The Internet has been a-flutter this week with talk of how Heather Armstrong of Dooce fame was treated on The Today Show, and I didn’t catch the segment, mainly because I don’t really give a shit about The Today Show. My mother watches it and the format is exactly the same every day, just with new people talking about the same damn subjects ad nauseum. But enough people were ranting about it that I finally broke down and watched it on YouTube last night.

And I have a bone to pick, although not with Kathy Lee Whatsherface (seriously, what is UP with her face? It looks like a melting candle). Sure, she was a bit dismissive of Heather, and that was pretty rude, but I’m sure Heather had her big girl pants on and is laughing her way to the bank. Good for Heather, I say. Good for her.

My beef is with another thing entirely. See now, I’ve been blogging since 2004 and it’s something I enjoy very much. I genuinely like to write, I love to meet new people, and I enjoy feeling like I’m not alone in this crazy mixed up world. I’m also incredibly bored as my only conversation during the day tends to go like this:

“Ball!”

“Yes, a ball!”

“BALLLLLL!”

“Yes, baby. A ball.”

“PEEENIS!”

“Yes, you have a penis”

(gurgles happily while playing with his junk).

I don’t tend to read most of the Big Time Bloggers out there for two reasons:

1) Since their readership is so incredibly large, I never, ever get a response. And let’s face it, if I wanted to write only for myself, I’d keep this private and not on the public domain. But these bloggers are so busy with whatever it is that they’re doing that you never feel like you can connect with them. So I don’t bother trying. This makes me sound much more like a petulant teenager than I really am.

2) I’m so sick of going to their sites only to have them try and pimp products out to me. I’m all for making a bit of cash (Like I’ve ever gotten a dime for being a blogger. I’m pretty sure I’m in the negative here, and that is a-okay with me) and I have no beef with that, but when every other post is hawking some new product or directing you to their paid gigs, I get annoyed. Maybe it’s my own immaturity talking, or maybe it’s just because I despise adults trying to pimp out products I’ll never buy.

See, I’m down with pimping out YOUR OWN products, ala Etsy, but I don’t really want to hear so-and-so’s opinion on some new-fangled product. I totally dislike that blogs are quickly becoming marketing tools for big name corporations. If I wanted to be courted and advertised to, I’d flip on the television. I read blogs to get away from that noise, and I guess it annoys me when they’re trying to do the same thing.

It sounds like I’m bitter here because no corporation asks me to review their products but I’m not. Not really. The last thing I want my readers to have to do is to actually look for the stuff I write amidst the product placements.

I love reading new blogs, and I love meeting new people, provided that what they do on their site is actually writing or photographs. This I can get behind.

I don’t even mind the ads on the sidebars (which some people freak the fuck out about), unless they cause the page to take a day and a half to load, in which case I click away never to return again. I doubt I’ll put ads on my site, primarily because I’m a vain bitch and absolutely hate clutter on my blogs sidebar. Besides, I’m fairly certain no one would take me anyway, since I talk about such disgusting stuff and refuse to stop using the word “fuck.”

Am I being too critical here? I’m all for people making cash from doing something that they love, but I don’t really appreciate people starting to blog simply to make money, which is what I’m pretty sure will happen after that Today Show segment, where they talk about ‘word of Mom’ as the hottest new advertising strategy. And this is not to say that ALL of the Big Time Bloggers do this, don’t get me wrong.

God, I sound like such a crotchety old bitch here, like I sit around on a park bench all day trying to trip people with my cane (which is precisely what I plan on doing when I’m old) and talking about how in MY day, I walked to school in the sleet up hill both ways with rags for shoes.

What do you think about blogs becoming a marketing tool? Aunt Becky is dying to know what you think.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

28 Responses to What’s Writing Got To Do With It?

  • I’d hawk stuff, but I don’t like much stuff, so I imagine most of my reviews would be: “Yeah, I don’t really know who would want to buy this.”

    Of course, as I say this I’m looking at the box my new backpack is sitting in and I can’t wait to try it on and load my daughter up and then blog about it. That post will probably be kind of a review, but it will at least be a review of something that’s on my mind and not something I do because I’m asked to by a company whose products I never use anyway.

    Hmmm. I’m a little confused on this. Would I do a review site if it’s just products that I happen to use? What if I start getting products sent to me that I start to use as a result of the sample? That line is blurry.

  • andi says:

    I’m delurking to leave you a comment because I loved this post. Thanks for pretty much summing up my feelings about this entirely. I have nothing against someone starting a blog to make money, if they’re up front about it and if it’s a business-type of blog. Someone starting a mom-blog as a way to make money, though? That sucks. And it’s totally unrealistic – Dooce is an anomaly, as we know. Sadly, I think you’re right that it will start to happen with all the attention mainstream media seems to be giving to mommy blogs lately (seriously, how late to the party are they?)

    For me, it’s all about the writing. If it’s pretty obvious that someone is out to make a quick buck instead of trying to genuinely be part of a community or that they are altering their content to please advertisers and are as a result less than genuine, I will not read them. I read blogs that are well-written and whose writers have qualities I connect with. I’m not interested in reading corporate-driven drivel.

  • It’s a good question and I don’t have a good answer.

    It’s human to want to make money, since having money is so very nice.

    it’s also sad to see blogging go in the way of more traditional media and become a marketing tool.

    I think it’s unavoidable, really. On my own site, I do have Adsense ads (you can place adsense on your blog regardless oh how racy it is…).

    I was recently asked to write a book review and agreed to do it, provided I really like the book.

    I am trying to remain true to myself, and to focus on content, but it IS nice to make a little bit of extra cash from blogging (and trust me, it is just a little bit).

  • Jenn says:

    I never read the “Big Time Bloggers” either – for pretty much the same reasons. Although I have to admit when I first started reading here I was hesitant to leave a comment because it seemed like you already had a lot of readers! You’re MY favorite blogger though, and isn’t that payment enough? Hehehe.

  • SciFi Dad says:

    From your perspective, I’m probably splitting hairs here, but I don’t have ads on my personal blog. I DO have a review blog that I will mention on my personal blog… it’s something that started with someone offering me some free kids books, and has grown (slightly) into some other things. But ultimately I don’t make money from blogging.

    I do, however, post notifications to let people know when I have something new elsewhere, because my readers have asked me to let them know (they hit my home place, but not the other gigs, regularly).

    So I don’t know where I stand, exactly. On the one hand, I have an ad-free blog, but I’ve also “sold out” by doing reviews.

    {shrug}

  • PiquantMolly says:

    When I’m old, I’m going to be like that crazy old hag on The Simpons and throw cats at passersby.

    I read Dooce, because when she writes blog posts, I find her writing hilarious. Of course, they’re fewer and far between now, what with the Daily Chuck and Daily Style sections. I do like her sense of style and the cute things she finds in various places, though it does get to be entirely too much cute sometimes. If you ever want to see Dooce at her best, read her archives, from 2001 on. Great writer, lots of laughs.

  • Kyddryn says:

    I read what interests me. Advertising doesn’t interest me. If a blog gets too much like an infomercial, I am out. I DO have AdSense ads, but they’ve garnered, like, a half a cent since I started. Munificent bounty!! I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m a wealthy miser!!! Hehehehehehhhh!

    I don’t take issue with someone writing about a product they use and love – umm, I may have done this myself – but I do take exception to someone writing a gushing, glowing article about how some new product they were asked to try that just happens to be the best thing ever – and it’s patently obvious they’re just pimping more plastic crap.

    That said…I can earn money with a blog?? How? I want on that gravy train! Oh, wait. I bet I’d have to stop saying things like “craptastic” and “fuck”, wouldn’t I? And I bet I wouldn’t be allowed to mention my son’s penis again..and who can resist mentioning a five-year-old’s junk at least twice a week?? Plus, I bet no one wants to read complaints about roommates and family who don’t help with the housework, either, no matter how funny one tries to be about it.

    Oh, well, so much for me contributing to the family finances.

    I didn’t see the show you mentioned because I don’t watch brain-drain programming, unless it’s animated and on FOX. I’ll stick to reading you and the other folks who return comments, answer e-mails, and haven’t forgotten that their farts stink, too.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • Tombo says:

    I’m all for advertising and shout-outs, as long as it is understood that these things are what the blog is about.

    If a person is giving wonderful reviews of something just because they want to score free swag, or because they get a percentage of sales back, fine. But don’t do that with the veneer of giving genuine reviews with un-biased product opinions.

    On my blog the only reviews I ever post are either because I really liked something, or really disliked something. And I never get a kick-back or free gear (I totally wish I did though!).

  • kbreints says:

    Yep. Agreed! I read Dooce for years.. and now I have taken her off my list b/c I find her boring. I really could care less about all her advertisers and shit on her page… she used to be quite humerous– and still is at times, but I am over the blogging for $$ deal. No thanks. That is not why I write – or why I read others.

  • MsPrufrock says:

    I don’t know how much I can add to this conversation that we haven’t already discussed. I don’t usually read big time bloggers either, one reason is that what’s the point of being the 200th person to comment? Another reason is that I don’t find most of them nearly as entertaining or worth reading as they, or others seem to think they are.

    In regard to ads, you know my reason for putting ads on my blog, but I’m not about reviews or any shit like that. It’s worth noting that BlogHer don’t mind “fuck”. They might not even mind “cunt”. Just so you know.

  • I do the payu2blog thing- I try to keep the interference with my real “stuff” at a minimum (it’s one link per column). It’s gets old sometimes, but the money is easy. And goodness knows I’m easy (oh that almost came out wrong).

    I actually wrote Dooce once and got a response within a day. That makes her an ok kid in my book ;)

  • DD says:

    It seems we were both writing our posts at the same time. Again, great minds and all that.

    Ms. Pru and I have had similar conversations. I’ve been asked to do reviews and run ads, but I decided long ago not to. Personal preference, that’s all. That and you can’t make much money on 100 hits a day. Now ask me when I get 10,000…

    Don’t read Dooce, either. I can be ignored anytime by my husband and child before I let some stranger do it.

  • Dr. Grumbles says:

    Personally, I do prefer the smaller, less “sponsored” blogs. I like to get comments back! I don’t blog just to journal (but I have come to appreciate getting that out of it), I like the social aspect of it, like an online support group.

  • birdpress says:

    I agree with what you and others have said. I like reading blogs that feel more personal. I like the impromptu little things people write about, just because they have something to say or need somewhere to unload. Luckily there are a lot of good smaller blogs out there, and I think it’s fun to find them.

  • honeywine says:

    I’m with you. I read Dooce if no one has anything up that I haven’t already read (a rare thing as I’ve been so busy lately), but I have considered making a calendar of Pascal ala Chuck. I don’t mind product placement if it’s something related to the site and it’s of actual use. But I’d far rather see the stuff the author is up to especially Etsy stuff. Show me the uniqueness of the world, of your world, not more crap.

  • kc says:

    I am the wrong person to ask about advertising on blogs. As an advertising professional, it’s part of what I do for a living. As a reader – they suck balls.

  • Ames says:

    I don’t read a lot of the big time bloggers either. Mostly I like to read blogs that are sincere and I like leaving comments and actually getting a response from people. I agree with Ms. Pru…who cares if you are the 200th person to comment? I also hate having to weed through posts to find the “real content” among the product reviews, etc.

  • You’re not a big-time blogger? Where’ve I been? (lol)

    I thought this was where all the cool cats hang!

    (Ditto-to you, Aunt Becky)

    Don’t read the big bloggers . . .

    Not into the ads either . . .

  • Natalie says:

    Haha, yeah, sometimes I think I write well enough to get an audience, but then I’m all “fuck!” and whiny and that goes out the window, haha. (Having a large audience makes me feel self-concious anyways.)

    Blogs as a marketing tool, ie, a business using them to post dynamic content on their website and try to garner business, I’m cool with that. It’s a totally different application of a blog than what I do, but it’s fine. But people who write their own blogs and promote crap? That would get exceedingly boring.

    I do read Dooce, because she can be funny and I adore her dogs, but I don’t read any of the other big bloggers either in the mommy world or the tech world. Just not my thing.

  • RhoRho says:

    Well i sorta got my question answered here (about the “goddess” dooce). Yeah I’ve never been responded to by her either and right, DD, i can be ignored at home! I started blogging for catharsis, and cause I’m a writer, and then yeah i added adsense when somebody told me about it. I mean, it’s not like i’m making moolah. But if I did…anyway, realizing some blog-politics here maybe? She’s a BIG one; she’s so big she wont allow comments. I live for comments! Love Aunt Becky’s,and I consider you one if the coolest (not just “mommy” bloggers either) and i’m flattered you read me! You’re big in my book. I mean your blog is.

  • Angela says:

    Well, I must admit that I do read Dooce. I think the girl can write incredibly well. I get behind the notion that good writing is less about length than it is strength, and I value writers who are more about developing a voice than being careful. As a blogger who is known for her voice, B, I’m thinking you know what I mean. I also must admit that it gives me no small thrill to know that finding herself fired for blogging has old Dooce laughing all the way to the bank at this point in her life. More power to her.

    That said, the whole blogging for profit industry gets a bit under my skin. I don’t care if others want to slap up ads and it would never stop me from reading them. Lately, though, I am beginning to feel caught in the trap of reading/commenting so others read/comment because I want to be kind and reciprocate and that sort of thing. But what I’m realizing is that for some (not you, and not most of the bloggers I read) it’s more about generating traffic to make money. It tires me. I can’t keep up.

    I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to read who I love and comment where I please and to stop worrying so much about keeping up. If people wanna read me, they will, and if I want to read other people I will. I don’t care if my stats drop, and I don’t care to put up ads.

    What I really want is to attract a like-minded readership…a community of others whose thoughts and opinions I value. And that is cool. It keeps the quality of this thing we do solid–rather than people blogging garbage all day long just to generate traffic and make money.

    Sorry I’m rambling. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

  • dadshouse says:

    Hey, I saw on Tales From The Dad Side that you enjoy a male perspective. I give one about dating and parenting as a single dad (two-home families, online dating, hooking up, booty calls, etc.) Voyeurs welcome.

    Glad I found your site!

  • tash says:

    Sadly, I read no such marketing tool blogs, or at least blatantly horrible ones (I feel so . . . out of touch?). I do read the big three infertility blogs, and have for, god, 4-5 years some of them? But it seems they have their own community (albeit sometimes CRAZY) and I always felt like I’d be interfering or breaking up a party to post. So I lurk, don’t comment, still like reading them. I’m finding it hard to keep up with the 20-30 regular commenters I have, I can’t imagine having to keep up with 100+. (Especially when some of them come armed with the CRAZY.) I’m in an odd place where sometimes I comment, sometimes I don’t, sometimes others do, sometimes they don’t, and I pretty much totally get why we do/don’t when we do/don’t. Did that remotely make any sense?

  • Emily R says:

    I don’t read big time blogs because I blog for human connections. But maybe I am a bit jealous, too…

  • quietgirl? says:

    Hmmm I know (blissfully) nothing about all that! However, I might consider the old lady mischief.
    Tho I was planning on running around through the rain inappropriately dressed. Or inappropriately undressed. Just cause I fucking can right! Totally totally a good time.
    Can’t fucking wait. Well yes, actually can totally wait. But still.
    :)

  • Mary Moon says:

    I posted a blog about just this subject at
    http://blessourhearts.blogspot.com/2008/05/because-we-love-that-monkey-on-our-back.html
    and basically, what I said is- if you write what people want to read and you can fulfill the American dream of making money doing what you love- WHO ARE YOU HURTING?
    And I say this as someone who is, yes, also in the red with this whole blogging thing. But just financially.
    The rest is great.

  • Hi! I just found this post via MomGrind. I totally agree with you! I visit Dooce, because I find her interesting, but I don’t really visit any of the big dogs for the same reasons you mentioned.

    I get product review requests every so often. At first I thought it would be cool to get free stuff as long as they gave my readers a discount or something, but now I have found that they are more trouble than they are worth. And I don’t run a product review site and I hardly ever visit product review blogs. Now if folks send me stuff and I think it is super cool, I’ll mention it.

    I do feel like the “word of mom” gives us some legitimacy. Its sad, but that is how I feel.

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