I know this isn’t the right time for it, with all the controversies going on regarding the 13-year-old kid (frankly, I really hope this issue would settle down already. Imagine the pressure and the stress this gives the kid), but I can’t help it. I just have to let it out.

There are times that I wish that I could thread in two rivers. But I can’t. As a web designer, I am sometimes bound by non-disclosure agreements—especially the outsourced ones. The client privilege of privacy and non-disclosure just sucks when you’re also a blogger. You get the juiciest, first-hand accounts of interesting and bloggable tidbits, but you can’t write anything about it. Sometimes, I really wish it was as easy as disclosing PR involvement (like, it’s as simple as “I got this gift from this company and they fed me dinner, so I’m blogging about it as a gesture of ‘thanks’ even though I don’t have any idea what the product or service really is”), but it’s not.

However, that’s not why I’m ranting.

Are we selling ourselves too cheap?

Wouldn’t that piss you off too? Especially since if you know that there’s a grain of truth with this perception. Admittedly, we brought it upon ourselves.

As an advocate of blogging, I don’t really see anything wrong with companies starting to see the power of blogging. I actually think it’s good. After all, it shows that we’re finally getting “heard.” But if it comes to a point when advertisers and PR agencies just wave the free food goodie bag at us and we come running with rave reviews leaking with nothing but praise for a product or service we haven’t actually tried for ourselves (or sometimes don’t even understand what it is), it becomes a bit problematic IMHO.

I know it’s flattering (I myself was struck at rubbing elbows with starlets, celebrities, and the media at the Krispy Kreme VIP party), but when the “other side” starts to belittle your value as a blogger, it’s already insulting. Why waste $100 for a worthwhile review (that’s not even always positive) when you can spend less by inviting a bunch of bloggers to dinner who would be more than happy to write about your product or service even though they don’t really know what they’re talking about or haven’t really thought about it?

What frustrates me even more is that I can’t refute the allegation (or rather, the condescending remark), because there’s a truth in it.

A lot of us are guilty of this, me included. I have to admit that I had been pretty much on the safe side when discussing PR-related events or parties. Well, I guess not recently, when I could be pretty cold or downright bitchy about a party or product I didn’t like. Although I do find ways to integrate PR stuff into more relevant posts and avoid, at all cost, to make my blog into a PR blog, the fact remains that I myself have attended these dinners because they’re free. I guess I felt that I didn’t really have anything to lose since blogging isn’t my primary source of income. If they don’t invite me ever again for a bad review, well, to hell with them. I’m not a charity case. I can buy my own food.

It’s really irritating that there are those who are so confident to receive a glowing review for whatever they wanted to shove onto my face after treating me dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, there are those who don’t think this way, and would treat us like we are valuable instead just waving around the promise of a free dinner. There are advertisers and PR agencies that don’t look down upon bloggers. Well, let’s just hope there would be more of them participating in this growing community.

But as I have said, we did bring this upon ourselves. Maybe it’s time for us to determine whether or not it’s worth throwing our paninindigan (eng. “stand”), ethics, and real opinions in our blogs in exchange for one measly free dinner.