Today's blog is all about promotion of products and which companies you chose to promote. As a blogger I am not sure if you are physically liable for products you promote, but it's smart to be careful of the promotions that you take on and who you associate yourself with. While you may not be physically liable, your repuation can be called into question if you promote the wronge people. I am going to tell you a little story, and then tell blogger steps they can take to avoid what happened.
I have recently been looking for a new monogramming company. I love monogrammed items, but the company I used to love getting my monograms from doesn't monogram anymore. I'd been looking around and I was followed by this company (not using names.) They seemed like a pretty reputable small business. I buy from tons of businesses with small amounts of sales (just a part of the small business game.) I decided to go out on a limb and order a lot of products. I had seen their products on a few other people so I thought, this couldn't possibly end up blowing back in my face. They had bloggers and social media influencers modeling their product, great move for someone scamming.
So I bought some items (and even ended up buying again because they posted a full shirt monogram and I just couldn't say no to that.) Well, turns out I should have. I waited and waited for the package and it was WELL past the business day ship rate for both packages. It was harder to reach the company. So I did some digging. I clicked on the images and did a Google Image Search (my favorite type of search in the world) and found multiple of their items on other Etsy shops and websites. I was devistated. At first I tried to give them a benefit of the doubt, but then I realized--there is no way this not a scam. I contacted some of the shops and let them know about the use of their images. I was mad.
I filed a PayPal claim, and a few days later I escalated it. It's going to take five-ever to get my money back because of PayPal policies and all the while I am out $50 on PayPal, and $30 on my debit card (which is way harder to file by the way!) I am still working through this absolute disaster and lack of judgement. This is the kind of think that makes small online businesses look horrible.
Information To Consider Before Promoting A Company
So all of this is to say, bloggers and social media influencers: watch who you promote. Part of the reason I felt comfortable ordering is because I saw the products on real people. As a blogger, we have an obligation to our followers. We have to be more vigilant about who we work with. We have to care more about the people who trust our opinions. Here is some information to consider before working with a company.
Google Image Search Is Your Friend
Some items (for example a Jadelynn Brooke t-shirt) might just be taken straight off the company website. It's okay to have a certain number of copied images. When you are dealing with personalized images though, like monograms and embroidery, check the image. If I would have done that I would have seen right off the bat that the company stole tons of images from other sites.
Be Careful About Publically Talking About A Company If You Have Never Purchased From Them
I tweeted at the company that I liked their products on their website. They RTed that as a way to humanize their Twitter and make it seem like they were delivering when they weren't. Be aware of how your words can be twisted into convincing others to buy from shops. You don't always have to follow this rule. I love to tweet at companies I'd like to work with in the future. Just be aware that some might use your words to further their agendas.
Either open up to your readers if you have never tested something personally, or if you realize something is a scam later on apologize. You bring in more money than you realize.
A few days ago I hit $100 in commission from A-List Greek Designs. I get 15% of each sale so that means I had to have brung in over $600 in sales in the last year and a half. That is A LOT of money to bring into something. Your platform is worth more than you think it is. The only thing you can do is protect your brand and the people who follow it.
I hope this story was helpful to those who are bloggers and/or those who follow them. I definitely don't want to say that someone is wrong for not thinking about their partnerships more. It is important, on the otherhand, to understand exactly who we are sending our readers to. Anyone can get caught up in a fun partnership, but make sure your followers don't get burned in the process.