Sorry to interrupt da peace but something just came to my attention recently and I can't help but to voice my opinion on this issue. Recently, Emrah Kovacoglu, the CEO of Total Beauty Media, wrote an article on TB Media CEO Outlook page titled "Beauty Brands Should Not Be Working With Bloggers..." that attracted angry responses from a lot of beauty bloggers who are TB participants. The tension was so high that Mr. Kovacoglu had to post a reply on YouTube to apologize (or "un-apologize") to the crowd.
Since The Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live is one of my favorite things and I just love Amy Poehler saying "Really?", I'd like to moonlight her a bit. Just imagine me saying "Really?" in a very high-pitch and shrilly voice and you'll get it. Also, this blog entry is dedicated to all the beauty bloggers out there who are as passionate about lotions and potions and colors and mascaras as much as I do.
Are we ready for this jelly?
First of all, Mr. Kovacoglu, it's nice and brave of you to voice your opinion and I appreciate it. I have to say I enjoy reading your article and hearing your YouTube reply. And as I am a, what you called it, "citizen journalist", I'd like to offer you my retort:
Professional mass-media journalists are bound to these standards: objectivity, accuracy, truthfulness, fairness, public accountability, and limitation of harm. They're bound to presentation standards such as clarity, correct spelling, and formal dialect. But most bloggers are not classically trained professional journalists; they are individuals who had the guts to start talking publicly about an area of passion that had.Really, Mr. CEO? Really? So, you think I were not objective to my reviews, my information are not accurate, I were a liar, I did not play fair, I hid like a coward when someone criticized me, and I blatantly and openly harmed people who read my blog with makeup? Really?
Also, since I am no J-school graduate, you think I don't know how to spell, express my writing in a clear manner, and use my gansta, up-in-da hood Southern dialect all the time? Really?
You also wrote, and I'd like to quote, this:
Add in e-mail, texting, IM, Tweeting, etc., and the presentation standards in blogging are blurred. As in, it's acceptable (sometimes cool or funny) to misspell, cut corners, or not be as polished. That is what establishes your authenticity. However, whether you are a professional journalist or a blogger, publishers have a responsibility to hold true to ethical standards in journalism. It's not worth ruining a reputation or selling out in the short run for small amounts of money or free products. Bloggers must stay true to their readers. It's what will keep and grow the reader base -- and it's what drew brands to work with them in the first place.
Nice preach to the choir, Mister! Really? Do you think it's acceptable for me to misspell, cut corners, and publish a bang-up, run-on-the-mill article and put in on the World Wide Web for everybody to see? Do you realize how easy potential employers and other people can read what I write online? Do you think I can just sell my soul for some free products and get away with it? Really? And do you think my readers are so gullible not to detect whatever B.S people hurl out there on the Internet? Really?
You also wrote:
We have developed a community of vetted bloggers who are impactful, truthful, and not compensated for their posts/reviews -- and we continue to monitor that community. We guarantee to get your products in the hands of the right bloggers, and that they will use your product as recommended, post about it on their blog, and review it on TotalBeauty.com.Really, Big Brother? Really? Who actually helped TB to become the way it is today? I didn't see anybody from TB knocking at my door to ask me to join at the first place. It was I who saw your logo on other bloggers' websites and asked around before signing up. And really? You do monitor your blogging community? So, if one day I decided to go kooky and posted some really offensive materials (or as you said, "provocative"), you are going to report me to the FCC and shut me down? Really?
And oh, yeah! I got some products, alright! But I have to follow your rules and review them on my blog within 30 days and also review on TB website. And you know, we do have our own blogging schedules, right? And it may not be convenient to review within that time as the product may not fit to the theme I do within that week.
In the penultimate paragraph (oh yeah, I know some big words, too!), this is what you said:
We can ensure a buffer between their blog and brands, so that they are not penalized by a negative review, if that is what they truly feel. I've had many bloggers complain to me (three in just the last week alone!) that they sometimes receive products from brands they just don't like, but they fear if they don't review it (or review it negatively), they'll never hear from that brand again. We at Total Beauty prevent that from ever happening."Ensure a buffer between their blog and brands", really? And did you check your grammar? We, TB bloggers, do not have just one blog. We have a lot of blogs. Some of us even have more than one blogs. Really, check us out! If you have ever used makeup, you'll know there's nothing as a perfect brand to produce perfect products all the time. They know it, and we know it. They need us to tell them honestly about their products, it's a symbiotic relationship. So, really, the buffer - although is nice - is not neccessary. And we are not kids, we can fight and protect ourselves. Really!
"They are not penalized by a negative review", tsk tsk... grammar! At this point, I'd like to kindly suggest you to get a secretary (or somebody) with some knowledge of English grammar to proof-read your materials before you put it online. Really, really, highly suggest you to do so! Really!
But really? Penalized by whom? And why?
As I've been in academia for so long, I realize there are many ways to say "no" and many other ways to say "You suck!" Really. And the ones who are more likable and more professional actually know how to say them without hurting other people's feelings. Really! Also, if the company does not take my criticisms well, it does show something about that company, right?
And by the way, if you think three complaints from bloggers a week is a lot: by all means, be a university administrator. I guarantee you'll hear a whole lot more colorful and intense words from the, what you called them, "classically trained professionals" - J-school professors included. Just inform them their fundings are not in their accounts yet, or their supplies are not available and see what happens. Really, three complaints in a week!
To reply to your YouTube message:
You said TB has been helping us developing our websites and businesses, earning incomes through ads, driving up our traffic, etc but here's the real picture:
- From the beginning, I am the one and only person who developed and promoted my own blog: I learned the rope in my own sweet time and my own sweet little way, thanks to Mt. Google.
- I do not join the ad network from TB because it requires too many things from me to deal with and I've heard so many negative things about it. Also, this is not about money: I blog because I can and I want to. If money comes along with it, I would cherish it and be very thankful. But it's not always and totally about money.
- So far, I get next to zero traffic from TB website. Really! How do I know? I have my own lil' traffic tracker to monitor who's coming in and out. And really, on an average day I get zero hit from TB.
- TB team does not help me develop or promote my blog. Nor they give us any news about blogging. It is the TB bloggers who come together and teach each other new stuff. And some of them are really amazing! I learn a lot more from them that I've ever imagined and I am thankful for that. For TB CEO to take the credit, I'd like to quote Mr. Ronald Weasley, "Are - you - mental?" (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, page 371 - must-read material for those from 8 to 88!)
- I do not get any compensations to blog: free samples and products to review, yes; get paid, no! I blog here because (a) I love makeup, (b) I want to have a place for me to write frequently, (c) I love to meet like-minded people, and (d) because I can.
- I take this blog very seriously: because it's open for anybody and everybody to see, I prefer to do a good job with it than just cut-and-paste some pictures and call it a day.
- I take my readers very seriously, as well: because you guys are smart and beautiful, you deserve a blogger who appreciates you, your opinions, and support. From day one, I aimed to be that blogger. Also, when I grew up, I did not have a sister or a friend to tell me what's good and what's bad when it comes to makeup (because they don't wear makeup, not because they're mean.) So, I created this blog to hope that some of you who are looking for the information to find it here and find it useful, as well.
- I don't lie on the Internet: because it's not just tacky, it's stupid!
- I hold high standards and integrity in my work: starting with "don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal." It's easier said than done but I live by those rules every day.
To recap, I am not happy with his initial post and I am very disturbed at his response on YouTube. I stand by my works and my readers stand by me. It took me some time to be recognized by some companies and I am very selective and protective of my readers.
I'd love to hear your comments regarding this issue.
P.S: If you like my blog, please subscribe to my feed. Thanks a lot!