not, is wrong.
You also have to remember that there are scam journalists too, so this really isn’t so much a blogger thing, but a personality thing. There just are those kind of people whose sense of entitlement or greed renders them senseless to normal moral codes. I’ve seen it in action. I’ve seen them pretend to work for certain publications, demand champagne, get difficult if there isn’t a goodie bag.. the bigger the fuss, the more the PR just wants to get rid, and caves to demand. I get so angry when I know how many thousands of hard-working, dedicated beauty bloggers are out there, and yet someone who doesn’t even bother to post once a month in some cases is managing to masquerade as one of them.
So, without directly naming and shaming, I can give you details because I have now seen enough of her correspondence to know it is a format: if you are asked to post or bike to West Sussex or Clerkenwell, if you are called Hun a *lot* , if you feel pressurised or bullied by the relentless demands to let you know when she can expect the said free products, if you are asked to send selections of product for light-tone and dark-tone skins and include product for varied tones, if you are told they haven’t arrived and please, please could you send again, then you need to look twice. Ask for a stats screen-grab from Google Analytics (which you won’t get). And, then, donot engage at all. Not ever.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.
Brilliant and insightful post as usual! x
What an awful person, giving the rest of us a bad name. I truly can’t understand how anyone can act like this without a twinge of guilt.
What I don’t get is why PRs don’t ask for a screen grab of your last month’s stats before sending out samples. It takes a minute to do.
Or even just go and have a quick look at the blog. You can see if it’s decent and buzzy, and I don’t just mean by the GFC numbers (because, let’s be truthful, it’s easy to buy those with endless giveaways, and we all know the blogs that do that). Is the writing good? Are there engaged readers who are commenting?
so sad this is happening 🙁 I thought all PR’s checked blogs before sending anything out, but I guess it takes an understanding of blogs to know exactly what your looking at, otherwise, the whole process would take ages.
I hope PR’s are more careful now and this person gets no more. It’s such a shame and really will put a bad name on the beauty blogging world if this keeps happening 🙁 so selfish.
I really, really hate this! Its make the rest of us bloggers look bad. But honestly, PR companys should look into these ‘bloggers’ more carefully before agreeing to send products- I completely agree “/
That’s absolutely awful and I’m glad you’ve posted about this. I don’t think you should ever question whether it’s right for you to get involved or not as I think that the actions of a person like this can directly impact the reputation and integrity that we’ve all worked really hard at!
I can’t believe PRs aren’t just pressing delete when they receive her demands though? Fancy sending a shopping list like that! xx
Thanks for this. I am among the smaller companies who doesn’t have staff to check this kind of thing. Count me among the officially enlightened. 🙂
Thanks for bringing this to light Jane. Really important that these people are exposed.
Wow. I didn’t know that some bloggers actually ask for products!
Sad story. It is a bit hard to believe that PR could send anything to a person with 20 posts per year when they don’t often have enough samples to send to bloggers with good stats and engagement.
I’m always asked for numbers during the 1st contact, so really strange situation.
I am a bit nieve when it comes to companies and PR’s as I have been blogging less than a month, but the reason I am nieve is because I started blogging because I love to write and I love to blog. 1000 visitors a day wow! I know there are blogs that do get that amount but I do think companies should check what the blogger is saying is true. Overalll the relationship between bloggers and PR’s/companies is built on trust and no one should be abusing that. Its plain wrong. X
I feel bad for the PR people dealing with this. Freakin’ scammers are awful.
However, I do feel that PR should be sending tracking information with packages. I’ve had PR tell me they’ve mailed me stuff, I’ve never received it, and then ask me why my review wasn’t up. So when I explained I never received it, I never heard back.
I think there needs to be a personal judgement with bloggers, as in assessing how big their target audience is, their writing style. The PR companies could have said no after it has failed to send, if she’s done it beforehand, and just use the fob-off excuse of there are not enough samples left since they’re all allocated.
I’m sad that it makes bloggers look bad too. Not everyone is that cunning, when I was still blogging, if I couldn’t blog about the product they wanted to send it, I’d refuse them out of politeness and being honest.
Everyone has put their feelings over so well and I agree with everyone’s comments…what a lame way to get a few freebies! I want to write what I think of this person, but then I wouldn’t want to get done for libel.
I didn’t even realise that some bloggers request samples! I’m still pretty new to the whole blogger thing and I’m learning as I go. I think the blogging community as a whole is wonderful, just a shame that people like that bring it down.
Oh my goodness this is awful! I’ve been approached by PRs before and asked to sample their products, which is fine, but I would never, ever seek it out! I can’t believe anyone could be like that!
I really don’t like that she’s out there giving us all a bad name. I work hard on my blog to try and make it nice, and certainly not for products, I do it for the love of blogging and the enjoyment I get when somebody comments and says they will give a product a go because of my review, since they’ve been looking for something similar or never heard of it.
Thanks so much for bringing this to light, it’s such a sad thing she’s doing but at least it’s out in the open now. Somebody definitely had to call her on it, and I’m glad you did. 🙂
Great post! I agree whole heartedly and it is a shame that someone out there is taking advantage of this.
Great post! I even didn´t know that this kind of “beauty bloggers” existed 🙁
I totally agree with Phyrra that PR should be sending tracking information with packages!
Excellent post but so sad this goes on and gives other dedicated bloggers a bad rap. 🙁
Oh god, that’s just awfull! I hate people who start a blog and do it just for the free stuff! But it’s also a PRs’ fault because they don’t check.
I would personally name and shame the blog. Not the person but at least the blog because this is not right at all! I will share, thank you for a great post x
Thanks for sharing this Jane. It’s so appalling that this behaviour goes on, sadly I don’t think it can be controlled either, so it’s up to PRs, brands and the blogging community to police it. I wish some PRs would think twice before sending samples out, it’s very easy to put into place a standard checking system, whether that be based on quality of content, number of followers, network on social media or visitor stats, there are so many ways to measure the value of a blog it shouldn’t be hard to judge.
I think it can be harmful to some brands working with the wrong bloggers too, in my view it can give brands a bad name if they are seen to be sending out samples to just anyone, it looks desperate and in my opinion, loose the value of the brand to other more appealing bloggers.
I think it’s a case that some brands and PRs are in serious need of some education about the digital world.
very well written post !!
You know the expression caveat emptor? Well, perhaps we need the expression caveat PR! There are dishonest people In all walks of life. Their raison d’être is to get something for nothing. PR people know about these scammers so, if they choose to accomodate them, it is because they are lazy and think it is easier to send out a bunch of products than take a few minutes to investigate the blog. If I had a company, I would want to know all about the bloggers who were putting my products out before the public with their personal opinions attached.
Grace London has the right of it. It is so very easy to check the legitimacy of a blog, so why don’t the PR people do it? I’ve already said it. They’re lazy.
Thank you for the info. I have not been on twitter long. I am sure I have made a ton of mistakes. I did not know scamming exists on twitter too.
That’s awful and gives us beauty bloggers such a bad name! Shame on her I hope PR’S stop responding to her emails x
This is pretty scummy behavious from whoever this blogger is but whilst reading my presiding throught was, what PR n their right mind would send the products out in the first place..?
I really hope this ‘blogger’ gets exposed. She’s at risk of giving others In the blogging community a bad name because of her greed! X
erugh just found her through your Twitter…completely understand why this infuriates you as it does me!
SO many of us work full time & put in all our spare hours to make our blogs interesting & engaging for our readers. Getting samples from PR companies is something I never take for grated & am flattered when I am asked if I would like to try products.
Drives me nuts that someone would be so demanding…but then she is the “Hottest Blog on the Web”…
I dread to think what shes doing with all these samples shes getting.
Thanks for highlighting this.x
Hi there, I believe this as well. I complain usually about not winning and than they kind of see my name probably to win and pick someone else from the Rafflecopter. It’s ok It’s more about them usually they choose a fake name to win I have been to many websites and know their are scam bloggers that keep the product the PR’s send like kid toys and other things like beauty products. I am convinced no one wins these giveaways It’s only a way for bloggers to get people to comment and for PR to see that the sites look good get more free products to try and keep. I am a blogger and I get less PR than anyone and My blog is more than 1 year old. I have worked pretty hard. I don’t get the products like other bloggers. Sad but true.