Independent beauty views and news from an industry insider.
This is unbelievable. It's quite sad really that people can't even talk about what they love without someone trying to steal it away from them. In the long run ruining the blogging community for everyone. Scary. x
Very few readers would take seriously a blog that only posted 10 items in 5 months and bad mouthed cosmetic companies for not sending them stuff. The blog would look ridiculous.
I didn't know that people did this! how awful! real eye opener thank you :)
Wow I'd heard about some of the incidents you mentioned but not the someone turning up at events pretending to be that blogger or their assistant. Bare faced cheek or what!!I think there will always be people that want something for nothing - particularly the way things are at the moment with the economy etc - and I do think it's important for brands to check the legitimacy of people requesting samples (however that may be), it's a shame because it spoils things for genuine, hard working bloggers who don't beg or send out lists of products they'd like to try. Le sigh.
i find this so very very shocking that people pretend to be others. it destroys the victim blogger's reputation and also generally ruins the blogging community.clearly PR people need to realise the power of blogging and should really start having dedicated people to check blogs, twitters, etc - often this doesnt happen. PR people often cant keep up with blogs, so maybe that way they can protect themselves from being tricked into sending out products to scammers rather than maybe just generally saying no to those they dont know?to be honest though, big events like LFW and stuff, I'm surprised the organisers dont ID check people...Miss drifted Snow White
This absolutely infuriates me. Not only are these 'blaggers' giving the honest 'bloggers' a bad name, they are also effectively committing a criminal offence. It is an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 to obtain goods or services be deception, this is exactly what they are doing by setting up fake blogs/email addresses and attending events pretending to be someone that they are not! Jude x @jadlgw
Someone sent Daniel Sandler a huge list of products she wanted to "review". It was basically one or two of everything from the entire line. About 2 grands worth of product. I imagine that if the person had asked for one or two items, Mr Sandler may have obliged but that much? No, definitely a scam.It's theft, plain and simple.
Wow, I can't believe people are doing that!Zarax
Such a fantastic post, really interesting read and will hopefully make more bloggers aware!
I can't believe people send lists requesting products, thats just cheeky and rude.
I just can't believe the cheek of some people. I have a blog and I would never, ever dream of emailing a company demanding products.People like that just spoil the reputation of all bloggers and may even make PR companies not want to deal with bloggers altogether.
Oh my goodness. I didn't even know this kind of stuff happened! It's craziness. I'd be pretty wary of anybody who was sending out a list of products they wanted anyway. Shocking.Great Post!Xx.
Wow i had no idea that people did this! This is very sad!http://www.allthingsbeautymake-upandshopping.blogspot.com
Christ, can believe people do this, but not at the expense of a real blogger!
Christ! Can't believe that people can be so audacious
Wow, I had no idea people could be so calculating. I am a newish blogger, about four months, and I feel extremely fortunate and surprised if a PR approaches me! To think people go this far to get free products is shocking. It's a privilege I think to be provided samples, and definitely not the point of blogging!! ~ Lauren <3Thecosmeticskitten.com
I had to take a deep breath on this. I am so angry that some people think its ok to impersonate other hard working bloggers just to get free stuff. Its very sad and very underhand. PR's should ask for credentials before sending products out. Thats the only way proper sensible bloggers can be differentiated from scammers. And if one is a serious blogger, providing credentials will not be problem. I mean, writing out a list like they were going to the supermarket. Don't people have any shame anymore? This is really a sad state of affairs.
I thought the idea of beauty blogs was for us all to share information and chatter about a subject we love. I am really shocked that people would send lists demanding products. Thats just not what its all about. I've got a new blog, I write about things I buy with my hard earned money- because I am passionate about beauty and I love beauty blogs. xxx
Completely agree, I can't believe people have the cheek to do that! I started mine because this industry is what I love talking about and wanted to pass on what experience I had. Anything else is a huge bonus. It was like my teacher said "A small amount of polls will ruin it for everyone else".
WTF? OMG?? I didn't even think fake bloggers could exist!
Blogging is still very much a minority thing, and lots of people still have only the haziest notion of it. I bet a lot of these scammers think they are being really clever and that they are the only ones who thought of it. Especially as they have also just hit on the idea of changing the price labels in clothes shops and entering lots of competitions.On the other side of the fence I still even now have to bite my tongue when someone in marketing triumphantly produces a positive review on a blog that is read by about 5 people if at all. I'd hate to point out that they would get more audience sticking a postcard in the local newsagent.
For a while now I have had mixed feelings about the whole issue of brands (via their PRs) 'gifting' products to bloggers for review. The more savvy brands have wised up to the power of social media and have factored this into their marketing strategy by engaging with bloggers, setting up their own FB/Twitter accounts etc. However, the objective of any successful marketing campaign is to increase sales and promote the brand positively - bottom line. Therefore I think that if a particular blogger (a genuine beauty blogger not the greedy chancers you describe) didn't like a product and posted a negative but truly honest review, the PRs would not be happy at all and would be reluctant to engage with that blogger again. So, fewer free products for the bloggers/less access to the brands and their PRs/fewer invites to events = less kudos for the blogger. In good old fashioned terms, this is called a conflict of interest. There is also a well- known social psychology theory called the theory of reciprocity which means that humans respond to a positive action with another positive action, i.e. rewarding kind actions, so by giving someone something, they will respond by giving something positive back in return (it’s how fund-raising works!). Research has shown that even when someone gives you something you disn’t want or does you a favour you didn’t ask for, you still feel obliged at some point in the future to do something for them! I’m just saying that we should read product reviews with an open mind!
Wow, some people really do have some serious blagger balls! PR's really do need to watch out for these, but those worth their weight should be able to sniff out a scammer.Great post.
It just makes me so sad seeing how there are ALWAYS lazy, greedy people out there who try to live off of others hard work...The problem is those kind of people have always existed, and will always continue to exist. So all we can do is keep our eyes out for these parasites and give them a good spraying with insect repellent!
The most unbelievable blagging I've ever experienced was someone emailing me saying that they 'intend to set up a blog soon and please could they have some products to review?' !! Hilariously, they even gave me a link to blogger.com to show me the platform she would be using. In case I have never seen blogger.com before!On another note, I have heard of a recent scam where spammers are using PR databases to email PRs pretending to be bloggers (but with a slightly different email address to the genuine blogger's email), so that when PRs respond the spammers know the email account exists and they get spammed to all hell. So a word of warning to all PRs - before you respond to bloggers who get in touch with you, double check their email address is the same as the one listed on their blog.
Thank you for bringing this subject to the attention of your readers! Unfortunately this isn't a new scam, but new technology and social media is making it easier for dishonest people to try and play the system and get something for nothing. In the past I've escorted fake journalists away from press shows, hammered on free alcohol and weighed down by their haul of goody bags - some even went to the lengths to send us fake articles to try and prove their credentials, but obviously printed at home using a very basic publishing program. In my current job, we have received the same email from one such 'faux-blogger' everyday this week, I'm not going to name names but she knows who she is, and she won't be getting anything from us!
I've seen a screen cap of one of these lists that scammers send out and I cannot believe people do it. More than that, I don't understand how people get away with it and PRs don't spot it.I thought I was being cheeky writing to the agencies I follow and asking to be added to their press release lists but these people really do take the biscuit!
Great post. Keep it honest and open ladies. Ali
ok... Yes i would totally agree that ripping off somebody's identity and cashing in on their hard work is totally wrong, fraudulent and just a bit freaky. BUT i cannot help but notice a bit of a shift in the "beauty blogging community" recently with the growth of new blogs and evenmoreso the growth of some beauty bloggers egos and warped perceptions of their ability to be judge and jury over everyone else! Whilst i appreciate actions of false identity outlined here are just not cool, i also feel for "Joe bloggs" out there who repeatedly see beauty bloggers parading their "freebies" and event invitations all over the internet and think i wouldn't mind some of that. This coupled with knowing how much money these companies have and charge for products and witnessing beauty bloggers getting preferential treatment over paying customers...ahem...beauty boxes... You have to think, why the hell not. I understand its rude to send out shopping lists to PRs and that there are ways of doing things and a certain level of respect that should be upheld, but it does seem on your part that there is a lack of ability to recognise other people's situations and perspectives. The importance and value of another's blog should not be measured in terms of how often they post. Additionally posting 10 times since last October doesn't make somebody's blog a scam. This said by someone who is separate from blogging and doesn't have a blog.
I have dealt with several fake bloggers over the past couple of years of working in PR, we also get fake journalists too. I definitely agree that PRs need to blog savvy to avoid these scammers.
you know my thoughts on this! The thing is people always want things, but without putting int he hard work. It's lazy. Also they have an idea that everyone else is well off due to the displaying nature of blogs. Life is hard, it takes hard work, but this does mean that you have some rewards. I hope these scammer's reward is imprisonment for fraud. *rant mode over*. xx
I'm sad to say that I'm not surprised it's on the increase - and I thought I'd share an incident from when I first launched The-Beauty-Pages.com in 2008.I had an email from a PR contact and friend at Estee Lauder to say how sorry they were that they'd missed me at their Christmas event (think she was a bit offended I didn't go and say hi). I replied saying I hadn't gone to the Christmas event - and it turned out that somebody had signed into the event under my name and job title, picking up samples from each of the brands. They kept quiet and didn't introduce themselves, so nobody batted an eyelid. I was totally shocked that someone had the balls to do it (and actually felt a bit violated after all the hard work I had put into PR relationships). It hasn't happened again since (that I know of), but everyone needs to be really careful as people will do ANYTHING to get something for nothing - and if they get away with it, their rudeness comes under our names. Thanks BBB for highlighting it.
Having been on both sides of things, previously a PR and now a journalist and blogger, I am still shocked that people can be so punchy! As a PR, it was indeed difficult to say no even when they were particulary suspect. The whole point of blogging was to provide honest reviews that were outside of any conflict of interests. As the the social media whirlwind continues to grow it seems it is becoming more and more like mainstream media.
The scamming for free samples with a less than real blog has been ongoing for some time. Here in a the US a few years ago, the New York Times even tried to take real and true hard working bloggers and lump them into the same group of these phonies and basically generalize us all as swag whores. But what you are describing is a new low. I've been blogging for 7 years now and I thought I had heard it all until I saw your post. Not only could that fake blogger have swindled many brands to give her free product...she was potentially destroying the reputation of blogger whom she was pretending to be if it hadn't been for the savvy PR person who caught the lie and outted her.It's sad for all of us with credible blogs that now we have just one more battle to fight besides people stealing our content.ShannonA Girl's Gotta Spa!
Of course we can all agree that this is awful. It's not 'blagging', it's theft. What these people don't understand (or maybe don't care) is the poor junior PR (who is probably under immense pressure to hit their coverage targets) has to account for all samples going out and produce the resulting coverage. They will get into some serious hot water if they fall for these scams. But often, they are so stretched, they don't have time to meticulously check the authenticity of every single request. I think the fear of getting slated by bloggers and having both their own and their client's name dragged through the mud for not agreeing to send out samples may also play a huge part here. Offending a blogger and then getting publicly named and shamed is every PR's worst nightmare so sometimes it's easier to just say yes.If we're all aware of the problem, hopefully bloggers won't be offended to be asked for proof of identification and we can all work together to stamp this out.
Hi I get emails from lots of people telling me they have a blog and asking if we will send them free products. We are a new company that design and produce perfume pendants and don't have the big budget of large companies, so we do need to be careful. At first we said yes to all of them but worked out that some had blogs with hardly any posts and if they did review our pendants they were along side completely random freebie products like toothpaste and magazine samples etc. Now I always look through the blogs and see what products they are reviewing and how many posts in a month. Your article is very interesting and now I won't feel so bad saying no and worrying about what they'll say. Thank you :)
I have to agree this really annoys me so muchits the people who have like 2 followers and they have "send all PR samples too" and you have to think...what the hell is wrong with youi hate how people demand things its like? ...who will actually see their blog hahawww.MrAJBx3.com
This is such an interesting thread and reading the various points of views is an eye-opener! I posted a response earlier today commenting on the potential problem of brands sending their products to bloggers for review. Back in the day, bloggers with a genuine passion for cosmetics/beauty products just blogged about products they'd bought/borrowed themselves, so they were free to be as honest as they liked. Nowadays their relationship to brands and the PRs is more complicated. Some bloggers do manage it with integrity (BBB being a prime example) and they have a clear disclosure policy etc. (so we know when the brand in question might have a vested interest). but I do wonder what these brands expect to get in return for sending free products to bloggers. I don't think the adage 'all publicity is good publicity' really cuts it anymore.They want to get amazing, favourable reviews, not the blogger community trashing their new product that has cost them a fortune to launch! So, what does the honest blogger do, tell the whole truth, find something good to say even if they think the product is actually really average, or just lie and keep the PR/brand on side, but mislead all the people who watch their You Tube reviews, read their blogs/FB page and twitter feed. Someone commented that certain bloggers these days revel in flaunting all their freebies and there is definitely a certain level of greed and entitlement seeping into the blogosphere. You can kind of see why people might think I wouldn't mind a piece of that..it's loathesome and in some cases,it sounds downright fraudulent, but surprising, no.
When approached by a blogger, PR folks need to do their homework and check out the blog's content, point of view, frequency of postings, target readership, etc. If the blog seems legit, they can start by sending one small product and see how it goes. If it seems like a scam, they can just say no. They're under no obligation to provide bloggers with free products. Many of the best bloggers out there actually buy all their own products and are genuinely surprised and flattered when some PR person sends them a product for review. As for the excuse that PR folks don't have the time to check all the requests or keep up with social media--say what? It's unfortunate that they have to spend time doing that, but that is part of their job. The notion that it is easier to send a product rather than saying no is a cop-out and ultimately encourages these scammers.As for blogger identity theft, as one of the other readers astutely pointed out, it is a crime and should be treated as such. There is no reason why event planners can't provide a guest list and then make provisions for ID's to be checked prior to being admitted. I'm actually surprised they don't already do that. Uninvited free-loaders is hardly a new phenomina. I'm not a blogger, but I do attend numerous large scale conferences. In over 30 years, I've never seen anyone get upset when asked to produce their ID and/or attendance voucher at the sign in desk before being admitted.As for events open to the public, why would anyone hand out free goodies or services just because someone says they're a blogger or an assistant? If free samples or services are being offered, then just get on with it and give them to whoever requests them. It they're not being offered, then people working the event should be instructed in how to politely decline requests for freebies. There will always be corrupt people looking to score something for nothing. People like that are not above lieing, cheating, and impersonating to get what they want. The only way to get some control over the situation is for PR people and people responsible for events to stop enabling the scammers. They must be able to say no to scammers' requests/demands and, in the case of identity theft, report them to the authorities. Such action would dramatically cut down on the number of cheats who think the beauty biz is an easy target.
You just took the words out of my mouth, with this post honestly. :)I've heard about fake bloggers and not only fake but simply girls that made blogs in the last year just to ask for free products, testers and samples. They post like 2-3 articles per month but their sentbox is full with e-mails towards every beauty brand asking for products. I don't know how this thing with free products works in other countries but when some beauty brands want to send me products to review (I never got an entire collection, only 2-3 products or maybe more if it was a nail polish brand) they always ask me for my google analytics stats. I mean I don't know what beauty brand will simply send even 1-2 products to a blog without checking it out first (if it's real blog, number in alexa, asking for google analytics stats or other methods). I know many brands have started applying new policies when it comes to send out free products to bloggers.
I have to say the thought of this sickens me and the whole identity theft situation makes me rather uneasy. A few weeks ago a fake twitter account was made with my name, images and links to any of my online work, published photoshoots etc. To pretend you are a blogger, make a fake blog just to receive products is one thing but to pretend you are another blogger, make fake accounts and then try and tarnish said bloggers name by contacting PR's which they may have spent a very long time building great relationships with is just down right rude. I say name and shame!!!!!!!
I cannot agree with you more!!! I wish some PR companies took just that little extra time and actually check what the blogger blogs about. It is so unfair for the whole community when some scammer/spammer gets something using wrong means...As for identity fraud that happen to the girls (I can't name it otherwise) - it's just appalling!!! How low can you go... :(mademoiselle-lala.com
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