This post titled Why Bloggers Shouldn’t Give Their Work Away is about a recent experience we had. This is is NO WAY meant to reflect badly on the sponsor who did absolutely nothing wrong~ this was our mistake.
It seems like the epitome of blogging is getting to a point where you consistently take good pics for your posts. There is nothing like looking through your pics and seeing that money shot. Be it for a review, sponsor or just a cute pic of the kids, it’s like hitting the jackpot.
We recently had that experience while doing a review for a company; Melissa’s husband had taken an amazing picture and Melissa was so excited to include it in the review post. It had everything: good lighting, natural pose, clean background, great focus, and personality. In other words, it was perfect! Of course the sponsor loved it!
They loved it so much, that they did what they should have done; they asked our permission in using it for advertising. There is no need for details about how the decision was made, but the end result was that we gave permission for the company to use our image with no compensation. We eventually received a .pdf of the catalog cover and thought nothing more of it until…
Until 4 months or more later when I was walking through the 760,000 sq. ft. conference space that is the Javits Center in NYC for Toy Fair 14 and was stopped in my tracks by this:
I know it’s hard to see because I took the picture with my iPhone, but it’s a 4′ X 4′ back lit display with our FREE picture. I couldn’t move.
Again, I want to make it clear that the sponsor did nothing wrong; they asked permission and were given it. We only have ourselves to blame.
The bottom line is that we gave blanket permission with no further questions asked and later realized that we didn’t really know what we were giving permission for. We understand that companies are around to make money and we knew that our picture would be used to that extent, but we didn’t know enough to know what we didn’t know. Make sense?
It might be flattering to have your work appreciated. It might make you feel good to have your artistic work out there for all to see. It might be fun to brag that your child is on a magazine cover, but in the end, it’s not worth it.
Companies pay money for the images on the front of their magazines/catalogs, so why should you give your work away for free? What we should have done was throw a figure back to the sponsor. A figure in 4 digits, a few thousand dollars.
Because if your work is REALLY appreciated, they will pay for it.
You can bet that we have learned a big lesson here. In fact, we recently received a contract for an ambassadorship and have asked them to clarify how our images and videos will be used. This mistake isn’t going to be made again. We learned a lesson; a lesson that we should have already known, honestly. It’s not like we’re new to blogging; this isn’t our first rodeo.
So, before you fall victim to flattery or have some other idea about how this will work in your favor, just know that the people using your intellectual work will gain so much more than you ever will.
Again, the sponsor did nothing wrong! We don’t think that they set out to take advantage of us in any way. It was just a bad decision on our part that we are sharing so others don’t make the same mistake.