This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift.
Beauty Skeptic has no ongoing sponsor relationships at this time. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact. In the past, I’ve done some minor sponsored content – i.e., received free product to review (Esqido Lashes and their eyeliners) – but I’ve never been paid for a post.
Personally – and I felt this way before I started blogging – I don’t take issue with sponsored content as long as it:
- Is disclosed legally (i.e., per FTC guidelines or whatever governing body applies) and
- Has been subject to the same scrutiny they would if no sponsorship was involved.
That’s my view and my approach to the matter.
Unfortunately, some content creators out there don’t feel that they need to comply with the applicable laws. It isn’t just a matter of legal compliance, though. In most cases where sponsorship is even viable, you have developed a readership, viewership, whatever following. These people like you, believe in you, trust your opinion. While it isn’t wrong to get paid for your work, it IS wrong to take (what I view as) bribes to shill products that you otherwise don’t care for or wouldn’t promote. It isn’t just a matter of legality, it is a matter of ethics.
Have you ever gone shopping to purchase a car and dealt with a car salesman who didn’t seem completely honest? Did you like that guy? Probably not, right? Then don’t be that guy.
Call it what you want, but it isn’t ethical. It happens all the time, but it is pretty crappy. The topic has been on my mind lately because a content creator with a considerable following has been publishing very obviously sponsored content without any disclaimers.
Consider this sponsorship scenario:
Let’s say I’m a person who exclusively shops for and uses prestige and luxury brands. That’s my jam, that’s what you can rely to hear from me about. Then, out of nowhere, I publish a post saying, “Oh hey so I went to the drugstore and bought all this stuff and totally love it! It’s amazing, you should definitely go buy it and try it!”
Well, okay, people try different things sometimes, that isn’t the craziest thing. Curiously, though, all the products mentioned come from the same parent company. Golly, what a coincidence!
What’s worse? This isn’t pretend. It’s real, I’m just not the person responsible. It isn’t even just misleading, it is insulting to that person’s followers. To me, it comes across as, “Oh, well, they’re stupid, they won’t notice the sponsorships.”
The Bottom Line
Ask yourself this:
Would you even consider purchasing this product with your own money?
If not, don’t participate in such an arrangement. Would you tell your mother, sister, or friend that X product is awesome? If not, you shouldn’t be painting that picture for your followers, either. And if you would tell your mom, sister, or friend that X product is awesome just because you received some compensation to do so…well, you need to reexamine your priorities and ethics.
Rest assured that any relationships will be disclosed for the sake of transparency, decency, ethics, legality, what have you. Anything I do agree to will not be accepted before considering whether or not it was something I would talk about regardless of the relationship. I have declined sponsorship opportunities because they do not align with Beauty Skeptic’s mission or values.
What is your opinion on sponsorship or sponsored content? Are you comfortable with it as long as it is disclosed, or do you think it is not okay at all?