Gone Downhill: Influenster

For years, I’ve been a member of two social influencer review sites: BzzAgent and Influenster. I love BzzAgent – they send full size product to try or vouchers to acquire one, their review and activity asks are not absurd. They are consistent. Influenster, on the other hand is all over the place and requests a ridiculous amount of time to be invested in exchange for participation in their program.

A Weird Mix

I’ve gotten multiple Influenster VoxBoxes that contained a hodge-podge of product that was in no way related. I’ve received I’m flat-out NOT interested in trying or spending time reviewing, like snack items (gross protein bars, dried snap peas trying to be chips). Don’t get me wrong – I did so because those were the terms of the program. But was once an occasional annoyance is now fairly regular.

Unlike BzzAgent, who tells about the campaign so you can opt-in or out, Influenster tends to be a bit more cloak-and-dagger. You take a qualifier survey that may allude to the items or brands, but it is rarely explicit.

Social Graces Spamming

The point of a social marketing and social influencer program is to get real people to try things. Those people then share their experiences in multiple mediums:

  • In-person conversations
  • Reviews on:
    • The program site
    • The product’s site
    • Retailer’s sites
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Video (YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram stories)
  • Blogs

When they mandate specific mediums, though, they reduce participation. For example – I do not have a Snapchat. I will not open one, period – especially not to do a ridiculous campaign activity. I also do not make YouTube videos…and will not do that just for some ridiculous campaign activity.

“Too much,” will vary from person to person and circle to circle, but Influenster definitely wants you to spam the hell out of everyone via every possible Other Influenster participants I’ve talked to agree that it is getting out of hand and that they feel like Influenster wants them to spam their friends and family. not cool.

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Hysteria Over Chemicals and Putting Natural on a Pedestal

For a long time there has been hysteria over chemicals in beauty products.

And for an equal period of time, that hysteria over chemicals has been annoying AF.

There seems to be a lot of shade being thrown at non-‘natural’ beauty products. Lots of, “I don’t want chemicals in my makeup,” or, “My shampoo is natural and chemical-free,” or, “OMG, my holy grail face wash has chemicals in it, so I have to switch.

No Such Thing

…as a chemical-free product. Period. End of story. Literally everything, including whatever crunchy goop you’re slathering on your face, is composed of chemicals. Everything. The banana-kale smoothie you somehow gulped down at breakfast, your favorite computer, you, me – made of chemicals.

I hope I didn’t blow your mind with that, but if I did…good! Every realization like this helps reduce the blind hysteria over chemicals.

Ending the Hysteria over Chemicals

First, consider these five words:

Chemicals are not inherently bad.

…and then these ones:

Just because something is natural does not make it effective let alone good or safe for use in or on our bodies.

Both are truths, and it’s really all you need.

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Flip Flop Fantasy – New is Not Always Improved

Raise your hand if you’ve been hurt by a reformulation! Maybe it was New Coke. Or the use of HFCS in place of cane sugar in everything in general. Your recently-repurchased signature fragrance not being so signature anymore. Pantene doing Pantene things. Innovation in general is a good thing. But we’ve all experienced product changes and came to discover that new is not always improved.

Take nail polish, for instance. Certain shades are so well-known that they have their own cult of personality. If you’re here, reading, you can probably name at least half a dozen OPI shades off the top of your head without Google’s help – and that’s saying nothing of other brands.

Flip Flop Fantasy

It’s a bright, rich neon coral creme from their 2010 Poolside collection. Or, well, it was. A friend wore the Gelaze version of Flip Flop Fantasy for her wedding last summer; it seemed peach then, but I chalked that up to the occasional difference in the gel versions of shades. Alas, it wasn’t because it is gel, it was because China Glaze changed the shade entirely.

It’s a completely different color, now, in both RNP and gel. Chit Chat Nails shared images of both bottles, complete with the same item codes…

Flip Flop Fantasy - Chit Chat Nailsvia Chit Chat Nails

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that sun safety and skin cancer awareness are important topics to me. I remind multiple times a year to practice sun safety and to take measures to protect your skin, but I take advantage of may being Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness month to ascend my soapbox. It’s a little deranged, really, to name today Melanoma Monday – but so it is.

Month before last, my father had to have yet another area removed. Squamous Cell Carcinoma. That’s at least his second procedure. That’s not even getting into about what my mother has gone through.

I was an idiot and used to tan in tanning beds.

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Meeting Expectations

This is going to come across a bit rant-y, and that’s because it is. This was inspired by recent events but is not exclusively in reference to them.

When content creators (bloggers, vloggers, etc. for whom such creation is what pays their bills)…

  • fail to meet the expectations that they set for their readership, viewership, subscribers – whoever consumes their content
    Maybe they stopped publishing consistently. Maybe they are heavily deviating from their schedule. Maybe they promised content by X time and didn’t deliver.
  • subsequently make (shoddy) excuses for not doing so
    Especially when a pattern of not meeting expectations develops
  • get upset and play victim when someone (gently) questions the excuse
    Such as perhaps claiming a thing happened or did not happen (when that is not necessarily true), but that thing is readily available, public information.

…it vexes me.

As a part of that consumer base, do I feel personally insulted or cheated? No, but I do think it is lame to make a pattern of failing to meet the commitments you set for yourself for, you know, doing your job. Acting like a victim and getting defensive is never professional.

So, before I continue, let me explain what this is not. It is not:

  • Saying people cannot have lives or adjust their publishing schedules or expectations.
    If you need to adjust those expectations, do it! If you published content twice a week but could only manage three times per month simply state that due to your workload, this is what will be going on for the foreseeable future. You can share the reason if you wish to, but you don’t have to. We all have busier or more-stressful seasons of life!
  • Applicable to those who have other careers. If your blog is a hobby, side- or passion-project, yeah; other things come first. The job that keeps a roof over your head and its workload, your health, etc. come first.

Moving on – then, when fans go, “Wait, the reasoning you (voluntarily) provided doesn’t quite add up, am I misunderstanding?” Others defend these individuals say, “They don’t owe you anything! You aren’t paying them!”

Au contraire.

Allow me to cure you of your naïveté.

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