“Beauty Brands Should Not Be Working With Bloggers…” - Emrah Kovacoglu, Founder and CEO, Total Beauty Media, Inc.
Mr. Kovacoglu states in his highly inflammatory editorial, “We have developed a community of vetted bloggers who are impactful, truthful, and not compensated for their posts/reviews — and we continue to monitor that community. We guarantee to get your products in the hands of the right bloggers, and that they will use your product as recommended, post about it on their blog, and review it on TotalBeauty.com. What we don’t guarantee is whether it will be a positive or negative review. That fate falls upon the performance of your products.”
I am baffled by the above statement. Since when does any writer, journalist or author ever guarantee the outcome of what they write about any product, person, entity or issue? Did I miss an email, tweet, or post? I was not aware that this was common practice, except perhaps in countries where the ruling regime controls the media.
Should online content be held to a higher standard than print? Are magazine editors or reporters bound to trash every bad product they try? Do food critics write about every awful meal they have? Who is entrusted with monitoring what writers/bloggers/authors write about or not, and to ensure that facts are checked, information is accurate, and content is valid? Usually it is the Editor of any particular publication – rather than a 3rd party like Total Beauty Media.
“…whether you are a professional journalist or a blogger, publishers have a responsibility to hold true to ethical standards in journalism.”
Excuse me, but there are many bloggers who are also professional journalists, writers, authors. It is not a foregone conclusion that one who blogs is not a professional writer. For example, I have written 10 beauty books published under my own name, plus 15 books as a ghostwriter, and I have served as an Editor and Contributor on numerous publications. Journalists blog all the time; and so do soccer moms, disgruntled teens and politicians. We live in a country that upholds the First Amendment Right to Free Speech. Therefore, everyone is entitled to have an opinion and to express it as they see fit. It is up to the reader to “vet” whether online forums are worth following and if they are credible sources of information, just as they edit what they read in print.
I wish to state unequivocally that BEAUTYINTHEBAG has NEVER been coerced, paid off, bribed, threatened, persuaded or even asked by any brand or PR to write a favorable review about their products. Every brand I know accepts the risk that some people will love their products, and others won’t. It’s a fact of life, but if you make a good product and stand behind your brand, chances are that you will have more positive feedback than not.
We have never been offered cash, gifts, trips, real estate, jewelry, or “BLOGOLA.” I am not sure who Mr. Kovacoglu is referring to in his recent editorial, but I wish to set the record straight that BEAUTYINTHEBAG does not fall under this category at all, and I guarantee that not every beauty blog, forum or site out there that has not yet been “vetted” by Total Beauty Media does either.
We do accept samples and products for consideration or review. But we also buy our own products, pay for our own beauty treatments and do not operate on the basis of barter of services or products for great, good or even any coverage. We make no guarantees or promises to any brands or PRs that we will write a glowing feature about their products, nor that we will write about their products at all. We write about our experiences, what we like, what we don’t like, and it comes from the heart. There are 12 BEAUTYINTHEBAG editors on board; several of us are professional writers and bloggers, but we also have a Registered Nurse, a few stay at home moms, a Medspa Owner, a finance exec, a student, a product formulator, etc. Our voices are all unique, but we share a common passion for beauty, cosmetics and skin care. Each of us chooses what we want to write about as it piques our interest.
According to Mr. Kovacoglu, brands should not work directly with bloggers; RATHER THEY SHOULD ONLY WORK DIRECTLY WITH HIS COMPANY, TOTAL BEAUTY MEDIA. That statement in and of itself represents blatant self interest.