I’ve had several phone calls over the past couple of weeks from brands seeing an increasing amount of their product appear on blog sales and Ebay. They ask me what to do. Given that I spend a spectacular amount of time championing blogs as worthwhile beauty critiques in an industry that is nervous to say the least about letting their products go to an unknown quanitity; I’m just gutted. Behind the scenes, blogging is still viewed as a risky avenue to go down for brands and I have literally spent hours and hours convincing people otherwise, and that bloggers do deserve samples for all the time they spend promoting brands and for their sheer passion and love of beauty. And also that beauty bloggers do have a rightful place in the beauty industry. All on my own time, by the way; there’s no pay packet.
So, when I hear that pre-launch products are popping up on Ebay, I just despair really. Where is your place in the beauty industry if all you’re going to do is use it as a handy little money maker? And, worse still, it tars all beauty bloggers with the same brush. There are amazing bloggers out there, making a true landmark in the beauty arena, whose sites are respected and loved, but when your Ebay sales tracks straight back to your blog, you’ve instantly lost any respect you’ve built up.
The brand that phoned me today is one that owns several other sub-brands. They’re taking a hard line policy and refusing to send product to any blogs that are selling their products, and all I can do is agree with them. This company looks after 8 best selling, prestige beauty brands. Products sent for review are exactly that; sent for review because you love beauty, right? Not for pocket money. It’s upsetting beyond belief that some bloggers are laughing all the way to the bank with this ‘blogging lark’.
However, I do see that it’s easy to lose respect for the products bloggers receive when some brands literally shower anyone and everyone with product hoping for a quantity not quality effect. But every brand has budgets to work to, and only so many samples to go round. If one small brand uses its budget to send product out to bloggers who then sell the product, you can see why they wish they’d sent it elsewhere. Brands – and particularly the PRs – tend to be passionate and protective about their products; the last place they want to ever see it is on Ebay, especially if its a prestige brand, and the second last place is on a blog sale.
Lastly, I’ll say that every single brand that I know of uses Google alerts and every time you sell something they do actually know about it.
When I talk to brands about how to work with bloggers, one of the things I always say is that they should treat bloggers with respect; now, I have to say treat the ones that deserve it with respect.
What more can I say?
PS: Subsequently, several pre-launch collections have been tracked back on Ebay – to journalists, and not in these instances, to bloggers. We all know that this goes on from the factory floor to the beauty desk, but unless the Ebay beauty sellers quit this horrible habit (that actually takes place in all industries and not just beauty) and just give away – or discretely ‘dispose of’ their products, it gives everyone a bad rap. Bloggers and journalists who wouldn’t dream of Ebaying their products don’t need to fall under the catch-all blagger umbrella when it’s hard enough as it is to adequately valued for what we’re doing.