I don't quite get this PR Blackout or what everyone is talking about lately... But since I like to open my mouth and express my opinion about things I will give it a shot.
First, I don't make money off my blog. Not because I couldn't use the money, because I could use it more than ever now that hubby has been out of work. Sure, I will admit that I signed up for those sites, and saw dollar signs before my eyes after reading what mega-bloggers can sometimes make. But time-wise I just can't commit to something like that right now plus I know at this time in my life a blog that JUST does reviews is not something I can do either. First, because of time constraints with family life and my own out of the home FT job-and second because being able to meet deadlines might not always work. I can honestly see where some FT reviewers actually can get burn out from writing about so many products in such a short period of time. And I admire them for being able to keep it together and do it within guidelines that are established. For me, losing my dad in February and my grandmother in April made me realize that life indeed is very short. I wholeheartedly wanted to write reviews during my layoff but the few that I did write actually took a bit longer than expected due to funerals, settling estates, etc...
I like my blog to have a mix of family life and reviews, and I very much enjoy reading reviews from other bloggers and also entering and winning the giveaways. I have discovered many new products this way-and I like having my own giveaways too. I have found that the PR people and bloggers I have dealt with have been for the most part, honest and reliable. I am trying to get myself in the habit of emailing or mailing the sponsor and blogger to let them know my giveaway item arrived and to thank them personally for it. There are times that I just get bombarded with other things going on in my life and something slips by. One thing I never do is depend on a prize to get here. You see...
In the beginning, I counted on all my bloggy wins arriving. And sometimes they didn't. And I would be disappointed. A couple times I emailed and the issue was resolved, and a couple times I waited...and waited. Shit happens, and I know sometimes the sponsors don't get the info from the blogger or the blogger has an unreliable sponsor etc... I've gotten to the point that I am not going to hound anyone over something that I was getting for free in the first place. I myself am notorious for being late in sending stuff out if I host my own giveaway. Partly because I am too darn lazy to go to the post office, so pawn it off on my mom. And partly because I am too poor that particular day to get the thing shipped. Or the Avon might be on backorder-and then I have to wait.
I would love to write a review for every single item that I have won in a giveaway. But in all due reality, I just don't have the time to do it. I can say that every item that I have gotten has been wonderful, and I have never had anything that just plain sucked. Yes, some things have been out of my price range, and I probably could have never afforded them on my own-but due to the generosity of the sponsor I am able to try out something new AND that person I run into on the street might just ask me where I got that neat item and go out and buy it. Given the current economy, our sponsors can use all the help that they can get in order to stay afloat.
To me, this PR blackout is fine for those that choose to go along with it. I can still visit their blogs and read all about family life or whatever they so choose to write about. And those that continue to do reviews, giveaways or whatever during the blackout will also get a visit from me-if I myself got a review to do and had the time to do it within that PR blackout I would still do it. I don't answer to anyone else, just myself when it comes to my blog. Because these are my opinions-just like the disclaimer says. There are some things I choose not to write about any more though-like my job- because with social media being what it is, sometimes your vents and frustrations are not always taken the way that you meant them. Or maybe you did mean them, but went about addressing things in the wrong way. Or perhaps you were just having an all-around shitty day and had a shitty attitude about things. We all vent, we all have frustrations, we are all human.
To me, doing a review on a product is giving it sufficient time to try it out. I like to try things out for about four weeks. That way, I will know if it does what it claims to do, because if that item will shrink or fall apart after multiple washings 2 weeks later or make me break out in hives from using it after 3 weeks, I want my readers to know. The only way I know if a product is going to work for me is by repeated use. And it also offers me the chance to check out durability and how well it functions AFTER that repeated use. I just can't justify doing a glowing review after having the product for three days and then have it stop working on the fourth. Yes, I do accept PR if contacted. I am not a blogger that has tons of offers and accept the ones I do receive. If I don't have the time, I feel there is no harm in being honest and saying no-although I might try to work with the rep on a review further on down the road when other blogs are not all working the same product. I am not in it for the money (which I have never gotten by the way) or the freebies, though both are nice perks-I'd be lying if I said they weren't. I do like reviewing things and won't stop just because someone told me to, or because another blogger I know chooses not to for awhile. I'm not part of the flock-never was, never will be.
By keeping things real, there are days that I won't please the majority-and I know that. As far as your blog, be yourself, march to the beat of a different drummer if you so choose, write about what you want, review or don't review, make money by placing ads or don't, follow or stand alone-the choices and decisions are up to YOU.