Before I could hit the respond button, I started to think about it. Chrome is a great company, and I would recommend their products without reservation. If I needed a messenger bag, I would seriously consider purchasing one of theirs. But is that the direction this blog should take? Should we be reviewing products targeted to the cycling community and does this impinge on our ability to get our message out- namely, that all it takes to ride a bike is a bike?
There are a lot of bloggers out there in the cyber world that review goods at the request of companies. We have all read those reviews and used them to make purchasing decisions. Some have reviewed things they have purchased or simply been given, which I think is different than solicited endorsements (which I am not sure I have a problem with, BTW). Thom, of The World Awheel and I have talked about the pros and cons of sponsorship and product endorsement. We both question whether or not one can be objective when money or goods are part of the deal. Then again, is there anything wrong with reaping the benefits of all of the work that goes into creating a blog and its content?
Like all things, it depends on perspective and intent. What is the intent of this endeavour titled "Change Your Life. Ride A Bike!"? When Meli and I first started this project, I was just about to be unemployed and was looking for something new. We talked about the possibility of this being a profitable venture, but how that took shape was something we were not able to describe. We agreed that our greatest desire would be to support local business if we were to delve into sponsorship or advertising, but we both felt that our primary goal was one of advocacy and story telling.
Meli's take on it is this-
Having things sent or offered is nice, however as the blogger or exposed to an audience that follows your thoughts and daily posts, you have the power to accept or decline, as you feel like so, if that is the whole purpose of your writing/posting.
Adrienne and I do this for fun, we are not paid, nor expect any stipends, free stuff or sponsorship at all, anytime. We do it for the bicycle advocacy, the impulse to change your life around and get out there to discover the benefits of riding the bicycle in your city. We are both visionaries and we practice daily what we preach. Over at Bikes and The City I have been sent numerous things and they have always been highly appreciated, primarily because they have been from other fellow bloggers. That aspect of connecting globally by exposing your local efforts to make the world better, in my opinion is powerful and priceless.
Now because I praise coffee and coffee shops all the time does that mean that I would expect getting free schmuck from them? Not at all. I do it because I love my coffee. I post about coffee because it is part of my life and I don't have any expectations from that. Now if I walk into a cafe and the barista recognized me, Adrienne or my peeps, and has nice things to say about bikes, the photos or how they have found inspiration from our daily sharing, then yes - now that to me is awesome & very cherished!
What do you think about sponsorship and advertising? Would it change how you view this blog? Do you think it would compromise our simple message? We would really like to know what you think about this!