Full Disclosure – Honesty IS the BEST Policy
There are many things I’ve learned since I started this public website. Previously, I had a personal site that only friends and family read. When I decided to go public, I wanted to share information, but keep it personal as well. Part of that sharing includes my personal experiences and being honest with my readers. I feel it’s important to be honest and upfront with what I write about. I respect those who share information and aren’t afraid to speak their minds, even if the majority will not agree. We are not perfect and should not expect others to be. I have learned so many things from other bloggers since I started this site. It is a pleasure to be amongst such wonderful people.
When I first started this website, I wanted to offer a one stop shop for people to find deals and print coupons. There are companies and products I truly love and wanted to recommend them to others. When you’re searching for new products, do you just go buy something or do you ask around to find out what other people use and like? My husband and I do plenty of research and we try to be well informed when making purchases, especially large ones. So now onto the controversial stuff. There is a debate amongst bloggers about social influence and moral obligations to their readers. I read the article, “Trusted Mom or Sellout”, on Newsweek several months ago and found it very interesting. Since my blog is relatively new, I wanted to assess how I’ve done things so far and how I am going to proceed. I’m happy to say that I’m comfortable with how I blog and I sleep well at night knowing I might be helping other families.
In the beginning, when I was recommending products or deals, I learned that some of these companies offer affiliate programs where you can team up with them and earn a slight profit. Take for example Coupons.com. I placed a button on the side of my website, so it’s convenient for you and I to print coupons directly from my site. Each time a reader follows that link and prints a coupon, I get a few cents. It by no means pays the bills, but every little bit counts and maybe at the end of the month I will earn enough to pay the company that is hosting this website. I appreciate any small amount that you as readers can help out with, simply by following links on my site to make purchases. Did you know that I’m an affiliate of Snapfish, and if you get your 50 free 4×6 prints through following a link from my site, I still get a few cents? I want you know, that this in no way affects my choice on what to post or not post. If it’s a good deal for my family or yours, I’ll post it!
The benefit of my partnership with many of these companies, is that I get updates and notifications of special deals and discount codes. I can then pass these along to you so you can save your family money. If you notice I have had several giveaways on my blog lately. Some of these come out of my own pocket but others are from companies who are trying to spread the word about new products. Companies realize how influential moms are and that they often make the majority of purchases for their families. In order to spread the word about new products and information, they offer bloggers the opportunity to try a new product, review it on their sites and sometimes even offer a gift to giveaway to their readers. I love trying new products and telling people about it. Sometimes these companies will send the blogger the same gift as well to compensate them for their time. I do not get paid by anyone to blog on my site. It is a personal hobby and I spend a significant amount of my free time to write and search for deals. BUT I love it and I’m having a wonderful time doing it! After all, that’s what a hobby should be right? I do want to say that I will never work with a company that insists I give the product a positive review. If I cannot be honest with my readers, then I’m not going to do it. Furthermore, companies want you to be honest about their products. Tell them what works and what doesn’t. What better way to do this than to work with people who will help them with the process. Coincidentally, my husband just read an article about the FTC getting involved in what information bloggers must disclose to their readers. Andrea, over at Mommy Snacks, recently attended a Nestle conference with several other bloggers. There were verbal attacks made toward the bloggers that attended the event and you can read more about that here. Obviously consumer issues with the company were misdirected toward the bloggers when they should have directed them toward the company. As bloggers, we have a certain obligation to our readers to pass along information from companies as well as share consumer concerns and questions with these same companies. But it should be done in a mature fashion, and not by lashing out at the bloggers who are trying to facilitate communication. Did you know that 85% of brand purchases are made by women? It’s time companies take this to heart and listen to what we have to say. Here’s to all the moms and bloggers out there who are making their voices heard!