Why The Fashion Blogger Meet-up Bubble Is Set To Burst




   The following is a point that I’m not sure has been made too often: many bloggers lack a background in business, finance or marketing.


   That may sound a rather peculiar statement to begin an article with, but I thought it would be worth highlighting before making my next point: the current blogger meet-up environment is surely destined to come to an end. Many businesses are not going to be able to subsidise the costs of extravagant goodie bags, often worth multiples of three figures, for much longer and the ones who can afford this will simply choose not to.

   Whilst most bloggers don’t believe that they are owed products, simply by virtue of their hobby, there are a few that do (you know the types: the ones who copy and paste the same tweet multiple times to different companies so their Twitter timeline becomes an almost Zen-like example of greed and self-centred, desperate avarice taken to its logical, yet incredibly banal, 21st century conclusion. These same bloggers, for the most part, are the type of people that have the least to offer the companies they approach or, indeed, society at large).

   Brands, however, see things entirely different; the only thing that is important to them is to make as much money as possible, with as little expenditure as can be negotiated. It’s rather simple mathematics and one which companies will continually take into account as they look to maximise their profits. This method of thinking, known to the uninitiated as “capitalism”, means that they simply can’t just give away products to everyone who asks for it (but, for example, a company who mass produce beauty products can take the hit of this cost much easier than an independent fashion company with tailor made products).

   For brands to give-away products they must be able to justify this with a directly related increased growth in sales. So, for example, a company may give one popular blogger a sample of their goods (let’s say, for example, a cool pair of glasses) with the belief that in doing so, the promotion will act as an advert which through PR (or even SEO) will directly lead to the sale of, at the very minimum, two quantities of the goods. It would be pure buffoonery for a company to give-away multiple items and expect nothing in return; all this would cause would be a shortage of red ink in the accountant’s office.

   Let’s return to goodie bags at blogger meet-ups. A blogger approaches you about giving away 50 plus pairs of sunglasses for their event; in order to make this at all justifiable from an economic perspective, the company must be able to guarantee that doing so will generate direct sales of at least 100 items (each item given away should generate two sales as mentioned above).

    Normally a company would expect at least one single, dedicated write up post for each sample it has given away (i.e. one post, one blog per product). On top of this, any brand would make certain that the blog they are sending their product to would be one of high standards – either in terms of editorial content, PageRank (which is a technical SEO factor), or viewers. By giving a batch of their products to a blogger meet-up they lose control of each of these factors. It’s impossible to guarantee how many of the 50 bloggers will write about the shades (which they may or may not have even wanted in the first place) and the brand will have no control over the relevancy of the blog these items will appear on.

    On top of this comes the fact that many blogger goodie bags these days consist of literally scores of goods: something which dilutes the value of each successive item. Oftentimes even the most dedicated of writers will struggle, or not have the desire, to write about every single item received in one of these bags and the majority of products end up being nothing more than a footnote or a background image in a hastily tweeted “look what I got” Instagram post. Brands should not send out 50 examples of products with the hope of getting mentioned, alongside an array of other products and rival names, in only a small percentage of blogs; it’s simply not conducive to good business practise.


   Soon, I predict, blogger meet-ups will be scaled back immensely. It’s simply unsustainable for them to grow at the rate they have and it’s very clear a bubble will burst; whilst it’s clear to see what’s in it for bloggers, little consideration has been given to (or indeed by) a number of businesses. In the future meet-ups will, I predict, get back to their old level where the main intention would be the somewhat old-fashioned aim of hanging around with people you might like and getting to know them. Shocking, I know.


* Disclaimer: I’ve written this post from the perspective of someone who has been on both the brand and blogger side of meet-ups and I even threw together my own hastily planned meet-up too.

This is not an attack on bloggers who attend or organise the meet-ups (particularly the better organised ones I’ve been to including this fantastic event by Maxine from A Girl I Know), but rather a warning, or more accurately a prediction, of sorts.

* However, I would like to add as a personal note, that there's a difference between a "generous" goodie bag and a vulgar one. There are people dying of malnutrition the world over; do you really need 18 toners?

EDIT: Just another footnote to make it clear that I not only don't have problems at all with goodie bags at meet-ups, but that I also rather admire the hard work meet-up organisers put into their events. I do, however, repeat my belief that the rate of expansion will contract very soon.
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63 comments

  1. I really have to agree with this post; although I can't deny goodie bags are lovely, I've often wondered what's in it for the companies who donate the items? I think you're right in saying it's too much of a high-risk strategy to be sustainable and I don't expect it to continue.
    Great post Kieron :)

    Jesss xo

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    1. Thank you for your reply!
      Goodie Bags are indeed lovely and I think that, in moderation, they have their place. I think it's just hit a point now where goodie bags have gotten to an unsustainable level.

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  2. I love this post. Love, lurve, lav it. It's shame, having organised a meet up in Birmingham this weekend, goodie bags used to be a side note, but now they seem the whole focus, and not meeting new people. While I am never ungrateful for receiving one, there's so much pressure on finding enough products to fill a bag, otherwise your meetup is deemed lame.

    I am happy we've managed to pull off a variety of activites and talks with brands, rather than just taking their products and leaving them in a drawer (hopefully!!!)

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    1. Aye - it is sad when a meet-up is deemed a success or failure based on how much someone can get in their goodie bag by attending.

      I'm always grateful to receive one I must state but I think they've shifted i focus from being a nice bonus to making or breaking an event in some folk's eyes.

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  3. This is so spot on, I was thinking just the other day about GlamGlow for example. They're giving away samples left right and center and my personal opinion of the product was not a positive one. Not only have they over saturated their hand outs and become painfully stale on the blogger circuit now but they are also devaluing their product in a few ways.

    The only thing goodie bags are good for at the moment, seems to be to find out who will give bloggers samples, and therefore let's the blaggers get another step up onto the ladder of the freebie culture blogging has now become obsessed with.

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    1. I think, particularly with Google tightening what they deem good behaviour when it comes to gifting in return for links, "freebie" culture is going to meet a slow death soon.

      Brands will be much more discerning with what they give out, to whom and, most importantly, why

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  4. Fantastic post! And that's coming from a blogger WITH a finance background.

    However, going to the meetups shouldn't be about the goody bag.... right? Anyone? I'd like to think that they could continue even if there were no goodies to be reaped.

    Love Zoe x
    www.facevaluebeautyblog.co.uk

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    1. I think we'll be seeing blogger meet-ups going "back to basics" sooner rather than later.
      Whilst goodie bags are always nice to receive I'm sure meet-ups will survive and still be fun!
      x

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  5. In my first job in social my main account was for a UK retail client, sending (what limited) goodies we had in the office was a pleasure - and something I always look forward to getting my teeth into. What can I say, I have santa dreams.

    One morning a blogger got in touch to ask if we could offer anything for a blogger meet up, I personally packed and posted 55 branded tote bags to include the new season look books, a piece of jewellery and an item of beachwear. As I was unable to provide the 70 (!) goodie bags requested due to sheer lack of stock available I also sent two £50 vouchers. To put it bluntly this cost us, alot, to send out. How much coverage did we get? Nothing. After using up our entire giveaway stock that should have lasted us a couple of months we had to justify back to the client why we'd spunked it and what we'd had back.

    When I can I will always contribute to branded giveaways but can't help but wonder what some people think we have available vs what our clients want to see off the back of them :/ x (anon because I do not want to be berated!!)

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    1. Haha "Santa" dreams!

      I think the instance you described above won't be unique to your company - and I think the more companies and agencies experience this kind of thing, the more that they're going to be hesitate to contribute in the future.

      Also love the verb "spunked" in your comment. Great work.

      I think there's a HUGE gap in what people think companies have spare and what they actually do have!

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  6. I worked as marketing director for a couple of companies, and I have been thinking just the same as you. For me to give out 50 full sized products, I would need to know I was getting something good in return. I would also want to know that the people receiving the goods would want & appreciate them. Even in my time with Crabtree & Evelyn, where I had access to mountains of products, I would only maybe trial doing a goodie bag once or twice to see what I got from it. Contrary to popular opinion, working in marketing & pr consists of more than just giving things away. Most of my job was monitoring response.

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    1. Thanks for your input - marketing, as you pointed out, means that people who work in these departments have to justify EACH of the things they send out. They have to monitor what they get in return. If they send out 50 products and get nothing back then... it's unlikely that such a response will warrant it again.

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  7. Completely agree, and I especially agree with your final personal comment. I think meet-ups should place more emphasis on the social aspect of engaging with like-minded bloggers instead of "look at all this free stuff I got that I probably don't need". You're completely right about the sustainability of it as well, it just doesn't make any commercial sense for brands to continue like this. x

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    1. Thanks for your comment!
      Hopefully if the blogging meet-up bubble bursts, there'll still be people who want to meet other folk because of their love of blogging rather than their desire for freebies. I'm sure this will be the case.

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  8. I have never been to a blogger met-up although I am sure they are wonderful for mixing with your community and making new friends. Taking about goody bags in general...I have never posted about what I have received in one (unless its something useful I could use in an outfit post). What I really don't understand when I go to a press day or blogger event, why the brand doesn't use its own product in there. There are loads of random things such as nail-polish and eye-cream testers... Not being ungrateful (but being a blogger with a marketing background ;) ) It doesn't make sense to me

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    1. Aye - it is a peculiar one. Thanks for your comment!

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  9. totally agree. so many bloggers just expect freebies now!

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    1. Freebies are fine if you sak me - as long sa they are mutually beneficial for the blogger and the brand

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  10. Hi, nice balanced post all in all but i'd just like to defend myself as I feel that this could arguably point towards me. For me anyway, organising my meet up wasn't about greed/popularity etc like some people on twitter are saying (which is downright offensive, I know you haven't said that though). I know I contacted you actually about my meet up so i do feel like a complete idiot now having read this post. I'm just really offended (not by you but just in general, i'm sure you've seen all these tweets flying around), that I put months of time, effort and stress into my meet up, my own money, and I didn't gain much out of it in terms of products, I hardly kept any products, I obviously didnt want or didnt get any money from my event, it was purely because i wanted to celebrate the talent in the north, meet some nice girls and hey, if the girls went home with goodie bags why not? I know this isn't the most important thing, infact it isn't important at all, I don't think it matters if there are goodie bags or not , I wanted to host more of a party than a traditional meet up. I don't see an issue with the goodie bags, if brands wanted to give the products, like you say, it obviously worked for them. I am quite speechless in this because I am utterly offended that everyone keeps going on about these meet ups, if i'm honest whilst I know this isn't a personal attack whatsoever, I do feel like I need to speak out about this because when the people who have organised them (me at least) have done it for the good of others it just isn't fair at all to have all of this backlash.

    Sorry for the rant, i know that what you've said is balanced but i can't help but feel offended by all this talk about meet ups.

    Em x

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    1. Hi Em,

      Thanks for your comment and no need to apologise for the rant at all - I appreciate any and all feedback I get from my thoughts and I'm always pleased when people have taken the time to read any of my posts.. and even more so when they reply.

      Firstly, I'd like to point out that there was no personal intent to this post - there are lots and lots of meet ups these days (there seems to be one almost weekly according to my Twitter feed) and I would like to apologise if you at all construed this as a personal attack - it most certainly was not; if it came across this way, I am sorry.

      I have no qualms about people contacting me in my professional capacity - in fact I'm always rather pleased when they do. However, as noted, I couldn't afford to give out products to every single attendee: I did, however, offer a singular prize as a way of support for the event. I'm all for blogger meet up events and felt that was an appropriate way of supporting it whilst still being able to justify expenditure. I'm sorry you feel stupid - I just simply, for the marketing reasons mentioned above, could not offer any more products.

      I also know from speaking to you that greed was certainly not the reason you put on the event - anybody who is reading this who believed that to be true can take my word on this that I believe you were organising a wonderful day for bloggers and did so for little personal gain. From what I gather - it was a great party too.

      Also - as you pointed out. Brands did contribute lots to you and that is their prerogative. I'm not saying they are morally or intrinsically wrong to do so. Just, based on anecdotal evidence, I believe this may be a thing of the past. I don't believe you were at all wrong to collaborate with brands and I'm pleased you got such a great response.

      I'm pleased you spoke up and, as you noted, I tried to write a balanced post here; my intention was to show a brand perspective on these events as I know (and based on the popularity of this piece) that a lot of bloggers are very interested in this side - its a unique persepective i can offer and it was done so not as an attack but as a way of illustrating how I believe brands work (or will do)

      I'd like to end with a "thank you" for your orgainsation of the event for other bloggers - it was simply my intention to predict that I don't think there'll be many events this size in the future. As such, you should be proud of yourself for putting together such an event.

      Thanks again,
      Kieron

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    2. This is a really interesting post, and I do agree with some of the things you say, but I am with Em on this one, it is a little offensive to assume that all bloggers giving out goody bags are doing it for the greed factor (although I know you're not generalizing here, you're being fair in saying it's just a select few).

      I recently hosted a bloggers lunch, because I wanted to host a meet-up for bloggers to chat in a calm, relaxed environment (over a glass of wine and a pizza in fact), without it being about a specific brand or product. I did however, organise little goody bags for those attending, which were really appreciated. As we're all bloggers - who have a platform to talk about these products if we like them - why shouldn't brands feel comfortable in giving out their products for a possible review? Bloggers and brands work hand in hand, so I guess it's up to the PR whether they have the capacity to contribute, but usually, it's beneficial on their part - as they do get exposure, even if it's not in the form of a complete 500 word review.

      I think in an idealistic world, yes we would host meet-ups without ANY brand involvement at all, where we all just attend for the company (although even with goody bags, this isn't dampened, we still love meeting other bloggers), however it's lovely to go home with a goody bag filled with treats at the end of it! It's up to the brands if they want to support this (and I understand financially, they cannot commit to everyone) but bloggers do have influence, and even spreading the word via social media speaks volumes.

      I do agree with what you're saying, but there are positives and perks about goody bags, and so I don't think they should be ruled out. Sure, they shouldn't be the MAIN focus of the event, but there's nothing wrong with them - I'm sure we'd all be very grateful for a goody bag at the end of a meet-up, in addition to the company and the new like-minded friends we make?

      Scarlett

      scarlettlondon.com

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    3. Hi Em and Kieron,
      I wanted to respond as someone that'd been to the meetup in Manchester organised by Em. I went because it was such a lovely treat to meet fellow bloggers right on my doorstep, and didn't realise that the goodie bags I saw were actually for everyone- I don't know if I was being naive, but as a fairly small-scale broadly "lifestyle" (barf, hate that term) blogger, I kind of thought they were prizes or for the bigger bloggers that turned up. I had an amazing time at the event meeting with everyone and was so, so grateful for what I received, but I couldn't help but wonder if I "deserved" it from the brand's perspective? I hope that makes sense? I suppose there's an argument to be made either way, but I certainly read this post with interest- thank you for your perspective :)

      Also, Em, for what it's worth, if your agenda was to organise the event out of greed/for popularity, surely there'd be much easier ways to do that? Having been there, it was clear how much effort had gone in at every level. Haters gon' hate unfortunately.

      Charlotte @ ginandginger.co.uk
      xxx

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    4. Hi Scarlett,

      Thanks for your message.

      I think you've pretty much said what I meant here and if i lacked eloquence in expressing this it is down to my inability to be verbiose rather than reflecting any real sentiment I have.

      As pointed out, I didn't say all bloggers (or even a majority) expected freebies - something you, yourself mentioned. There are a few bad apples who we've all seen and my intention was to refer to these.

      You are correct in saying that bloggers and brands work hand in hand and when this is done correctly it can be beneficial to both parties. I have no qualms with this. Also, to be frank, its none of my business how brands operate and I believe that if bloggers want to ask brands for things for goodie bags than they have every right to do so. My intention was to point out that at events where individuals receive literally hundreds of pounds worth of goods it is likely that SOME of these items won't get the exposure they deserve. At the moment goodie bags are GREAT for bloggers but at the size they are at, they can't continue to be GREAT for every single brand who contributes.

      I don't think brands will stop working with bloggers at all but that some of the events will have to be much more smaller scale than they are now. I don't have a problem at all with brands and bloggers collaborating and don't even believe that meetups have to be brand free to be "ideal". I just think that where ROI can't be guaranteed, brands will withdraw their liberal contributions somewhat.

      I apologies for anything you believe to be offensive as it was never my intention to be so. I do think you've agreed with pretty much all my points you've read in the course of your comment though and the only issue we really have is the matter of offense. Again, this was never my intention.

      Thanks,

      Kieron

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    5. Hi Charlotte,

      Thanks for your comment - appreciated!

      Em's event sounds wonderful and glad you enjoyed it!

      Best,
      Kieron

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  11. I had no idea meet ups even involved goodie bags! I'm so naive- I assumed they were literally just a group of people meeting up!

    Becky
    Xx

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    1. I think in recent months the size of goodie bags has really inflated... I think they're going to deflate soon

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  12. I always thought blogger meet ups were about meeting likeminded bloggers, finding out about great brands and sharing hints and tips etc! I won't lie I've been provided with some lovely goodie bags in the past (always blogged about the items separately)but I've seen so many instagram pictures and blog posts recently that put The Baftas gift bags to shame. My reason for attending these sort of events is first and foremost about networking, in my opinion it's so much more important than a 'freebie'.

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    1. I would agree with what you've said here.
      As someone on the "blogger" side of the fence I think goodie bags are always a nice treat, but ultimately not the be all and end all..
      ...as a persons who work(s/ed) for a high street brand.. it's simply my intention to highlight I don't know how much longer this can go on for!

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  13. Interesting post, I went to my first 'big' event a month back and the goody bags were full of stuff, most of it is sat in the bags still on my bedroom floor. Obviously any business that participants in these extravagant events will want to see some sort of return from them, they don't do it for the love of it. But that's the same with advertisements, sponsored posts and gifted items etc. Do you think there will be a shift in those too?

    I personally wouldn't mind, I enjoy meet ups to meet other bloggers and get to know them rather than receive the goodie bags. Although I appreciate anything I receive for nothing most of the products I have to give away anyway as guys are rarely catered for at fashion/beauty events.

    I'd much rather the emphasis shift to actually engaging and learning about one another than purely it be about receiving things for free.

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    1. Thanks for your questions:
      I think Google updates may mean that there's a shift in each of the above things but, until these get finalised and made concrete, I think brands will carry on as they can.
      As long as sponsored posts, adverts and gifted items draw results, brands will continue with them.

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  14. I don't really have anything of value to add to the comments section but felt compelled to leave one to say bravo for writing and sharing this post :)

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  15. Yes - I really see the same thing happenning. Personally, I think it's a super approach to goodie bags when brands ask what you want in it. I'd rather have a £5 top that I want to style in a post and wear than £40 luxury tanning cream I'll never use and have no clue how to review. I'm sure the brand would want the same thing too. I'm not being ungreatful here - it's obviously very kind of them to offer anything in the first place, but it ensures I CAN review the item for them - better for both parties I think.

    I feel wasteful otherwise. Just the ONE item seems much more intelligent and sustainable from both perspectives. It's like, as you say, bloggers who are obsessed with freebies. It's really quite sad. Yeah, they can do as they like but you can have a fantastic blog without that. I think it sometimes cheapens bloggers as a group (sorry guys, personal opinion) and also doesn't help a brands reputation.

    I like blogs because they're personal, not corporate. And I like meet ups because I get to meet like minded people, not because I'm out to get freebies.

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  16. I hate the fact that goodie bags are even mentioned at meet ups. I think that goodie bags should be given at PR events only, by the PR, who know who they are inviting, and have control over the bloggers and the goodies and how they are distributed.

    I dont know why people think its so important to get a goodie bag full of stuff I quite frankly don't really want and end up giving to my mum. The 'surprise' element is an amusement for a while, but then I'm still left with a bag of miniature things.

    And where is the socialising in giving out freebies? Meet ups should be about meeting people. A treat of a cupcake or blagging a free cocktail is a nice touch, but a goodie bag I think highlights the greed in so many bloggers, and then stereotypes us all.

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    1. I think all this makes perfect sense!
      A lot of products will end up unused which is a shame both in context to marketing and in the wider world where waste is a real issue

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  17. An interesting post. As someone who is a blogger, website owner and works for brands on blogger outreach programs amongst other things. I can definitely see the benefit of working with bloggers. Coverage on blogs and the buzz created by events through social media can often far out weight coverage on traditional media in terms of traffic and sales. But I definitely see your point on the goody bag thing. It does seem wasteful to be giving bloggers lots of products that they don't need and possibly don't want. My biggest concern is from the sustainability point of view. I agree the benefit to the brand is probably quite small too. There are probably many more ways that brands can sponsor events or collaborate with bloggers that would be more beneficial to them and give a greater return on investment.

    Are all blogger meetups just because of the goody bags though? As a blogger I love meeting up with other bloggers and would love to continue doing so, goody bags or no goody bags.

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    1. Hi,

      Great to here from someone with experience in all those capacties.
      I think there's a real joy in working with bloggers and do so, professionally, daily - I think they're an endlessly creative bunch and for all the reasons you mentioned, fantastic!

      I don't think all (or even most) blogger meetups are for the goodie bags - I think they'll continue when the bags shrink.

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  18. A very well written post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! I must say though after attending the Nottingham meet-up on Saturday that I was blown away by the hard work of the organiser & the generosity of brands. I felt like a kid at Christmas... a very rich kid at that!! and i'm more than grateful for everything i've received. I have been tweeting & instagraming pictures of what I got to show my appreciation & also because i've never received this many 'gifts' in my entire life, but I do hope no one thinks i'm in any way bragging because that isn't the case at all. I was truly shocked at what we received, and the same goes for a meet-up I attended in Birmingham not so long ago. I take my hat off the the bloggers who work their arses off to organise these events! I would definitely 100% attend a meet-up if it didn't involve any 'goodie bags' though, as for me it's about meeting like-minded people with similar interests & making friends... the products I received were just a fantastic bonus! :) Great post though Kieron, very interesting indeed!

    Carmen x
    www.maidenofwood.com | www.youtube.com/MaidenofWood

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    1. Thanks for you comments!

      Glad you enjoyed them - and its great you've been showing appreciation for the brands with your tweets and instagrams, etc.

      You sound truly ecstatic and you should be - I'm glad you understand the point behind the post wasn't to attack people receiving goodie bags!

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  19. i went to my first every meet up recently and although the goodie bag was really nice and i did appreciate it, if it hadn't of been included i don't think i'd have been bothered. i certainly wouldn't have not went or anything.

    i'm really worried that this goodie bag culture is going to turn into a competition to see who can blag/show off the most. the fact that some goodie bags go into hundreds of pounds makes me feel really awkward and uncomfortable. it's not jealousy or any rubbish like that, but it just doesn't sit right with me. i always wonder how much blagging/begging had to go on to make a goodie bag worth that much, and that, to me, is not what a meet up should be about.

    i agree with a lot of these comments, these excessive goodie bags make us look greedy as a community and that makes me really sad. meet up's should just be about talking to fellow bloggers, sharing interests etc not seeing what's been shoved in a bag for me.

    i wonder if those who bring together these huge goodie bags feel like it will make their meet up better? like they'll get more kudos for it, regardless of the type of person they are, if they're nice or if they've actually bothered to talk to anyone. i honestly think it can make the host look bad, especially when i see the churned out tweets basically begging companies for things. it's not what blogging is about and i cringe every time i see it.

    i know some put a hell of a lot of effort into their meet ups, like em did for the north one and the girls behind fabb events who are really trying hard to get people together (for the right reasons). but it's the few that are so goodie bag orientated who let it down. i mean, they can try and mask it with the 'oh, it was so good meeting everyone' tweets, but when 90% of them have been 'blah blah goodie bag', you can see straight through it.

    i'm not saying goodie bags are bad or that they shouldn't exist. i mean, they are lovely to receive but they shouldn't be the be all and end all of a meet up. i honestly hope this phase dies down and people want to meet up for the sake of meeting up. it would be lovely to see!

    great article kieron, it's been nice reading the comments and i'm glad someone has opened their mouth about this as i've been silently thinking the same thing recently.

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    1. The FABB ones are a great events to have pointed out - they're a wonderful opportunity for bloggers and I've heard nothing but great stuff about them.
      Ems one sounds fantastic too!

      I agree and I think you've hit the nail on the head with this:
      "i'm not saying goodie bags are bad or that they shouldn't exist. i mean, they are lovely to receive but they shouldn't be the be all and end all of a meet up."

      I'm possibly even FOR goodie bags... I just don't think that dozens of brands can continue contributing to each one.

      This is taking nothing away from the people who organise these events

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  20. I won't say too much, but I agree with it all, kudos! x

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  21. P.s I've never been to a blogger meet up, I'M TERRIFIED of them. Dying to go to one. TAKE ME KIERON!!

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    1. Haha I don't think they are that scary (the one's I've been to!) but will gladly accompany you to one!

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  22. I think people forget the point that events are PR run have a pound per a head value, there are not there are something to be handed out like sweets. The best experiance I've had of a met up was that I missed out on a PR event and suggested that a group of sit in a pub with some food and drink. Egos were left at the door and it was all like minded peopl sharing their own concerns and experiances. It was relaxed, full of laughter and importantly reminded me why I started blogging in the first place. Goody bags/PR samples/Any freebies are a perk not a privilage.

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    1. That sounds a fantastic meet up you went to! Thanks for your comment!

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  23. I love a goodie bag as much as the next blogger (so probably quite a lot!) and if a brand is happy to contribute to them and a blogger is happy to ask them to then fair play all round.
    It just seems like that at one or two meet ups I've heard about (by no means all!) goodie bags are essentially used to limit guest numbers. There's only, say 30 goodie bags so only 30 people can come. So then people who have no particular interest in a goodie bag but just want to go meet bloggers are excluded. This can then go further in that, if only 30 bloggers can go - and brands are donating items based on the potential ROI of bloggers attending - the more popular bloggers are invited and newer, less established bloggers are left out.
    It just makes the whole thing seem quite exclusive (excluding). I know this isn't incredibly common but it does happen and it seems so very against what i think blogger meet ups should be about (which is, y'know... meeting bloggers)

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    1. Great points!
      In the instance you've described it sounds like brands get priority over bloggers... which makes sense from a business perspective and if you're one of the lucky few who get in I can imagine that's super great!

      I guess it depends on why the meet-ups are being organised: if its for the purpose of meeting like-minded bloggers then this does seem quite reductive!

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    2. Although, if there are a limited number of spaces (due to venue, etc) I understand putting a cap on attendees there too!

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    3. See, I don't agree with this. When organising ours, especially when there is a meal involved, booking for anymore than 30 people requires a deposit per head, and if you invite 40 people, that's £200 you have to shell out for people who might not even turn up / forget to give it you back, especially when charging for a meetup would be ridiculous.

      Delete
  24. Oh I also forgot to mention that I think it's a great way for smaller/lesser-known blogs (like myself) & people just starting out to get involved/noticed & start working with brands :)

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    1. Yes! I agree with that totally actually - its a great way of getting on a brand's radar

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  25. Really interesting post. I have organised meetups before and focused on activities at the event, working with brands to showcase new collections etc rather than getting people to attend with the lure of goodie bags. I was offered some items by brands to give away at the event but I did a raffle/lucky dip type thing where everyone took one item home.

    There is a big meetup in my area soon which I was looking forward to because for once I wasn't organsing it and I would be able to relax and then talk about PR and goodie bags started and I feel a tad uncomfortable. That's really not what it's all about.

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    1. Hi Gem,

      Thanks for your comment - that sounds a really fun day!

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  26. Hi, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my side of the story, as such. I do think what you have written in correct- companies will not be able to sustain the amount of products they are giving away for much longer but you also have to remember there are a lot of companies that would be willing to take part in goodie bags, so it may not be as soon as you think.

    I can't help but feel that you are attacking the meet ups which I helped organise-The Nottingham meet up and the recent London Meetup. I won't even try and say our goodie bags weren't a bit ott because they were but that was because we had so many brands wanting to be involved. When we first decided to hold a meet up it was going to be more on the scale of the Nottingham meet up last October, which there was 15 of us, we did some shopping and had dinner.There was going to be no goodie bags or anything but as brands who had worked with us before, found out about the Meet up they were asking to be involved. It took a lot of persuading to get everyone to agree to do the goodie bags. We did approach brands yes but not many at all, most approached us. We also made sure that it was all brands that we know and love. We wanted the bags to be products we knew people would like and were selective about what was included. With skin care we made sure that all the products were suitable for all skin types. Like I had seen in the comments, not everyone will like everything they have been given but we tried to make it so that everyone could use everything and give it a fair test.

    Many people had travelled all over the country to come to the Nottingham meet up and we wanted to thank them for coming so far. I feel it is such a shame that all this negativity has come out of this as if I am honest, it has ruined it for me. It has become a dark cloud over a day, that we spend so long planning and put so much effort into because we wanted it to be perfect for everyone coming and I feel it is such a shame. I have had girls emailing me saying they now feel guilty because of everything that has happened because of the goodie bags. I can take people attacking the people that organise these meets ups, I know what has gone on and I can defend myself but when all this negativity is ruining it for the people attending, I don't think that is fair. That is not to say that it hasn't had an effect on those of us organising these event. It's not nice to be branded as greedy or selfish when in fact it is the opposite. Yes, those of us organising did get goodie bags but we went without products when companies were unable to send the full amount, we went without. We didn't organise these meet ups to get free stuff, we did it because we wanted to spend time with the people we spent most of our days talking to on twitter, through our blogs and email

    As for the London meet up, the goodie bags were not organised by the people holding the meet up but by the company holding the event and who didn't actually tell us about the goodie bags until 2 weeks ago and we had the event fully booked a long time before then and again we had people from all over the country attent that meet up and event, so I think it is unfair to say that people now only attend meet ups for the goodie bags.

    I will leave it at that, otherwise it will take you forever to read. Again, I do think what you are saying is correct and it is nice to see you have balance to your post but maybe it would of been an idea to speak to some of the people who have organised these bigger meet ups, to see what they say before making a sweeping post and I know you are not attacking any one in particular its just hard to not take it personally


    Sophie @ Candycaneheart.blogspot.co.uk
    X

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    1. Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I just want to make it clear that this wasn't an attack on any particular meet-up; in fact I'm sorry to say I was not even aware of yours.
      I'm sorry you've took this attack personally but it was intended as a marketing/economic commentary; I apologise about any offense this has caused and I would not have published this article if I'd have known it would have upset even one single person who is trying to do something creative and community building in the blogging world.

      My post was simply meant to reflect marketing realities - a company can chose 50 bloggers and send to them items and, in return, get full reviews on blogs they have chosen rather than take a gamble at the responses they will get from meet up events. I don't think this is a controversial statement at all.

      Since the post was published I added (a couple of days ago) a new ending where I've tried to make clear how much I admire people who put these events on. I appreciate they are incredibly hard work to organise and bloggers who go always seem to love these.

      As you can read in my article - I've never attacked anyone for receiving a goodie bag. Again this article was intended as a business perspective; something i felt uniquely qualified to comment on, straddling the brand/blogger divide as I currently do.

      I will email you now in case you don't see this reply.

      Delete
  27. A great post! I would always go to a meet up purely for meeting other bloggers and people with similar interests to me. I think a goodie bag should never be expected, it is a nice bonus if there is one, I'd hate to think people are going to meets because there will be goodie bags. x

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  28. Very interesting post, stumbled across this on twitter and feel I've learnt a lot from this discussion. (I'm working for a huge company who wishes to tap into this product reviewing process and will relay the different views expressed.) Thank you!

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    1. You're more than welcome. Thanks for checking out the post and leaving a comment!

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  29. I personally feel that some meet-ups come with a goodie bag incentive. I see that within the 5 years I've been involved with blogging it has changed a great deal and it will continue to do so but when I began there wasn't meet-ups in the UK, beauty blogging was in its baby steps, it was a lot more States based and even when they had meet-ups goodie bags were not involved, it was about bringing together people who support one another with a common interest to just hang out, eat and talk.

    At the moment I kind of see it as this type of reward. Fair enough if people choose to come from afar to a meet up that is their prerogative but do they need a reward for it? Isn't it justified enough just socialising, wasn't that the point of the meet up?

    I'm not against goodie bags at meet ups & I'm sure it's a lot of work for a blogger to organise such an event. Some companies want to get involved with the risk of their product maybe being reviewed by less than a handful of the recipients fair play but with your view I see that companies won't be able to continue to support this, if meet ups are going to be the popular thing to do.

    We are still regular people who happen to have a blog but does that mean everytime a group of bloggers get together we need to have goodie bags to show this?

    ReplyDelete

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