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4.5.14

I'm A Blogger. Respect My Work.

I've been blogging for four years, writing about makeup launches and skincare tips for the benefit of some amazing readers that keep me motivated and strong. For the first three years I blogged in my spare time, juggling a full time job and a hectic social life with attending events, meeting brands, testing products, taking photos and writing until my fingers went numb. I used to work until the early hours of the morning, at weekends and during holidays - both because of the pressure I put upon myself, but also because the love I had for the blogging world. Just under a year ago I had the opportunity to turn my site into a full time job, taking the time to focus on growing and perfecting my little corner of internet. I've invested in equipment, skills and knowledge, taking what was previously a hobby into another realm altogether. However, what I have noticed in the last few months is the absolute lack of respect from so many individuals, brands and agencies towards blogging as a profession. Just because you have the label of a blogger, why does that leave you bereft of any respect of value?


I've recently experienced a multitude of presumptuous individuals that effectively want something for nothing. I'm all for collaborating, working for mutual benefit and bringing my fair readers a great story, but I'm not up for using my site to push out messages you want to share without there being benefit to me. When I work day in day out (from the early hours of the morning until the darkness of the night,) to create content, that content has value. As a blogger you're the content creator, ideas generator, photographer, designer, editor, social media manager and much more - that doesn't come easy and it shouldn't necessarily come free. A freelance photographer or writer place value on their time and work, so why is a blogger any different?

I work with lots of different brands in lots of different ways, helping to monetize my site in a way that's unobtrusive as possible. I supplement my blog income with a lot of consultancy work, so not to become a site full of adverts and irrelevant content that pays the bills. I want this to be a place that's creative, fun, informative and relevant. However, there are certain instances when I charge for content creation, my time or simply for photography - but there's a serious issue with the respect that comes with the work of a blogger and how that should be compensated.

Let me tell you a little story. I was recently contacted by a brand (that I had worked with previously) who wanted to use my imagery on their website, in order to help promote a product. They hadn't invested in their own photography, so they thought they'd ask if they could use mine instead. "Sure, here's my fee for imagery" I said. Radio silence ensued... Until I had a hunch that they would use my imagery anyway, regardless of paying a fee. Sure enough, clear as day, one of my images appeared on their blog with no credit and certainly no permission. When questioned, one of the brand's associates started to belittle how much 'hard work' creating an image really took and stated that 'bloggers want paying for everything now.' When you spend hours positioning products, getting the lighting just right, taking photos, editing and uploading them, it angers me to see such little respect or value placed on something that's valued enough to be taken without consent!

I've had images taken from my site without permission and used by brands on their social media channels. I've had blog posts copied and pasted to other sites without consent. I've had brands and agencies demand I place their links, information or offer on my site - just because they want it there. I've had rude responses when I've asked for compensation for my time, such is the little value placed upon bloggers and blogging by some. I've battled with brands for payment when they changed the goalposts at the last minute. I've been asked to act unlawfully and illegally. You name it, I've experienced it... And it just isn't right. 

The blogging world has evolved so much in the last few years, opening up doors previously unimagined to those of us that started writing simply as a creative outlet or to channel a passion. Now the possibilities are endless, with bloggers launching their own cosmetics lines, appearing in magazines and being paid thousands of pounds to endorse or support brands. We're all still the girls you can relate to, the boys you see down the pub, or the geeks you like to discuss skincare with - we're approachable, relatable and above all 'normal people'. That's where we differ from magazines, faceless corporations and brands; we're your mate that you can ask a question, or the girl on Facebook who you like to outfit stalk. That is worth something. That has value. That deserves respect.

So many of the brands I work with are understanding, ethical and place huge value on sites such as mine. They respect what we do and they treat us accordingly. However, it's the actions of the minority that are now becoming increasingly frustrating and unacceptable. I don't write a blog for the benefit of your brand, I don't take photos for you to use nilly willy and I don't curate my social channels for you to spam them with irrelevant messages. So many bloggers put their heart and souls into their sites, regardless of size, and that deserves a little recognition. I have to admit I'm at the end of my tether and I'm not quite sure how the blogging world will evolve over the next 6-12 months, but I'm extremely hopeful that it will involve a little more appreciation.

What are your thoughts?

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41 comments

  1. great post Hayley, I saw what happened on Twitter earlier and can imagine how you must've felt/are still feeling now - I hope they give you a proper apology and you receive the payment and credits you deserve!
    Anita @ AllThingsAnita

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  2. I followed what happened on Twitter and wondered who the random bloke that appeared to butt in was, when I discovered he was linked to the brand in question I couldn't believe it. So so unprofessional and rude and it doesn't matter how long the photo took to take or whether they believe it's worth anything, it's your photo and if they want it they need to pay for it or at least have your permission to use it. I'm no expert when it comes to social media etiquette but I think a lot of it is common sense and when I see new brands on Twitter behaving badly (unfollowing you if you don't follow them back for example) I'm hugely disappointed in them. I unfollowed MUA on Twitter and in general refuse to buy any of their products because of their appalling behaviour on social media.

    I don't believe the pictures I take for my blog are anything special but I always add my blog name to the bottom of each one, partly so people might find my blog from them on image searches etc but also to try and stop people pinching them.

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  3. I absolutely LOVED this post and agree with it 110%. I've only been blogging a year now and have still experienced the majority of the things you listed so I can only imagine what it is like for yourself. It's unbelievable what supposedly 'professional' companies expect and want from us. I have never worked for free and I never will, if they don't appreciate us, then they do not deserve our time!
    Brilliant post and hopefully companies will see this and start to change again. Blogging is only getting bigger and if companies are going to continue to act up like this, then who knows what it'll be like in 6 weeks let alone 6 months!
    Georgina | www.shemightbeloved.com

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  4. Great post, very well said x

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  5. interesting post - i'm quite new to this blogging malarky and am really enjoying it so far, but your experiences sound very disappointing…
    liking your blog tho!! http://thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/make-me-happy.html

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  6. I tell you what, if you had taken one of their images without permission, you would of been taken so quickly to court, your bum wouldn't touch the ground! I completely agree that brands attitudes are chaging but I think it also because there are now so many bloggers fighting for everything. I think the saying from school is suitable here, "it's always a few that ruins it for the rest." Good luck x

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  7. I saw the conversation Hayley and thought it was ludicrous that 1. they would steal an image in the first place, 2. not apologise and 3. treat you in such a disrespectful way. I've been reading your blog for a while and you're very talented!

    They were in the wrong in talking to you and using an imagine without your express or implied permission (law student talking here) so I'm definitely going to include something on my blog about this because it isn't right.

    It doesn't reflect bad on you in any way though, if anything it shows you won't get taken for granted and you're a strong blogger! So I only have upmost respect for that.

    I hope you feel a little better soon, I can completely understand your feelings towards this. They will now lose a lot of revenue and contacts due to this, so you've made it clear to us other bloggers who not to trust, which is unfortunate that you've had to go through this but it creates awareness for newer bloggers like me, it is nice to see some reality in the business side of blogging.

    Laura x

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  8. Just caught up with what happened on twitter! That is shocking! I remember seeing you and i believe miss budget beauty? Going to visit the brand and giving them so much publicity posting it on your instagram and sneak peaks and then a post and to be treated like that?

    I have always had an issue when bloggers post reviews of products they obviously got sent and dont declare and ive always admired your blog cause you have that raw honesty that some bigger bloggers are lacking which is why i get 100% why you would charge for imagery and consultency etc! Girl gotta pay the bills!

    For the brand in question to get their product in a magazine it wpuld cost them thousands but bloggers gives smaller brands the chance to get that much needed exposure but for a smaller fee yet even then they want something for nothing. I was going to start a blog about a year ago, but i have a full time job and dont want to spend all my free time doing something for nothing! As rewarding as it would be bloggers dont always get the respect they deserve and some really amazing blogs with amazing advice get overlooked!

    Keep your chin up and take the fact they took the pic as a compliment... It was clearly an epic photo of their product 😜

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    Replies
    1. Hi Stephie. Thanks for your comment and support. Just to clarify though, the brand in question wasn't Illuminate by Bare, but another makeup box company who shall remain nameless. Illuminate have been nothing but professional and supportive of bloggers, which is something the other brand should learn! Thank you for being such a fab reader xx

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  9. I totally learned some new and necessary facts from your post and I appreciate it. Your work has value and I for one am glad I found and follow your blog!

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  10. It makes me so angry when businesses think they can treat bloggers this way. I have only been blogging for a short time (just under a year) and I am so glad these types of posts make us newer bloggers savvy enough to play it smart. We are so grateful for the path you've laid for us, and we still have such a long way to go!


    Kate | The Minted Beauty

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  11. I totally agree with you! Bloggers need to be taken seriously. We aren't just random people posting on the internet. In a way, we are our own brand. We have a following of people who care about our opinion and what we say. We're not that different from other brands and so we shouldn't be treated differently!

    May from La Vie en May

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  12. I had a picture ripped off from me before, years go when I did nail artistry. Unfortunately as I had deleted the image sharing account I had no proof. I knew it was mine because I accidentally cut my finger in the exact spot shown, and as result, thenail art smudged. It niggles me to now that as the owner of the content, I was never asked permission to use. People abuse on bloggers for sure.
    We go through a lot for our passions, yet idiot like that guy on Twitter thinks it is just seconds.
    Angie x
    Www.chocolateandlipstick.com

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  13. Great post Hayley,so good that you have expressed this so others don't feel as though they can just exploit bloggers and get away with it. I ono have a small following at the moment but hope to grow and would be just as angry if someone had taken my pictures because as you say it takes a lot of work and effort to evolve your blog. xx

    Anna-Maria | www.topdrawfashion.com

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  14. This is horrid.

    Having had worked in customer service, I can tell you right now, this is completely unprofessional. Any brand caught condoning such behaviour deserves denouncement on the spot. Bloggers are users before content creators - more so because they take the time to build an image and trust and to provide free publicity. Pissing off bloggers is like abusing your premium customers.

    I hope the brand in question apologizes to you. This behaviour is totally unacceptable.

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  15. That is absoloutely terrible! They are your pictures and your time! You should get the respect you deserve ! It takes me atleast an hour taking the photos, editing, writing, editing and uploading one post! and for someone to just take advantage of that is so rude! x


    BerrieBlogs| {beauty blog}

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  16. Brilliant post and something that needed to be said! You have a brilliant blog and i can imagine how horrible it is to have work stolen,their really needs to be more rights surrounding bloggers. Well done you for writing this and hopefully some companies will take note! xx

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  17. I don't blame bloggers for adding watermarks to their pictures....as I have seen so many well known sites *stealing photographs from blogs and not credited them....

    http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

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  18. I agree with you 100% its so shocking how they found the audacity to question the ease of your work and taking pictures, it wasn't really about the image it was the fact that they found it acceptable to plagiarize and steal your work- definitely not acceptable whatever the brand

    http://whatididonwednesday.blogspot.co.uk/

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  19. Such a great post. I saw it unfold on Twitter and could not believe that bloke wading in with his ridiculous opinions. I hope the brand has spoken to him and given him some social media etiquette lessons. He clearly doesn't 'get' social media as he follows about 55,000 people on Twitter!

    I agree with everything you say here: your work is not any less valuable just because you're a blogger. They wouldn't do it to anyone else, so they shouldn't even think of doing it to you.

    Lex

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  20. Absolutely wholeheartedly agree with everything you have written. How would brands feel if it was reverse... Let's go to their office, fill our bags with their stuff and use it as we see fit without telling them. I'm thankful this hasn't, to my knowledge, happened to me though I did have one brand want a series of press releases posting for a sample sized tube of product I could get in Boots! xx

    Www.beautyqueenuk.co.uk

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  21. Fantastic post! This issue really does need addressing. Blogging is hard work, especially for someone who does it full time, as you do. Having photos taken without permission is not nice at all. I only blog as a hobby and I've had photos used without my consent before. It's a horrible feeling and really undermines the work that was put in to getting that nice picture. What this brand did to you and the complete lack of respect shown across social media by one of their employees is so disgusting and unprofessional. I can't imagine how awful that must've been for you but I do know that a lot of bloggers are behind you on this.
    Ra ❤

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  22. Excellent post, this issue really does need addressing because a lot of time and effort goes into our blogs no matter how big or small and all we ask for is a little respect. Absolutely loved this post,, well done xxx

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  23. I have massive respect for you sticking up for yourself Hayley. So many people sell themselves, their skills and their blog short by allowing companies to treat them so badly. Thank you for highlighting the issue and let's hope bloggers can all have the courage to stand up for themselves this way. At least that's something good that may come from such a bad experience x

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  24. I really enjoyed reading this post. I've been blogging for three years and have been coming across the same issue. I was thinking the other day, about putting how many hours goes into each post on EACH blog post. I think both companies and some bloggers don't realize how time consuming it is. It's something that we love to do, but it takes time. It's horrid what they did to you. So I'm glad you wrote this post. I just started following you this year and you're such an inspiration. Keep up the great work and being honest. I have so much respect for you.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  25. Thank you (every single one of you) for your support and kind comments on this post. It means the world to have so many supportive readers who are behind me, every step of the way xx

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  26. I didn't see what went on twitter last night, so I went back and had a look and I just cant believe it!

    and you know what? blogger power! we bloggers are under rated when we put, as you said a awful lot of work into our blogs! I hope the company does something about that employee of theres who mouthed off on twitter.

    Catherine x

    http://www.beautyisintheeyeofthebeholder.co.uk

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  27. Very well said, absolutely loved this post, I really hope something is done and for that awful employee, so much for being professional, just awful x

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  28. Fantastic post on a subject that really needs to be raised! Followed what happened on Twitter and was appalled to see how a so-called 'professional' thought he could belittle and bully his way through a situation where his company had quite clearly been in the wrong. Bloggers, like any other creative take time and skill to create their content and, as you said so eloquently, that should be respected and yes, paid for. The brand in question wouldn't give their products away for free so why should bloggers? Much respect and positive vibes winging you way!

    Mags

    margaretsblanket.co.uk

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  29. Really enjoyed reading this such a shame that you've had the experience you've had it most certainly makes me see blogging in a new light if anything when I see brands behaving behaving in this way it just makes me not want to buy or even look at the brand as they go down in my expectations. x

    http://rinicawrites.blogspot.co.uk

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  30. Well said!! You don't deserve to be treated like that. That perticular brand should be ashamed! I hope something is done so that you get something for your pictures. As for that horrid employee I hope the business does something with them for being so unprofessional and rude!! Just remember you have a huge community of bloggers that will help back you up! :) xx

    -Amber
    http://theambiismiley.blogspot.ie

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  31. As a small not for profit blogger who has been blogging for six years, and before that interviewing and reviewing other small bloggers for ten years, I find your post particularly interesting in one respect. I am always careful never to infringe on rights with photos and content. I use photos from wiki commons or morguefile...or photos I've taken myself. I always believe that if I have even a slight question about a photo I just don't post it. However, I have seen many blogs similar to mine that post photos of all kinds all the time. I can't figure out how they are getting away with this. I'm absolutely stumped. I've e-mailed a few in private asking how they go about doing it and not one has ever responded to me. I know they are small bloggers and I can't imagine them paying for all those photos. I pay for images for book covers and I know the expense. Are these bloggers just using the images without caring? Are they taking a huge chance? Or is there something I'm missing? Like I said, I'm stumped on this.

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    1. A really interesting question. I would imagine they're not getting concent or paying for them - just going ahead without permission, either not knowing or not caring about the consequences. I always take all my photos myself now, or get a stock image direct from the brand, but I know a lot of others that just google things.

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    2. I think you're probably right. Thanks!!

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  32. The company that tried to justify their actions as it's only a photo and that it doesn't take long obviously know the real truth that it had value (otherwise why did they choose it at all) and that it costs time and therefore money to take (otherwise why didn't they hire someone to do this) it's extremely rude and short sighted approach as blogging is a mode of communicating and it's interlinked so basically it's like they screwed up a client list and gained bad publicity. It's amazingly how companies delegate social media to people who have no idea what they're doing or the immediate and serious consequences that result from being so discourteous would they do that face to face?

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  33. I definitely think this kind of thing will be discussed at Blognix. And I honestly think we need a good discussion about where blogging is going over the next year or so.

    As for the copyright - as soon as you create something, you own it. You own that photograph and nobody has a right to use it. Now, the value placed on it is up to the copyright owner, not the intended user. The fact this company placed a low value on the image indicates their lack of understanding of creation or the creative industries. It's not only the time that went into the image creation, but also the time that has gone into learning the skills to create, the time gone into the blog and business of the image owner. And not to mention the cost of the equipment, office and resources etc.

    I'm so pleased you've blogged about it. This kind of behaviour needs to be spoken about openly. Only then might we see a shift in attitudes towards bloggers.

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  34. As usual, you've hit the nail on the head! 99.99% of the people I've worked with, whether small independent brands or big world renowned names, have been the most positive experiences. Not only that, but these experiences help to push me, motivating me and encouraging me. Negative experiences may be few and far between, but they always stick out in your mind. I unfortunately had the same issue with a company using my photo, with their response being that they sent me the product so the photo belonged to them. How does that work?! In the end they complied and remover my photo but it's still a frustrating position to be in. If any of these negative encounters had been face to face, I suspect they wouldn't have even been negative. I think it's difficult sometimes for everyone to work well online and via emails etc. It's a shame that some can taint the professional and hard work of others.xo

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  35. This post omg so trueee! I agree on everything. Im a blogger too and I can say that blogging is my passion.... love it so much and I work so hard on my little corner of the internet. Taking photos, reading, buying products, posting early in the morning or late at night because of your office work..... that take time and effort. Some people need to update their minds, blogging is a job. Hugs! -Kathy

    www.thebeautycandle.blogspot.com

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  36. Thank you for writing this. I actually started writing a post on this subject yesterday (When a well-known brand asked me to write "several posts" about them in return for a 20% discount card: so, basically they get my time/expertise/audience AND my money? Er, no thanks...), but ended up just saving it to my drafts folder because it turned into such a rant. I've had the same kind of experiences you've had, though, over and over again, and it absolutely infuriates me that brands think they can just take my images/content and try to profit from it, without asking or crediting. I'm also currently inundated with requests to enter competitions or to take part in other "collaborations" which basically involve me working for them for free. I know there are a lot of hobby bloggers out there who are happy to do these things, and I have absolutely no issue with that at all, but I make it very clear on my sites that they are run as business concerns, so I find it really insulting that brands will even suggest that someone who writes for a living should work for them for free, or in the hope of possibly winning a free lipstick or something. Maybe I will write that post after all :)

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  37. I really enjoyed reading this. I can't believe they still haven't issued you an apology or taken down the photo! I saw your tweets regarding them today and it's all getting a bit ridiculous, especially with the person calling you names that actually works there!

    http://hannahbubble.wordpress.com

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  38. As a newcomer into the blogging world, i really appreciate this post. Your experience will help me not get screwed in the long term. For now my blog is only a hobby, but I totally agree with you: you deserve to be compensated and recognized for your hard work. You've got a new follower!

    Y.

    www.everythingyoussy.com

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