I’m writing this post because as I enter my third year of blogging I am getting somewhat frustrated by companies who reach out asking me to ‘collaborate’ with them, only for them to expect ‘something’ for nothing.
I would like to point out that not all companies are like this, there are some lovely folk out there whom are happy to pay for an advertising banner on my homepage, or a sponsored post. It seems lately though, my inbox has been more awash with the less fruitful exchanges.
To elaborate, I will not name and shame (I’m not going to be petty here), but I will paraphrase some of the exchanges I’ve had and give my thoughts on why they are not acceptable.
Company A recently reached out to me on Twitter via DM saying:
Hey Luv Bunny, how you doing? Would you be interested in testing/reviewing some of our sex toys or lingerie? Please check out our website at www.*companyname*.com
So I mosied on over to their site and saw that they stocked a load of Passion lingerie. Previously I had reviewed a Passion chemise for another company, whom is sadly no longer trading.
Their response to my interest in reviewing some other Passion lingerie seemed genuine:
That’s great for the Passion lingerie range. If you please give me your email address I can get the Office Management to send you an email to get this all arranged. Thanks again xx
Thereafter, I received a lovely email praising my site and offering me a chemise:
Hey Luv Bunny,
Thank you for passing on your details so we could contact you regarding reviewing some of our Passion Lingerie on Twitter.
Your page looks amazing and it’s a pleasure to work with you.
To begin with, we would love to send you the Passion Haylin Chemise in black lingerie bodysuit. If you are happy with the product hopefully in the future you can test other products/lingerie.
Please could you let me know your clothes size for the lingerie and your postal address details.
Feel free to ask me any questions.
I thought this email seemed genuine at first, but when I re-read the line “If you are happy with the product hopefully in the future you can test other products/lingerie.” I realised the subtext behind this meant “If you give our products amazing reviews, we may offer you something else to review.”
Our next exchange, saw me attempting to negotiate reviewing an alternative item from the Passion range, as I already had a few similar items:
I’m happy you like my page 🙂 I was wondering if I could review the Passion Kalypso set in pink instead of the Haylin chemise as I already own several pieces in plain black lace so thought it would be good to show something different on the blog.
If this is ok for yourselves, my size is a UK 12. Not sure what that translates into in Passion’s sizes.
In the near future I will need to start charging for reviews, as up until now I have not done this. However running a blog takes money, so are you happy to pay a fee for a review? Alternatively, I could advertise your company in my blog homepage for a reasonable fee (£25 per month).
Thank you again for your time.
Sadly, they couldn’t supply the Kalypso set in my size due it it’s popularity in the UK. However they were happy to offer an alternative. I answered their question on whether they would need to pay for the first review or ‘future reviews you may do with us.”
I’m happy to accept the Leg Avenue Deep V teddy in purple and my fee for a review (including this one) will be £30. I believe that is fair value as I would need to spend an hour taking pictures and editing them. Then another hour to write the review itself.
At this point, their amenability seemed to completely change. And I was effectively told a polite “thanks, but no thanks.”
Hi Luv Bunny,
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We completely understand. Unfortunately, we are not currently offering payment for the first reviews/giveaways.
However, if you are happy for us to retain your information we would love to definitely contact you again for future collaborations and paid marketing/advertising. This is more likely to be around seasonal events such as Christmas and Valentines Day.
Thank you so much and look forward to speaking with you soon.
I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt so I extended an assertive invitation back to them:
I can do the first review for ‘free’, but I would like to negotiate some sort of collaboration to follow this. Whether it be advertising or a paid review or a sponsored post. This is because, I’ve invested a lot of time and energy in my blog.
As you say, Christmas is coming up so there is a golden opportunity to promote your brand.
Their response to this left me quite perplexed and annoyed. They said they “wouldn’t be doing any this Christmas but there are potential opportunities for Valentine’s Day 2020. Please can you confirm you are happy for us to retain your contact details so we can contact you for future collaborations?”
My thoughts on this are:
1. Why wait until Valentine’s Day? Christmas is a fantastic opportunity.
2. Do they need to keep my details on file? What for?
3. Do they even want the ‘free’ review? It seems not. Another opportunity missed.
Now, I am not asking for exorbitant sums of money for my services. I believe my prices are fair, if not too generous.
To make this point, I will highlight the other individual who invited me to promote their company:
Hello, I’m (insert name) from (company name – a shopping site selling adult toys).
I have paid attention to your blog, and I think your article is very good and also conforms to the positioning of our website.
I would like to buy your ads banner , which would be a long term partnership.
If you are interested, we can discuss the details of cooperation.
To which I responded:
Hi (insert name),
How long an advertising placement would you like?
I can offer a month for £25 to begin with.
Thank you for your interest.
Unfortunately the answer I received was somewhat demeaning, and questioning my other arrangements (which are frankly none of their business):
Going back to the cooperation, I honestly think that the charges on your website are somewhat expensive.
Can you talk about your order to promote (much larger company)?
If £25 is a year’s price, maybe we can cooperate.
You can also become our affiliate, our products have great advantages in price and are more helpful to your income.
Let’s get one thing straight. You are running a business. So am I. Telling me my service warrants £25 a year is insulting.That is my thought on such proposals. Affiliate schemes do not pay my bills. They are a cop-out.
Moreover it is also larger companies who are effectively exploiting bloggers. We are asked to promote events such as ‘singles day,’ with no return for doing so. Just the chance to use an affiliate link.
I call this out as duplicity. Perhaps they reward some higher esteemed bloggers. But they need to also collaborate with the lesser known bloggers.
At the end of the day, sales provide income, and marketing people are employed to advertise the products. The services of bloggers are helpful to businesses, and ought not to be taken for granted.