I no longer accept invitations/freebies (events, experiences, famils, travel, anything) – here’s my explanation.
The information below applies to older posts.
My readers trust and value my honesty and transparency – I have disclosed all meals, products, services, events and experiences provided for free and/or attended upon invitation. I disclose this on my blog posts as well as social media updates.
I don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. I have accepted only some of the invitations, offers and freebies that come my way. Most of what you see here on the blog – meals and travel experiences – have been paid for by me. That’s why I continue to have a full-time job and only blog in my spare time.
On the blog and on social media, I have used the following terms/hashtags:
- hosted (blog) / #hosted (social media) – My experience (which may be a meal, travel or accommodation) has been hosted by a tourism board, airline, hotel, restaurant or other business. I do not regard my blog posts about these experiences as ‘reviews’ although I realise some people may read them as such.
- invited (blog) / #invited (social media) – I (sometimes with a partner – I may bring Jac or a friend) have been invited to attend an event, such as a new restaurant opening/launch, menu tasting or cooking demo/masterclass.
- gifted (blog) or freebie / #gifted or #freebie (social media) – The product I am writing about has been gifted (given) to me. This hashtag is typically used for items received as part of marketing materials/promotional packages sent out to media (which may include traditional media as well as bloggers), not just to me specifically. Sending me such items is no guarantee of coverage; gifted items rarely warrant a full blog post being written. I may mention a product that I have been gifted if I am genuinely interested in it or particularly impressed by it, and/or think my readers would be interested to read about it. I do not write purely advertorial posts (be it for money, product or any other incentive/payment).
- review (blog) / #review (social media) – I have been contacted by a company and have agreed to receive a product specifically for review. Please note I choose to review a very small number of products. Currently I only consider reviewing products related to photography and travel.
Hosted, invited, gifted, review or otherwise, I will always write honestly and fairly. This means my blog posts about restaurants/products/services/events may include both positive and negative points. I do not write advertorials.
I prefer to dine at restaurants unannounced and to pay my own way – generally speaking, I decline invitations (whether from PR or the restaurant directly) to dine for free.
I previously used the term/hashtag sponsored / #sponsored but no longer do so (I use hosted / #hosted, as described above) – I feel the word ‘sponsored’ is ambiguous and open to misinterpretation. My opinions are my own and are not ‘sponsored’.