“Blogger Blackmail” Surfaces as a Trend

Macarons
What is “blogger blackmail?” One blogger demanded about $150 worth of macarons, marshmallows, and other goodies in exchange for a blog post.

How ironic. Last week I wrote a post defending hobby bloggers. This week the subject is “blogger blackmail!”

By now you may have heard about the Twitter thread called #bloggerblackmail. It chronicles, among other things, when food bloggers demand payment in kind for blog posts, including free meals at nice restaurants.

One story that came to a head began when a hobby blogger who writes London restaurant write-ups emailed a bakery and suggested she be “invited to review” their products in exchange for a blog post.

Here’s how things went downhill for the food blogger:

When she got to the bakery, workers offered her tea and [Read more…]

Are Food Writers Privileged? I Am

Here I am, eating bonbons all day as a sponsored writer. Heh.
Here I am, eating bonbons all day as a sponsored writer.

There’s been lots of talk on my blog lately about money and food blogging. (See post about Adam Roberts and Amy Sherman’s post.)

But one thing people don’t talk about is the privilege of being a food writer, where earning money is a secondary ambition for many – not because they’re hobbyists, but because they don’t have to earn a living.

This story on Salon about obfuscating the circumstances that let us write [Read more…]

You Got a Free Cookbook! Now What?

Package-in-the-mailPublishers send lots of cookbooks to food bloggers, hoping for publicity. If you choose to write about a book, they might supply images and recipes. If you’re not going to write about it, they might say: how about a shoutout on social media?

Do you owe them something in exchange for this free book? If so, what?

This is an area of confusion for many food bloggers. You want to be nice and do the right thing. But understand that, first of all, you owe them nothing.

Even if you requested a book, you are entitled to read it and decide not to [Read more…]

Amateur Gourmet Shocks Fans with an Announcement

meatwork1
Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet was on fire last week in the media, due to two events that reverberated on social media.

Last week Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet led the news among food bloggers with two major online events. On his blog, he stunned fans by announcing that his advertising income has dropped so far that he can’t make a [Read more…]

Are Sponsored Press Trips Worth Your While?

"The author compromises her impartiality in Bordeaux, France."
“The author compromises her impartiality in Bordeaux, France.”

A guest post by Pam Mandel

“Oh, I want to go on press trips!”

I hear this frequently from newer bloggers. I get it. It’s so appealing to have someone else pick up the tab for your hotel, your meals, entrances fees, all the stuff of travel. When you’re writing for your own blog, there’s the added benefit of working without an editor who has veto power. You go on an all expenses paid trip, you write what you want, everyone’s happy. Right? Not always.

1. What’s a press trip anyway?

Let’s define “press trip” — sometimes called a junket or a FAM, short for familiarization — first. For this discussion, I mean a trip where media travels under the guidance of a public relations wrangler. Everything is arranged in advance. It’s usually a group tour at an [Read more…]

Confusion Among Bloggers on Disclosing Compensation

A gift is considered to have cash value.
When a food blogger gets free stuff, it is payment in kind, which is considered compensation.

You know those disclaimers at the end of blog posts, when food bloggers write about a product or service and say whether they were compensated?

I’ve noticed some confusion (or should we call it denial?) about what constitutes payment.

There are two kinds of payment: cash payment and “paid in kind,” which means a company gives you goods or services for free. That could be [Read more…]

Thug Kitchen Draws Fans and Ire

Thug Kitchen Authors
Thug Kitchen co-authors Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway. Their blog led to a cookbook with incredible sales this month. (Photo courtesy of Sean Neild.)

Paging through a new cookbook never fails to thrill me. So when I got a copy of Thug Kitchen as a gift while attending the Food Bloggers of Canada annual conference, I put my feet up for a few minutes to take a look. It’s a vegan cookbook with great recipes and gorgeous [Read more…]