Why I Don’t Read or Refer Your Blog

Aside from the usual, ” I have no time” excuse, I also have many more reasons why I don’t read or refer your blog.  I’m not talking about all of you of course but a lot of you. 

A while back I needed a few bloggers for a campaign (I’ve done this a few times) and even though I knew of many that might fit, I decided to visit each blog and see what’s been going on with them.  It was at this time that I realized that almost every single blog I visited had at least 80% reviews and giveaways.  I was so sad.  I was sad because it took this long for me realize what some of those other bloggers were talking about.  I knew there were review bloggers and all but I guess I hadn’t realized that non-review bloggers turned into review bloggers whether they realized it or not.

As I skimmed through the sites of some of the people I have known for while, I kept thinking about how I remembered their blog and the fact that they shared family moments, personal struggles and big dreams.  And now it’s review/giveaway, review/giveaway, coupon mention, giveaway, review, review, family moment, etc……I remember when I first started blogging and how giveaways brought in traffic so I did them and I got free stuff so I reviewed them….but then I also got smart and realized that there needed to be more substance to me and my blog.  While I may not write amazing content, I do share bits of me and my family and my struggles and achievements.   I do feel as a person, I’m more than the constant reviews and giveaways and want my blogs to reflect that.  Heck, I even felt bad about posting three giveaways back to back awhile ago and apologized to my readers.

If you want to do reviews and giveaways nonstop that’s your business, but I’m finding that those very two things are what’s driving me away from your blog, you, and keeping me from referring you to companies.  Not that it matters because judging by a few things I see these days, companies are working with pretty much anyone, no matter the quality of them as a person or their blog.

I’ve been in a funk for the past 7 or 8 months, came out of it not too long ago for a few days, then went back into it again.  I finally realized that maybe this “mom blogging” isn’t for me.  I’m happy to continue things here and at my food blog but I need more stimulation.  I need to be a woman……not just a mom (although I thoroughly enjoy that roll).  It made me realize that I need to do something about the funk and not just sit and let things ago until I’m so depressed that i just end up quitting.  On July 1st, I’m launching a new site.  A site that will provide that stimulation for me, and hopefully you.

I never did refer any of those bloggers. In fact, I told the company that, “I can only recommend these three.” because I just wasn’t going to put my name and reputation on blogs that went from blogs with meaning to a review/giveaway type blog.  You can make money and get cool things to review and still remain authentic.  You don’t have to turn your blog into that you know…or do you?  There are couple of bloggers out there who do a lot of reviews and giveaways who, that if they really wanted to, could be so much more and probably even make more money.  I hope they see their potential and take action.  In the meantime, I hope that you find your true calling and remember that your blog is a reflection of you a person.  How do you want to remembered online?

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Comments

  1. 60

    Enjoyed your post. Gave me food for thought. I’ve been blogging for a while now and I must admit that trends seem to come and go. Great bloggers fall by the wayside and new ones take their place. It’s really hard to have that herd mentality. It takes a smart sheep to make their own choices- whether that is to review/giveaway or not.
    I wonder if people are more cautious about privacy now than we were earlier so those personal posts are harder to have out there?
    Thanks for keeping it real.

  2. 61


    Sheri says

    To say a blog isn’t good quality anymore because the writer has decided to switch gears and go to more reviews/giveaways is a poor statement. A lot of those writers still write about their family within those posts too.

    There is no right way to blog, and there is a place for everyone in the blogosphere.

    So why the exact attack on review/giveaway bloggers? Review/Giveaway bloggers don’t do posts about non review bloggers, so why the other way around?

    I’m just curious. I do reviews/giveaways and have been trying to get more personal posts in when I have time (I also work full time). I don’t think any less of other bloggers out there who are posting all of the time about reviews/giveaways. I read what I want to read and move on if I don’t want to read. I don’t do a post drawing a line and casting them out like the Salem Witch trials.

    I do look forward to your new launch. I am interested in the changes you are going to make.

  3. 62

    Last month I finally decided once and for all to stop doing reviews and even giveaways on Table for Five and take it back to being a personal blog. It was scary but you know what I found? All the PR people I regularly work with totally understood! I just reply to the emails with the URL and stats for MomReviews.

    I think a lot of mom bloggers are doing the same thing, getting back to the blog they started in the first place, a blog to post photos of their kids and tell funny stories. I’m curious though – if companies are asking you to refer them to other bloggers, aren’t they looking for bloggers who post reviews? Or are these companies looking for bloggers to partner with no matter what blog they post the information on? just curious.

    Anyway, I really, really hope you’ll come back to reading Table for Five. I’m working really hard on making it great again :)

  4. 63


    Eve says

    I agree, that’s why I ended up dropping my successful Confessions of a Housewife blog about a year ago, I had gone from a ‘blogger’ to a commercial, and I hated it- I had sold out and it was eating me alive. I finally just quit and although I regret it when I see some of the neat products people get to review now, I am happy with my decision.
    .-= Eve´s last blog ..Quick Thank You to Some Bloggy Buddies =-.

  5. 64


    Connie says

    Please don’t judge all of us harshly. I don’t blog about my life because frankly, I don’t have one. My kids are grown and because of my MS I spend about 80% of my time in bed. My husband works 24-hr shifts so I spend a lot of time alone. Too much.

    I love to blog because it lets me escape my real world and I blog about what I know, which includes reviews. I’m long past potty training stage, school issues, etc., and quite frankly no one listens to older moms when it comes to raising kids. Why is a whole ‘nother post.

    Just a thought.
    .-= Connie´s last blog ..June Is Home Safety Month – Be Safe With First Alert & The Lehigh Group Products – Enter to Win! =-.

  6. 65

    An interesting post. I’ve never been a product reviewer, just a mom blogger and writer. I started my blog to help hone my writing skills, so I tend to blog about life in general. It wasn’t until I joined Mom Bloggers Club and a couple of other “mom” sites that I realized how many mom bloggers were out there–and how many were into product reviewing.

    I do find that I’m drawn to blogs that I can relate to in “real life.” But I also can appreciate book and product reviews as well, they can be helpful. And even though I don’t have any interest in doing that, I’m glad someone is willing to!

  7. 66


    victoria lester says

    A Cowboy’s Wife, I enjoyed reading your input on blogs. I would have to agree that the giveaways may play a key roll in why people visit blogs. I read some but some I visit primarily because they have a massive giveaway. Thanks for sharing your blog thoughts today. :)

  8. 67


    Simone says

    I am so with you on this one. I’m from new Zealand and the money-making blog sensation hasn’t really hit us here because we are so small; but I get so put off when I come across blogs that ar nothing but reviews and giveaways.
    I write my blog as a reflection of me, and my writing voice. I hope to become a “real” (published?) writer sometime and so my blog is perfect for getting instant feedback about what I’m writing. It’s also a precious way to connect with real women all over the world.
    I have been approached by a few companies emailing me to request a product review: I have turned them all down. I’m just not a review site and I don’t hope to make money from my blog.
    I hope you might come by and visit me – I promise, there are no reviews in sight :)
    Luv from Simone
    in Auckland, New Zealand
    .-= Simone´s last blog ..Crinkly Squishy Cracked Warm =-.

  9. 68

    I do giveaways and reviews, but only about 2 per month. I like writing. That’s why I have a blog! I’ve been blogging a long time (since 2005), and I’m definitely not a pro-blogger, but I do enjoy that some people like to come and read what I write. I do the occasional review when it’s a product I can truly endorse. But mostly, I just like to put little bits and pieces of myself and my thoughts. I have seen some great blogs go to straight reviews/giveaways/pay-per-posts, and I don’t enjoy reading them anymore. I like to enter giveaways, but I don’t spend a lot of times on blogs where it’s obvious they are only including a certain link to be paid. Kinda takes the fun outa things.
    .-= Forgetfulone´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  10. 69


    Caroline says

    You never know which of those bloggers might be where you were in the early days of your blog, though, who might yet realize their potential and blow your socks off. I hope you periodically check in to see if times have changed.

    I have only ever done one review blog, and it is hard sometimes to pour out my heart for absolutely no feedback. Sometimes it’s lonely in the cybersphere. Such is life, I guess.

    Great post!
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Checking in from Living Life =-.

  11. 70

    Great post, and too true. I think that the whole giveaway/review thing is tempting like fame – people give you stuff! And send you places! And make you feel special!
    I realized the pull towards this last year and make an absolute limit to myself – never ever do more than one giveaway a week, and try to do less. It’s been a good rule, and it’s helped me stay true to the reason that I started blogging: because I loved to write. Not sell products.

  12. 71

    Wow! I’m so upset by what you wrote. I have been reading you for a long time and have been OR rather was a huge fan. I am deeply disappointed by your post and I feel as if you are saying someone like me who does do reviews and giveaways isn’t worth reading and that’s not fair for you to judge.

    I have several blogs but my main one is the one where I post everything from reviews on movies I love, tv shows I watch, baby products, and yes silly pics of my kids and how much I love them. What is wrong with product reviews?

    Most of us use the internet and if I see a product worth representing or a giveaway I want to share and feel my readers should know about, I blog it. We don’t get paid diddly for what we do, except maybe a free product here and there and going commercial isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Blogging a review or giveaways is hard work, promoting, sharing with others and posting on it in your own words with a passion you want to share with your readers.

    I’d like to feel that although I do giveaways and reviews my readers also enjoy how I feel about raising my kids, a son with CP, special needs, a pre-teen, life with a mental illness, goofy family trips and more.

    You’ve lost me as a reader. I’m sorry and sad. I understand your need to change and good for you but to bash review and product blogs isn’t the way to go out. Is that how you want to be remembered online?

    Ask yourself this also: If your business was a small business that sold baby shoes and you wanted to share that passion with the world wouldn’t you want someone to review the product and get it out there so you could be successful. You are lying if you say no. Everyone wants to feel proud of what they do, who they represent, write from their heart and feel passionate about life. That includes some fantastic review and product giveaway mom bloggers I know of Like Erica Emm for Yummy Mummy.

    What you wrote in this post is a shame! A shame because you are judging.
    .-= JP @ Rants n’ Rascals´s last blog ..baby safe travel rocks for vacationing mums and dads =-.

    • 72


      A Cowboy's Wife says

      I’m afraid you’ve completely misunderstood my post. And clearly your attitude is leaving no room for adult conversation so I’ll just say this. My post was referring to people who once wrote about their families and life only and then turned into review/giveaway blogs only. Not people who have always wrote about reviews/giveaways or people who write about both.

      I’m sorry you took it wrong but I”m more sorry that you are so quick to JUDGE ME!

  13. 73

    I haven’t misunderstood you. Again YOU ARE THE ONE judging by saying I cannot have an adult conversation when all I did was voice my own opinion on your post and my dislike for it.

    You stated: My post was referring to people who once wrote about their families and life only and then turned into review/giveaway blogs only. Not people who have always wrote about reviews/giveaways or people who write about both.

    So in other words those who made the transfer from family to review and giveaway blogs don’t deserve to be visited and you are bashing them, but not people who write both reviews and giveaways and family life????

    That’s judgmental my dear. I don’t care what you call it.

    Here is what you wrote that bothered me most:

    I do feel as a person, I’m more than the constant reviews and giveaways and want my blogs to reflect that. Heck, I even felt bad about posting three giveaways back to back awhile ago and apologized to my readers.
    If you want to do reviews and giveaways nonstop that’s your business, but I’m finding that those very two things are what’s driving me away from your blog, you, and keeping me from referring you to companies. Not that it matters because judging by a few things I see these days, companies are working with pretty much anyone, no matter the quality of them as a person or their blog.

    (In other words what they do holds no integrity)??? Nice.

    If you don’t see how that is judging and bashing these bloggers who choose to do this and that you could not have written this better, worded it differently instead of putting them down. Well that’s why I said what you wrote is a shame.

    I am an adult. I have my own opinions. If you don’t want people commenting on your posts then don’t title it why I don’t read or refer your blog and expect not to get a different opinion from someone who very much disagrees.
    .-= JP @ Rants n’ Rascals´s last blog ..mcdonald’s massive recall of shrek tainted glasses =-.

    • 74


      Caroline says

      I am not sure why you are so upset, JP. This post was just one woman’s opinion of review blogs. It doesn’t mean that your blog has been personally attacked, that your blog is inferior, etc. It is just one person’s honest reason as to why she doesn’t read pure review blogs, and good for her and her honesty. I have had many, many people tell me that they don’t read my political posts, either because the find them boring, they don’t agree with me politically, or because I am just wrong. It doesn’t make me a bad writer, unworthy of owning a blog. It simply means that my blog doesn’t have universal appeal. Chances are, those people aren’t referring my blogs to others, and I am fine with that, too.

      What I think she was trying to say, underneath it all, is that purely review blogs give little insight into the blogger, leaving the audience with little insight into who they are and what they are about. Referring a blogger who does purely reviews, with no insight into THEM, doesn’t make sense.

      The analogy I would make is this: would you refer your neighbor for a job, just because he or she is your neighbor and for no other reason, knowing nothing about him or her, knowing that your own reputation and credibility would be at stake if that person then turned around and stole from the company? No one would, and I think that is what she is saying about reviews here. You might take it as a personal attack, and continue to let it bother you, or you can simply accept the fact that not everyone loves review blogs, AND THAT IS OKAY, but then be very appreciative for the people who do read your blog. Many, many people don’t have the blessing of an audience at all. Those are the people we write for. Worrying about those who don’t read our blogs is an exercise in futility that will only leave you exhausted when, at the heart of it all, lies the fundamental precept, “To each his or her own.” Well, that, and “Live and Let Live,” but you get the idea.
      .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Checking in from Living Life =-.

  14. 75

    I do understand your view of review/giveaway blogs. When I started blogging I didn’t even know about that side of mom blogs until six months later, I had a few readers and a base of great articles – mostly about health, green parenting, and non-toxic lifestyle. When I first became interested in reviews and giveaways I was pretty excited because as a SAHM without a steady income, I simply could not afford many things for my daughter. Even necessities like a car seat. I continue to write the same type of articles, and the reviews/giveaways that I do now are aligned with our green parenting beliefs – not just random products pitched to me. I don’t take everything just because it is free. My readers know that we are very particular about the products and companies we review!
    I do roll my eyes, I admit, at review/giveaway blogs that seem to pick up everything that’s pitched to them, even things that seem completely worthless. It makes others think that just because my blog has some reviews/giveaways, it is just like all the others. I try hard to set it apart with quality posts!
    .-= Anastasia B´s last blog ..Little Soles Shoes Review and Giveaway =-.

  15. 76


    Mitch says

    Very honestly written, and I easily see your point. There’s this guy I respect, great guy matter of fact, but every single post of his is a sales post. There’s nothing to discuss, nothing to respond to, because it’s sales 24/7. Of course, his opinion is that he’s only blogging to make money; I can understand that. My purpose for reading blogs is to learn something new and engage the writer; if there’s absolutely none of the engaging part coming, then I’m going.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..Customize Your Google Page; There’s A Caveat Though… =-.

  16. 77


    Lucy says

    Hi,

    I’ve just stumbled across this blog but I just wanted to say thanks for this post- I think its really brave to say. I’m new to the world of blogs, and started i suppose a little naive about the commercial nature of it, not realising people got paid to do giveaways and reviews. I’ve actually deleted a couple of blogs from my rss feeds this week because I just found the endless competitions and reviews getting in the way of what I’m reading for- recipes, ideas and musings on all areas of life! If I wanted giveaways and reviews (reviews being particuarily irritating for someone reading blogs based in the usa/australia when they live in the uk) then I would buy a magazine!

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Lucy :-)

  17. 78


    Helen says

    I have been saving this to read for some time because I wanted to see if ‘Ethel’ and I were unwittingly keeping the masses away for some reason.

    I was glad to read you do NOT like review/giveaway blogs, because in our 2-1/2 years, we’ve had 3. The first was because it seemed everyone else was doing it, and as greenhorns, we figured we’d have a fun one while ‘Ethel’ was on a trip out west. It was mostly a dud :) The second and third times were last month and were personal – giveaway of a book I wrote and another of the book and CDs done by my mother. Again, nothing spectacular in the way of response, although the ones who won were appreciative. We don’t visit giveaway blogs, either, although if I happen upon a review of something that interests me, I’ll at least try to skim it.

    Since ‘Ethel’ and I switched to WordPress (thanks – I think! – to my daughter’s web design assignment), I don’t know who’s reading, and while it would be nice to know that SOMEone was, we’re carrying on for ourselves. We enjoy doing it and LOVE the connections we’ve made. Some have been amazing.

    We will continue to do giveaways in the future, but they’ll be few in number and personal in some way.

    ‘Lucy’

  18. 79


    Angela says

    I try to do only a limited of reviews & giveaways on my blog and in keeping with items that reflect what I’m about. And honestly? I’d rather see a loyal reader of my blog win so I rarely go out there and “link it” all over the universe. I’d rather my giveaways benefit a reader than provide me with temporary traffic spikes.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  19. 80


    Alea says

    I try to avoid the review, sponsored posts, and giveaway blogs. My time is limited is too valuable to wade through review posts looking for something interesting to read!

  20. 81


    MamaArcher says

    I liked your post. I too find that I am turned off by a blog that has a ton of reviews. I have only done a few and only one I was asked to do. The few things that I review are because they are items (usually homeschool curriculum) that we actually use and has beneficial to our family.

    I have been tempted to do the whole review thing just to draw in readers but that is never what I wanted my blog to be about. So I try to remain content with those that do contribute to my blog.

  21. 82

    I some how missed this post but am so proud of you for writing it. I will always respect you for being honest. :) xoxoxoxoxo