Many companies have now found the very effective, inexpensive, targeted advertising programs on the internet . . . bloggers. MommyLoves has received countless requests for product submissions from, specifically, Mommy Bloggers. The request usually goes something like this:
"Hi, I'm . . . and I have a blog called . . . and have been blogging for . . . I have . . . followers, and I found your site, and love your products, and feel they would be perfect for my followers. I would love to do a review of your products if you will send me a . . . design in size . . . and I can do a review about how wonderful your products are."
Now, I love flattery like the next gal, but I know a pitch for free stuff even when it's coated with honey and dropped in my inbox. I have sent lots of free merchandise to blog requests, and enjoyed the benefits of increased traffic and even a few orders. I am careful, however to review the blogs beforehand, and ensure that they are not simply "review mills" that turn out reviews like breeders turn out puppies. A MommyLoves product would just become one more tree in the forest of reviews on those sites, so I look for blogs that actually have content and discussions other than reviews. I am still sending free stuff, but I ensure that the content and tone of the blog reflects that of MommyLoves. Hopefully, by doing this, I am also supporting bloggers and their followers who can think for themselves. I haven't had a bad review yet for MommyLoves products, and I will continue to tell myself that this is because we have such wonderful products, not simply because the reviewer got free stuff. This article in The New York Times says it all.
I remember well my shock when I first started MommyLoves in 2003, and interviewed a self-employed Marketing person intent on becoming a MommyLoves vendor who suggested that I hire Stay At Home Moms (SAHM's) to just visit chat rooms and tout my products without ever having worn one. Did the light bulb just go on over some of your heads? Say it isn't so?! This Marketing person also told me that all the "big" companies do this all the time when they want to promote a new product. I'm glad I can truthfully say that size does not matter to me that much.
In essence, we can go back to the good old rule of "don't believe everything you read." I still trust the friends, family and neighbors whose facial expressions I see regularly much more than some witty, trendy cyber-typer who drops into my computer daily with supposed reviews and recommendations. I can "x-out" of one, and only wish sometimes that I could "x-out" of the other.