Do bloggers really love the products they write about? When you see a glowing review for a product how can you know it’s authentic?

I wanted to address this topic because long before I started my blog, I would read reviews frequently.

Like you, I wanted to get some insight before buying a product and to this day I still Google reviews.

Now, I can only speak for myself and the bloggers I know and have become friends with but yes, for the most part, reviews are authentic.

I am not saying you can trust every blog review you read.

Like anything in life, you have to use your own judgment.

Perspective also comes into play.

Maybe you and the review blogger are not looking for the same outcome from a brand.

Perhaps they have lower expectations, or higher for that matter.

Even a negative review does not mean you would not love the item.

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted? Pinterest Image Old Time Typewriter and Title Of Post On Graphic

Before buying a product based on a blogger review you need to know what you want.

What are your personal expectations for the item?

Are there comparable items in different price ranges?

Looking for a great deal or willing to spend top dollar?

How long you expect the product to last.

Before buying a product based on a blogger review you can research the blogger.

Does the blogger properly disclose?

Did they include photos, video, personal experiences?

Sponsored content or affiliate content does not always matter, but it can.

Does the blogger’s lifestyle align with your own?

Check the comments on their review to see how others feel about it.

Understanding Sponsored and Affiliate Content:

Bloggers: Can They Be Trusted? Graphic Reads "Sponsored and Affiliate Content What Is It?"

Sponsored content is articles the blogger is being paid to write, such as in this article.

Basically, ads wrote in a story format.

That does not mean the blogger is not in love with the brand!

I often write about the same brands more than once because I do in fact love them so much.

Affiliate links are similar except payment to the blogger is not upfront, such as in this article.

The blogger may earn a commission if you purchase an item through one of their affiliate links.

Often those payments are very small but over time they can add up.

Most bloggers, myself included, use these payments as a means of paying for our own blog expenses.

It does cost money to run a professional blog.

Some reviews are in-kind, or a trade.

The blogger will get a product for free and they can write about the product.

Does It Make A Difference If The Blogger Is Getting Paid?

Yes and no.

Bloggers need to earn a living too so yes, we do love getting paid!

However, authentic bloggers will not write about a product they have not tested themselves.

They would not promote a product they do not personally like.

When a professional blogger puts their stamp of approval on a brand, that is their word.

Authenticity is very important to most bloggers.

We want your trust and need it if our blogs are going to survive!

Selling our readers on junk won’t make that happen.

It is more valuable to bloggers that we earn your trust, over earning money.

Without your trust, we will not earn a dime.

Not all ads on blogs are items they have tried, yet they can still be authentic to you.

Then we have click-through ads.

You have seen them a million times on blogs, websites, and social media.

These are ads that appear based on your browsing history which is stored on your computer by cookies.

Ads like these, usually seen on the sidebar of a blog, or within the content itself, are based on things you personally have looked up.

You may have visited a site to purchase a sofa, only to see an ad for that very sofa on a blog.

I do not care for these types of ads, which is why you won’t see them on Fashion Beyond Forty.

The ads in my sidebar are brands I have worked with personally.

However, just because they exist on some websites does not mean they are unauthentic.

Clearly, you had an interest in such products to have researched them.

They are however ads that would make the blogger some income!

These ads are affiliate ads.

There is absolutely nothing sketchy about them even if they do annoy us at times.

Personally, I find that I see these types of ads after I had already purchased the item.

I am probably foolish for not using these types of ads.

My blog could generate a lot more income if I did but I just find them too distracting.

The last thing I want to do is frustrate my readers.

Bloggers Do Turn Down Paid Posts!

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted Graphic With Text That Reads: "We do not all write about things we do not like"

A blogger would turn down a paid article for many different reasons.

Some of these reasons are:

The brand does not meet our demographics.

That means the items the brand sells is not true to you, the reader.

I blog for the midlife woman so I want to represent brands that you want to know about.

Another reason bloggers will turn down a paid article is that it’s not something we agree with.

For example, I do not write about skincare or makeup that isn’t cruelty-free.

I do not agree with animal testing.

Another reason we would not write for a product is that we know it isn’t quality.

This may be based on past use of the product, or from our deductive insight.

Most bloggers truly do want to tell you about the very things we use and love.

Being authentic is extremely valuable to us as bloggers.

There are actually websites that grade us on our authenticity.

That means we use disclosures letting you know that we are being compensated in some way for writing about a product.

Including free product!

The USA requires us to disclose when content is sponsored.

If you click on the link above you will see my disclosure.

The way it is written is in legalese but in more human terms it means that I write content in which I may be paid in cash or product.

We are also required in the USA to put a disclosure at the top of any sponsored article before any links to the brand we are writing about.

It is very easy when you know this to determine if a blogger is being paid for content or not.

Don’t Let A Disclosure Send You Running Away.

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted Graphic With Caption: Disclosures: Don't Let Them Scare You Away. They Are Legally Required And Serve You An Authentic Purpose!

Just because we are being paid does not mean we are tainting our opinion on the brand.

I have in fact been in an agreement with a brand to write for them and have changed my mind.

Other bloggers have as well.

It’s not a comfortable situation for the blogger or the brand.

When we have been paid or sent free product to write about and decide we do not like it we have options.

Some bloggers will still write for the brand but let them know their review will not be positive.

Other bloggers will just return the product and not write a review.

Since I do not consider myself a “review blogger” I only care to write about the products, services, and brands I do love.

That means if I end up disliking the product, I opt to let the brand know and ask if they wish for their items to be returned.

I do not care to fill my life or my blog which is a major part of my life, with negativity.

That is why I do not write about the things I do not like.

I would much rather fill my time, and thus yous with the good things in life.

The end result is just because we are being paid does not mean we are not being authentic.

They Work Hard For The Money:

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted. Graphics That Reads: Blogging A Rewarding But Demanding Career

I am not going to go into great detail here because all the details would be a full novel.

However, bloggers do work hard, really hard.

I have had very high-profile jobs, including working for a world-renown chef as his Public Relations Manager.

Exhausting work it was indeed but blogging, it’s harder!

A blogger has to know everything from SEO to creating graphics, writing skills, social media, pitching brands, and so on and on.

Not complaining.

Blogging keeps me entertained and busy, I love it!

The point is, blogging is hard work and bloggers deserve the money they earn.

So, when you see a sponsored post or an affiliate link, please click on it!

Your click alone helps us continue to produce our content.

That includes the non-sponsored content you love.

Can You Trust Bloggers?

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted? Graphic that says: Bloggers Love To Share Their Point Of View Positive Or Negative.

In my experience, I have to say yes.

Not just because I only write about the products I personally love, but from years of experience searching reviews.

You will naturally gravitate toward the bloggers you enjoy.

From their non-sponsored content to their paid content.

No one continues to visit a blog that isn’t producing value for their reading time.

You align with a blogger due to their lifestyle being similar to your own, or one you wish you had.

Or you find something within their content that speaks to you.

Maybe you just love their photos or videos.

If you keep coming back to their blog, something about it makes you feel good, even if you enjoy drama.

There are plenty of drama blogs and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

We are a reality-based society these days.

The point is, if you enjoy the blog, you will most likely enjoy the products being sponsored on that blog.

Know Your Blogger:

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted? Graphic Reads: Getting To Know Your Blogger Knowing Your Blogger Helps You Understand Their Point Of View.

Some bloggers, especially review specific bloggers will have pro and con lists in regard to each product.

They will have equally positive and negative reviews.

Knowing your blogger helps.

That does not mean you are going to personally know the person behind every blog.

Especially if you do not frequent that blog.

If you are simply doing a random search of “television reviews” a million different blogs can pop up in your search.

So you refine that search to “review of the Samsung 4K Curve television”.

Ah, now you have refined your scope and only 100,000 reviews come up.

Okay maybe I am overstating the number of reviews but you get the point.

There is no way you can personally know much about every one of these bloggers.

Yet, it is fairly easy to tell when you click on a blog if they are a “review blogger” and if they write about the good and the bad.

Once again, I will point out, just because a blogger only writes positive reviews does not mean their opinion isn’t valuable!

Perspective is key, however.

Go to the bloggers “about page” as this can give you key insight on them and what you should expect.

Can A Blogger Be Wrong About Products They Represent?

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted? Graphic with eraser image that reads: Can Bloggers Be Wrong?

Sure, there have been a few times since the inception of the Internet and product reviews that I have been disappointed.

Usually however when that has happened it was due to a fluke of some kind.

Either a technical product that was faulty, buying the wrong size in a clothing item, or having unrealistic expectations of a product.

There is always the case of a blogger not being authentic as well.

It does happen, even if not often.

Plus, it’s just a matter of fact that we won’t all love the same things.

A blogger may truly 100% absolutely love something and you just do not.

That does not mean they are not being authentic, you just have different opinions.

In all cases, there is one redeeming quality of everything I have purchased that was “wrong”…

RETURNS! 

Never buy from a brand that does not offer a fair return policy.

That’s just being smart.

Leave me a comment, please.

What has been your experience with reviews and sponsored content in blogs?

Do you search blog reviews before buying a new product?

Have you ever bought something you were not looking for that you saw in a blog post?

Do you think bloggers are mostly honest in their reviews and sponsored content?

Bloggers Can They Be Trusted Twitter Image With Old Fashioned Typewriter and Text of Blog Title

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26 Comments

  1. April 25, 2018 / 10:04 am

    Great points you bring up! I have purchased a few products I didn’t really need or plan to buy because I saw a review/write-up on a blog. Luckily, I had the same positive experience that the blogger posted about. With that being said, I did a review for a toy years ago that didn’t work how it was advertised. I had seen another blogger talk about how great the toy was before I agreed to review it. We didn’t post our review because we emailed the company and let them know that the review was going to be a negative review because we didn’t want to mislead our readers into buying the toy (toys can be expensive!) The sponsor told us not to post at all and we were fine with that. I’m a lot like you, if I like a product, I want to tell others about it—even if I’m not getting paid for a review. 🙂

    • April 25, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      Exactly Mandee. There are many times I am not being sponsored and have no affiliate link to share for a brand I just simply love.
      Granted it is nice if I can find an affiliate program for the products I buy often but a great thing is a great thing and I want to share with my readers.
      I once had a blogger tell me that they had to let a brand know their review would not be positive and the brand rep told them it was okay to just post their honest feelings even if negative. That was good to hear that the brand was alright with having bad reviews because that says a lot about them as a company! It means they can take the criticism and learn from it.
      I am like you as well – buying things I was not even looking for due to great reviews lol.

  2. April 25, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    I love that you wrote about this. I have been one of those bloggers that gave some negative reviews after receiving a product from a company that did not do what it was supposed to. I also make sure I only review products that I think I will really enjoy or need. I don’t just review things for the sake of reviewing something. I used to do that as a newbie blogger to get my foot in the door. But I no longer do that. So it really has to be something I stand behind these days. For me, I feel if my audience doesn’t think I’m honest, they’ll leave in droves. I hate to bad mouth a brand, but I also don’t want my readers to be fooled by anything. Thanks for writing this up. It’s really important to be trustworthy when you blog.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:28 am

      Heather exactly! I also did the same as a newbie blogger. I think a lot of us get into blogger from being reviewers back in the days when we could do that on Amazon. Then I gravitated toward blog reviews and then finally, and thankfully real blogging.
      I am so glad to be out of the review thing.
      I think a lot of us bloggers are writers at heart not reviewers but it does seem to be the natural way many of us get started.
      I think also, we get better at screening products as we become more experienced. It is a rare thing anymore when I find I do not like something I am sent to write about.
      It is so good to hear from fellow bloggers and how you feel the same. It lets people know they truly can trust us. Thanks Heather!

  3. Lauren
    April 25, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    I can relate on so many levels. It is so important as an ‘influencer’ that you stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Money can be tempting, but don’t say yes to every opportunity if you don’t agree/ enjoy it.

    • April 25, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Exactly Lauren. We have to stay true to ourselves in every matter in life.

  4. April 25, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    This is a very good discussion to have. I think newer bloggers or those that are on the scene to only review products are harder for me to trust. Since I’ve been around since late 2008, I’ve learned a thing or two about making sure I can trust the person who shares the product, but we can never be 100% sure. This is an important topic so that other consumers understand trusting bloggers or not for buying decisions.

    • April 25, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Thank you Brandy I am so glad you like this topic! You are right we can never be 100% sure. I remember when a brand I love and still use regularly changed the formula to a product I had previously reviewed. I was so bummed out as I like the way it was in the first place and was not happy with the changes.
      I ended up taking my review of it down due to that.
      So even when you think you love something, if they change it – it all changes lol.

  5. April 25, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    You said it: do they properly disclose! So many don’t and it’s frustrating for me as a blogger to come across stuff like that.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Ashley when I do not see a disclosure the first thing I do is try to find out if they are not in the USA. I guess bloggers outside of the US do not have to disclose! I mean it’s not like I am obsessed with doing this lol but sometimes I wonder if all bloggers realize they need to include one if they are in the US. I have actually let a few know over the years and they had no idea and where thankful I told them.
      Sometimes when disclosures are left off you just have to wonder why!

  6. April 25, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    Great post! I will not write a review unless I can do it honestly. If I hate a product I will never say I love it. It ruins my integrity and people will not believe me.

    • April 25, 2018 / 9:28 pm

      Indeed Sara! I am glad I got away from typical reviews so I can focus on the things I have tried and love before being committed to writing about it.

  7. April 25, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    This is one of those topics that always crosses my mind. I am personally very honest with my reviews, but I know some that will just say what they think the company wants to hear. I think we should be authentic.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:34 am

      I agree we need to be authentic or just not write about something we do not have a positive experience with. It’s not fun to have to turn down a sponsored article but sometimes we have to do it.

  8. April 25, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I used to preface all of my reviews with a statement that said “…honest review…” notsomuch anymore as I hope my audience would expect nothing more from me than my honest opinion. I write of my experience and those are just that… MY experiences.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:38 am

      Tomi I agree your existing audience would know, maybe not new readers but honestly, I think often people can simply tell by the tone of the writing. It is easy to spot writing that isn’t authentic for people who frequently read reviews.
      You are a great person and all you have to do is be yourself!

  9. April 26, 2018 / 5:38 am

    I think the pressure for some bloggers to constantly get products can skew their overall opinion on what is good and what is not. I like to stick to a rule that if I do not like a product I let the company know and they usually have me refrain from writing anything. I think that keeps me honest more than anything.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:49 am

      I am so glad I am no longer in the review game. It was nice getting tons of product but at the same time I realized I really was not using it once the newness wore off. Anymore I enjoy writing about things I have been using or have truly wanted to try for awhile. That makes it more genuine for sure. Even with sponsored articles, I only apply to work for a brand I believe in so I know going into the agreement there is a great chance I am going to love it.
      I bypass a lot of income by not applying for things I just do not relate to, my readers won’t relate to, or things I do not believe in such as non-cruelty free products.

  10. Ruth I.
    April 26, 2018 / 6:39 am

    I always search for blog posts before I buy a product. I try to find the best reviews I can and trust the writer about it.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:49 am

      Me too Ruth.
      I am glad I am not a reviewer anymore – but I still enjoy looking up reviews and always do so before buying anything I have not tried before or from a new to be brand.

  11. April 26, 2018 / 7:02 am

    For me, I only write posts for a product I would give my mom! So if I don’t like the product, I will talk to the brand manager to resolve the situation. Works for me.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:50 am

      That is a great code Terri!
      We won’t love everything that’s for sure.
      I try to only do sponsored content for brands I already know I love and brands I believe in.

  12. April 26, 2018 / 9:18 am

    We know our audiences and most time know well before a contract if the content will sit well with our readers. Every blog is unique with its own drive behind the author. I feel like sometimes blog reviews can be biased when it’s sponsored content but that doesn’t mean you won’t leave the article without a perspective. You might notice something unique about a product in the photos or learn something you didn’t know about the brand with the messaging included in the post.

    • April 27, 2018 / 11:53 am

      Exactly Heather!
      Good point too about how we may notice something in the photos or messaging!
      When it comes to sponsored content, I tend to stick to brands I already know and trust.
      Such as the Purell post I did.
      I use and love their hand sanitizer so when they had a new pet friendly, kid friendly food safe cleaning come out I totally wanted to work with them.
      Turned out the clearer is indeed awesome and I still use it to this day.
      I do find I pass up a lot of opportunities when I do not align with a brand’s business model or it just is not good for my readers.
      It all works out in the end.

  13. Jeanine
    April 26, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Great topic to write about! As a blogger I pride myself on being transparent and honest. If I don’t like a product or something I am working on I let the company know before I post (most times they ask me not to post) so it seems everything is always so positive but it’s never dishonest.

    • April 26, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Exactly! There is enough negativity in the world I don’t want to waste my time or my readers time on complaining about things I do not like. Thank you Jeanine I am so glad you liked the post!

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