Recently I was approached by a company asking if I would like to review their online beauty shopping service, with the help of a £100 voucher. This is a company that has had quite a lot of flak in the press recently, so I thought it had the potential for an interesting post. I replied that I would review its services but it would be a very honest account of my experience, and they agreed.
They sent me the code for the voucher, and I had a look around the site and although there wasn’t a lot to choose from, I finally found a beauty treatment I could blog about. The cost was £60, which would leave £40 for me to buy a beauty product to blog about.
I entered the code I’d been given, and it appeared to swallow up the entire £100.
I contacted the company to explain the situation, and they told me there wasn’t a problem with the voucher, it was still valid, and I should try again. But at that point, being incredibly busy, I’m afraid I lost interest.
A week ago I received an email from the PR asking when the post was going to go up, basically implying it was my fault there had been a problem with the voucher in the first place, and adding ‘as the voucher is worth a substantial amount of money we did expect something in return.’
My flabber was well and truly gasted, but I explained, politely, that I hadn’t used the voucher, or the company’s services, and therefore felt under no obligation to blog about it. She immediately became contrite, but because of her initial aggression, I no longer felt I wanted to blog about the company at all. (Since I was supposed to be providing an honest review, the fact that I’d had issues with a complimentary voucher did not bode well.)
If the PR hadn’t gone on the attack, I might have been more receptive. If she’d sent me an email asking how I was getting on, whether I’d had a chance to use the voucher yet, for example. But her fatal error was to demand where the post was, and tell me that she expected ‘something in return’ – without being aware that I hadn’t received anything. She didn’t have a clue about how to talk to bloggers.
I’m incredibly fussy about the brands I’ll feature on this blog. Like many bloggers, I get offers of all kinds of things to review on a daily basis, but I’m very selective. If I don’t feel something is going to work as a blog post, I won’t accept it, it’s as simple as that. I don’t want a house full of freebies and tut I don’t need/can’t use, I don’t have time to attend/take part in things/go on holidays I’m not going to blog about. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or resources.
But it’s a two-way street, and a good starting point if you want to work with a blogger, I think, is to be respectful, to recognise that they’re busy and often have full-time jobs, and if you’re expecting ‘something in return’ for something you haven’t delivered or they haven’t received, you’re going to be disappointed.