About a week ago, I got an email from a company I had never heard of. It went a little like this:
My name is Xxxxx and I'm the Community Manager at Xxxxxxx; an exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. We understand when choosing a color palette for a room, it can be hard to step away from basic neutrals, and going bold is a big decision. We'd love for you to share your taste for color by creating a styleboard around a vintage rug by taking a room from white to bright!
We'll provide you, and an elite group of other bloggers images of different patterned, colorful rugs from our latest collection- declare your favorite rug from the different styles, then create a styleboard designed around that pattern and color scheme! Once you select a certain one for your space, simply share your design and creative insights on your blog! We look forward to sharing some our favorites on social by Thursday, January 29th.
Interested? Then, just email me back ASAP, and I'll supply you with the images you'll need to get started. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a shout!
What a great opportunity, right? Wrong. What's missing in there is a whole piece about payment. You all know how I feel about sponsorships and sponsored posts on my blog, but I decided to experiment. I sent this message back:
"I would love to do a style board for your company- it sounds like a really fun project. My current sponsor post fee is $50, which can be sent directly via PayPal using this email address. Once that is set, I'll look forward to moving forward on the post.
Thanks so much!
So I waited to see what the response would be, and about a day later I got this:
Thank you for getting back to me, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, at this time we are not in a position to partake in sponsored posts. We are truly inspired by creativity, and are interested to learn how you would add your design flair to our products. Our social team is also looking forward to featuring their favorites from this campaign on our Twitter page!
We hope that you are still interested in participating!
Looking forward to hearing from you soon."
To which I replied:
"Thanks Holly, I appreciate it, but what you are asking for is a sponsored post, which would take my time and effort to produce. I own my own business and I do not work for free, and the promise of a tweet is not compensation enough for me, or any blogger really, so I'm going to have to pass.
A great social experiment, if I do say so myself, except for the fact that it was no experiment since I knew what the outcome would be. Companies out there, be it small or big, are asking "regular folks" to work for free. Except I am not regular- I am running a business. A business that I want to make a profit. I am working with limited time as it is between running the house and keeping up with the kids, so yes, of course I want to make an involved style board for you for free so you might tweet it if you like it.
Bloggers and business owners, we have to stand up for ourselves and demand to be paid for our time. I know you probably read this all up and down the Internet, but I think it needs to be said over and over again because it's happening all the time. Designers, don't work for free. Bloggers, don't work for free. Your time is valuable and you should be compensated for it.
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In case you missed it: Consistency and Grammar No-nos.