So the blogging world is abuzz over the “Big Bad Blogger” that Margaux Salcedo wrote about in Sunday Inquirer Magazine. She basically exposed the crooked ways of a blogger/ PR agency in pressuring (or shall we call it blackmailing?) restaurants into paying them to get good reviews on a blog. What I like most about this article—aside from the fact that I’m a sucker for chismis—is that someone finally spoke out about nefarious bloggers and how they ruin it all for the rest of the professional, fair, and credible bloggers out there.
In the blogging world, a blogger only has one thing to hold on to: his or her credibility. With that gone, everything else can be thrown into the laundry with his/her soiled and smelly socks (which was used for a 42k).
The same holds true for the teeny weeny running blogging world where word gets around fast and everyone knows each other. If you want readers to believe you, you must be honest and genuine. Cut the crap. No bull, if I may say so.
In the spirit of transparency, allow me to share how I manage this blog and what I do to ensure I remain truthful at all times.
- ON PAID POSTS. I do not accept paid posts. You can’t make me rave about a sucky product or sing praises about a flawed race. Conversely, I will raise negative points about products or services but with due respect to the parties involved. Usually, out of courtesy, I inform the race organizer or the supplier about the negative review beforehand. It’s cliche, but it really is for the benefit of the entire community. I have a high respect for companies that accept critiques without taking it personally; it truly shows professionalism, desire to improve, and humility.
- ON ADVERTISEMENTS. I accept paid box advertisements. This is my way of ensuring that sponsors and advertisers do not make their way into my posts unless I personally choose to write about their products or services. Paid box ads do not in any way affect my opinion on the advertiser’s race, product, or service.
- ON EARNING FROM A BLOG. I am fortunate to earn supplemental income (my bread and butter is graphic design) from something that I just started on a whim and out of my passion for running. I will admit that the extra income helps in one way or another, but it’s not the reason why I blog. I’m not and never will be driven by money. If that happens, I’ll be the first one to shut this down. I think it is completely acceptable for bloggers to earn from ads provided that they do not in any way compromise the quality and credibility of the blog.
- ON PRODUCT REVIEWS. I accept products for review with the condition that the advertiser allows me to provide an honest and unbiased review containing both pros and cons. I never ever ask for a product to review. I do not accept requests from the supplier for positive comments nor omission of negative ones. I also do not promise to write about a particular product; I do so at my discretion only when I feel strongly about the particular product and it is worth sharing with the community. So note that the products I feature on this blog are those that I truly would use myself or recommend to others. There are products in my home that have never made it to these pages.
- ON EVENTS AND PRESS CONFERENCES. I occasionally attend press conferences and events of my choosing to be updated on current events in the community. I accept complimentary race packets and giveaways during events, but again this does not compromise my review of the race. Never did I request for free race packs or freebies nor attend an event without invitation.
- ON RACE REVIEWS. I review races without favoring a race organizer or sponsor. In the occasion that I must point out negative issues about the race, I inform the parties affected out of respect, but I have never pulled out a post at anyone’s request.
- ON TRANSPARENCY. Beginning last year, I practiced transparency by stating clearly if the product was purchased or given. From now on, I will also inform you if a race pack was complimentary or purchased.
- ON PRODUCT ENDORSEMENTS. I accept product endorsements if and only if I truly believe in and use the product. I have turned down product/event endorsements that I feel would have compromised the credibility of this blog. I endorse Cherifer Premium (and I take it every day too!) I am a sponsored athlete of Gatorade and Oakley and I’m a member of Team Hammer. I don’t rave about these products because I am contracted by these companies, but it’s the other way around; I accepted these offers because they are sincerely the only products I use for that particular category.
- ON TBR MAGAZINE. The Bull Runner Magazine is NOT me; it is my publication, but it is a separate entity. Its advertisers do not in any way affect my opinions on the blog. TBR Magazine has no personal preferences when it comes to apparel, shoes, gear, and the like and it is not affected by my endorsements. It provides all the information cutting across all brands for the benefit of the running community.
Note: You may notice that some of the points I raise above were not practiced in older posts. Reason being I am not a professional blogger so I’ve learned new things through the years that I started applying much later. This blog is constantly evolving just like my journey as a runner.