My Photo


Tip Jar

Change is good

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad

« It's come to this? Partisan Plants? | Main | An elegant species slumming it in my yard »


This sort of thing drives me batty! As one of those readers that pr guys are trying to reach thru a particular post, let me say that if I see the same review on multiple sites (esp if it's in a short timeframe and includes similar language) I will chalk it up to the blogger needing to get funds to justify blogging. Regardless of how many times the phrase "I was compensated but opinions are 100% mine." Um, no.

And if I see that review on multiple blogs without disclosure that it is a sponsored post it's a good clue to stop reading the blog.

Much worse than you describe.

Did you read Tony Avent's rant about the many wholesale growers going out of business, and why?

Slick business advice that applies to, oh perhaps the auto industry or food service or garment distribution or etc, applied to horticulture. Shazam, kaboom, we lose another horticulure business of large stature.

They fell for the salesmanship.

I get offers all the time. Especially obnoxious are companies wanting to 'provide' me a free posting and I can then put a permanent link to them!

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

My thoughts? Thank you for posting about what's going on in the mainstream garden industry--it's sad, it's entertaining, and we need to know.

I also have gotten requests to post a really great guest post with lots of really good information that will give me a day off if I will provide a link. No. Sometimes they don't give up easily. I didn't realize this was such a trend. A testament to how important bloggers have become, I guess.

Dear Amy Stewart,
I propose that for one 24 hour period, you change Garden Rant to Benjamin Rant. Posts will be all about me--my rants, my writing, my photos, etc. I'll provide you a new header, even. Maybe a photo of me in a dress, or in a g-string gardening. Whatever.

What would you think if you lived in California and read this headline? "This is the most serious plant disease invasion into California in modern history". Have you heard about this? Where are our California garden bloggers? This is a perfect opportunity for social media to spread the word concerning something that has the potential to decimate our orange industry, and your backyard citrus. The problem is that too many are worried about offending potential advertisers and sponsors. So much fluff. By the way, if your interested I wrote about the citrus disease at my blog.

The marketing world is on time-delay and it seems the Milk the Bloggers (and social media) memo just got delivered. Even little punks like me get daily pitches, mostly for toxic turf care products.

The best was when I posted on April Fool's Day 2011 that I had been offered a new gardening show with the OWN network. Within hours of posting this silly spoof, I received offers and congrats from around the globe, and discovered new best friends I've never met. My favourite was an offer to be the spokesperson for a line of (heavily) beaded underwear. They sure nailed what I'm all about with that one!

I 2nd Benjamin's offer. And the G[ardening] String.

I'd add to the list getting books in the mail I didn't ask for, don't want, will never read, and because I've moved, am being asked to pay postage on to have them forwarded to me. I'm asking publishers to send me only books I specifically ask for.

Wow, this is fascinating. Just wondering, though, if a company sends you a free plant, book, tool or whatever, why is there an obligation to give them something in return? Why couldn't you write a nasty review of a sucky product if you wanted?

I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I'm kind of happy that there are companies, American I'm assuming, with enough moolah to (a) pay people salaries to think up PR campaigns, and (b) buy and ship plants, books, whatever. Sales: that's what Americans are good at. It may even be what keeps our economy from totally tanking. Let me know when you STOP getting hostas and offers of free trips. Then I'll worry.

Doesn't the FTC require that bloggers disclose freebies and associations with companies for the purpose of transparency?
Besides that, it's the right thing to do. Proceed with caution, bloggers...

Letting yourself be used by marketers is a risk for bloggers.

It's no doubt very exciting at first to be approached, but a blog is useful to marketers only because it can deliver an audience.

If a blog becomes a marketing vehicle, readers will notice and leave, the marketers will leave too, and then what is the poor blogger left with?

I read several garden blogs each morning with the coffee, and there's a couple that I'm on the point of ditching, because more and more posts read like "infomercials" or are giveaways which (not being in the US) I couldn't enter even if I wanted to.

Not Rant, of course. But I'm glad to see you air the issue, as it's one all garden bloggers should consider.

And if, in a moment of madness, you decide to become a marketing mouthpiece, please begin by accepting Benjamin's offer. Including g-string.

I used to write for a tea blog, occasionally reviewing a product which I had bought with my own money. My reviews were polite, but honest. One time I kind of panned a bottled tea product whose producer was in partnering negotiations with a large soft drink company; the review made it's way around cyber-space. Over a year later, imagine my surprise when I recieved a case of the product from the producers, along with a hand-written note thanking me for my interest in their product! That was when I realized that, for the big guys anyway, even negative reviews are ok, as long as they put the product name in front of more people.

Great post and right on target. I do want to see the picture of Benjamin in a dress though so I'm supporting the concept.

This sort of thing so doesn't appeal to me and is not at all why I started blogging. I definitely talk about nurseries I do business with or my own business and the one I design for but only in a "this is what I'm doing" or "this nursery is neat! check it out if you are in the area" sort of way.

Having someone send me stuff (even if it is free) and then needing to write about it sounds a lot like homework and I hated homework.

All very interesting. I don't have marketeers hounding me to review their products because my little blog is more like a journal and has no audience, BUT...

I have to be careful what I type here...I have been so fed up with the marketing people I know that I seriously considered having a tattoo put on my left butt cheek in their honor. It would say "Marketing Sucks!" and it would be surrounded by a 1-1/2" black frame.--Sadly, I can't tell you the reason for the black frame. :-)

I'm also glad that this issue has been given some exposure. Eternal vigilance (against commercial cooptation) is the price of an honest point of view that can command the respect of the community.

Thanks for sticking to your scruples.

Although I do find Benjamin's proposal appealing. Maybe you should negotiate for the dress AND the g-string...

Amy: Superb post, and needed to be said. Unfortunately, most of the bloggers, including many I used to respect highly, have abrogated all credibility and have become blatant shills---no longer worth the effort to read or follow.

Thank you for this post. I cannot tolerate marketing. Which is probably not good since I'm in the nursery business. I cannot stand the constant barrage of marketing and branding being sold to me every day. I prefer a good and interesting product/plant done well. But that is such old school these days. The reason you have uninteresting plants? Branding and Marketing have created a homogenized selection. It is becoming harder to find unique plants and useful products. I cannot wait for the fall of the current marketing industry. Oh for the days when all we had were Wave Petunias.

Hang in there everyone, old school will be new school again and, forgive the cliche, the cream will rise to the top.

The economy is in the sh**ter, companies are desperate, and consumers are bombarded with garbage. The good part is that it's also easy to find out, with a few minutes of digging, an honest product review (I found a few yesterday on Turbo Tax's "Audit Protection" offer--only $39.95!) It is a pity that bloggers sell themselves (and their audiences) out for a little attention and a few dollars but that's part of it all too.

Use or grow the product then give an honest opinion. That is why I only accept what I will use and won't even speak with the likes of Scotts/Miracle Go/Round Up for love, junket nor any amount of money.

The association of a blog with industry junkets, handouts, and freebies undermines the credibility of the blog. Sure, garden blogging is not journalism; and perhaps we bloggers don't need to hold ourselves to the same journalistic standards. But this issue goes to the heart of a blog's credibility.

This is particularly true with Garden Rant. Garden Rant positions itself as an outside voice. "Suspicious of the horticultural industry," right? One of the great contributions of the Rant has been to be the voice of the small gardener that stands up against the excesses of the corporate horticultural industry. That voice--that point of view, I would argue--is the sine qua non of Garden Rant.

So when you say you're ok with advertising and corporate junkets, in my eyes, it undermines that voice. It's fine if you want to do that, but I think it may be time to re-examine a few points of your manifesto.

The P. Allen Smith junket was an appalling example of how respectable garden bloggers accepted free plane tickets, dinners, and tours for favorable blog posts.

I'm glad your shared your thoughts about this issue. I would hope in your thinking about these things, you come to some policy decisions that resonate with your manifesto.

I've definitely watched a few garden blogs go down the drain, and I've only been reading these blogs for one year. The first big hit is the sponsored posts. Then comes the book tour. And worst is the garden blogers meet-up aftermath where the blogger can become obsessed with what they did over one weekend and all the sponsors at said weekend. There's often a narrowing of the bloggers focus that can be annoying/isolating. I understand that each gardener has their own issues and interests, but when I read four consecutive posts about California native plants and creating a pallet planter, I delete the link from my favorites. That being said, there's still some great blogs out there that accept freebies and I dont mind reading about them from time to time. The Rant's in good shape, and quite a delight in my daily reading.

The comments to this entry are closed.

And Now a Word From...

Garden Bloggers Fling

Dig It!

Find Garden Speakers At:

GardenRant Bookstore




AddThis Feed Button
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz