I don’t deal well with rejection. I tend to internalize things, cut myself, contemplate ending it all in some dramatic way. So, when I read that pay-for-play is a big, and growing, trend in blogging, I curl up in the fetal position for a whole weekend.
All I need is some sign. Some indication that an Apple or a Panasonic or a Coach knows I’m not only alive but ready, willing and quite able to blatantly hype their product. I’ll shill. Just show me some love.
And, here’s another benefit. I won’t tell anyone you’ve given me your product either. There will be none of that transparency nonsense with this blogger. In fact, I’ll follow the lead of Louise Crawford, who created an annual blogging event she calls ‘Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn’ (say, what?).
Crawford was recently called on the carpet by the blogging community for accepting Absolut Vodka’s offer to sponsor her contest. Absolut even created a special drink for the festival called the Brooklyn Spike (named in honor of Spike Lee, another event sponsor). BTW, if it’s a festival for bloggers, how come I wasn’t invited? Looks like another weekend spent in the fetal position. And, check this out, Absolut offered participating bloggers free gifts, including a bottle of Brooklyn Spike and a small digital camera in exchange for coverage. In all, nine bloggers accepted the vodka and eight got cameras. Me? I didn’t even get a dirty shot glass.
Critics of such blatant pay-for-play dubbed Ms. Crawford’s festival a ‘ShillFest.’ Others felt it exposed the sleazy underbelly of blogging. It turns out many bloggers never, ever reveal the largesse driving their content (note: even the legendary TechCrunch was recently nailed when a writer accepted a MacBook computer in exchange for covering a start-up company. That seems like a pretty good deal to me). As the Brooklyn controversy took hold (much as a second shot of vodka starts to take hold and dull one’s senses) some of the pay-for-play bloggers began admitting they’d received gifts from Absolut. But, good ol’ Ms. Crawford didn’t see what all the fuss was about. “I thought of my post as a piece of writing,” she whined, “and they sent me a bottle of vodka.” Good for you, Ms. Crawford. And, I’ll bet the vodka made your writing that much more creative.
So, here’s a plaintive plea from a lonely, dejected overlooked blogger who’d positively kill for a cool pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, a Mammut trekking jacket or a shiny, new Rolex. Send me the freebie and I’ll make it sound like the best thing since sliced bread. Hell, I’ll even write a positive blog if Chevy, or Chevrolet, or whatever the hell they’re now calling the company, sent me one of their clunkers. I can be had, Corporate America. This gun’s for hire.