The Freebie Conundrum

by - Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A topic that seems to rear it's ugly head, every so often, especially amongst the broad elite of beauty bloggers, is that of Freebies.

A few months ago, a young woman decided to take it upon herself to attack Urban Decay, on their Facebook page. Urban Decay had asked who people thought were the best UK-based beauty bloggers, which drew in the usual Lauren Luke and Oxford Jasmine replies.

This young woman's argument was basically that Urban Decay was expensive, which let's be fair, is definitely true, because Urban Decay is pricey compared to brands such as Rimmel or Barry M. But, her argument didn't stop there. It continued into this huge barrage, that beauty bloggers were the only people who could afford to buy Urban Decay, and by afford she went on to say that it was because we're all sent stuff for free. And despite arguments to the contrary, she really had herself believing that all beauty bloggers are in it for the freebies.

I'll throw my hands up, and confess that I've had a few freebies in the twelve months that I've been blogging, but in all honesty, those freebies probably only make up about 5% (if that) of what I actually blog about.

But, this acceptance and blogging about stuff we haven't paid for, raises a lot of debate too. Some bloggers believe that this is "selling out" and not being "honest". I have to disagree. I've even come across people who don't think it's right to blog about stuff that they won in giveaways, or bought from a blog sale. What does it matter how you came to have something? The fact that you have it, and have used it is more important. Sometimes I get freebies. Sometimes I pay full-price. Sometimes I pick up offers. Sometimes I even manage to find a good bargain in a Charity Shop. Does that make the product have less meaning? Of course not.

People will gladly review a product that they got free with a magazine, so why not from a PR company?

As far as I am concerned, beauty blogging is about talking about products that you have used, and whether you like them or dislike them. It's about helping other people to distinguish whether or not a product is right for them and their skin.

General consensus, on Twitter, amongst various bloggers and blog readers, seems to be in agreement, which is good. But, a couple stated that there were a couple of "circumstances" that they really hated:

1. Blogs that are just full of press releases. Personally, I think blogging about a press release is acceptable, but only occasionally, and only if you really feel a need to share a product. A need to share could be because you're excited about the product, it's from a company that you use a lot or it's a product that you think will be rubbish. But, I think that press releases should only be used, if you intend to give an opinion on it. I hate it when press releases are just copy and pasted, with a few stock images added and that's all. I want to hear a bloggers thoughts.

2. Blogs that are driven by "freebies". You know the ones. They always start with this line, or very similar "So, I was sent this amazing/stupendous product". And they don't really review the product, more like show you a couple of images, tell you what it is, but don't ever give an honest opinion of it. And whenever they do, it's more about how much they love it, without any kind of gripes. Of course, sometimes we do love products, but all the time?? Yeah, I don't think so.

So, to sum up, I think that it doesn't matter where you get your products from, as long as you buy something at least occasionally (c'mon, no one is that stingy!!) and give at least a hint of a personality, by gracing us with a review.

Most beauty bloggers receive freebies, in some shape or form, because let's face it, most of us don't get paid to write these blogs. We are 100% out on our own, so a few perks is actually very nice. But what's your opinion on how bloggers should "review" them? Do you think some bloggers take this freebie "culture" too far?

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