Influencer marketing is on the rise with companies paying bloggers and vloggers varying amounts of money or product to gain their endorsement through reviews but I've recently become acutely aware that some in the community are only interested in having good reviews, now, I guess that might make sense but I'm talking about 3 separate situations I've encountered where my free speech was encumbered.
Situation 1, when I took my critical concerns about a product to its supplier I was asked: "will you mention this, will it affect your review?"
Situation 2, a review was changed and all of my irks were removed making it look like I was ridiculously over-enthusiastic about something which I actually didn't like.
Situation 3, a holiday cottage owner wrote to me after my honest review of his property and said he was disappointed by my review and I shouldn't have written the things I did, especially as a travel writer.
A great business mentor once told me one of her most valuable pieces of advice, that you should always be true to yourself and that's how I approach blogging, content creation and reviews. I am one of the most positive people and so if I find issues with things, be it a product or a service, you can be sure that I'm not just doing it for the sake of it, it's like my blog, one of the things I hear from my readers is that they appreciate how honest I am about my own life, I never pretend to be living a perfect life with the most amazing children doing extraordinary things every day, that's why I don't blog every day because sometimes I'm just busy with work and nothing else is happening.
I am slightly irked and visibly cross at being asked to only provide positive reviews, I do always say good things but if there are issues then you, the reader, the consumer who might buy that product or service need to know about these things, after all, you are never going to trust a word I say again if I fail to point out a serious shortcoming and you go and part with your own hard earned cash only to get less than you expected.
As long as I share my life and my work on this thing we call the internet I will continue to write honestly, the good with the bad, the positives and the negatives, I will not only be true to myself but also to you, the readers whom I hold so dear in my heart.
If we, the writers are not allowed to give honest opinions is this not a form of dictatorship?
I've actually heard of someone giving an honest review this week and being told that she wouldn't be writing that if she were paid, that's not true actually, she would, she has integrity and is one of the most honest people I know.
I'm not sure what your opinions are on this but I feel really strongly that if anything, influencers should not just be saying positive things because they're paid for a review, isn't an honest brand endorsement far better?
With this kind of marketing technique getting bigger all of the time, we need to do something before it's too late and I for one would rather walk away from a company expecting a dishonest review just because they've paid me.