The Not-So Dirty Truth About Bloggers Spending Money

While the Toronto blogosphere is on the topic of disclosure again (really people, are we still not better than that?), I thought I’d write about something that has been bugging me lately:

I blog, therefore I…
never spend any of my own money?


The (totally untrue) elusive world of blogging

Friends, family, bloggers, and Internet trolls often comment on the “perks” of being a blogger. If I post that I’m going to see a sold-out concert without explicitly saying that I bought the tickets myself, I get comments like “Oh you’re so lucky!”, “How do you get all this free stuff?”, and the most insulting “I’m going to start a blog so I can do all this cool stuff too!”.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest I am not being totally transparent in terms of disclosing when I am being paid to promote a product or service. Time after time I’ve had to explain that even though I’m not getting paid to talk about something, I like to tell people when I find a great product or service.

I’m here to set the record straight:  Sometimes bloggers spend money. 

Sure, blogging means I’m afforded some pretty amazing opportunities. But just because I blog about it, does not mean I am being paid to promote or endorse an event, product, or service. In fact, most of the content on my blog is just me sharing things that I think are awesome on my own free will – no paycheques involved!

Sure, some bloggers operate like this. But not this girl.

I pay for web hosting fees, logo design, site design, and my own domain. I buy my own shoes, clothes, food, makeup, and I pay for my rent, cable, and Internet just like everybody else. I eat at restaurants I don’t get discounts at, and I buy tickets to events I’m not invited to (yes, even some of the ones I write about). Most of the product reviews I post or my Toronto Tips for savvy city-living are my honest reviews of product that I purchased myself.

Why do I do it?

Because I’ve always been the girl on the playground that will tell you exactly where her mom got her those light-up L.A. Gears (totes Zellers) and now that I’m spending my own money on stuff, I’m more than happy to tell you where I can get uber-cheap in-season Essie polishes (Beauty Supply Outlet). So why I not share this info on my blog and social feeds?

Because living in Toronto (and any big city) can be expensive and we’re all looking for ways to live fantastic lives and afford our rent. We are bombarded with new products and services every day and since I rely on the opinions of other people who have had a chance to try it, I’d like to do the same for others.

So in the future, let’s be clear: You can trust my reviews and opinions.
I’ll be clear when I’m being paid to promote something, and you can stop thinking that I live for free, crowd-surfing on the gullible hands of the Internet. Deal?

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  1. October 3, 2012 / 11:44 am

    Great post, Jamie. I, too, pay for a lot of the product and many of the special events that I feature. However, I’ve actually heard bloggers say “I don’t pay for anything”. There’s a sense of entitlement that seems to prevail once bloggers get in the habit of getting perks, product and payment…hence my personal wariness of nondisclosure.

  2. TOBeautyReviews
    October 3, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Love this post! You know what’s funny, I think I was only compensated once for something (through a gift card) and I didn’t even realize I was going to be compensated! I just thought it was a fun collaboration and only after I posted (I think a week later) I received a g/c in the mail. Other than that I usually just receive products to review. I make it clear to PR people that sending me items does not guarantee a review or post on my blog. I’ll only blog about something if I feel the need to share with readers and people in my real life. I do have to admit though, I’m in awe of bloggers that get really amazing things like clothes and concert ticket LOL!

    • JamieLeighTO
      October 3, 2012 / 2:25 pm

      I’m in awe of the one that get tons of makeup! 😉
      I think it’s normal in the beauty blogging industry to be sent product to review and you just have to find bbloggers who are trustworthy, like yourself!

      In the “lifestyle” blogger category, however, it’s a mix of paid and unpaid content on some blogs and it’s difficult to tell which products are paid endorsements and which ones are honest. I’d hope that even the paid ones are honest, but I know that’s impossible 100% of the time.
      I linked to Stephanie Fusco’s post from this week on disclosure in the first sentence of this post because I think both of these issues go hand in hand!

      • TOBeautyReviews
        October 3, 2012 / 2:40 pm

        Oh yes I read Stephanie’s post too! I didn’t realize it was different for lifestyle blogger – the things you learn! Thanks for opening my eyes 🙂

  3. Cam
    October 10, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    You rock Jamie! I think it’s time to review the city of Vancouver…

    • October 11, 2012 / 9:11 am

      Find me a cheap flight and I’m in!