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Should Bloggers Charge for Reviews?

To charge or not to charge for reviews? That’s a big debate amongst bloggers.

Does it depend on the size of your audience? Because brands get more out of exposure on a popular site with high page views. Or does it depend on how much time and effort it requires? Because that can be the same whether you’ve been blogging for 3 months or 3 years.

There are very influential bloggers that charge upwards of £1000 to review a product, and then there are equally influential ones who’ve made it their policy to never charge a penny for reviews. So what are the arguments for and against it?

 Why some bloggers do charge for reviews

Time

Thoroughly testing a product, styling a photoshoot, editing those pictures, writing the post, promoting it through social media… all of this can add up to hours and hours of your precious time spent ‘working’ for the brand.

Money

To put it simply, you can’t pay the bills in dresses or hotel stays, however lovely or valuable they may be. For those blogging full time, they need to earn a (cash) living.

Brand requirements

It’s all hunky dory when a brand sends you a free product and then lets you get on with your thing. But what if they start asking you to include specific things in your post like links or promotional messages?

Then it becomes less about you giving it an honest review and more about the brand advertising the message they want to get out there, and advertising costs money.

Why some bloggers don’t charge for reviews

Credibility

People are naturally sceptical. Consider this – if you clicked onto a post and the blogger disclosed that they had received money to write the review, and then gushed about how utterly amazing it is, would you really believe them?

Honesty

Getting your readers to believe you’re telling the truth when you know you are is one thing, but what about getting yourself to tell the truth in the first place? If a brand has paid you to review something, might you – even subconsciously – tone down its negative points just a little bit?

The product

Even if a brand is not paying you money to spend your time writing a review, you are getting something out of it – the product!

And we’re assuming, of course, that you’d only review products that you’re genuinely interested in, so it seems like a win-win situation. The brand gets exposure and you get that awesome new bag or expensive gadget you’ve been dreaming about but couldn’t afford.

Passion

Why you are blogging in the first place? Are you just in it for the money? Or are you truly passionate about the topic and would love to be able to try out, and tell your readers about, lots of awesome, relevant products?

There are also many bloggers who are passionate about supporting smaller, independent brands, and these typically don’t have the same marketing budget as the big guys.

So should you charge?

Ultimately, this decision is up to you – only you can decide what your time and blog audience is worth to you and to a brand.

However, there are plenty of ways to monetise your blog without charging for reviews (banner ads, sponsored posts and brand ambassadorships to name just a few) and keeping reviews as editorial, not advertising, content can only make your opinions more credible and trustworthy to your readers.

Tell us, do you charge for reviews and why or why not?

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