Sponsorship Questions

I’ve been invited to attend the She’s Connected Conference in Toronto in September.  I’m really excited to go because I want to learn how to make my blog and Twitter and Facebook accounts more relevant.  In the last few days the excitement has started to be co-mingled with  trepidation (yes it’s a $20 word but I love it so I’m using it).  I’ve seen a lot of the other attendees actively seek wardrobe, travel, or shoe sponsors for the event.  Lord knows I’d love to have someone pay for the hotel room for #SCCTO – Money isn’t a luxury I have a lot of right now, but I’m wary because I’m not sure I want to sell myself to do it.  Right now, whenever I endorse something on Twitter, Facebook, or here, it’s because i use it and genuinely like it.  I won a new Blackberry Bold 9900 on Twitter in July.  I entered the #BB7FanNight Contest and won.  I got to go to a really fancy launch party and play with all of the new devices that use the BB7 OS and choose one.  I received it on Friday an tweeted that I love it.  I really do love it.  It has a touch screen and a keyboard and it’s really easy to use.   There were no terms in the contract that said I had to tweet about how much I loved it –  I gave Blackberry PR the right to use the tweets I entered the contest with in their advertising campaign, they liked one of the entries, I won a new Blackberry.   If I hated the device I would say that, but I don’t.

Incidentally I also won a pair of Skullcandy ROCNATION headphones at the BB7FanNight event and I love them too.  I’ve been looking for a new pair of headphones for awhile, and the ROCNATIONs in addition to looking really cool (they came with a cloth to make sure the outside stayed shiny!) are incredibly comfortable too.   The only problem may be that they’re TOO good – when I tried to do some transcription off of a cassette tape they conveyed every hiss and crackle of the tape!  I had heard of Skullcandy headphones before but figured they were too ‘hip’ for me – now I don’t care – I just love them.

I have an iphone that I got from my best friend.  I like it  a lot too – but there are some things about it that drives me nuts.  I’m sure after I use the new Bold9900 for a year, there will be things that drive me nuts about them too.  If I were to be offered a sponsorship by Blackberry, would I be free to voice any concerns I had about my device?

I’m afraid that if I enter into a relationship with a brand to get sponsorship for a conference, it will force me to not be honest about my opinions of products.  I like to support local companies and failing that, Canadian companies.  but I’m not willing to support a company that has crap products.  I want my friends to know that when I recommend something (like I did with the Adult Essentials vitamins this week to a group of friends) that I actually use and enjoy the product.   I’m still pretty new to the whole brands and blogs thing, but I’m not sure I’m willing to sell my soul for the price of a hotel room.


    1. In that I’ve seen and I know of people who write that the LOVE company X but actually hate it. I know people who have taken money to write a good report on a product that wasn’t so good. A former friend once wrote on an blog about this great product for people with sensitive skin. I figured great… I’ve got sensitive skin, I’ll try it. I broke out in a head to toe rash, and when I asked her she said she had too but the company would only pay her for a positive post. It made me somewhat skeptical of everything I read now – online and in print,

  1. Why not pitch the companies you love? Or what not try a new company? That’s what a lot of these bloggers are doing, they are throwing the request out there to see what comes back. If they hate the products, MOST bloggers will work with the company and tell them that. See if there is something they can do to fix it, if not they will either post their honest feelings, or the company will request not to post. No hard feelings. Not all products are for all people.

    I am not going to any conferences, and I’ve never asked for a sponsor or been sponsored for a conference. But it bothers me that there are bloggers (not just yourself) that assume the bloggers who are getting sponsors are selling themselves out. A lot of us bloggers consider blogging a job, we offer a marketing service, and we exchange our service for goods, or payment. That doesn’t mean we sell ourselves or our integrity out to the highest bidder, it just means that we are given a product to try, and if we like it or dislike it the company gets some publicity, and referrals. If I like something I have a lot of friends and readers that buy it.

    1. I love it for the trying new stuff idea – I know people who have sold their integrity both in a print format for a newspaper and in a blog – and that’s what I want to avoid. A former friend was held over a barrel by a “sponsor” and told she had to write positive stuff since she had received the product at no charge. She had already used the product so she had to write the positive review even though she hated the item. It seemed wrong to me but she said that’s how it works. If it can be one of those things where you’re just spreading by word of mouth… I’m fine with that.

      1. you never ‘have’ to do anything when working with brands. just because someone asked her to only write a positive post, didn’t mean she was legally binded to do it, the responsible thing would have been to right an honest post or discontinue working with the brand.

  2. I think you’ll find when you start to work with brands that they like to hear honest feedback as opposed to fake feedback. when you partner with a brand for a review, be honest and state the pros and cons of the product and obviously you would only agree to a sponsorship with a company you already had a positive experience with. no need to sell you soul for anything.

    1. True enough. I wish I could find a way to make the board game manufacturers notice – but the target demographic is not me even though I own well over 100 board games. I play board games with 2 different groups of friends at least once a month, usually multiple times. 🙂 I wouldn’t know how to approach a company I like – there are quite a few that I like (not just board game companies but companies in general). I tend to be very brand loyal – when I find something I like, I use it until it changes or my needs change. 🙂

  3. I have worked with numerous brands in the last year and love my job! I really do think of blogging as a job and put a lot of hard work into it. I haven’t yet had a product that I hated, I have had some that could be better. I am an Honest person by nature and have been thanked tons of times for my pros and cons of products I review. I do not “sell my soul” for a brand. I love to let people know how I enjoyed the products or if I haven’t. You never have to post a review if you hate the product.

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