Family Nature

Blogs, Ads and Free Stuff

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone who offered to send me a free sample of her product so that I could blog about it. I was flattered. It was my first email of this nature. I thought it was pretty exciting actually! It’s even a product that I would normally buy, so I figured…why not?

Well the truth is, I really agonized about whether or not to accept the offer. After giving it quite a bit of thought I respectfully declined.

I’ve been blogging for a little over 5 months now and I’ve been debating about this kind of thing since the beginning. First I was debating (and still am) about advertising. So many people who read my blog have told me that I should have ads on my blog. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, is it really that big a deal? What is the harm in having a couple of ads? Why not make a little extra money if I can? Lord knows we could use it.

(As a side note, if I want to have ads then I need to switch to That presents an even bigger challenge because I don’t know if I am able to set up and maintain a blog without help, and I don’t have the extra money to pay someone to do it. This has been the real thing preventing me from switching to .org – which I’d really like to do regardless of whether or not I decide to have ads on my blog – so really the question of ads is a bit moot until I sort out if I can actually pull it off myself. Which I don’t think I can right now. *sigh*)

I kind of feel the same way about free stuff.  None of the books or products I’ve ever mentioned here have been given to me for free; and I have never written about a product or book because someone asked me to do it. But really, would it be that big of a deal? Will people think less of me and my blog if I accept free stuff then blog about it?

I’ve been asking myself this: when I think about the blogs that I love to read, and the bloggers that I really respect, what do they do? Can I even remember off the top of my head if they advertise? Actually, no, for the most part I can’t.  Do ads bother me? No, not unless a blog is so littered with ads that it is distracting – which I think is cheesy.

Can I remember off the top of my head which blogs do product reviews? Yes I can. What do I think about it? I don’t know.

I’m not sure why; I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel right about reviewing products when I get something in exchange. I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong and I think it’s fine for other people to do it; it’s just not right for me right now.

As for ads, I don’t really have strong feelings either way so maybe one day they’ll make their way on to Family Nature, but not anytime soon.

Right now I’m working on a new logo for Family Nature – well, not me personally because I don’t have the skills or the program to create such a thing – but I’m in touch with someone who does. I’m actually really excited about the idea of a new logo and the fact that it will be done via a barter/trade arrangement with another mum! I’ll share more when the details have been sorted…keep an eye out for it!

3 thoughts on “Blogs, Ads and Free Stuff

  1. Amber

    I put ads up on my blog a couple of months ago. It was a bit of a leap for me, but I did it because I decided every little bit helps. Thankfully I’ve already been on for years, thanks to my talented husband. I haven’t gotten paid yet from the ads, but the reaction has been fairly supportive, or at least not negative.

    I also recently decided to accept my first review. I’ve reviewed products I own and books I’ve read, many times, but they were always things I’d bought myself. Well, sometimes I borrowed the books from the library, but you get the drift.

    Anyways, I accepted the review because it was a product I wanted and would buy. But it’s a bit of a struggle to write it, honestly. I don’t expect that I will receive harsh judgment or anything, I’m just trying to strike a balance and make it interesting. I’m not looking to make it an ad, you know? After this experience I’m not sure I would do it again, mostly because I find it sort of awkward, not because I think it’s bad or wrong per se.

    Although, I am really loving the product. 😉

  2. Family Nature

    “After this experience I’m not sure I would do it again, mostly because I find it sort of awkward, not because I think it’s bad or wrong per se.”

    Yes, this is exactly how I feel! When I was trying to decide about whether or not to review the product that was recently offered to me, I was thinking about writing about it and the idea of it felt weird — like you say, awkward. BUT, I read other blogs that do reviews and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it either.

  3. Brie

    I don’t have a problem with ads. I put some Google ads up when I started and no one was reading me because I thought why not. I am saving up to buy a coffee. I look at it as every bit counts too.

    I did a review and giveaway after another mom blogger asked. I had bought one of her homemade hats off Etsy and she offered to send me another on for the review. It was a bit weird to write a review but I wrote it in the same style I wrote all my posts. The part I found hard was that I felt like I had to go out and publize the giveaway because I wanted to make sure other people knew about her Etsy shop. While it brought me a few new followers, I would prefer to have new readers because they like what I write.

    But, I think that if you do a review or even giveaway in keeping with the topics that you blog about then it might even be helpful to your readers.