In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that a few handfuls of really popular style bloggers have announced that they are no longer accepting “courtesy of” items from retailers. Now I don’t know what the real reason is behind this change of heart (was it becoming an ethics issue for them? did they see a noticeable decline in freebies from retailers, so they decided to just give it all up? is it some sort of tax thing? are they going a different direction with their blog? is that just the “in” thing to do right now?) but the general reader consensus was that this is a good thing.
I think we all understand the reaction. Style blogging becomes more editorial and less realistic when bloggers trot around in tons of free swag all the time. As readers, we don’t know if someone is wearing something because that’s what their sponsors wanted or if they would have chosen it themselves. Posts look like commercials. Outfits become seemingly more out of reach because bloggers are toting pieces their readership may not easily be able to afford. I also read somewhere that courtesy items really also undermine the blogger because they’re giving up valuable Internet space that's worth much more than a $20 hat or $50 sweater.
I commend those ladies for deciding to make a change to their blogging lifestyle. But in keeping with my “to each their own” philosophy for life, I don’t see anything wrong with bloggers who do receive freebies. Blogging is a hobby for 99.9% of us in this community and we spend a lot of time doing it for little physical reward, so what's a nice trinket now again? And as a reader, if I see a "courtesy of" item and it makes sense to the blog and doesn’t throw me down and slap me in the face, I have no problems (plus I have fingers, and can click, click, click myself right away if I do).
I’m going to use myself as an example because … well, that’s about as many style bloggers as I really know, but I think (?) my stance would be fairly typical. I have a “real-world“ job and I started my blog for fun. Yes, blogging sometimes feels like a second job considering the time I spend on it, but I never hit “enter” on my Blogger account with the intention of wanting to be compensated or wishing for blogging to be my full-time gig. I know next to nothing about stats or advertising and don’t actively go pursuing sponsors.
I think I’m lucky that a few companies have reached out to me about sending me something to wear or review, and I’ll only do it if it is something where I can give my honest opinion, it is something I would purchase on my own anyways, and is related to fashion. Do I think I’m selling myself out or selling myself short? I don’t think so, because I can still be me - and I’m not here to make money blogging anyways, so I consider getting a cute necklace for free is bonus.
Now I know everyone doesn’t agree with me here (plus it’s not like I’m an expert or “above it all”), so please feel free to be honest: What do you think about bloggers who receive “courtesy of” items?
I'll never stop being amazed that how much better my skin looks in pics than it does in real life ... sigh.
Top: J.Crew vintage tank (sim here)
Sweater: J.Crew factory ocelot (worn here - sim here, darker here, long here)
Pants: Gap modern tuxedo (sim here, here, here)
Shoes: Boutique 9 via Anthropologie botanist heeled (worn here - same on sale here)
Necklace: Laila Rowe (worn here - sim here, here)
Bracelets: F21, T+J Designs neon cuff, Asos pyramid stretch (sim here, here, here)