So when is writing about a product, received for free, a form of paid endorsement–or even an advertisement–and when is it merely a review?
For some bloggers the answer is fuzzy. The same anonymous blogger maintained that she preserves her blog’s editorial integrity, but also said that she usually sent copy to brands for approval before posting. “[On a recent project] I sent copy for approval and they were adamant about me including two buzz words in the title, so I made that change for them,” she told us. For the post in question, she did not disclose that she was receiving payment, and, as a practice, she says she does not reveal if a product was given to her for free “because whatever I’m wearing are things that I would’ve purchased anyway.”
Leandra Medine of Manrepeller isn’t coy about making money off her blog. “I don’t do work without getting paid,” she told us. “I feel like asking me to write something or style something without paying me is like asking an accountant to file your taxes without paying them.” However, she makes sure she only partners with labels that “jive” with her brand saying, “I won’t partner with designers if I know that I don’t like their brand. I tell anyone who is sending me clothing that I may or may not post it. I definitely don’t want to lose my credibility in that capacity.”
For Kelly Framel of The Glamourai, editorial integrity is rigidly maintained. Framel always makes a point to disclose whether or not an item has been gifted and makes it clear to her readers when she is being paid by a brand. Like Medine, she says she’s wary of partnering with brands that don’t align with her sensibility. “I’m very adamant when I go into a brand relationship about making sure that I have [editorial control],” she told us. “I recently walked away from a sizeable offer from a brand because they wanted to dictate what the verbage was and how I presented their product. They were assuming that we could have the same relationship as they would have with an advertorial.”