The rise of bullshit bloggers and why I no longer trust them.

Today I wanted to get a few things off my chest. You’ll always find advice posts on here about earning from your blog or, indeed, how I turned my blog into a job. I’ve been vocal in the past about when bloggers are getting a rough ride-like working for free or being scammed by blogging awards.

In other words, you’ll usually find me on the bloggers’ side-but today, I wanted to be honest and say: a lot of the posts I’m seeing on my twitter timeline and Instagram feed (from both bloggers and blogging opportunities) are quite frankly bullshit.

And I can’t help but feel as if I can no longer trust some bloggers who are willing to sell me anything if the price is high enough.

The rise of vague opportunities

Somewhere along the line, we have lost the personalised touch and it now seems perfectly acceptable to recruit bloggers via a tweet that reads ‘hi, a brand I know is looking for bloggers to review an item; leave me your email address below.’

And no. I am really not paraphrasing! That is the literal tweet. I take issue with these types of tweet for two reasons.

Firstly, a PR really shouldn’t be getting bloggers to recruit people for them-brands working closely with bloggers is what makes collaborations work. However, let’s put that aside for a moment since I will occasionally be nice and pop a blogger opportunity at the bottom of my newsletter. The difference being, I’ll always ask the brand a) the specifics of the type of blogger they’re looking for and b) the item or compensation they’re offering in return.

Because the main issue here, is if you genuinely think all bloggers have integrity and are super-picky is to take a look at the sheer number of responses these get-which often go into the hundreds.

That’s hundreds of bloggers often replying ‘definitely interested’ ‘or ‘would love to’, without HAVING ANY IDEA what the product is!

However, I must say, it is not completely the blogger’s fault here: I do believe the market is essentially saturated in a sense and we all (understandably) want to jump on the bandwagon when something is tweeted-especially in January when ops can seem few and far between. Nobody wants to miss out on the potential.

After all, what if that tweet was about a trip to the Caribbean? Newsflash: it never is-as sadly, most of the time genuine, well-paid ops are not advertised this way. It’s even worse when I see bloggers tweeting: ‘I’d like to work with a brand, whose best to start with?’

In other words, I’d like to get some free stuff-who is likely to give it to me. There’s no consideration of who would be a good fit for their audience and who they could offer ROI (return on investment) for.

Finally, many many bloggers are using referral links to promote sites like Link Monster and Get Blogged-despite not using them themselves. I know because the former has had only had a few ops but has somehow recruited 1300 bloggers through this method-they’ve got lots of bloggers but no one can say if they’re any good as they haven’t worked with them! But anything for some free pennies right?

The problem extends to opportunities that are essentially illegal or exploitative. I’m not going to get into follow-links (since they’re not, but they can still harm your blog). Again, I see daily bloggers flock to accept posts on random topics (car tyres? I’d love to! funerals? I was just planning a post! male impotence remedies? my followers love that shit!) with no disclosure. The prices get lower whilst the number of bloggers grows bigger:you can see the issue.

I’m often told it is unfair to judge others who accept this type of work, as after all, we all need to work.

However, I am essentially a reader of a blog (and therefore, I am entitled to expect good content) and a person working in the industry. If, when I worked in teaching, a fellow teacher behaved unethically: why wouldn’t I call them out on it? If blogging truly is an industry, why can’t we hold the people that work in it to the same standards?

More importantly, this type of content is never good and sadly, when a blogger is paid so little, they are loathe to make changes to it. With no disclosure, you’re essentially lying to your readers-so why should I trust you?

I don’t often accept guest posts for payment-but I do some times and we’ve all been there when things are a bit lean and £50 comes in handy. However, I can say hand-on-heart that I am always 100% happy with the content I post on my blog and even if the pay is low, I’ll take time to edit the post and make it work for my readers. Unfortunately, many bloggers now will just paste it over and it’s awful content.

Is lifestyle blogging a cop-out?

It shouldn’t be. A lifestyle blog can be a niche in itself-because, it’s YOUR lifestyle that I’m following. That’s why two lifestyle blogs can be completely different! However, a lot of bloggers are starting to use this as an excuse to sell me anything.

As you might know, I do blog outreach for Chronic Illness Bloggers and I am passionate about opportunities for those with chronic health issues. I am often flabbergasted by bloggers who apply for these-who not only do not have the condition themselves but have never written about the topic.

Again, if they’ve never taken the time to blog about it when payment isn’t involved, it clearly not particularly important to them or their readers.

I know it is difficult: but I do believe that in the long-run you are putting your blog and earnings at risk by accepting every opportunity; your blog becomes directionless and a bit of a mish-mash: and when I see blogs with this collection of post with nothing cohesive tying them together; I can’t help but think they’ll promote anything and don’t really have a unique type of reader.

Brands Putting Words Into Bloggers Mouths

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An exciting few days and a bit of honest update! 😀 Today had a pinch myself moment when I was published in one of my fave publications (I won’t say which one as it’s an anon piece 🤫) and also joined Culture Trip as a freelance writer for the next few months! When I scrolled through the comments on today’s piece, it struck me how important it is to me that my words mean something and have a purpose. For me, it feels like more and more of blogging these days how good your filtering skills are. And although I am TRYING (being the operative word) to improve my photographs, I never want to lose sight of the fact that for me-it should always be about the words. A tipping point this week was when a brand was not only asking specifically for gluten-free bloggers who followed for the ‘lifestyle’ rather than needed to for their health 😤 to work with but also offering to pay those who specifically said their bread was the tastiest! 😱 😱Enough is enough for me: I’m not prepared to have words put in my mouth, whatever the cost! I hate to say it but it is disheartening to see lots of bloggers constantly selling me things in my feed lately. I have no issue at all with ads (as of course, I do them myself) but it’s clear some will do any for the money (stop telling me this is your go-to shampoo when last week you told me you only used another brand!!) So just some reassurance-any ads (probably infrequent-I’m only small fry) you see on here will be 100% my words and, almost always, they’re completely my concepts too!! I’m working on a blog post on this very issue-as I think it’s massively souring the industry as a whole, but I thought I’d use today’s post to explain where I am at! P.S: I use whatever shampoo is on offer at Tesco.

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When blogging first started, we heralded it as a welcome alternative to traditional media. Our words couldn’t be purchased or restricted by an editor-and our opinions were 100% honest.

In fact, whenever I google anything, I’ll always add ‘blog review’ to the search term; as it was something I’d trust.

But instagram apps like Tribe and the rise of quick ops platforms; means some bloggers are being exposed to a huge range of brands and are now happy to copy and paste as the brand dictates.

I’ve lost count of the same bloggers recommending their ‘go-to Shampoo’ and next week; saying they’ve only used another brand for years. I’ve seen others do ads for driving schools and then tweet that they think it’s pointless learning to drive. Things felt personal when I’ve seen bloggers promote a ‘gluten-free’ product (a diet I personally follow for medical reasons) in one post and then posing with pizza and piles of bread in the other.

I’ve seen brands wanting to work with fashion bloggers to promote things like intolerance testing and gluten-free products (one brief even going so far as to say they’d ideally only like those who follow it for the lifestyle rather than a medical need!); despite the fact these bloggers have never talked about the issues before.

So one week, they are so much less bloated after eliminating gluten and the next week, the #spon is gone and they’re telling their bloggers to never give up bread and #carbsforlife.

I genuinely think that it’s become such a fast, quick transaction that whilst smaller bloggers might have a handful of collaborations they pour their efforts in to and keep in touch with the brand long-term,larger bloggers genuinely can’t keep up with the ads they’re doing: the money is probably great but they’re literally contradicting themselves!

I will be honest and say I can no longer trust these bloggers. If you rave about an item and mention it again, it tells me you were only interested in the cash. I know it can be tricky-there’s brands I’ve worked with and then keep buying and talking about their product (cue awkward dialogue explaining it was an ad, and now its really not and hoping people believe you).

Going back to gluten-free for a second, one opportunity this week on Tribe asked instagrammers to declare their bread ‘tastier than any other they’d tried before!’ This caused massive alarm bells for me (us GF folk take our bread seriously;since most of it is shit) and if I’m honest, I’ll be keeping an eye on bloggers who use those exact words in their post. Since when ,are brands directly putting words in our mouth?

Luckily, there’s plenty of bloggers who do stand their ground. There’s bloggers who have come to me when doing outreach; explaining they wanted to do a post their way and would never allow brands draft approval. I always respect that-and I, of course, trust many bloggers-considering some close friends.

But on the whole, we’re in denial if we don’t think we have a problem. We can keep rolling our eyes and sighing every time the media slams another influencer and calling journalists jealous-but we’re not getting to the root of the issue.

It’s not unsupportive or bitchy to say some bloggers are taking the piss. It doesn’t make you a bad blogger to actually agree when some bloggers are described as blaggers. It’s ok to say you know what its bullshit; stop lying to us: and we, as both readers and fellow people in the industry, deserve a whole lot more!


  1. January 10, 2019 / 6:28 pm

    Thank you for this Jenna. I have had about 5 requests this week already. None of them are prepared to pay more than $30! Some are offering as low as $15.
    I was starting to feel like holding out for better money is a waste of time but this post is so true. I’m not going to be bought. I’m not going to lower my standards.
    Thank you.

  2. January 10, 2019 / 6:40 pm

    I really liked this post Jenna! I totally get that people are trying to make money and freelance life can prompt some weird choices, but these days there’s a lot of ‘grabby’ behaviour out there from bloggers, as if promoting product is all it’s about. I’ll be totally frank, I’ve fallen into this trap too, but these days I’ve brought my focus back to authentically sharing my stories and it feels really really good xx

  3. Gen
    January 10, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    I agree. As a new blogger 6 months in I either get a lot of requests that want the world for an event or product worth £5. One wanted 2 videos and several posts for product costing £8. I have to say I stick to my morals and won’t pos anything I am not interested in buying myself. I get offered money to post things but if I’m not genuinely happy with the product I won’t do it for the money -I guess some people do need the money though so it’s sometimes not a question of whether they can choose to take the post or not.

  4. January 10, 2019 / 11:49 pm

    Good post. I agree it does seem pointless saying you love something one moment then never mention it again, or accepting every opportunity just because it’s paid. For some people it’s all about the money sadly !

  5. January 12, 2019 / 12:24 am

    Agreed. And it’s not only bloggers but YouTubers as well. It annoys me tremendously.
    I am a small blogger and YouTuber and rarely get contacted for paid gigs, so to speak, but most of those I receive I reject because I don’t want to promote sth I don’t believe in.

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