The above quote is actually from a fellow beauty blogger which I should state wasn't directed at me at all but just as a comment in general to someone else's blog post on product disclosure. But it struck a chord and pushed me to write this.
I've thought about the comment for sometime as I don't disclose any free products I receive as I know all my reviews are honest. But is she right? My conclusion in a nutshell was, no. Why? Because everyone has the right to blog!
However this definitely is a hard post to write as I know I am in the minority and that my views may be seen as wrong/dishonest by quite a lot of people. However I feel I needed to put this out there to explain why I have chosen not to disclose PR samples and the changes I want to make in regards to it.
I firstly want to explain how many PR samples/free products I featured on my blog - I had a scan over the posts on my blog and could find 1 product in the last 12 posts, of course some months I may review/mention more than that but that is how many PR samples are on the first page of my blog right now. In my email inbox out of the first twelve emails, six are actually requests to send me free products but as I'm picky the e-mails will be replied to with a simple 'thank you, but no thank you' as I only accept samples that I would only personally consider buying or that fit in with my blog meaning relativity low priced products. So you can possibly see how that one product disclaimer stating I didn't purchase the item myself (in what ever shape or form) could stand out to many people in the sea of purchased products and even more so to non-bloggers that may find the practice of a blog receiving free products to review quite alien or odd.
So I chose to see PR samples as almost the inner workings of my blog - My like how I don't disclose how much I spend on products per month or even which are gifts from family & friends, bought on eBay or even bought with the point from my Boots card! I just see it as totally irrelevant when writing an honest review and also the 'behind the scenes' of my blog. Though as my blog is about being savvy, whenever I start to write a review I have the full retail price in mind as that product needs to live up to it's price tag so whether the product was essential free to me or bought with my own money it is actually irrelevant. To that I know some people would say so why not just add a disclaimer at the end! But that would just be going against what I believe and providing something that is just there for the people that doubt my reviews or to start doubting reviews over.
I also feel a lot of other bloggers look at it from a very blogger point of view and not from a general readers perspective. I know when I started reading different types of blogs before I actually got into blogging I didn't even imagine PR companies working with blogs, it just didn't enter my head. Now as a beauty blogger it's normality and I am fine with it. But would the me that didn't know about it trust a review that disclaimed the product was sent for free, most likely not. I would actually end up dissecting the review to see if she had included some bad points to the products and if she hadn't (maybe because the product was great) I would conclude the review was biased and not worth seeing as a valid review. Which is actually how I think a lot of readers view it - they don't see disclaimers in magazines or on TV programmes they just see the products, so why should they have to face deciding whether on not to believe my review based on the little disclaimer at the bottom playing devil's advocate.
Another important point I think is worth a mention is the subject of honesty. I am personally a very honest person and it would make me cringe to decide to be dishonest in a review to keep on side with a PR company. Which I would never do as frankly my readers are what makes my blog great and what makes me happy. So in my heart I know what all my reviews are honest and I really hope my readers see that, but if they don't then it's there choice not to carry on reading, but it definitely is a shame that they can't come to trust my blog.
However to show my sheer love and commitment to my blog I have decided on something that will hopefully show how much Makeup Savvy means to me.
I have decided to make my blog PR free - which will of course mean no mention of press releases, no reviewing of free samples/no excepting samples as I frankly don't need any of that in order to write the posts I write. This I hope should make things a lot clearly for myself and others on my blog, though I won't be disclaiming that all the product are bought by myself just like how I've never disclaimed free samples. As I think that would be quite contradicting.
I do see blogging as a new type of media but frankly PR communication does take up a lot of time, time that could be spent on other people's blog, replying to comments or writing new posts. Plus like it has shown it can cause quite strong options so this is kind of my way of putting my hands up and saying 'I'm out'!
Of course over the next month or so old PR samples that I've received prior to this will pop up as I do want to review them still but from now on I won't be excepting anything else.
This may seem like a dramatic decision to some but I can hand on heart say that PR samples just don't matter to me and so without them I can get onto spending more time doing more of what I love - which is shopping and blogging!