I have a very hard time finding blogs I like to read that don’t annoy me so much I have to stop reading them. I had to unsubscribe from yet another blog the other day after something annoying happened. “Something annoying” often goes like this:
Despite the fact that I’m 35, was raised by wolves, and don’t know how to [wear makeup] [wear jewelry] [decorate my foyer] [wear hideous dresses], [insert name of shitty makeup/jewelry/home decor/clothing brand here] contacted me to ask whether I would completely whore myself out and write a boring-ass post you don’t want to read to pimp their tacky shit in exchange for giving me some free crap I’ll use for purposes of writing this boring-ass post and then forget about until 7 years from now when I find this shit in my bathroom cabinet/dresser/basement/closet and throw it out. I wish these fuckers would pay me to whore out their products but when they don’t, I just take the free crap they offer me because I have no respect for myself or my audience.
[Insert 27 boring-ass paragraphs about shitty products here.]
[Insert 38 hiddy photos of overly made-up/jewelry-covered/ill-fitting-dress-wearing blog author and/or her fugly house here.]
As you can see, although I am barely able to function as a human adult, [insert name of shitty makeup/jewelry/home decor/clothing brand here] made me look like a raging alcoholic who got into a heated argument with a Rottweiler on a faux fur throw. I feel so beautiful and wonderful and now I want to share the joy of these shitty products with you by giving you free shit you don’t really want.
You may enter my shitty-ass giveaway by kissing my ass in the following ways:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post telling me how gorgeous and awesome I am. You must use at least 86 adjectives.
b) Tweet about this promotion 500 times, annoying everybody who follows you, and leave the URL to those tweets in a comment on this post.
c) Blog about this promotion so you too can be known far and wide as a spammy asshole who posts shit nobody cares about and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post and that post will tell two friends and I’d tell two friends if I had any friends but obviously I don’t considering how fucking boring and self-promotional I am.
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, get the fuck out of here because there is no way you’ll be able to benefit me by increasing my Alexa rank.
e) Follow me down the street making catcalls and whistling.
This giveaway is open to US assholes age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random drawing, and will be notified by e-mail and Twitter 972 times.
I mean, seriously? Why do people do sponsored posts and giveaways? Are they so hard-up to get free shit that they’re willing to compromise the integrity of their blogs to do so? Obviously, the answer is yes, but why?
Here’s the thing. I get it. I’m a hippie curmudgeon. I hate advertising and consumerism. So maybe my perception is a bit skewed. Still, I have a hard time imagining that anybody is interested in spammy giveaways or sponsored posts. Sponsored posts suck.
Whenever I’m reading a blog and I see any sort of sponsored post, my eyes glaze over and I scroll to the end, hoping that the next post will be something marginally interesting that I might want to read. But you have to understand that while I’m doing that eyes-glazed scrolling thing, my opinion of you and your blog is going way down. If I’m new to your blog, I’m trying to figure out whether you’re interesting and have credibility such that I’d like to continue reading. If you have sponsored posts, I’m going to find you uninteresting and lacking credibility. That might seem harsh, but that’s just how it is. If I’ve been reading your blog regularly, I’ll be willing to overlook this for a while but eventually, the interesting-content-to-spammy-bullshit proportion will get out of whack and I’ll stop reading. (FYI: Links to your Babble articles are just as bad.)
If somebody sends you free shit and you’re writing about it on your blog, you can say “My opinions are my own” 800 times and I won’t believe you. Your opinions can’t be your own because you’re allowing them to be purchased in exchange for exposure on your blog. (And it doesn’t help when you say that if you don’t love a product you won’t write about it, because you don’t bother to tell us about those instances.) Aside from the fact that I don’t believe you, even reading the sentence “My opinions are my own” makes me absolutely die of boredom. I’ve seen that shit on 900 other blogs and I didn’t find it interesting then. I don’t find it interesting when you say it. It’s boring.
And for what it’s worth, I hold this shit against brands, too. Chances are, if you’re a brand doing sponsored posts, I don’t buy your shit anyway. I don’t buy poor quality goods, makeup that is tested on animals, disposable diapers, disgusting processed food items, or any of the crap you usually see associated with sponsored posts. So I’m probably not your target audience. But I am the target audience of a few brands I’ve vowed to boycott forever as a result of ridiculousness in the blogosphere. For example, if you’ve ever given a free washer and dryer to someone who was acting like an entitled snot on the internet, I’ll never buy your stuff. And I have a long memory.
The only blog I’ve ever seen that does giveaways in a non-annoying fashion and writes about sponsors in a way that doesn’t shred the authors’ credibility is Young House Love. I know opinions on that blog vary (and honestly I’d rather read your sponsored post than more shit about the Bowers), but they are the only ones I’ve ever found who do giveaways and have sponsors in a way that doesn’t make me want to stop reading. The main reason, I think, is that they’re very clear about not accepting free shit from anybody in exchange for anything.
If you’re not a hugely popular blog, it’s hard to take that position. I understand. I know what it’s like to need extra money and to want to make it off your blog. Believe me. I need extra money and I’d love to make it off my blog, which is something I spend a bit of time and effort on. I’ve just never figured out a way to do it that isn’t gross. And no offense, but most of you haven’t figured that out, either. And until you do, you should stop trying, unless you want to lose more readers. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s totally sick of this shit.