Monday, January 26, 2015

My blog will not be sponsored

Note: I've been thinking this over for a while now, and wanted to note ahead of time that this is not a critique of the thoughtful blogs I follow that occasionally feature sponsored content.  This is a critique on the ridiculousness of some businesses and their blind-throw-stuff-at-the-wall marketing approaches, and blogs that seem to take any sponsorship offer no matter how off-topic for the swagswagswag.  I've seen blogs turn into the equivalent of the dollar bin at Target -- some good stuff here and there, but largely full of crap I could find anywhere, and not worth my time, but dressed up nice to make me think it's worth my time.

So, onward to the main point: in the past few months I must have bumped up in enough reader feeders to suddenly warrant ridiculous sponsor pitch emails -- I guess I hit that magic number of, like, 35 readers or something!  Let me highlight some examples of the things that have landed in my inbox:
  • A service that will supposedly save me $100/month on shaving supplies! Or it would, if I spent $100+ on shaving supplies every month, which I most definitely do not.  I think the last time I bought a set of razors was three months ago.  For like $10.  And it's winter, which means the last time I even shaved my legs at all was like a month ago because I need all the leg fur I can muster to stay warm.  So yeah, no -- not going to have a sponsored post about that!  How could I possibly tell the truth?

Moving on, I also have:
  • A service that sends my husband a box of guy stuff because apparently I don't know what my husband likes.  Look, Box, unless it's going to be a box full of heirloom vegetable seeds and obscure metal albums, I don't think this service is going to impress.  So, nope, not going to feature them as a "sponsor" either.
  • A glass Christmas ornament company whose taste seemed more in line with the Red Hat Society than a 20-something techie.  ...No.
  • I love my glasses, and got a pitch from the company to post about their new frames.  I caved and I replied to that pitch asking for more details.  I needed a new Rx postpartum and said as much, but it turned out they just wanted the ad-space without having any carrot to offer me in exchange.  
I still need a new eyeglass Rx.  If the offer were to contain glasses now though, upon further reflection, I'd still say no.  My blog is not a way for me to rake in a few rando items here and there.  I don't need that swag.  I'm not posting pictures of my daughter alongside shills for stuff just because a company wants me to and offers me stuff in return.  She's not a working model, she's just a kid, and my life is not cheap ad-space.  I don't like the idea of posting stuff for someone else because they're giving me something to do it.

As long as my life is the main point of this blog, people can keep throwing stuff at my inbox wall, and I'm not going to let it stick.  Now, something I would (or already do) actually use, or is relevant, that would be another matter, and I'd STILL be picky about it.  The glasses pitch sounded good for a minute (hey, I wear them and like them) when it landed in my inbox, but then I dug deeper and was like, wait a minute, so you want me to just post about your stuff just...out of the goodness of my heart?  For free?  While you profit?  No, I don't think that's going to be a good fit for me, because my life is not for sale that easily.  I'm not a free billboard.  Thank you!

For a friend?  Sure, of COURSE I'd post their stuff with no thought to my personal stakes.  That's different from large businesses looking for some cheap ad space at my expense.

My blog isn't my main source of income, so I don't feel like I have to do whatever it takes to make sure it pays the bills.  I make $0 off of this blog, and I'm okay with that.  This is not a "well, FINE, I didn't want fame and blog glory and big sponsors anyway, stomp stomp!" post.  I like my career, and the longevity of blog-as-career seems questionable unless you're The Bloggess, bless her.  This blog is just my journal.  If LiveJournal hadn't gone so downhill (damn you Brad, damn you SixApart), I'd go back to literal LJ happily.

I'm not saying I'll never ever have a sponsored post, but by Grabthar's hammer, it would have to be really, really good for me to sway my position.  For example, funds to send me to the Cycling for Libraries Nordic 2015 tour-good (be still my heart, how I wish I could go, ahem ahem...yeah I don't think those sponsors are reading here).  Or a sponsorship to go to infertility advocacy events in DC, which would actually be on topic here.  I like sharing stuff I like and that might be relevant, don't get me wrong -- but sharing stuff I like just cuz is not as quid-pro-quo as some sponsor pitches (and posts I read sometimes) feel.  I've just seen a lot of blogs go downhill once they start accepting whatever, so I'm making a conscious effort to say no to whatevers now, as the stream of whatever keeps trickling into my inbox.  It seems like (dare I say the cliche) a slippery slope.

So keep on trucking, random businesses pitching the same thing to every blogger out there with 35 readers.  You keep sending those pitches, I'll keep chuckling and deleting them.  (Unless they're a cyc4lib sponsorship in which case HELLO NEW FRIEND I AM OPEN FOR BUSINESS.  wink wink.)


  1. Yes, I miss the days when blogs were just journals and nothing more complicated! <3

    1. Right? RIP LJ, Google Reader, and the Old West.