Happy Friday, y’all! Earlier this week I got an interesting email from a particularly famous brand asking me if I would be interested in doing a collaboration with them. As a blogger, I’m always on the look out for brand partnerships. However, I exercise caution for a very good reason. Once I expressed interest in the collaboration, the brand representative that had contacted me fired back an email outlining the project and what it entailed. Just by the description I knew that it was nothing more than free publicity for the brand. Here’s how I knew:
- Key Phrases: The buzzwords that companies love to use to indirectly say that you will get nothing out of this “collaboration.” One of the most common is that they need you to help “spread the word” or give “tips to your readership” about what they can do with said product.
- Lack of Marketing Budget: The first thing I ask is what the budget is for the project. When there isn’t one, they really can’t tell you anything else beyond “well we don’t have one, we simply wanted to generate some buzz about…” Boom. Sorry, but you won’t be “generating buzz” on my blog. That’s when you know this is for their benefit and not yours. Move on.
- They Immediately Provide Links: While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can be a red flag. How do they already have links that will credit you with whatever referrals you give them? Oh wait- you don’t get credit for referrals. The brand is literally giving you a link to lead your followers a way from your blog and to the product. It would be one thing if you actually made a commission off of it, but in this case you won’t be.
- Flattering Words: The brand rep called me a “guru” in the particular product category she was marketing. I had written a few things on topics similar but in no way was I a “guru.” Flattery will get you nowhere darling. Unless you plan on paying me, then it will get you somewhere!
I wrote this post specifically for the newbie bloggers out there. When I first started, I participated in a few of these “collaborations” and got nothing out of it. Many promised that the best posts would be shared on their social media pages. That never happened. Don’t fall prey to these scams. Instead, keep your head up and know that your blog is worth more than free publicity.
-Liz (follow me on Bloglovin’!)
24 thoughts on “How to Spot a Scam”
Such great advice! Yes, there are so many scams out there, and you give such real and straight forward advice – so important for any blogger, but especially those just starting out!!! I often find myself frustrated with companies who offer product but “have no additional budget,” however those that are offering nothing in exchange at all are down right offensive! So great to make other aware with this post!
Love this! Great tips babe. Hugs, Kait
Congrats! I’ve nominated you for The Beauty Blogger Award. 🙂
Aw thank you so much! I appreciate it!
Great post girl & such an important topic! All your tips were right on point, like Annie said this would definitely be great on the dashboard.. xo, Lauren
Thanks, Lauren! I posted it on the SC blog!
I had this happen to me as well! They said no budget and I declined giving them real estate on my blog. Def post this on the Dashboard too if you have time 🙂 Super helpful!
Thank you for your post! I am very concerned about this subject because I receive a lot of them! I am concerned about younger girls that could fall in the trap! As an example, I do not like the way the brand Mirina Collection is operating. They send emails to newbie bloggers and tell them that they are selected as brand ambassador. However to be a brand ambassador, the blogger has to pay the products with a 50% discount and then they may be featured! I was so surprised to see that a lot of small bloggers (less than 300 followers) felt in the trap and paid to be a brand ambassador. I believe a brand should be honest and not play with its youngest customers.
Oh my goodness! I got an email from this company too! I smelled something fishy the moment they emailed me. I looked at their instagram and all the brand ambassadors they have are newbie bloggers.
Thank you so much for this! I have a keen eye for these scams now because it happened to me when I first started out. A company said they would pay me and they never did. I l’ve also had to pass on a few that didn’t align with my brand. These are definitely good tips for new bloggers. Great post! Xx
Oh wow! Did you report them to the Better Business Bureau?
Such a necessary and good post! Totally agree with the points you mentioned.
Gunjan | http://www.songbirdechoes.com
THANK YOUUU for writing this! I was just telling my husband last night that I was so tired and frustrated with these kinds of emails. I get so excited to see a brand or company I love reach out just to find out they want me to promote them and spend my time writing content but getting nothing in return. I’m all about partnerships but my time isn’t free!!! LOVE THIS.
Exactly girl! I was telling my boyfriend and mom about that. They usually promise in return that their favorite blog posts will be on their social media accounts. Ha, yeah right.
This is so so key. Lack of Marketing Budget: The first thing I ask is what the budget is for the project. When there isn’t one, they really can’t tell you anything else beyond “well we don’t have one, we simply wanted to generate some buzz about…” Boom. Sorry, but you won’t be “generating buzz” on my blog. That’s when you know this is for their benefit and not yours. Move on.
Also, when you said the flattering words! I’ve definitely seen that happen, and then you find out there’s no budget, etc!
Great post, babe!
Oh yes! I love being called an expert or guru but not by people who are trying to get me to do something for them.
I love this write up! I started my blog in October and actually find it kind of offensive when companies do this. they aren’t even looking at your page so saying you are a “guru” etc is garbage.
So do I! It’s rude and takes up my time.
It’s so annoying when this happens! Especially when it’s a product/brand that is not even a remotely good fit for your blog and clearly the person reaching out has put zero effort into their research.
Oh my goodness yes! I get emails from people who are like selling cleaning products and I’m like what?
Thank you so much for this post!
When I first started blogging many companies would ask for me to post about them, promising I will be rewarded later on. After the post, I realized I was getting nothing out of it.
Let’s follow each other!
Exactly! They take advantage of people with little experience and think this is their first big break.
Great things to look out for. I haven’t really made it “big” enough for brands to want to work with me (boo hoo), but I have received some messages like the scenarios you describe above. I often feel so flattered (wow, they sought me out!) but then I start to question it (wait….what do I get out of this?). And in all three of the situations (yes only three times), it was to spread the word (as you mention in point #1).
Thank you for this post!
That sucks, Victoria! I was flattered at first too but had no idea what they were up to. I did two posts and then caught on that I was getting nothing out of it.