May 19, 2009


Last night I dreamed that I was at a hospital visiting someone that had twins but they were the size of Ivy now. And my Mom was there lying on the couch with all of them. I went to warm up the car when it was time to go and when I got back she had given back the babies but Ivy was mixed up with them and was now in the hospital nursery! I was a frantic mess and kept saying you have my baby! She's the only one with a cloth diaper!

And there she was, and she was also wearing my favorite yellow bow I always put in her hair. And when I woke up I was so glad she was right there next to me.

Those switched at birth stories always scared me. That was one plus about having a homebirth...

This morning I saw that I am mentioned in regarding my recent review of the Ergo. There's some FTC things going on with bloggers and disclosing when our posts are paid or product has been given to us, etc.

I am not sure if I've ever come out and said it, but I don't intend for my blog to be a review blog. Occasionally I enjoy featuring something that I really like (sometimes it's given to me, sometimes I buy it myself)*. And if it turns out to be something I don't like or think you'd find useful, then I probably won't talk about it at all.

When it comes to babywearing, I'll be honest about what I think is most comfortable or safe, and what stage I think a carrier is best for or when and when not to use it.

I was speaking with complete honesty when I said the things I said about the Ergo. You can even ask my friends- it's not like in secret I'm saying anything other than what I've written here. Or that the product isn't really being used. I also did admit that I was hesitant to even try a carrier like the Ergo- I would not write nice things about it just because it was free. And you can ask my kids- they see me wearing Ivy in it every day!

If it had not been sent to me for free, I probably wouldn't have been able to purchase it and try it. Especially with having so many carriers already, I just wouldn't have been able to justify it. But I get many emails from first time babywearers wanting to know what to purchase early on, or if they have the money, would such an item be worth it? It is also a popular search term in my search box in my sidebar. So I am thankful to have the opportunity to try it out and compare, and then let you know what I think about it.

And I'm pretty sure I'm preaching to the choir, but anyway.

I keep this in mind with everything I might talk about here. I try to keep this a positive space as much as I can (except for the times I am lamenting about all the dishes in the sink.) And to that I just say I'm keeping it real. So deal.

*Updated to add: I want to be clear that if something is given to me, I will continue to do what I have done in the past and always let you know! If you are a regular reader, you already know I do this. But some newer readers coming from the Business Week article might assume I don't disclose.

Updated 5/20/09 to add that the author of the article left a correction in his comments. And today Business Week has featured my response on their site as well. For new readers I'd also like to direct you to a recent post The Story Of My Stuff.

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  1. YUCK! How gross of them to write their article about you like that. I pretty much assume they didn't get your permission before they did that, or ask for your comments about the story they were going to do? How shady. I'm really not impressed with how they handled that.


  2. Well, I think it was meant to be an unbiased article but might come off a little different. I was aware of this and answered some questions. I think it is important for me to be clear about my intentions, too.


  3. Ha, well it was bad journalism in that they chose you, an example of a blogger who disclosed that you got the product for free, as the lead in a story about the FTC's attempts to crack down on nondisclosure in review blogs.

    That's the equivalent of writing a story like this: "Adam doesn't cheat on his taxes. But the IRS is trying to crack down on people who do."

    It might have been helpful if they actually gave an example that fit their story. In the end, though, I think you come off sparkling, the FTC looks inept, and BusinessWeek seems completely irrelevant.

  4. I appreciate you writing that review! I was actually going to ask you what you thought of the ERGO.

    There will always be haters!

    No one complains about blog giveaways, but they complain when a blogger gets a gift ( the person who we love to come to for thoughts, laughs and stories). That sucks!

    Sorry you had to be mentioned! No fair!

  5. seriously

  6. That dreamed cracked me up! I will have to email you the dream Dayna had last night. It must have been a night for strange baby dreams. I read that article and We know your intentions.

  7. Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous but you handled it well. I'm glad some of us (mainly you:) get free things so we don't have to waste our money on something that doesn't work! And I'm thankful for your reviews and advice concerning baby wearing.

  8. I have always loved reading product reviews on blogs. Admittedly, I do not want to be "dooped" into buying something someone unhonestly wrote about just because it was free or there was $$ involved.

    With that said, I think to really know if the review is unbiased and honest, you must know the blogger.

    With you, I have no doubt in your honesty and openness.

  9. The tone of that article was really negative, which is not cool since one of the things I love about your blog is your positive outlook. (Even when you think you're being negative or whiney, you tend to be inspiringly optimistic, at least to me… maybe I'm just a horrible cynic. Probably!) And you are always up-front about attribution for your reviews. I would like to think I am, too, although I am definitely more of a review blogger than you are.

    I can't tell you how helpful your blogging about your experiences with different carriers has been for me. You are absolutely correct- most new moms don't have the time or money to spend testing out all sorts of carriers. I would wager that most either end up with the easiest to find brands (Baby Bjorn, Snugli) or with slings in whatever fabric matches their diaper bag best. Your guidance helps others find their best bets and I, for one, could care less if the companies who make the carriers send you gobs of cash. Although I am pretty sure that you would tell us if they did, anyway!

  10. It absolutely came off rude. I understand that there are some bloggers who will take things and write whatever the company wants them too, but those of us who read your blog regularly know that is not you. It is a sticky place to be though because of those who do it.
    I am with you, I will only do a review of something I really believe in and love and use. Sadly though, not everyone has that integrity.
    Sorry about the negative article though about you. They could have handled that in a much better way.

  11. I'm glad you found my post about Babywearing. I was going to let you know that I posted about your blog, but you found it before I got a chance! Thanks for the push to try a sling out!

    P.S. We know your intentions are good! Thanks for trying things out for us!

  12. Steph: I think you are always clear if something is given to you or not. And honestly, WHY does it matter? I'm sorry you got some flak for just being blessed.

    That's how I see it. You've put time and quality and love into your blog and others notice. That's why people send you things. And it wouldn't be REAL or AUTHENTIC (or whatever all these bloggers are screaming about) if you didn't talk about stuff you BUY or stuff you're GIVEN.

    Sorry to be soap-boxy. This whole reveiw-vs-mommy-blogger-vs-"real"-bloggers conversation is getting on my nerves.


  13. I have to say I do not see what the big deal is. I have reviewed a few things and I always state it was given to me. That is just honesty and I want to be honest with my readers. But being given something does not make my opinion any different. People are way to worked up over a whole lot of nothing.

  14. Whatever. You hate the Ergo.

    KIDDING, of course!

    Yes, anyone who has read your blog long will definitely know that you're as real and honest as they come. Keep up the good work, lady.

  15. c'mon, you don't reaaaaally like it, do you? hahaha...this whole issue, i find it ridiculous.

  16. I'm furious with Businessweek.

    You keep doing what you're doing. Your readers will be the final arbiter if you've crossed a line. Which you haven't. Your article was perfectly reasonable and you didn't disseminate any marketing claims that weren't your own opinion. That is the real point of the FTC proposals. Not "mom bloggers get products for review," which was the Businessweek take.

    I'd write a letter to the editor, stat.

  17. I think you did a great job with the Ergo review. I'd love one but they are just too expensive for me right now.

  18. There isn't a single person who reads you regularly who would think you were ANYTHING but straightforward and honest. And while, I know people respect your opnion, esp on babywearing :), I think many of your readers come to you b/c they love your voice and your spirit.

    The article wasn't terrible, but it certainly didn't truly clarify that you aren't one of the bloggers the FTC is talking about when they question transparency.

    You keep being you and we'll keep loving you for it.

  19. Honestly, I don't understand how your post even factored into that article. The FTC is concerned about people who don't disclose their intentions. You always do. End of story.

  20. Sounds like a slow news day to me - the whole debate about disclosure has been done to death.

    Sending free stuff is great, but the article kind of insinuated that all bloggers would then give a nice review, which really only works if the product is actually any good. I'm strongly reminded of the time a few years ago that Sprint tried to get bloggers to review one of their phones, which didn't exactly net them the review they were hoping for from at least one blogger...

  21. I think you're totally going about it in an honourable way -- I have had some things sent to me and if I ever talk about them on my blog I will say where they came from and I won't talk about them unless I think my readers would enjoy it or benefit in someway.
    Seems fair to me ^_^

  22. Steph,

    I for one appreciated your Ergo review. If not for you, I wouldn't have really gotten into babywearing and now, I'm a resource to new mommy friends who want to babywear. I'd heard a lot about the Ergo but hadn't actually tried one. I appreciated your take on it since you've been dead-on with your thoughts on other carriers.


  23. Yeah, I see the point of the article but since you disclosed (as you ALWAYS do), using you as an example didn't seem to fit the purpose of the article at all. Sloppy journalism...we all should be used to it by now.

    Whatevs though...keep doin' what you're doin' sistah!

  24. I'm really glad you had the opportunity to review the Ergo and have an opinion about it now. I get asked about that carrier all the time too. I had an eerily similar dream to yours the other night! I dreamed that my new niece was born (though in my dream she was a boy) and looked just like Alice but with blonde hair and I was confused about which baby belonged to me and panicked. What does this dream mean??

  25. You know, I felt this post was unnecessary coming from you because you are so...trustworthy. I respect your words, your reviews, your thoughts. I know you speak from the heart and you speak the truth.

    I actually think all of this disclosure talk is a bit much. To be completely honest, I don't really care if you bought that ERGO or if the company gave it to you for review or if they paid you $1,000...I read your blog because I trust you and I know you won't say something positive just to get something free. You're just not like that.

  26. I think I need to write a disclosure on my sidebar, too. Just to clear up any issues, especially as more and more products pour in to review. I don't take them all, but the ones I do take are usually ones that interest me, so I tend to like them!

    I have gotten a few hits from I guess I need to make sure I'm not listed there, too...

  27. I have a question for you...What do you do with all the "free" items you receive from these companies? Do you give them away to those in need after your finished with the products or do you sell them for profit?

  28. I've never sold an item I was sent. I know some people do that, but I personally do not. I'd rather give it away if I don't want to keep it.

    I really still use everything I've been given or I do give it away, or most often as with slings, I keep them on hand or I'll lend them out so other people can try them.


  29. I'd like to add that I find it strange that I've come under such criticism since I've really just recently reviewed a baby carrier, car seat, & will soon have a fridge. If you get to know me and my blog, you'll know I'm about much more than that... at least compared to some people that post about products every single day.

    This is not a review blog. It's a blog about my life where I occasionally might talk about a product! (And you'll always know when it was something sent to me.)

  30. The 1st thing I thought of when I read that article was - um, did they not read any other post she has ever done? I thought it was ridiculous that they used one post as an example...

    You know we love you, and you know we look to you for honest advice about what you review-whether you got it for free or not. So thanks from all of them-and glad you handled it so nicely! :-)

  31. i enjoyed your interview, and loved your comments.when people dont have to face each other on the net, they become such blowhards and holy than now.

  32. Oh, I love how the correction is just in the comments, so nobody will see it...grrrr... I would never think anything of you reviewing a product you got for free, or even writing a paid review- whenever I win blog contests, I tell the Etsy seller that I will review their product on my blog for free, just as a courtesy...although I suppose that's not the same thing. I'm sorry this article sounded so negative about you!!! :(

  33. Steph,

    It's amazing how things have gotten so out-of-hand, isn't it?

    We truly know who our real friends are. Those of us who know each other personally, know what to believe and what not to believe.

    You keep writing the way you always do (and I know I don't have to tell you that) because your true personal friends and regular readers know that you are a person who speaks from your heart, whether it's a personal story or about a product that was given to you or purchased by you.

    ...they'll do anything for a story/attention these days...I'll tell ya. ;)


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