MY THOUGHTS ON GIFTED ITEMS AS A BLOGGER & AS A CONSUMER

I started writing The Weekly Notes but I started talking about this subject and realised that it was actually going to be kind of beefy so I decided to scrap my weekly round up and make it it’s very own post. I would love to hear your thoughts in the below comments!

 

I’ve been blogging for a long time and one of the aspects that’s always had a bit of controversy is gifted items. For those of you who aren’t aware bloggers who have a following appeal to brands because in todays media it is a really great advertising opportunity. Often brands, or PR for the brands, will get in touch and ask if a blogger would like to try something in hope that the blogger will love it and share it.

As a blogger…
First I’ll touch on my feelings about press samples as a blogger. When I first started, and up until the past few months, I never saw press samples as something that needed an * next to it if it had been gifted to me. Why? I felt (and still do feel) that that particular product is an object and I remain subjective no matter if I’ve paid for it or not. If it’s a shit product I either don’t feature it OR sometimes it doesn’t work for my particular skin type and I say that in the review. For me, it has never hindered my review so I never felt the need to mark it in the blog post instead I’ve always got a disclaimer at the bottom of my posts.

 

That was up until I started doing fashion content and I felt that I never wanted people to see another different outfit and feel like they weren’t shopping enough or keeping up enough. For clothing I felt different because it’s tangible. People see that shit. I had an instance that really changed my opinion on marking when things are gifted. It was when someone asked how I could afford a Zimmermann Jumpsuit (although I don’t think that’s a particularly polite thing to ask) and I instantly felt awful because the particular photo was taken during a week I was doing something shots (unpaid) for my friends boutique. The item was borrowed (however I did end up owning the jumpsuit later on for my hens) so from then on I decided to mark what was borrowed or gifted clearly in each post and that has carried over to all content now. If it’s not important to the review it doesn’t hurt being there, right? And with clothing it’s different again. I only pick and accept styles I absolutely LOVE and would buy with my own money. It’s my personal style so like hell I would ever wear a floral midi dress that is strapless…. You get me.

 

I love press samples. I’m not ashamed to admit that. Why? Because I’m a broke ass bitch with a bucket of debt that I need to pay off. I can’t afford to buy new things all the time just to make content. Not that I believe you need new things to make kick-ass content but alot of what I do is trend-based content and product reviews of new things on the market. Press samples mean I’m able to continue making content. It’s plain and it’s simple. Without the relationships that I have with brands I would probably only be able to churn out 1 post a week.

 

I also wanted to note that when you accept samples there is a degree of responsibility that comes with it. You need to trial the product appropriately and decide whether it fits into your schedule then potentially shoot, edit and review it. Despite not having a contract or being paid, of course there is no real obligation, there IS a sense of responsibility and work that comes with every single ‘free’ thing you accept. Alot of people think it’s glamorous but it is fucking hard work.

As a consumer….
Another huge reason I know meticulously mark everything that has been gifted to me is because as a consumer I often wonder about what has been gifted or sponsored. Some bloggers I really trust (I hope you guys trust me ep) so regardless of if it is sponsored, gifted or not I’d buy the product based on their recommendations but it’s just a fact I like to take into consideration. If the particular person hasn’t disclosed it I’m often left wandering about the simple fact. I am completely and utterly nosey.

 

It’s also just for piece of mind. As I said before I never want people to look at me a feel shitty about themselves like they’re not shopping enough or anything of the sorts. I want people to come here and feel good because when I look at other blogs sometimes I do feel shit because I can’t afford 10 million designer bags. When people aren’t disclosing that they’ve got that half price or the brand has allowed them to borrow a bag for 6 months it can leave me feeling like I’m not good enough (brutally honest). In the world of social media we are all comparing ourselves constantly so it’s refreshing to see when bloggers are like HEY DIDN’T PAY FOR THIS. I never see that as less – in fact I respect the blogger MORE as a viewer/reader because they’ve had the balls to be completely transparent.

 

I’ve now stopped following a few blogs that I find too fantasy and unattainable not because I’m bitter but because the lines are too blurred. As a reader I just cannot get past the feeling crap when scrolling through all their pictures of amazingness with no disclosures about gifted items.

 

What I’m wearing: IDS Dotty Shirt Dress (size 8, gifted) | Boohoo Flared Sleeve Jumper (size S/M) | Lack Of Colour Grey Fedora | Elroy Harper Sunglasses (available in black) | Top End O’Neil Boots (gifted) | Sportsgirl Bag (not current) | Scholl Light Legs Compression Tights (gifted)

 


What are your thoughts?


*products in this post may have been provided for editorial consideration. For more information please view our disclaimer.

Sarah About Sarah
I'm a retail manager by day and a blogger by night aiming to bring you the newest beauty, fashion and lifestyle news. More Than Adored was created to help beauty lovers, like myself, make informed decisions when it comes to buying new goodies.

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  • As both a blogger and consumer I think it’s really important to state when an item has been gifted.

    Being a blogger I know the hard work that goes into creating content and how much goes on behind the scenes to get a post published. I also know that blogging is all about credibility, so writing dishonest reviews just isn’t worth it.

    As a consumer, I want to know if something has been gifted or if the person was willing to spend their own money on a product. If something catches a bloggers eye and they go out and buy it, that says something. When they constantly repurchase from a certain brand, that tells me the brand is worth taking a look at.
    When I see post after post that doesn’t contain any items the blogger purchased themselves, for me the blog loses credibility. If they aren’t willing to spend their own money on products they’re writing about, how do I know they’re being genuine?

    I really don’t like the blanket disclaimers that don’t state which items have been gifted, to me it makes it seem like they have something to hide. Not disclosing seems to be more common now, especially on Instagram. I see so many posts and feeds that are clearly full of gifted items and yet they don’t disclose, it’s so frustrating!

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from! I’ve often done posts where everything has been gifted because, to be completely honest, I can’t afford to keep buying products or clothing to feature. Gifted items allow me to continue blogging. Of course there are clothing pieces and products I do buy but not nearly the volume that I trial! That’s why I’ve always had the frame of mind I review things like I purchased it myself.

      Thanks for the comment! I love hearing other people’s point of view on blogging topics like this one :)

  • I’ve patiently been waiting for someone ballsy to write this post! Thank you for your honesty, there ain’t anything more annoying than seeing a dress of someone and desperately wanting it – I’ve even tried to screen shot images and put them into google image search hahah x
    http://www.caterenee.com

    • Thank you!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the honesty.. I felt like it was something that I wanted to talk about. I HATE not knowing haha.. Isn’t it the worst?!

  • Great post Sarah. I have always disclosed when a product is gifted or a post is sponsored. 1. Because I like to be transparent with my readers
    2. Before to was illegal not to disclose, I always thought it was frowned upon if you didn’t.
    In saying this there is nothing wrong with accepting free products or items of clothing for a potential review its the business we are in and it often takes more time is shooting, editing and writing about that product than the actual price of the product. I used to get really upset when reading a blog and every review featured a gifted product but at the end of the day we all work hard for these products and it takes a lot of time out of our day to advertise them so why not get them for free.
    I dont follow a lot of fashion bloggers but I could imagine how blurred the lines would be there :

    Bec | Beauty With Bec

    • Totally agree Bec! Sometimes I get annoyed when brands expect a review within a week of receiving an item. It’s like dude I’ve only put it on my face 3 times how am I meant to write/shoot/edit/upload/proof it all within 5 days? CRAZY.. That’s a whole other thing though isn’t it.

      Fashion blogging is different again. Like I said in the post it really changed my perception of marking items as gifted/borrowed because there are so many blurred lines.

  • Jasmine Huston

    I love your take on it as a consumer. I agree that it I trust the blogger, it doesn’t matter however I find it’s important to disclosure just for that piece of mind (hey, there’s a reason I trust them in the first place right?)
    As a blogger I always disclose and it actually makes me sad/frustrated when I see other bloggers not disclosing because it paints bloggers in a bad light. I think that a generic one at the bottom is fine but I love the specialised ones as it really adds integrity! Keep up the good work babe!

    • Thank you so much for the comment Jas! I’m glad you feel the same way – if you trust a blogger marking it doesn’t change anything :)

  • Honesty is so important to me in blogging. Whether it’s beauty or fashion, I like to see bloggers blatantly label what’s gifted and what’s not because I feel as if they have something to hide if they don’t. I think some bloggers blur the lines because they don’t want the hoards of gifted items to make them appear untrustworthy, but to me, you lose that credibility as soon as you fail to disclose! I couldn’t care less about how many PR samples a blogger receives, so long as they’re open and honest about what’s gifted as well as with their reviews. I feel as if a lot of the bigger bloggers only give good reviews just to keep on good terms with brands and PR companies and for that reason, I mostly read smaller blogs when I want authentic, impartial reviews.

    There’s definitely an advantage in receiving PR samples as does make creating regular content a hell of a lot easier and if bloggers want to truly show their appreciation, the least they can do is set an example for fellow bloggers and have a genuine relationship with their readers. I mean, no blogger or YouTuber would be where they are without their readers/subscribers! Regardless of whether disclosing gifted items is legal or not, I think it shows good ethics and professionalism. I think the reason why blogging gets a bad rap now is because it’s become too magazine-like and aspirational, when what made blogging so great in the first place is that we were just everyday people talking about the shit we love. It’s awesome that blogging has evolved so much, but we shouldn’t forget to keep things real either.

    Tenneil | Like Neon Love

  • I feel like when brands first started paying attention to bloggers and bloggers first started receiving press samples everyone just disclosed it by default, probably partly because it was exciting to say that a brand noticed you. But now that the industry has grown so much and so much money is involved, people aren’t always as transparent. Especially because it used to be as simple as “this was sent to me” and now there are features that are paid for, or items that are on loan like you mentioned.

    I would always be honest about anything that I talk about on my blog, and I feel more comfortable disclosing if something were sent to me rather than not saying anything because I would never want anyone to think I’m hiding anything, but there are definitely people out there who just write a rave review of everything and encourage other people to buy products that they actually don’t care for that much. And you definitely touched on a good point when you said that some luxury bloggers have crossed over into the fantasy realm and are completely unrelateable now. It’s a real shame but I’m not overly interested in that kind of content because it’s just so far from reality for most people.

    littlehenrylee.net