The post on Rappler regarding big bad bloggers and loot bag bloggers bring backs the big question of the integrity of bloggers and creates a scenario that bloggers only writes to gain freebies and money from different PR companies.
In all honesty, before I become a blogger, i am once a contest and baby contest addict and even though my other blogs works on a different platform, i still maintained this site with Google for three years because of sentimental value.
it is true, one can claim that she/he is a blogger considering the fact that you can easily create a blog and write even if you have no professional background on writing. Being a journalists and a blogger is a different thing and it can't be compared as the definition itself has a big difference and the years of studies to become a good journalists can't be compared to a blogger. Since a journalist needs to study, collect information to create a reliable and good writing while a blogger can just write according to her passion and the thoughts that comes to her mind. Although, i have a background on journalism and being a writer and news editor on our college newspaper, i could not bragged to be a good writer as I know i am also lacking on many things but I always believe in integrity, truth and passion and i think that is one essential thing on being a good writer.
But there are many bloggers who can be considered as authority on the field of blogging, their thoughts influences other readers as well as many online viewers and social media followers. With the growing numbers of bloggers online, companies local and internationally believes that bloggers are a great source for campaigning and introducing new products in the market considering the numbers of people who followed them.
The story about the so called - "mommy loot bags grabber" and the food blogger who offers review in exchange for a big amount of money is an isolated case that the blogging world needs to find a good solution before it eats the whole system and integrity of blogging.
Knowing the fact that blogging is a great source of income and great freebies, many jumps on the bandwagon and creates a blog to be able to go to different events, earn money, eat for free, collect different freebies and win awesome prizes. Yes, we don't want to be hypocrite here, my blogs become my additional source of incomes and there are times that my earning here is more than I get on my fixed salary. I'm a mother with two kids, a house amortization and bills to pay and it's a natural for a striving family to gain extra income and receives freebies that you don't need to pay (that means a great savings, don't you think?)
I don't see anything wrong on receiving monetary values on exchange of a review or a post , after all, it is not as easy as others think to maintain a blog, you need to pay dollars and (yes, hundred of dollars for some) for the yearly domain and hosting and to add the electricity and the internet connection you consumed every time you open your net but you also need to set a standard for this and we should know what kind of articles we need to put on our blogs and if you think this does not conform on your beliefs, we all have the rights to decline. There are lots of ways to earn from blogging and Google adsense is just one of them.
Freebies are something we all wished, getting invited on events is an extra but it doesn't secure you a spot on being considered as a well known blogger. The number of facebook and twitter fans and google followers can be manipulated (if you are already blogging for sometime, you will know this for a fact). Readers can also be gained with good SEO and adwords or keywords as they said. SEO forms part of a good blog optimization and does not mean that your a really good writer because I have seen many blogs with high ranks that is not really worthy of those number. But it doesn't mean that high ranking blogs lack good qualities of writing, many of them got their ranks because of good articles that is truly worth reading.
With blogging, i gain more friends, learned different things, won amazing prizes from simple to the grandest, only bloggers could have won and yes i'm definitely enjoying the perks of being a blogger but this doesn't mean that I need to lose myself and my whole character just to get some freebies and it also does not mean that because someone gives you a freebie you would eventually browse the dictionary for flowering words and good words even if those service turned into unpleasant experiences.
As a blogger it also your duty to create reliable and truthful information, if you have experienced something not good, it is also doesn't mean that you need to broadcast them to the world through your blog , we need to set standard and boundaries within ourselves and with every posts we make, we need to carefully choose our words even though we are dying to blog about those unexpected bad experiences.
Summing it all, i don't see any wrong on receiving gifts and freebies from companies who offers them as long as we don't abuse this privilege and this would not be the cause of losing our integrity and over all character as a person.