There’s been a lot of talk about this on Marketing Bloggers’ websites and on BlogHer itself, so I won’t belabor the point, but there is one thing that I have to get off my chest.
The thing that bothered me most about some of the sponsorships this year at BlogHer was how their sponsorships sort of took over the bloggers’ personalities. I talked to two sponsor-t-shirt-wearing bloggers in the elevator once and never got to find out who THEY were, just who their sponsor was and why I should care. (They didn’t ask me about my blog either.) That’s not why I came to BlogHer. I came to BlogHer to find out about YOU. To meet YOU. To hug YOU. When I left, I was overwhelmed by the prevalence of product and the controversies swirling around, verbally, and on twitter.
Last year, I was underwhelmed by the huge number of bloggers dying to get into the review product game, working like crazy for coupons. I was disappointed, because I felt that the bloggers were selling themselves short — you are worth more than coupons, I wanted to tell them — but this year coupons have turned to sponsorships, and the money is out there. There is money out there.
The question is, what is money buying?
If you spend much of the conference pushing product, are YOU getting what you came for? Did you get to go to the sessions, hear from amazing women, have quiet conversations with those who you had celebrated, laughed, cried, and hoped with over the year(s) you’ve been reading their blog(s)? I hope you did. If sponsors made it possible for you to come when otherwise you couldn’t, I hope that their expectations — and your feelings of duty — didn’t keep you from getting what you came for. I think there’s a balance to be had here, and I hope that all the talk this week is helping us as a community find that balance. I hope that we remember why we’re in this — for whatever reasons each of us are in this — and that we can stay true to our purpose, even as we (many of us) seek to be compensated for our work.
Let’s not let sponsors take over the conversation.