In response to “Rise of the Mummy Bloggers”

by Kristy on May 30, 2012 · 3 comments

I feel compelled to comment on an article that I’m sure a lot of you out there have read in the Sydney Morning Herald titled “Rise of the Mummy Bloggers”.

There seem to have been a lot of “mummy blogger” articles in the daily papers of late, it’s a bit weird if you ask me. Why the sudden fascination in blogs written by mothers?

The spin of this particular article focused on the money that mummy bloggers are making through sponsored posts, endorsements and advertising. For the record, The Life She Made makes no money whatsoever. I thought there were a few interesting points raised by the article and subsequently in the comments section that I wish to dissect today.

The rise of sponsored posts, are they ethical?

Quite simply, yes. If there is full disclosure then everybody knows what the deal is. But I want to know, what is full disclosure? Is it enough for a blogger to simply say “This is a sponsored post” at the beginning? What does “sponsored” actually mean? How much was the blogger paid and does the amount change how you view their opinion? For example, if I was given a product or a meal at a restaurant for free and I then blogged about it (with disclosure) is that different to being given the product or meal for free in addition to being paid $400 for my blogging time? What if I was paid $1000? What if it was $5000? The thing is you’ll never know how much someone was paid to do something. I certainly don’t expect nor do I want bloggers disclosing the amount of money they are paid, but in a way, if I did know the exact amount it might change the way I interpret their recommendations.

Feeling disillusioned about what is genuine and what isn’t.

The blogger might disclose that they were paid for an endorsement. They might also put in their disclaimer that they only recommend products that they genuinely believe in. But can I believe it? Money can make you evangelical about a lot of things. Quite honestly these days, I tend to flick through posts that are sponsored because I’m a bit sick of being advertised to in almost every form of media.

It’s strange, because on one hand I actually do like to find out about new products and opportunities out there so in that sense I need advertising in my life. Ironically though, because of the sheer volume of subversive advertising that is out there, particularly in social media,  my brain intentionally tries to block the messages from getting in.

I think that there are a few bloggers out there who’s opinion I genuinely believe. The way that I know this is that there is a genuine engagement with their readership. They spend a lot of time interacting with their readers on various topics and product endorsements are few and far between. That way a reader knows that when one does come up, it’s real.

Ohmygosh, this KFC debacle.

So apparently Edenland turned down the “Goodification” marketing junket at KFC, but Sunny Mummy and Samelia’s Mum thought it was OK to spruik The Colonel’s chicken on their blogs. To be fair, I’ve only read Sunny Mummy’s post about it and I did like her spin on it which was ‘how to prevent pester power’, even if I did think the product was a little at odds with what her blog is all about.  Again, it was actually good to know that KFC have changed their oil and that they’ve removed their version of happy meals from the menu, but in the same instance, it just felt a bit forced reading about it. It kind of left me feeling a bit strange about reading her blog that day.

I think it’s really important that the brands bloggers choose to work with are a true fit to their blog. I get what KFC were trying to do in inviting the mummy bloggers down to tour their store, but it came across as a bit in-genuine in this instance.

Is there scope for monetised blogs to succeed in Australia in the way they do in the US?

You know what? I don’t know. Australia’s market is so small. I was surprised to read in the SMH article that there are around 300 Aussie mummy bloggers. I don’t know where they get that figure from, I would have thought that there were a lot more than that, but perhaps they are right. I certainly know when I’ve spoken to people that I know in real life about my blog, most are confused about what a blog actually is. Most people I know just don’t read blogs. So how many people are companies really reaching with these sponsored posts? Also WHO are they reaching? A lot of commenters on blogs are bloggers themselves. Are other bloggers the market that companies are pitching to?

For now I am in the happy place where I don’t have to worry about blog stats and about getting paid to blog. It’s something that I have considered but haven’t actively pursued. A big part of me wants to keep things just they way they are. I have much respect for the bloggers out there who are working so hard at writing inspiring articles, building up an audience and making money from doing it. Whilst I too would like to make money (who the hell wouldn’t), I can’t help thinking that for me and my blog and for my readers, I’m just going to keep plugging away at my recipes and occasional rants.

I’d love to hear all your thoughts after having read the article on SMH. How do you feel about monetised blogs? Ethical or not? More of them or less?

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Interesting points and I wonder if magazines and newspaper enjoyed a similar debate when advertorials first came about. I don’t have a problem with sponsored posts although it is absolutely best for the blogger and audience if it is relevant. However I think it is absolutely essential that they disclose that it was a sponsored post. It is about trust between the blogger and their community. Although I suspect most magazine and newspaper readers don’t know about the deals that are made for ad dollars.

  • cookbooksandpattycakes

    Didn’t see the article but agree with many of your points…firstly, like you, my blog is mostly read by other bloggers, almost none of my family/friends reads it…it’s an outlet for me, not a job. I’d be lying if I said making some money from it one day wasn’t tempting, but I can’t see it paying my bills. The blogs I’ve been reading for years (because I felt I identified with them/drew inspiration from them, etc) all seem to turning more commercialised and when I see more sponsored posts than not, I usually don’t return.
    It’s a double-edged sword for me…I’m pleased that xyz make money through their blogging, but can I really trust what they are saying? Are they just putting a positive spin on something to appease their sponsor? Yet I do find myself sucked into the hype….if she recommends it, I’m sure I’d like it too, type mindset.
    Interestingly I avoid magazines these days because of all the ads, but I do find myself spending more time online where I’m being exposed to advertising more than ever. I despise licensed clothing on children because I don’t want to give them ‘free advertising’ at my children’s expense, yet just last month I bought a Hello Kitty sandwich mold because I knew my daughter would love it! I think we’re all brainwashed to some extent!

    • thelifeshemade

      I’m a bit like you. I really dislike being marketed to in general. It seems like these days wherever you turn, no place is safe from advertising.

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