I’d like to open this up to the community and make this more of an open discussion than a post itself.
I’ve been blogging for about 3 years and have noticed a huge increase of brands working with bloggers– fantastic! It’s a beautiful thing and for those of us trying to become professionals it opens a ton of windows of opportunities. Along with working with brands, we also receive our fair share of free gifts. The U.S Federal Trade Commission responded to the amount of free gifts that bloggers receive by saying everything must be disclosed (which by the way, not everyone does but that’s a whole other topic on it’s own). I think disclosing is fair, I see nothing wrong with it and it’s being honest with your readers.
Over here at IFB, we’ve noticed a lot “courtesy of,” “care of,” or “c/o” going on with bloggers. Sometimes entire outfit posts are made up of only “c/o” items. Although they do disclose free gifts, we couldn’t help but wonder how you readers feel about this? Does this affect the blogger’s credibility to you? Do you think they would be wearing the stuff if it wasn’t gifted? I receive a fair amount of gifts myself and I try to wear them sparingly along with items I’ve purchased. Also, I ABSOLUTELY do not take everything I’m offered, seriously. If I don’t think I will wear it, I don’t care if it’s free and I won’t take it. If you read my blog, you'd know “Keep it real” is the motto I live by.
My thoughts on this are the following:
I really sort of don’t know how I feel about this. I’m kind of torn. Maybe you guys could help? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with receiving gifts at all, especially when disclosed but I fear losing credibility with readers which mean everything to me.
I guess I’m more for it than against it. I think if it fits the blogger’s personality and style then it’s fine. But when you could tell it’s totally out of wack, and I feel like you’re trying to sell me something too often… I’m gone.
I’d love to hear what everyone thinks on the topic– this might be a sensitive issue for some bloggers but we definitely want to hear your thoughts! Post your comments below!