BritishBeautyBlogger has lombasted the elephant in the room: How do we feel about our favourite bloggers and YouTube hosts appealing to us to buy their unwanted makeup? And how do the PRs feel about the free swag being turned into gold (well, ok, £4.26 before ebay fees.)
I think one of the reasons the post has received so many responses is, I would hazard a guess, that some people there protest too much...???
I stopped following a lovely person because the only posts were sales. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but (a) By the time I saw them, a milion had people had already claimed it, and (b) It was boring. However, fundamentally, the price was right, and I saw nothing ethically wrong with it - even if I could never be sure if it was bought or given originally. I do however think it is stupid to sell something marked sample, and let alone pre release; and I definitely think it's rude to your readers to sell something that they know you got for free. (And often recommended they go out and buy!) I also think it undermines the camaraderie of blogging to sell LE items at an inflated price - that's what ebay is for, if you must.
It is easy to see the attraction of selling on a blog - directly to beauty enthusiasts who might otherwise not happen to search for it on ebay, plus you get to avoid the heavy ebay fees. From a buyer's point of view, ideally I would see it as a chance to let someone (a virtual friend) try your product for a bargain. If it is for charity, all the better. However the post was geared toward the pure pursuit of making a quick buck.
In my opinion, beauty blogging in particular, is crowded out with rubbishly written, misspelled and fake bloggers. People who in real life would possibly shun you, let you into their world, and you relish the chance, although it's hollow. Many readers don't mind if a review is poorly structured and riddled with spelling and grammer mistakes... perhaps it even makes it more appealing, as it's not too lofty... Personally, I don't enjoy those. If PRs are simply going in for the "numbers game" without considering whether the blogger has integrity, then it really shouldn't shock anyone if occasionally they do see their samples surface on blog sales and ebay. Indeed I would imagine that PRs are used to their samples being sold off by even the most prestigious publications. I reckon the greatest ire comes from the fact that BLOGS ARE NOT MAGAZINES. No, blogs are NOT replacing magazines, they are eternally associated with a friendly fellow beauty addict, who isn't hawking their wares. Who is trustworthy and dependable and not vulnerable to corruption, because afterall, it's just a harmless hobby. However hard the lines get blurred, the fact that blogs have a homely immediacy means they have to walk the line. With a magazine, I think a poorly paid intern can be forgiven for selling off a LE Guerlain compact; but with a blogger who voluntarily set up a blog, ostensibly to showcase their love for beauty products - well in that scenario, selling a LE Guerlain compact that they were lucky to get as a sample - it's unforgiveable.
I have often mentioned in passing how annoying it is for me to see makeup sales that are either selling at a premium or selling former proclaimed "must-haves"; but I never thought it was worthy of its own post. PRs must know it goes with the territory, and as for bloggers privileged enough to get freebies, if they can't act honourably one can only hope that they are known to the PRs who can then decide whther to deal with them again. PRs are not auditioning for Judgment Day, so I would not be surprised if, let's say, they found a key player in the blog world, who gave them tons of exposure but then sneaked off to ebay with their loot, continued to be indulged. It was a post worth doing for BritishBeautyBlogger, if only to put the scare into unscrupulous and insulting behaviour on the part of whoever it was... let's hope it works... But on the other hand, this knowing (and cliquey, as it implies a select few knowing) whispered witch hunt merely puts everyone on edge: who is the rotten apple in our midst?
I am not sure it is bad to sell your surplus makeup, but discretion is essential. If it says sample, perhaps best leave it as a gift; if it hasn't launched yet, perhaps wait. But once it's given to you, yes it is yours, so I don't think it's quite sinful to sell... just best not to, if only for your own conscience.
PS. I have a load of Make Up For Ever lipglosses I bought way too many backups, I really want to sell them but have never had a blog sale and feel queasy even considering it. How do you feel about blog sales? I am interested to know, how do blog readers feel about blog sales???