I just found out that one of the biggest Mom Bloggers out there, who established multiple blogs, had many bloggers "working" for her, has thousands of followers, started her own blogging network, had a huge Blog Conference scheduled for this fall, ran multiple giveaways that were promoted by multiple blogs--some with prizes that were never paid, just got taken down publicly. Multiple bloggers now have come out with horrible stories about how they were duped out of thousands of dollars, lost time, and lost wages because of empty promises of wealth, fame, and prestige. It's shocking because I was a member of this person's Facebook Group. The group itself was a good one, because it was run by other reputable bloggers, working for said blogger.
This kind of story isn't new to me. I wrote about another such incident back in 2011. You always need to watch out!
Here are some rules to follow so that you won't find yourself without a leg to stand on, your reputation ruined with companies, and your heart broken because you trusted another blogger to help you.
Bloggers are a great group of people, but as the word has spread that it can be a great way to earn some extra money here and there, many people have come out of the woodwork to take advantage of that. Some of those people are very talented posers! Here are just a few rules that I have followed since I started out as a newbie a few years ago.
1) Don't spend a ton of money investing in a blog -- Start small, try out the water. If you love it, you'll stick with it. If you don't, you can drop it and walk away with only some time spent learning that you don't love it. And that isn't time wasted because it teaches you where your strengths lie. If you are approached by those who want to charge you, first find out if there is a way to do it for free. I still haven't paid for my blog design because I'm still evolving and when I do finally hire a professional, it will be something that I love and will stick with for awhile. Furthermore, I will pay for that design with funds that I've already earned with my blog. Yes, I'm Ms. Cheapo~but I haven't lost anything either!
2) Don't ever pay another blogger more than a few dollars, unless you know for a fact you'll get what you pay for. I was duped once 4 years ago and learned from that. Why pay another blogger when I can do my own promoting and my own blogging, keeping the whole fee? I am even hesitant to pay another blogger to be a co-host for their giveaways. Why do I need another, successful though they may be, blogger to build my blog? If I can't build my own blog, then I need to find something else. That being said, there are some great blogging networks that are great to be a part of, that actually do pay their members for services rendered. I have loved a few of these networks. Just do your homework.
3) Facebook Groups can be very helpful or very bad. When you join a Facebook Group, make sure that the other bloggers follow the rules. There are groups that run threads to exchange follow for follow, comment for comment, and other such things. If you find that the members are not returning your comments or follows, move on. It's very time-consuming to comment on multiple blogs without realizing the same courtesy in return.
4) Don't rush out to every blog conference you get wind of. I didn't attend my first blog conference until this year. It was something I had wanted to do for awhile, but I wasn't willing to travel out of state, on my own dime, to something I really had no idea about. What would I learn, who were the speakers, would I really get all kinds of great sponsors? I finally went to my first conference, a local conference, they sponsored me in exchange for a few posts, and I knew the company sponsoring it to be reputable. It was a wonderful experience and I hope to attend next year.
For Blog Readers:
1) Entering giveaways with huge prizes, like the ones the blogger in question ran, is a risky thing. Non-fulfillment of prizes is something that can and does happen.
2) Bloggers usually have affiliate sites on their pages, which are totally legitimate. Bloggers go to great lengths to find the best deals and shops to purchase from. Most times, buyers wouldn't know where to purchase without the research of bloggers! You don't pay extra when you click on those links. But when you are purchasing a product specifically produced by a blogger, make sure it is linked to a reputable purchasing site and that there are money-back guarantees in place.
3) Check out what others are saying about a blogger. Is the blogger personable, transparent in their business dealings, and free from other bad business deals?
4) Do they get their information from reliable sources, or do they just spout off? Sometimes it's good to check out facts against what is said in a blog. You know what they say, just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's true!
Again, most bloggers are totally up-front and doing what they love to do--connect with their readers in creative and constructive ways, providing a great service to all who come in contact with them! Just use good judgement and don't be duped by the few flamboyant, flash-in-the-pan frauds, who use your trust to get what they want.