Did you know Blogger Blackmail even happened? I didn’t till here recently and the practice truly concerns me. Learn what it is, how to prevent it from happening, and tips for business owners who are partnering with bloggers!
What is Blogger Blackmail?
Basically, a blogger is receiving a product for free to provide an honest review, but instead, demands more product or money to provide a positive review. Hence a case of blogger blackmail.
A Bad Situation – Blogger Blackmail
Let me start by saying, I don’t normally write about controversial stuff. I like DIY and being a mom. As I was browsing trending topics on Twitter, the hashtag #BloggerBlackmail was trending. So after a little research, I realized this started between a Baker and a Blogger.
From what I can tell, the Blogger contacted the Baker by email and said she would like to review them. The Baker accepted the invitation and prepared a gift bag containing an s’more, a marshmallow, and a macaron. Blogger shows up with a friend and demands a larger selection, which comes to about a £100 or $156.59 US dollars.
Baker says that’s a lot more than the usually give, and that they can not do that much them. Blogger gets mad, and she proceeds to leave the shop, but comes back later and buys 2 small items.
Afterward, Blogger posts a mean review on Instagram. Followed by Baker blogging about the incident.
[clickToTweet tweet=”What is #BloggerBlackmail? How it hurts everyone? Learn how to avoid it. #bloggers ” quote=”See why Blogger Blackmail how it hurts everyone! Plus, Learn how to avoid it.”]
What Went Wrong?
I really think both parties could have handled the situation a lot better. You may tend to side with one person or other (that’s ok), but here is what I feel.
Did the blogger mean to blackmail?
No, but she forgot to clearly define what she needed in order to fully complete her review. That should have been outlined in emails before ever stepping foot in Bakery. You want to avoid all surprises.
Is it ok to demand free product?
No! You may ask, but that is totally up to the business. Blogger should have calmly stated reasons why she needed more (aka to have a better review or be able to provide more pictures). If that fails, just politely accept what is offered and do a review on it.
Should I leave a negative review?
Yes, but only if the product or service warrants it, not because you did not get enough compensation. You want to provide your honest opinion –if not, you will lose readers. But there is no reason to be nasty about it.
So How Do We Avoid All of This?
Here are some tips to avoid Blogger Blackmail. Keep in mind I worked for 8 years as a retail manager, so I know these tips would work well for any business.
- Be very specific when contacting companies regarding what you need to complete review.
- Do NOT demand ANYTHING. Being nice always gets better results.
- Always Suggest~ Use terms like: “This would really help me…” “I want to make this best review possible…” and other positive terms.
- Ask questions before you agree to review.
- Schedule time for Blogger to come when you are there. You need to represent you, not push this off to your staff.
- Be prepared: you might need to provide a little more than originally planned on.
- Work as a team with a blogger.
How Blogger Blackmail Hurts All Bloggers?
Very simply put businesses would stop providing any products, and no longer give any support to us. Blogging could even become taboo. Imagine yourself as a business owner who has been burnt even once. Do you think they will welcome you with open arms? No, they are liable to shut the door in your face.
Plus all this negativity can really put a damper on all your writing.
How Blogger Blackmail Hurts Businesses?
One way is it may force a business to put up more product than they can afford. Even though a business may look like it is thriving, overhead is a killer. Between payroll, insurance, taxes, product costs, advertising, rent, supplies, theft, and order minimums profits can be slim ( Those are just a few of the many costs of being in business). A lot of small businesses simply cannot afford to give a lot for free. They also have strict budgets.
Let say you do get into an online battle. Not only will it hurt your reputation (even if you are justified), but it takes time from more important things like expanding your clientele.
Now a little bit about receiving free products in review…
I did see a lot of people complain about this. They believe a blogger cannot provide an honest opinion while receiving a free product. I have mixed emotions about this… On one hand, it can sway a review… On the other hand, blogging is not cheap… Any product I receive to review I will express my honest opinion at all times, even if I have to decline products. I will never commit blogger blackmail. I want to have my readers’ trust.