It’s so easy to get sucked into the dark side. We all start out with good intentions — we find things we love, and we want to share what we love with other people. And maybe we want to make a little money, too, because who couldn’t use a little extra change?
Bloggers really can influence people. And that’s why companies want to get into bed with bloggers. I remember not long after I first started blogging, I read the post Why Bloggers Should Stop Working for Free.
And I thought, that’s all well and good for you, obviously you have figured out how to turn your blog into a business, something that still eludes me. And if you read the post, you will notice that Megan does say not to expect to be paid for reivews — at first. Also to ask for what you want, such as a link back to your content.
So I filed it away in my little brain at the time and I have to be honest — for the most part, companies are not beating a path to my blog. Not yet, anyway. And some of the ones that have clearly fall into the categories Megan talks about — it’s all about them, not about creating a working collaboration.
Fast forward a year or so
So one day I read Patty @ Noguiltlife’s post Newsflash: Mom Blogs Do (Sometimes) Suck, which she wrote in response to the post Dear Mommy Blogger. I’m not actually a mommy blogger, but I’d say I fall into the hobby blogger community, and the wannabe a professional blogger maybe community.
Posts like Josi’s always strike me as a plea for attention and a bit of sour grapes. I think a lot of bloggers get into blogging with good intentions, find some fast money, and find themselves sucked down into the rabbithole and doing things they weren’t planning to when they first got into blogging.
You see posts like this every so often. We get lured by money, by more exposure, by flattery.
The ZOOMA Debacle
I dodged a bullet on that one. Darlene was signed up for ZOOMA Cape Cod. Mr. Judy & I like the Cape. His parents retired there, and we’ve spent a lot of time there, although they no longer live there and we don’t spend as much time there anymore.
It sounded like fun, though. I’ve already done my MA half, but the 10k fit nicely into my training schedule. There was a lot of back and forth between Mr. Judy and myself. I tried to get a few of my friends to come with me. We actually got as far as renting a house (knowing we could get a full refund within a month if we changed our minds).
In the end, despite some interest, the friends weren’t going to come. And then while we were in NYC last Friday, I got a text from one of those friends: the race was sold out. Oh well, I thought, it wasn’t meant to be.
I had noticed, a couple of days before, that there was a note on the ZOOMA Website saying “permit pending”. And that was the problem — they failed to get a permit. They canceled the half, changed it to an untimed 5 & 10k and yoga weekend, and tried to make it seem as if this was a good thing.
Last year I ran ZOOMA Annapolis. It was the eighth year the race had been run. It was hot, hilly, and humid. And at one aid station they ran out of cups, at another they ran out of water altogether. Luckily I had my small handheld with me and had had it refilled halfway through the race.
Let’s just say I wasn’t particularly impressed by ZOOMA, which is a darn shame. The idea is good. Apparently this year the Annapolis race was even more disorganized.
I am now boycotting ZOOMA races; they don’t really seem to care much about the runners.
But What About the ZOOMA Ambassadors?
ZOOMA Ambassadors don’t get the same experience as the people who pay for their race. Let’s face it, anytime your don’t have to pay for a race, and you’re wined and dined and get extra goodies, it can’t help but shape your opinion of the race.
I am friendly with some bloggers who are ZOOMA Ambassadors. It was suggested to me that I should apply to be a ZOOMA ambassador, too, but I replied that after my experience last year, it just wasn’t a race I could get behind. Which is probably kind of snarky on my part, because it was my one and only experience of ZOOMA and you really can’t judge a franchise by one experience.
With everything that has gone down recently, though, I’m glad I didn’t apply. I’m not holier than thou — I want free stuff as much as the next person. But it’s hard to stay objective when you’re given stuff for free.
I still like my fellow bloggers who are ZOOMA Ambassadors, but I know that it’s just not for me. I also know that the way ZOOMA handles its races most definitely not the ambassadors’ fault, and no doubt they’re not terribly thrilled by what’s going on, either.
I do get a small amount of money to spend on Skirtsports and a nice discount. I’m pretty honest (I hope) with my opinions about their clothing. While I do love Skirtsports, and have been buying them long before I was chosen to be an ambassador, there are still things I don’t like (the fact that, for me, anyway, I can’t put sharp objects into the Gym Girl Ultra Skirts’ pockets without getting cut, although it’s fine on the Happy Girl Skirts, for instance).
I hope I can always remain honest in my reviews. So far I haven’t hosted a giveaway (except that one time which was my own baked goods, which in an odd twist of fate Darlene won — fair and square, I swear!), and if I do, I hope it’s for a product I truly love and use. You can be sure that I’m not going to purchase a Kitchenaid mixer out of my own money just to host a giveaway for it and hope to get some new likes, because those likes are not going to keep reading my blog, and connecting with other runners and like minded people is still my number one objective for this blog.
You get what you put into it
Even if I never make a dime from my blog (so far, I havne’t), I don’t anticipate that I would stop blogging. I enjoy it. Perhaps someday I’d spend less time on it. Even this summer I’m spending a little less time on it.
I enjoy writing, I enjoy the comments, I enjoy the interaction with like minded bloggers, I enjoy sharing healthy recipes, and often I have something to say.
Does my blog suck sometimes? No doubt. Did I start my blog just to make money? No. But if you could make money doing something you truly love and not get sucked into the dark side . . . well, that’s the holy grail, isn’t it?
If the only reason you start to blog is that you want to make money, some day you will no doubt burn out. Maybe you’ll find yourself doing things that really don’t interest you or feed your spirit. Maybe you’ll find that it’s no longer fun or rewarding.
And maybe you’ll make a ton of money and never have a moment’s regret!
I’m truly interested in what you have to say about this subject — especially if you’re a blogger or if you got caught in the mess that is ZOOMA Cape Cod. Tell me in the comments:
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
What sort of topics would you like to see more of on my blog?
Have you run a ZOOMA race? Did you like it? Would you run another one?