Why I cried at BlogHer. Twice.

It takes a lot to make me spontaneously burst into tears. Last Friday, I had to get up and leave the State of the Momosphere session at BlogHer because I felt the tears coming, and come they did, before I even left the room. Why? Because when I feel as passionate about something as I do about this topic, it hurts me to hear it put down by people who don’t have actual experience with it at all. That’s right, I’m talking about PayPerPost. PayPerPost was the only paid blogging site invited to be a sponsor at BlogHer ’07, and do you know why? To paraphrase Lisa Stone, it’s because they are the only one who pays bloggers what they are worth, pays them on time, provides excellent customer support, and provides exceptional community support. But the words PayPerPost spoken at BlogHer were the equivalent of admitting that you enjoy poking yourself in the eyes with sharp needles. The topic of monetization was brought up at the session, and the moderator (Jory Des Jardins, one of the BlogHer founders) asked a question along the lines of “so, what shouldn’t you do for money?” Chris Jordan-a blogger whom I feel a friendship with and whose writing I really enjoy-said “you shouldn’t write for PayPerPost!”. I felt like I had been stabbed in the chest. I turned around in my seat because I knew my roommate Liz was standing behind me, and I just looked at her, and she looked at me, and then I turned back around, folded my hands, and concentrated on breathing deeply. Meanwhile, the session was continuing with more discussion about how bloggers of color do not generally get approached to place ads or write reviews, and a woman standing behind me made a joke about how she would be happy to accept laundry detergent. Jory asked something along the lines of “what products wouldn’t you accept?” and someone yelled out “Swiffers!” It’s well-known here on this blog that I got started writing product reviews after I wrote a post titled “I Love Swiffer, yes I do”, and was contacted by a P.R. firm in nearby Ann Arbor who was doing an online campaign for a new design of the Swiffer Sweeper. They asked me if they could send me one in exchange for my writing about it on my blog, and I was thrilled. Someone read something I wrote, and liked it enough to want to hear my opinion on something else? That was pretty damn cool. So. I’m already feeling the pressure of three months of trying not to apologize for becoming a paid blogger- actually, the term at BlogHer was “professional blogger”, then I’m hearing someone make a negative comment about them. Because I had been to Speaker Training, I knew that the “rules” for panel discussions said that if someone made a negative comment, the moderator was supposed to ask for the opposite opinion. Hands were flying up all over the room and I was in the very back, and it wasn’t likely that I was going to be able to get called on. The discussion was continuing, and I was sitting there feeling this big bubble of emotion rising in my chest, and I suddenly knew I had to get up and go call my husband. I was walking to the door and the wonderful Busy Mom was standing there, and she asked me if I was okay. As soon as I opened my mouth to say “no, and I need to call my husband”, the tears burst forth. I walked out into the hallway and started shaking with sobs. And then I got his voicemail and had to leave him a sobby message, which just made him worry. I walked down into the Sponsors Exhibit Hall, and Liz called me and said “stay right there, we’re coming to you”. Having her and Dana want to come find me and make sure I was okay made me feel so much better. They wanted me to go right back and talk to Jory, but she had already left. I was able to speak to Lisa Stone on Saturday, and that’s when she reminded me that Chris had the right to her opinion, and that panelists are free to speak on any subject related to their session, and I totally agree. I’m not angry with Chris Jordan, if she doesn’t like PayPerPost, that is her opinion. What upset me is that the comment was made, and about a sponsor no less, and no one stood up and made a positive comment in response. Including me. I wish I had just jumped up and said “hey, wait a minute”, but I couldn’t. Liz from Mom-101 also mentioned PayPerPost in her panel session on Saturday, and here’s what I think bloggers at her level don’t understand- she might be selling BlogAds, she might be getting paid for focus groups, and to write on other sites, but bloggers at my level generally are not. In a year, I might be at that level and then I might not be writing for PayPerPost any more, I don’t know. But to say that I am devaluing myself as a blogger because I will take $15.00 to write 200 words is just plain wrong in my opinion. I am not so high up in the Blogosphere that I can say no to $15.00. In a post today, Liz mentions getting small items in exchange for reviews, like when Hass MS&L sent me a free roll of Bounty Paper Towel when they were doing the One-sheet challenge. I had a LOT of fun writing that paper towel review over on MomReviews, and I always need paper towel. Plus, sometimes it’s paper towel, and sometimes it’s a free 10.5 inch portable DVD player. You take the reviews for the products that interest you, and you say no thank you to the ones that don’t. Also, no one was saying anything about Parent Blogger Network, for whom I also work, and that probably would have made me cry too! Those are free samples, although there is often compensation in the form of cash or an Amazon gift certificate as well, for which I am VERY GRATEFUL. I have bought CDs, DVDs, and a cool Dora the Explorer toy for Kaitlyn with my PBN money. I LIKE doing reviews, and I LIKE getting stuff in exchange! That being said, I did do a lot of hard thinking this weekend about what kinds of reviews I will do. To raise the money I needed for BlogHer, I pretty much took any opp I could get through PayPerPost as long as it paid well (by “well”, I mean it paid $8-$20). I wrote about whatever the topic was, and I did it for the money. After spending a lot of time at BlogHer talking to two of PPP’s sales directors, Joe Vaughn and Robb Leeland, I realized that PPP doesn’t WANT me to take opps just for the money. When they say “Get Paid to blog about the Things You Love”, they mean it. They want you to only take the opps that are for something you think your readers will want to learn more about. With that in mind, I will be trying to only take opps that relate to parenting and to helping us all with our blogging. That’s not to say that you might not see something different once in a while, but I am definitely NOT too good to take a $25.00 opp or more, that is a LOT of money in our household. I also cried Saturday night when I found out that I had missed getting my photo taken with Elizabeth Edwards at the cocktail party. She had to leave to catch a plane while I was sitting in the shuttle bus on Illinois Ave, stuck in traffic. I had run back to the hotel to drop off the twenty million tons of sponsor gifts I was carrying, and I thought it would be a quick trip there and back. I was wrong. Her assistant Tracy said to me “oh, she wanted to meet you!”, and I burst into tears. Again. Next year, I’m skipping the Mommyblogger session, and shipping all the sponsor stuff home via Fedex. There’s only so much stress I can handle.

Elizabeth (1818 Posts)

I'm Elizabeth, a 40-something Michigan wife and mother of three. I created Table for Five in 2005 as a way to connect with other Moms, and I've been blogging ever since. Please click the About tab at the top of the page to read more about me and my family! email: table4five@gmail.com


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