Are Bloggers Who Don't Disclose Giving Us All A Bad Name?

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Today isn't a day I'd normally blog on, but last night I felt compelled to write this blog post after a discussion on Twitter with Hayley from London Beauty Queen. It's also in slight response to her blog post (which you can read here) on the subject of disclosing paid for content as a blogger. 

I actually think Hayley made some good points on how the ASA need to change and pull out their finger on this matter. However I feel I maybe sit on the other side of the fence in some respect and it's a voice that isn't often heard. So I thought I'd brave it and be honest with you here on how I feel on the matter! Don't lynch me in the comments, please!

The main issue
Basically it's simple, if a blogger writes a post and they are getting paid by a brand to do so, they legally have to state it somewhere within the blog post with  - 'sponsored by X', 'ad' or 'advertorial'. This is a rule set by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). It's simple enough, right? But the problem is some bloggers are diligent at disclosing and some aren't. There are a number of reasons for this - some bloggers think it puts readers off (to be honest my stats are always lower on sponsored posts but that's just how it is), others just don't care to and don't feel they need to (annoying I know!), sometimes a brand will ask for the post to NOT be disclosed as paid for (just ffs), while other brands just don't bring it up as a set requirement. And a million other reasons! So as you can see it's not as simple as it first might seem. 

What's the problem I have with it? 
For the past few years this discussion has been going on and on, mainly between bloggers, blaming other bloggers. And I get it. The blogger is the one to write it, or not write it in a lot of cases, the words 'sponsored post' or 'advertorial'. However the ASA rules that the blame lies with the brand at the end of the day (though if a case arose the blogger would be mentioned). To me that makes sense as all brands know the exact rules they need to follow and they are the ones setting the requirements of the sponsored post to bloggers. Yet I still come across brands/companies that specifically asking for the post not to be disclosed and even at best only the larger agencies are reminding bloggers they need to state the post is sponsored and check out the post once it's gone live. So why are we still blaming bloggers? Shouldn't we be pointing the finger at brands that have been working in the advertising sector for decades? It really is as simple as brands stating disclosing is a requirement of theirs (because it is!) much like how they require certain links to be included etc. Don't hate the playa, hate the game! 

Are Bloggers who don't disclose giving the rest of us a bad name? 
So this is something I wanted to bring up as if I'm totally honest, annoys me to hell... because, well I don't think there's much truth in it! With every post about disclosing from a fellow blogger (I'm specifically meaning in the beauty/fashion blogger community here) this statement that not disclosing "gives us all a bad name" seems to sneak in there. It seems to be what bugs other bloggers, that they are disclosing when others aren't and as a result bloggers are getting a bad name. But are they really? I think possibly readers of blogs (I'm not talking bloggers that read blogs here) sit in one of two camps - the camp that couldn't care less about sponsored posts and either read them or ignore them, or the camp of "bloggers shouldn't get paid for anything". That's not to say you shouldn't be honest and transparent with your readers! 

If I'm truly honest I think the people that have the gripe with it are bloggers and in hope all bloggers get on board with it and play by the rules they resort to  stating  the above. Because lets be honest if you disclose properly (which the ones that complain are doing) your readers will not be tarring you with the same brush as bloggers that don't disclose, that's to say if they are bothered by it. And as a collective do bloggers have a bad name because of this? I don't personally think so. I think possibly we are still in new waters where bloggers can get paid for doing very little and people aren't comfortable with that, but that isn't related to disclosing as far as I can see. 

How do we go forward? 
Regardless of my non-blaming bloggers opinion I do believe honesty is the best policy and that we should all disclosure blog posts that we have been paid to write. It does change things for some readers and it's good for them to keep in mind, especially the younger generation (note to self - you are only in your 20s! Stop it). But I really feel as bloggers we need to stop blaming other bloggers now, because the 'problem' hasn't improved much, and we should look to making the brands that are in control accountable for it instead. But this is of course for the ASA to do, which is unlikely to happen as they seem less than interested in the matter. 

So if we stop blaming bloggers and we can't rely on the ASA to enforce their own damn rules, what can we do? 
I feel the main one for bloggers that do disclose and communicate with brands is to always reject brands that want to be sneaky and ask you not to disclose. Tell them it's illegal, report them to the ASA, even tweet about it if you feel that strongly! But don't accept it or feel it's fine for them to go on their merry way to find a blogger that's  more willing. I also think if we do come across obvious paid for posts that haven't disclosed (maybe you've seen other bloggers doing the same campaign or they are using the shit out of brand focused hash tags - a clear giveaway) again report the brand to the ASA. Yes, this sadly does mean you are naming the blogger in the process as you will have to give their UR, but the case will be brought against the brand and not the blogger. That has to be much more productive than taking to Twitter to moan about yet another blogger who isn't disclosing or writing an in-direct blog post about them.

Food for thought 
Lastly I also want to mentioned that just because bloggers disclose paid for content doesn't instantly mean they are being transparent or fully honest. To write the words 'Sponsored Content' is often simply but to write an honest sponsored post is the more complex part to it all.

I can only imagine paid for content getting more and more frequent, so as bloggers let's start seeing how complex this situation is and how we can work towards staying in line with the rules without pointing the finger.

Whether you're a fellow blogger or a reader, I'd love your own opinions on the matter, regardless if you agree with me or not!  

Fee xo. 

Current Summer Wish List

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 Bourjois La Laque Nail Polish - Only Bluuue
£6.49 - Boots here or in-store
 This summer blue nail polishes are my thing! I think it's most likely due to the amount of blog posts I'd read on Greece in the past month, with the beautiful blue and white landscape. But whatever the reason I'm totally feeling blue fingers and toes! So when I spotted this new beautiful cobalt blue nail polish from Bourjois it went straight on my 'to-buy' list on my phone. Totally stunning and from using Bourjois nail polish in the past I know it will be of good quality. Side note - There's also a pretty great Gift with Purchase offer on at the moment when you spend £15 or more on Bourjois products.

Maybelline Master Sculpt Contouring 
£6.99 - Boots here or in-store
Contouring is now a permanent step in my makeup routine. I may not go all out, Kardashian-style but I like to define my face with a little matte  bronzer and shimmery highlight. I especially like when brands come out with shades suitable for fair skin tones, which is why this caught my eye. I probably don't need yet another contouring kit but this is only £6.99 and has so far had only glowing reviews. One to pick up when I'm next out shopping I think.

Pixi Glow Tonic 
£18.00 - Cult Beauty here 
(15% off full price at the moment!) 
Last month I finally got to sample the pixi dust that is Pixi Glow Tonic! I had high hopes as it's such a raved about product and it didn't let me down! Within a few days of using it (I had roughly a 5-day supply) I noticed a brightness to my skin and the texture of my skin felt dramatically smoother and just... better. I was literally hooked! But then my little sample ran out and I was literally sad. Sadder than I've ever been about running out of a product, in fact. So now my new skincare purchase will certainly be this! I feel my skin deserves it now and it will be such a great addition to my skincare routine. So very impressed with this product!

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
£7.00 - Amazon here
Sophie Kinsella is an author I've loved forever. Popular for her ultra funny chic lits that are perfect for the beach she's back again but this time with a Young Adult fiction. I never let the term 'YA' put me off as I've found it to mean more heart-felt emotion and actually all round more real-ness - all good things. As for what the book is about... you may had guessed that it centres around a young girl named Audrey who suffers from social anxiety. But then she meets someone and slowly but surely she gains the self belief to venture out and starts to find herself again, hence the title. This looks the perfect summer read for all Sophie Kinsella fans and anyone fancying something light but not too light. 

Origins Essentials Only Set 
£15.00 - Boots here or in larger Boots stores
Last week when shopping in Boots for boring essentials (I needed cotton pads and conditioner and I managed to stick to buying just that!) I spotted a display of these probably not so new Origin minis gift sets! I love mini travel size products in general but I especially love them from brands that aren't so budget, as a way of trying out a few products from the brand without spending £££. The above set includes 4 of Origin's bestselling products - GinZing moisturiser, Check and Balances face wash, Modern Dermabrasion and Clear Improvement charcoal face mask. I'm particularly interested in the much talked about GinZing moisturiser and know my skin with love the Clear Improvement face mask. A perfect way to explore this brand I think! 

 What are you dying to buy at the moment? Let me know! 

Fee xo.

Three Summer Scents I'm Lovin

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All year round I'm a fan of fragrance, but when it comes to selecting my summer scents I feel like a child in a candy store - so much choice and so many wonderful scents! Below  just three of my absolutely summer favourites that I will be alternating with from now until around September time. 

I'd love to know what your own fragrance of choice is this summer!


Escada Turquoise Summer 
30ml EDT £21.99 - Fragrance Direct here 
When it comes to fruity scents I often let down my how 'juicy' and 'fruity' they actually are. I can never seem to smell the individual notes or pick of different fruits in the scent. But thankfully this years Escada fragrance lives up to my expectations of a true fruity fragrance. This is a beyond juicy scent that has strong notes of strawberry, pineapple and watermelon. Certainly a scent to wear on hot days that will be noticed. I feel like a summer fruit punch when wearing this! Also when purchasing this scent from Fragrance Direct you receive a free makeup/beauty case (above link)! 

Philosophy Amazing Grace
60ml  EDT £32.00 - Boots here
Another scent I love to wear come summer is this stunning Philosophy fragrance. Unlike the above scent this is a purely floral scent that is subtle and ultra feminine. In fact this reminds me of clean linen with a less powdery edge. There are similar scents to this, Sarah Jessica Parker 'Lovely', instantly springs to mind but this is the most refined light floral scent I've come across. If you love clean floral scents that make you feel perfectly feminine then make sure to have a try of this when in Boots next.

The Body Shop Moringa 
30ml EDT £8.50 - The Body Shop here
This specific scent has been a favourite of mine for the last few summers as it's floral yet sweet - a lovely everyday scent. Moringa isn't something I'd come across before but to me this is a white floral scent with a perfect hint of sweetness; think summer flowers in bloom. I also find this scent to last especially well on clothing and doesn't change in smell as you wear it. I also like that The Body Shop offer a whole range of Moringa products, from hand creams to a wonderful body oil. I will certainly be picking up a few products this summer to enhance the scent of this perfume. I really can't recommend The Body Shop line of perfumes enough!

Savvy Tip - If you are going to buy a new fragrance, make sure to take a little bag of coffee beans with you. After smelling a few scents your sense of smell will get totally confused and fragrances won't smell accurate at all. But a sniff of coffee beans sorts that out!

Fee xo. 

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