NY Times on Beauty Blogs, My Response

by Bionic Beauty on 31.Jan.2008 · 14 comments

Ok ladies, I am addressing this article in the NY Times today. It’s interesting to say the least and I am not quite sure how to take their stance on beauty blogs.

Anyhow, I was (well, am…) trying to recover a crashed hard drive on a laptop of mine, and the kitchen is covered in computer parts… But that aside, I wanted to address this article as soon as I heard about it. So here I am, taking a little typing break.

The article seems to imply that beauty bloggers do this soley for swag. Hmmm… swag? Nope. I fully admit to getting samples of products to try, but I would estimate over 70% of my reviews on Bionic Beauty are items that I have purchased (with my own moo-lah). And even when I do review a product that has been sampled to me, it’s honest. I truly believe that the most skincare and makeup companies expect honest reviews. Not for a blogger to add fluff and gush about a product they really did not enjoy. Well, at least I’m not going to do that.

I’m a loyal person by nature, probably to a fault, and hence I feel loyalty to you. My readers. I am not about to whore out my blog for “swag”. Even the ads I run on this site are for products and companies I believe in or shop personally with.

I started this blog to share my experiences with products I have tried, and of course to share the freebies I find on the web. Even though I had designed websites in the past, I honestly had *no* idea how much work blogging would be. I put quite a bit of effort (just ask my hubby) into my blog because I love it. I love the community surrounding blogs, my readers, and my online buddies. That’s why I am here.

Not that any of you doubted me :)…

Now I guess I have to get back to trying to rebuild these computers!


1 The Cheap Chick January 31, 2008 at 1:49 pm

There’s swag? I’m missing out on SWAG???? Dang it, why wasn’t I told?

My stance is this: it’s more interesting to poop on someone’s work than it is to say something positive like, “gee, these review are acutally useful and pertain to my own experience.” I’m not surprised the news said something negative – I’m surprised they weren’t WORSE.

2 Habitual Beauty January 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm

I can’t spend time worrying about people who don’t know what or why I do what I do and quite frankly you shouldn’t either! Your blog is for the people just like mine and let me tell you whether they acknowledge how interesting your information is or not you still have to keep writing! I love this place and couldnt imagine not seeing Bionic Beauty on the regular… Keep it up I love when they can’t bring themselves to say something nice about me and what I do it just means that my hustle is indescribable!!!! Stay fab hun!!!

3 Beauty Addict January 31, 2008 at 3:29 pm

As someone who was quoted in that mess of an article, here’s my take.

The Times article was essentially a journalistic booby trap. I was told I was being interviewed about how beauty companies and agencies are recognizing the growing influence of blogs, and instead it’s some kind of third-rate “expose” that paints all beauty bloggers as opportunistic, greedy sycophants who are rejoicing because they no longer have to “beg” for free product.

And then my comments about how I think it’s important to be diplomatic and balanced when doing a negative review get spun into this idea that I’m afraid to post anything unfavorable. Give me a break. Kayleen Schaefer is a dishonest snake. Talk about journalistic integrity? She has none.

I’m ashamed to have even been included in the article.

4 Jen January 31, 2008 at 5:54 pm

No kidding, where was my invitation to that Lancome NYC party?!

Jami and Cheap Chick, I am in complete agreement with you.

I started a beauty blog because I am passionate about the subject. I am constantly reading and gathering information; it is just what I love to do. My blog was created because I saw a need for honest beauty information and reviews.

Beauty bloggers, like all bloggers pose a threat to professionally paid media sources. And by accepting free samples, we are accused of being biased? Clearly, the swag was flowing freely long before we came along, and maybe those past recipients aren’t very happy about it.

5 M. January 31, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Yeah, I didn’t know anything about the swag either. 🙂 I buy all the stuff I write about. Although I might consider whoring *something* out for a party in NYC. 😉

6 BionicBeauty February 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

Agreed, Cheap Chick and Jen, the more I think about this (and trying not to get upset about it) the more I realize they are just jealous. That might sound trivial, but the reality is that blogs are drawing increased attention. Blogs break news and have the ability to be more flexible in quick publishing, editing, etc than a standard newspaper or magazine.

And on another note, when was the last time anyone saw a negative product review in one of the beauty mags?
The article seems to conveniently forget that free stuff is sent to newspapers, magazines, celebrities, heck- even Ellen’s/Oprah’s TV audiences.

7 BionicBeauty February 1, 2008 at 9:03 am

Beauty Addict- Thanks SO much for weighing in here. It really is good for people to know how the article was skewed and that the people who were interviewed were taken out of context.

It seems the interviewer had her mind made up already going in to this and tried her hardest to make sure all comments fit into that mold. Again, thank you for sharing. 🙂

M.- A party in NYC would be fun!! I know quite a few bloggers are headed up for Fashion Week (but all the ones I know about are paying their own way). Maybe someday I’ll go to, it would be a fun experience, although it sounds like a lot of time on your feet. 😀

8 Nenette February 1, 2008 at 9:39 am

Hmmm… I distinctly remember in your BlogTalk interview that you bought most of the stuff you review, so I don’t know where the author gets off saying that you ALL get swag. 🙁

As I mentioned a few minutes ago on Jen’s site, I think the NY Times author made broad sweeping statements that plant suspicion and mistrust, because, yes, some blogs may do this, but not all. The article seems to be an attempt to discredit all blogs and return the “beauty authority” to beauty critics/journalists in the guise of a “buyer beware”. Not nice.

I personally prefer going to reliable blogs – here and Jen’s – to find honest reviews and recommendations before going to professionally paid reviews and articles… The girls in the trenches know best. 🙂


9 M. February 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Well, let’s plan to go next year when we’re living off all our swag!

10 BionicBeauty February 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Sounds great M.! By then we should all be making millions off our beauty blogs, right? /wink/

Nenette, You hit the nail on the head. Those of us (you readers included!) know what products work for which hair/skin types and hence, what to recommend and try. Plus it’s always nice to hear multiple reviews of a product rather than just one persons experience with it. Thanks for being here!

11 sandrar September 10, 2009 at 9:56 am

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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