No, I Will Not Advertise Your Product for Free: Beauty Blogger Rant

Good morning beauty bloggers and other readers. Sorry that I have been MIA as of late. I’m in the process of moving to a new state so besides a few scheduled posts I wrote when I had a minute weeks ago, I’ve really been squeezing in posts as I get the chance. Don’t worry though, I have a special series coming up in the next couple of weeks that I can’t wait to share with you.

But let’s not waste time. After about six months of blogging, I noticed that suddenly my inbox was inundated with messages with companies that wanted to work with me me to advertise their products for free. Usually it was wrapped up in a nice little pitch: why don’t you do a blog post on makeup looks that would match up with these fruits we sell? Mention our brand and link to our products! (Not really, but not much of an exaggeration either). At first it was flattering, but now I’m like:

My hope in writing this post isn’t to call out companies that do this, but rather give a heads up to new bloggers. So you might be asking, why not promote a product for free?

Why? Here are a few reasons

  • I don’t promote products that I don’t use or like. I know that it’s hard to believe, but besides the occasional time I catch myself daydreaming about wedding dresses or composing a list of prom dresses I would wear if I were in high school, I don’t post about products that I don’t use myself.
  • This is my personal space on the web, not a billboard
  • But if it were a billboard, how many of them offer free advertising? Exactly.

Here is my take on sponsored posts: I’ll do sponsored posts if 1) They fit with the theme of my blog and 2) they don’t ask me to be deceptive about how I feel about the product. Anything else just isn’t worth it. As for doing posts without pay, if you’re going to do something for free, it has to be something you enjoy. Putting time and effort into a post that serves only to promote someone else’s product that I don’t use: Not fun.

So that’s my take on promoting products without using the product or without getting compensation: don’t do it. What are your thoughts? Has any company approached you like this? Let me know in the comments below.

PS- PR that reach out to me: don’t think I don’t respect your hustle or that this is anything personal. But frankly, the fact that you think I work free is a little insulting.

115 thoughts on “No, I Will Not Advertise Your Product for Free: Beauty Blogger Rant

    • Lol, I don’t know what it happens to me so frequently! I used to politely decline, but then the same people would ask me about a new campaign months later. So now I just don’t respond.

  1. Awesome post, I was once contacted by a person to review their product on my blog and then after a few emails it turned out they actually wanted me to purchase the product, pay for postage and write a a review and promote their product.

    I’d love to see more posts on this topic especially on accepting sponsored posts and on sponsored rates.

    • OMG. That actually happened to me too, but at least they offered me a discount. I’d love to do more posts on sponsored posts, but I really haven’t done many of them. I will say that the rates are probably higher than you think and that you can always negotiate for more.

  2. This has happened to me before as well. The best was when they don’t want you mentioning in the post that they contacted you and that’s why you’re doing the post because “other bloggers might get jealous”.

    • Hahaha, oh wow, I have never heard that one before. What are you supposed to pretend? That you made this post that is totally out of character for your blog and reads like a commercial for the heck of it?

  3. Omg I have had too many of these types of emails come through asking to speak about their product and create a “look.” I also had one like Carina where they said, “don’t mention we emailed you” and I thought that was pretty misleading since that would just be lying. I don’t get why they think it is ok to do that but I just decline politely and move on. Great post xoxoxo Janet

  4. I got one of these yesterday from an American lingere company, when I inquired more about sizing and UK shipping as I’m not going to promote a product I cannot use the personally. They seem confused stating they only wished me to create a look and these were irrelevant? How are they irrelevant I’m a British blogger I’m not going to put in a few hours work for something I cannot use. They are just hoping poor smaller blogs will do loads of work for nothing which sucks.

    • Oh jeez, I wasn’t going to name names, but this was one of the companies that contacted me yesterday as well–I had multiple companies contacting me, which prompted me to fire off this post. Good on you, for inquiring about those things. Why should you put in that much work, especially if you can’t even get the product in the UK.

      • I’ve seen loads of bloggers got the same thing and hopefully no one has chosen to do it. I don’t get as many but its annoying and some it ruins it for companies who genuinely want to build up relationships with smaller bloggers. Sorry for naming names.

      • Oh no, it’s not like you specifically named them. I just meant that I didn’t want to use real examples in my post because I didn’t want people to think I was blasting one particular company. A lot of them do it.

    • Hi there!
      I was approached by the same company and was refused a sample!
      It’s shocking how they expect you to put in your efforts for something you have no clue about or worse even fool your readers into believing they are worth spending money on.
      I really feel that if you don’t have a so called ‘budget’ to send out samples or pay for promotions, don’t try and fool people to write for you!

      • Imagine! And I googled to check them out the other day… there are so many people who have gone ahead and written for them!

    • Oh gosh, I think this might have been the same one who contacted me – they didn’t get why I said I didn’t think it would be fitting to put in a product I couldn’t even pay for and have delivered to the UK if I wanted to – they didn’t seem to get it!

  5. I wrote a similar post some weeks ago. I find it so very annoying that brands and their PRs try to get bloggers to work for free. It is so unfair and insulting. I have made it clear to every one of them that I don’t work for free, never have and never will.

    • Exactly. I mean, I appreciate that they probably do get some bloggers to work for free, but you have to offer more than “oh, we’ll pin your post on our Pinterest board”

  6. I’m wishing you the best for your move. I have moved across this country so many times so I know how taxing that can be, but it can be great once you have things unpacked and get settled.

    • Yes, I am hoping. Boxing things up is such a pain. Plus I know there’s going to be so much to pack the day of because, hey I still need plates for breakfast that morning and towels to dry off with

  7. I keep getting invites from some company to try and review their women’s fertility supplement. Yeah…. NO. I don’t want kids so there’s no way I’m going to want to try that product. It doesn’t fit my blog anyway. 😁

  8. All the “sponsored” posts I’ve done, I’ve gotten the products for free. The one time I had to pay for shipping (my Amazon Prime trial had ended), the company reimbursed me via PayPal the day after my order was placed.

  9. Hi V… I’m SO glad to see you sending this out in the open!
    I’m contacted by companies like these every 2nd day and to be honest it’s just downright annoying now… to think these people feel that you work for free to promote their products (that uve either not tried or have no interest in) and not expect a sample or remuneration and then have them make hundreds of bucks out of your readers… its shameful.
    I respect companies that are considerate enough to say we’ll send you a sample and if you like review it or that say we would like to simply advertise and are ready to pay you for your time and efforts.

    Good work V!

    • Totally agree. And most of the time I’m up for trying samples that companies send me if they’re beauty related. But to just blog about a company I’ve never heard of just because they’ve asked me too? Uh-uh, no way!

  10. That definitely sounds annoying! I’m not at a point yet with blogging where people contact me, so the things I review are only products that I actually have a reason to try out, not just random stuff. I’ve always thought that if I ever did become successful enough to have companies contacting me that I’d have a similar policy to what you have: only products that fit with my blog, and I have to be allowed to say how I truly feel about it.

    • You mean what movie is it from or what site did I find the image on? The movie is Moulin Rouge. I found it on google image search

  11. Word, sister. I’ve mentioned this on your topic post about blogging pet peeves, and this really takes my cake. I don’t tolerate that c**p, and get irritated like hell.

    • Usually things don’t bother me, but I had multiple requests in one and day and I just felt the urge to speak out about it.

  12. Boy do I hear ya on this one…..I’m certain the advertising staff gets “paid” for their campaign ideas…..You go, Girl!! :)))

  13. I’ve gotten emails from companies like these before and it’s like I’m not going to blog about your product if you don’t send it to me to try at least lol.

  14. Totally second this post! Just recently I was approached by two companies asking me to create outfit posts by using images of their products (like those collages on polyvore) and link to them without actually sending the products to me.

    • Ahaha, we’re moving to Pennsylvania this weekend. My fiance and I are originally from the Philadelphia area and we wanted to get back there when we settled down.

  15. Amen, I had a U.S. Lingerie Brand contact me recently asking me to put them in a “my summer essentials”, they didn’t ship the the UK or even do anything in my cup size and couldn’t understand why I said I thought it would be a bit contradictory to put them in!

    • Wow, that’s crazy. It’s so interesting when we’re sharing our stories. That’s 4 of us that have been contacted by a lingerie company this week.

  16. Oh moving is hard work. I hope it goes smooth for you! I’ve had quite a few companies contact me with some things that just don’t fit – not to mention – they just want a post. It’s not even like they are offering me a discount or some perk. Seriously? I got one from Groupon today and I asked them why would they ask a beauty blogger to do this? Well, they advertise for department stores. So, in order words, could I work for free? OMG!!

  17. Yeah I definitely think that’s abusing and even exploiting your blog & time. Unless you’re being paid or sponsored, nope. Companies that are already making dough just want an easy way to advertise and earn more. It’s not fair at all.

    • I agree. The products I promote without compensation are the ones I’m already promoting because I went out and got them on my own and decided to review.

  18. Great post V! You’re so right!! It does get annoying after a while, and some of them are so persistent that I’ve had to send their emails to spam.

  19. I am the owner of a natural skincare brand myself and even though I do understand your point of view, it is NEVER free for the company to send their products + shipping to the bloggers. The products actually COST money. However, since you feel that strongly about companies approaching you, it’s always good to know how you feel about it and I am sure that the companies who are reading this now, won’t bother you again.
    I have contacted many bloggers and most of them were excited to try and review. That’ll all I had asked… “Would you want to try and review the products?”. So then it is really up to each blogger to see if they want or not, as this is a FORCED collaboration.
    Anyway, have a great move!

  20. gosh yes these are so annoying. recently I got one that was basically “do a beauty post that is a lot of work and then explain how our app* helps with that” 😐
    *that isn’t even available to me in my country

  21. I don’t think I’m “famous” enough to get offers from companies yet lol. But I do get asked by friends who sell/make things if I’ll review it on my blog and my rule is: either you give me money or the product for free. And they get all upset! Blogging is fun, but it is work- why would I talk about some product I’ve never heard of and take the time write about it with NOTHING in return???

    • Exactly! Obviously I’m not compensated for every post and I review products that I bought on my own, but me buying a product and deciding it deserves a review is different than someone else telling me to review/promote a product that I’ve never tried

  22. I totally don’t mind reviewing a product for free so long as they supply the product free of charge and give me freedom of speech – I would absolutely NOT review a product specifically for that company unless this was the case. I only ever review products that I buy myself because I genuinely want to try them, not because I’ve been asked to do it for free. Great post!

    • That’s what I mean. I consider a company sending you the product to be compensation. What I mean by free are the companies that want you to talk about a product they have no intention of sending you and will not pay you to mention. Thanks for stopping by!

      • I HATE those kinds of people, blogging is harder and more time consuming than it looks, be respectful! x

      • Exactly! Do you go up to a magazine and say, here write a story about me? I treat my blog the same way. Thanks for reading and happy Friday

  23. I totally agree! I had a mattress company reach out to me one time wanting me to write a post for them. I told them that I wouldn’t write anything about their product without testing it out, and they told me that I would have to come to their New York showroom, 10 hours from me, just to test it out. How does that even relate to beauty?! Thanks for actually venting my frustrations V!

  24. Reblogged this on Hey! It's Rach! and commented:
    This post from V really spoke to me. I may only be a small blog, but even I get emails from people for random things, such as mattresses or a resale company. It is truly annoying to see that these companies are getting free advertising without supplying the blogger without some sort of free product or compensation. To all of my readers out there, if you ever see a post from me in the future that is a review of some kind, know that I will always have personally tested out the product.

  25. I so agree with your words! I get these emails a lot. The most bizarre email was when I was asked to write a post on how to style your hair after waking up to promote a furniture shop! 😀 I usually just don’t even respond to these emails but in my head I always think that those emails are pretty rude because they do expect work from us without any compensation which is not very nice!

    Dina│Cardiff Beauty Blog

  26. Lol. I deal with this all the time. They ask for collaborations and when compensation is not clear, I email them back saying that my time is limited and I only accept serious offers that will fit in my blog.

  27. Yep I know this too well! Generally I don’t mind, as a company will send me a few products that are worth a couple of hundred dollars, but I once had this company who emailed me and was telling me about their launch and how they want me to pay $160 for the product then shout them out basically over my Instagram and Blog.. ummm no way! #rude

    • Yes, I don’t expect monetary compensation if a company is sending out samples, but I hate when there is absolutely zero attempt to give you anything.

  28. wow, I do receive quite a bit of products to try but have never been told to advertise for something for free. That is downright despicable and is deceiving people!

  29. Blogging is supposed to be honest, unbiased, unpaid for thoughts. I hate that companies are trying to abuse that for advertising now. I wrote an entire blog post dedicated solely to the ethics of blogging and it has a lot to do with all this bs

  30. Thank you for this advice! I just started blogging literally DAYS ago and a makeup company contacted me and asked me to promote their eyeliners. I told them I hadn’t used them myself, but I would be happy to review their eyeliners if I were sent any, to which I was sent a link to buy them off their website, pay international shipping (which costs a considerable amount!) and then PROMOTE it, regardless of whether I personally liked it or not.

    I just started blogging, and my main theme is makeup and skincare. I’d be happy if you could check it out at 🙂

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  32. I would feel complimented if companies reaches out to me! Usually, it’s me who reaches out to them, haha. But I understand how it could get annoying.

    • Haha, it’s annoying because it’s not a real offer, you know? It’s promote this product that you’ve never used that we’re not even going to send you a sample of and we won’t even pay you for advertising it.

  33. Pingback: 11 Things That Happen When You’ve Been Blogging Long Enough | Say Hello to Gorgeous

  34. This happened to me a couple weeks ago. A company reached out to me claiming that my blog was “perfect” for a collaboration they wanted to do. The company’s service they wanted me to write about did not fit my blog (or my lifestyle) at ALL. I could also tell that their email was automated because it started off with, “Summer is just around the corner…”. Seriously? Summer is almost over! Very insulting, and annoying! Needless to say, I (politely) declined the offer.

    Lovely post, V! I enjoy reading your blog!

    • Haha, sheesh. I don’t mind people trying but it gets insulting when it has nothing to do with your blog and they aren’t even offering a minimal payment

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