Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Help me Out Here Please

026 (2) kop

Can I ask your honest opinion on something?

I get approached by companies all the time who want to send me stuff to review or to give away. I usually turn them down for one or several reasons like a) They won't do international shipping of give-aways b) The product's not something I'm interested in c) It's a lot of work on my part to be honest.

So far I've turned down lamps, home office accessories, sunbeds (would have loved to give those away but they couldn't ship them outside of Sweden), paint ( would have loved to do that give away too but paint doesn't travel well overseas…) etc etc.

I'm aware that hosting give-aways can get you more readers but I'm fine with the one's I have (that's you :). Hosting give-aways can also provide you with blog content but I have plenty of that, not stumped for ideas yet.

It has gotten to the point where I'm thinking "What's in it for me? When I get these e-mails where Company X want to send me say a paintbrush, write x amount on the benefits of said brush AND administer a give away of three of the presumably Super brushes and I'm like "you want me to do all that and I get a by then used brush in return"?!

To the point finally. Lately I've been getting some pretty nice offers of give-ways by companies who WILL ship prizes abroad (to the moon, if necessary as one said) and there's a little freebie in there for me too. 

I'm on one side thinking "Now we're talking!" and at the same time don't want to labeled as "bought". How do you guys feel about this? Would you mind if I occassionaly accepted free stuff and if I like it blog about it or host occasional give-aways? I have to say I'm not someone who get showered with free stuff all the time and I have to admit I like the idea of the occasional goodie being dropped of in my mail box…

Be honest, I can take it! I'll obviously still make up my own mind about it in the end but I do value your view on this and you can decide whether you still like me after.

~B.

144 Comments

  • Orghlaith says:

    Do it. You are honest about it. There is nothing sneaky going on. Reap the benefits of your talent. That is why we come here to your blog. Because of your talents. And you have been giving us stuff all along. Every time you share your skills, photos, stories you are giving us freebies. So go ahead. Get some back for yourself. And let us know if you like them.

  • Why not? If you feel good about it, go ahead! I don’t think that would feel “bought” at all. Om det är något du inte gillar kan du väl säga tack, men nej tack…

  • Gracia says:

    I agree with Orghlaith. If you like the product, why not? Obviously I’d rather see give-aways shipping worldwide (or at least to the whole of Europe, I’m in the southernmost corner!) but you are Swedish, this blog is Swedish and we are grateful enough that you wirte it in English for us to enjoy!
    Anyway, you could always try and see how you like the experience. It’s not like you have to commit forever, right?

  • Kate says:

    Yes! Do it! You put so much work and love into your blog, and I’d love to see you reap some rewards. If you’re honest and genuinely like the product, I don’t see any problems with reviewing it for all of us. Hear, hear, Orghlaith!

  • Jo Ann v. says:

    I totally love your ideas ! I’m moving soon so any idea is appreciated. And if those sponsored posts you’ll write help me even more, why not ? LOL
    It is your blog and you do as you want to do, of course. No one will ever come to your own house (a blog is a house, isn’t it ?!) and say how you should behave in it. Even if there is no give aways for the readers, you *should* do what pleases you 🙂

  • Rattling On says:

    Gracia is right!
    You can be choosy and only do the stuff you fancy. It’s not being ‘bought’. Anyway, if they want you to do all the promotions, the least they can do is post them off for you.
    I look forward to seeing the first cruise offered as a prize, don’t worry-I’ll be entering…

  • Nicole H. says:

    I think giveaways/endorsements are fine and I don’t mind them within certain parameters:
    – They’re related to the theme of the blog
    – You reserve the right to give your true opinion of the product and are thoughtful of the pros and cons (if you are doing a review)
    – Product endorsements don’t become the entire focus of the blog
    I don’t think you’ll have the above problems, since I think you’re a class act 🙂
    Giveaways are fun, especially if it’s a product you really like and you want to pass it on to your readers.

  • Jo Ann v. says:

    I totally love your ideas ! I’m moving soon so any idea is appreciated. And if those sponsored posts you’ll write help me even more, why not ? LOL
    It is your blog and you do as you want to do, of course. No one will ever come to your own house (a blog is a house, isn’t it ?!) and say how you should behave in it. Even if there is no give aways for the readers, you *should* do what pleases you 🙂

  • Zarah says:

    Why should you work for free? Of course, there should be something in it for you as well. I wouldn’t mind. Then again – I read your blog religiously whether or not there’s a giveaway, so… 😉

  • Anna says:

    I think giveaways are part of blog culture now – everyone is at it and I don’t think it would make anyone consider you have gone over to the dark side!
    So long as you are honest in your review of the product and it is related to your blog content then I think it’s a great idea.

  • unabridged says:

    The only issue I have with giveaways, in general, is that they often infringe on content. So much so that I will tend to avoid posts that include giveaways (especially if said posts are likely to include a plethora of exclamation points). But everyone has their own way. I’m sure your sense of style wouldn’t lead you astray. In spite of great temptation.

  • Franziska says:

    I think your blog doesn’t need giveaways. I always wasn’t a fan of those blogcandies or free giveaways occasions. If you have something in your stock that you want to share (like you did with your purses) I think that’s okay. But sharing something a company sends you makes me think “is this what Benita likes or uses to use?” If you don’t drop it. My opinion… I’m satisfied with reading your blog posts and don’t need giveaways or blogcandies…

  • -jaana says:

    It worries me that the blog world is becoming more and more commercial with all the free stuff, giveaways. It used to be a wonderful marketing-free zone without the ever stopping “buy this and buy that”. It is a shame that blogs with some “quality content”, like yours, have one by one started with this giveaway thing. To me it’s like in the saying “whose bread I eat, his song must I sing”. And especially if the companies are offering something to you! It certainly affects your opinions. Like with the politicians and the companies that promote them. Definitely no no from me.

  • Andrea says:

    I think it would be nice to have give aways with international shipping. Most blogs don’t do that, so I can’t enter, so I don’t read the posts. Like some of the other comments say, I think it is fine, as long as it isn’t too often, and as long as your reviews are honest.

  • Vipoo says:

    Go for it! You need a little reward for your hard work 🙂

  • Pauline says:

    I’m really not a fan of this type of post. When I see something like this on other blogs such as “Young House Love” or “Soul Mama” I don’t even bother reading them. I just think that endorsing merchandise on blogs stinks of ‘bought’ to be honest and before you know it there are advertisements everywhere. The advertising really distracts from the real contents of the blog and what brought me there in the first place. You could loose some of your readership and the “home-made” (I mean this is a compliment) feel will be gone and be taken over by a I’m a fulltime professional blogger feel which I dislike.
    I do however understand that it must be really tempting to go ahead and accept all those goodies.

  • Judith says:

    I’m behind you 100% if you decide to do this (as well as if you decide not to, for that matter). I don’t get the feeling of you being “bought”, since you’re not talking about endorsing every single thing thrown your way just to get a freebie or fill blog space. I’ll never see you as a “fulltime professional blogger” in the negative sense that Pauline mentions, because evaluating products that have to do with the content of your blog seems to fall right in line with what you’re already doing.
    And it’s perfectly honest to accept something as thanks from a company whose product you’re sincerely endorsing after having taken the time to try it and evaluate it.
    Go for it!

  • Juliette R. says:

    I think as long as they aren’t super often – like more than 2x/month – giveaways can be good. I agree to PPs saying they’re only good when matching the blog’s regular content and also being a product the author totally endorses.
    Since you already know what a drag they can be to organize, and you’re a pretty practical soul, I think your discernment about the whole thing would be spot on.
    also – I’ve seen some blogs who have short posts about their giveaways and then put all the ‘fine print’ on another page somewhere to click to if you want. That helps keep things clean.

  • Hi Benita,
    first: thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    I’m separated in this case. On one hand i think you have the right to take what offer you like an write about it, and you have the right to get some free stuff for yourself.
    On the other hand i think its like the opening of pandoras box, and what i most like on your blog is the non commercial, non professionel look&feel.
    Thank you for giving this all to us!!
    Marit from germany

  • Jessica says:

    I agree with Jaana – your blog is a wonderful restingplace just because its commercial-free. My vote goes to keeping it that way. No thanks, that is.

  • Renée Backe says:

    I agree with Orghlaith

  • Catherine says:

    Firstly, I think it’s wonderful that you are posing this question to us. It exactly why I read this blog- you’re honest and you’re not trying to be something you aren’t.
    I would hate to see you having a weekly giveaway, like at a couple of other blogs I can think of (YHL in particular). It comes across as tacky, that you’ll hawk anything just for a freebie for yourself. Paid endorsements are yuck. That said, I really wouldn’t mind if you featured something every now and again that we would probably be interested in (ie. on theme with your current content). I don’t have a problem at all with you benefiting financially from your blog. I just don’t want it to become the driving force. The other day Not Martha had a post about being offered a nice car to drive around for a weekend and then write about. She declared it up front, wrote not just about the car but the places she took it, and it didn’t feel like a hard sell. I didn’t have a problem with this at all and was happy for the blogger to have a cool opportunity like that.
    Re having a sunbed giveaway- I would so hate to see you do this. Where I live (Australia), skin cancer is a major issue and there are massive campaigns around how unsafe solarium tanning is.

  • Ramona K says:

    Go for it girl! If you feel tempted that is. I am one of your Swedish readers and I enjoy your generous sharing of ideas. I don´t bother with give-aways but plenty of people think they are fun. If you yourself get something out of it – where is the harm in that?
    Kram/Ramona K

  • Ylva says:

    I agree with Jessica, your blog is one of the best ever, and one thing I like is the commercial-free zone. Don´t change that, please.

  • Catherine says:

    I agree with Orghlaith as well.

  • Christine says:

    I’d prefer you not to jump on the give-away bandwagon.

  • Kate says:

    As long as you say at the top of the post that you got a free thing, I don’t see why not! People who don’t want to read it can skip it, and I for one trust you to say if the product is disappointing. Why SHOULDN’T you get a little something for your efforts?

  • Sana says:

    i think it is ok al long as you feel comfortable with it. i certanly wouldn’t think of you as “bought” – i think you would be like that only if you wrote about things you didn’t like in order to recieve some gifts or money.

  • Kristin says:

    I don’t mind a give-away once in a while. Free stuff is rad 😉

  • Sandra says:

    I agree that as long the product is something you have tested and swear by, and you write an honest opinion about it, I’m all for free stuff.

  • Paula says:

    I think you should accept it, as long as you feel confortable with it. And if they ship it overseas, well… I’m in Portugal, so that’s for me!
    🙂

  • Oh, it wasn’t one of those tanning beds, it was an italian garden recliner, same as the ones I have in my garden 🙂

  • Malin says:

    Nothing wrong with earning money/stuff from your blogging! As long as you feel comfortable with the products in the give-aways I think it is fine now and then. It’s your blog, your decision. But please don’t take away the ‘real’, inspiring content just to make space for give-aways!
    As for shipping, I have seen US blogs that have some give-ways that ship only domestic and some that ship internationally, maybe it hasn’t to be all or nothing?

  • elissa says:

    Giveaways are fine so long as there’s disclosure. Also, they’re great if they’re from independent designers, small companies, etc.

  • Pia says:

    do it, you deserve it!!! I will still like you…

  • Messy says:

    I would not blame you at all, after all this stuff takes time and giveaways are a way to get something back. And I wouldn’t let the fact that the company only ships to Swedish winners get in the way at all. I’m sure you’ve got many Swedish readers, and they will be very happy. Can’t please everybody.
    But I must admit that I love that your blog is completely free of the ‘buy this, buy that’ vibe. And those companies offer this opportunity because it does help them sell their stuff. So to me personally it’s not appealing.
    BTW, if there is one company that should pay you (lots!) it’s Martha Stewart. 😉

  • Hey, you’ve been completely upfront about it, and after all, it’s your blog, so go for it!

  • Jen says:

    I think it’s a fine idea–and “knowing” you, it wouldn’t be just any old crap. You’d only post things that are “appropriate” to your blog. And who wouldn’t want the chance to win something like that?
    :o)

  • Sara says:

    Anything that will benefit you is ok with me, Miracle Girl. We’ve all reaped the benefits of ‘you’ for a long time. Plus, we all know you’d be honest. 🙂

  • Miss VanDroo says:

    As long as you stick to your own values and the giveaways are items YOU truly like, then your readers will most likely enjoy them too…I think it might be fun for everyone! :o)

  • tiina says:

    I think you’ve deserved it. Keeping blog like yours is a lot of work. The most important thing about taking free stuff and then writing about it is transparency. If you clearly say: “hey guys, I got this free product, tested it and liked it” I think there’s nothing wrong with it. The problems start if you have to try to hide the fact that you’ve got something, or if the company asks you to give editorial coverage. For blogs it’s important to keep the genuine and honest nature. I think you won’t have a problem with that, so you should definitely go for it!:)

  • Lori says:

    Go for it! If that’s what you decide you want to do. I believe you will be honest in your appraisal of a product, and a little something for you is fine!

  • Messy says:

    You know what, I’ve changed my mind about this already. 😉 I just read your question again, and really, if it’s completely up to you whether you post about it or not, and what you say, then go for it. Not that you need our permission of course. Your blog, your show.
    BTW, the little thing I was going to send you is on its way. I’m a slacker, and broke too for the last couple of days, but it’s coming!

  • Marianne. says:

    I think if you are honest about it, it is o.k. I don’t mind getting heads up on nice products and I don’t mind give-aways LOL And I like the idea that you get some free stuff in the process. You are doing all the work around here, so…
    Just don’t over do it. I found a nice blog a few months ago and now it is all commercial. Almost every post is “brought to you by…..”. It makes you wonder if they post because they like to or because it brings in cash.

  • Annapolitan says:

    It’s your blog and I think you should do what’s best for you. I think you’re tremendously talented and you deserve to be rewarded for what you do, and if that comes by way of companies who recognize your talent, that’s fine. Don’t apologize for making business decisions that benefit you.
    There are other homemaking blogs I read regularly. I have participated in a few giveaways if it’s something I fancy, but most of them I don’t bother with. To be perfectly honest, I can’t even remember what they were for, and I don’t feel like the bloggers were shilling for a particular company or were “owned” by them.
    Blogging is hard work, which is why I don’t do it. 😉 I think if you find sponsors who want to pay you for it and you arrange things so you are being true to your values, then go for it!

  • Barbara says:

    I’m probably one of your older readers and enjoy your blog for your style and clever solutions accomplished with minimal outlay and creative reuse. I don’t mind reading about products that you’ve received for free. It is a small price to pay for all your wonderful ideas.

  • Durga says:

    First, It’s my birthday today so i loved that your post had a pic of a present! :))
    giveaways are great. i havent won anything yet but everyone loves free stuff right?
    if u have a benefit to it too then we all win. but, please don’t support corporations who disregard the environment and worker rights. i’d be sad if they used u to promote their stuff.
    anyway, your blog = your choice.
    i love what i read.

  • Dusa says:

    You should do what you feel honors your blog and your reasons for starting it in the first place. If you want to do an occasional giveaway, so be it. I agree with several of the posters who said ‘2x/month’ and only products you would truly use IRL.
    Just my two cents, you won’t lose me a reader either way. 🙂

  • Nichole says:

    As long as it’s something you actually think is a good product, you should do it.

  • Rebecca says:

    Do it if you’re interested in the product! So long as you’re honest, I don’t see what’s wrong with it. People can choose to skip the read if they want. And it’s not like you’ll be asking your reader to “BUY THIS NOW X a 100 exclamation marks!”. Consumer’s sovereignty still rules anyway. Just make it clear to the sponsors that you’re only giving a honest review and leave it at that!

  • Trish says:

    echoing Dusa and others

  • Berglind says:

    go for it! 🙂
    we trust you

  • Leslie says:

    Oh Benita, your faithful followers know you are extremely honest and ethical. I personally think if you like a product and use it, that it wouldn’t bother anyone if you blogged about it. And if you have one to give away and you get something too, that’s great. I would keep it to maybe one a month though, so your blog doesn’t become too “commercial.” We’ll love you no matter you decide!

  • dede says:

    I think it would be a fun ADDITION to your daily blog, but please DON’T USE THEM AS POSTS; I love your blog, and I don’t want to read about some product instead of your daily bits.

  • Vanessa says:

    Benita, you’re lovely and I don’t think anyone would tune you out if you didn’t do giveaways!
    But if you do, I would only suggest you fairly disclose any benefit you receive from companies whose products you review or give away. The Federal Trade Commission in the United States has set forth regulation requiring full and fair disclosure by bloggers. Which I definitely think you would do anyway but I just wanted to drop the fyi because I don’t think every blogger is aware of this.

  • mary s. says:

    i agree with the above post-ers who think this is a good idea as long as you are giving away things that you have given an honest review of. my other thought is that your blog is great the way it is, so hopefully you won’t be inundated with too many “giveaway” posts.
    … that being said, who doesn’t love free stuff?

  • t says:

    I think you will probably lose as many readers as you gain…so do whatever it is you would prefer.

  • Christine says:

    I definitely think you should do it:)

  • carol k says:

    I love how honest you are! I worked briefly in retail
    and I had the hardest time endorsing anything that I did not truly believe in. I think freebies are awesome and if you are endorsing something you really think is wonderful, it’s a win-win situation.
    Has Hermes approached you about any handbags, yet?
    I think those need to be recommended by you and you,of course,should get a free handbag!

  • Candy says:

    I am okay with it as long as 1. you are honest about your opinion of the product (I see no problems there) and 2. you are upfront that you are being compensated to review the product (again, no problem).
    So, I say, go for it!

  • katyrenee says:

    If your interested in it, do it. This is your blog after all. Fun of you to ask–and I do love me some giveaways. Maybe offer a special incentive to your pre-giveaway readers? 🙂

  • Leah says:

    DO IT! You are so honest, for one thing, and another is you work incredibly hard on this blog. You deserve a reward! I am not sure how these companies set it up, but I know a lot of them give you two prizes – one for you and one for your readers. As long as the prizes are relevant to readers, and you disclose everything, I think it is a win-win.

  • Erin Kleider says:

    I say go for it. You blog everyday, making you a perfect candidate and you deserve it. You can pick and choose and guess what…we ALL love a give-away even though some of us never win! LOL!
    Erin 🙂

  • Kimmi says:

    Honestly not sure how I feel about this, but in the end it is YOUR blog! I do know that some blogs that I read totally feel “bought” now and when they do host a giveaway from sponsors I generally skip that post(s). Thanks for sharing.

  • Robin says:

    You’ve given us a lot of your time in the creation and upkeep of this blog. You should absolutely enjoy some things in return. Do it!

  • I think it’s fine. Plus you are not selling us anything – it’s a giveaway. If you like the product, great, say so. If not – its a giveaway. No harm done.

  • Rosa says:

    I’d say go for it. If you are going to give your honest opinion that it works and want to give it away, then I am all for you letting me know about a new product. However, if you absolutely don’t love the product and don’t think that it will work for your readers, especially for you, then you must be honest and let the company know–and you don’t have to tell us. A give-away every now and then is perfectly fine for a blogger. But when you lose your blogging integrity just to get free things in any way, then readers lose faith.

  • Jessica says:

    Hey, who doesn’t like free stuff every once in a while! Beside, honest opinions are always good to get, so as long as the company knows you’re giving honest reviews, then go for it!

  • Mary (New Orleans) says:

    I love your blog. I will come read it no matter what you decide. I think it’s wonderful you asked your readers’ opinions.
    I don’t go to blogs for giveaways. I go because I enjoy something about the blog that I don’t get anywhere else.
    I come to your blog for it’s design sensibility, a sense of curiousity (what will Benita come up next), an admiration for your energy and hard work, and the straightforwardness of your posts and a deep admiration for the simplicity of the way you live and organize your life.
    I am certain if you decide to go forward with participating in giveaways, you will
    a)be honest about the product.
    b)most likely choose products that I myself have been curious about trying.
    p.s. Hugs, (LOL so corny)
    Mary

  • Emily says:

    If you feel like you can stand behind the product in good faith while being honest with your reviews, then I don’t see why not.
    I mean really, who doesn’t like free stuff? 😛

  • Bethany says:

    You don’t have to write about what you don’t like, so I see no issue.

  • Lori says:

    Only if you really like it, because then I would believe in the product. You have high standards, good taste and honesty so an endorsement coming from you would mean a lot to me as a reader.
    AND you would enjoy a freebie to boot!
    Lori

  • Casey says:

    I would go for it, as long as you’re actually interested in what you’re reviewing and giving away then you shouldn’t feel like you are being bought.

  • Mia says:

    Oh do it! I actually have been thinking of sending some stuff to you myself to thank you for making my day everyday with your posts 😉 So if you can get something YOU LIKE and offer some of it to US too, what could be better?
    So give it a go, please – I am sure there are many many of us out there who would love to see you getting something out of all this you do for us!
    Huh, a long one but felt I needed to say all that 🙂
    Yours,
    Mia

  • Matthew says:

    Do it if you like the product. I’m really glad you asked by the way. I love you and your blog!

  • One of the main reasons I do reviews and giveaways is because I am a professional organizer and work with clients offline as well. I have found that doing the reviews is beneficial to me in that I can try products out before I recommend them to my clients. If I recommend a product I want to know it is good before doing so. However I can’t afford every product out there I would like to recommend. This gives me the opportunity to do that. When I personally buy something I review it as well. I don’t push products I just give my honest opinion.
    I also don’t take products I can’t personally use or use for a client. Then the review feels forced because you are trying to find a use for it. I write about the things that I truly like/love/am passionate about. I know you do as well, so whatever your decision is I know your readers will stand by you.

  • maddy says:

    It’s totally your blog and your call. I can certainly understand that you deserve some reward for all your work. Your blog IS a great deal of work.
    Having said that, I hate the way blogs are going–very commercial. I can’t stand blog giveaways…ugh. I guess it’s the way of the world now, and I acknowledge that I sound like an old cranky person. 😉
    All best to you whichever way you go. I really admire your blog and style.

  • I say do it! As long as you’re not promoting products you don’t agree with (on any level) or misrepresenting the quality of the product, then I wouldn’t consider you as “bought.” Honestly, it seems like a win-win situation to me. But you certainly need to be comfortable with what you’re doing. We are just the readers; this is still your blog. Thanks for sharing this with us – I really love your honesty and your blog!

  • Vicki K. says:

    Seems like if you are selective about it – using the criteria you mentioned (good product, not too work intensive and freebie for you) – that doing an occasional promo would be fine. I have to admit that it feels cozy just having your pure unadulterated ideas and inspirations but I’d have a hard time saying no to a good quality freebie. You should be rewarded for all the time and thoughtfulness you put into your blog.

  • mirka says:

    I recently joined your fan group here and the sole reason was your topics and your writing style, sincere. Products are not my focus at all, but if you want to share it with us in the same spirit as all your other projects/posts, then why not. I really like your candidness and don’t mind if now and then you promo something.
    I think a company should pay you for advertising their product. To them it is all about business and profits.
    I’m sure you will make a decision that is right for your blog and for you.
    Good luck!

  • bashtree says:

    Go for it, Benita!! We support you! And besides, you have impeccable taste so we know you would only promote worthy things!

  • heather says:

    Go for it… do what’s right for you. We’ll keep on reading. Besides, I value your opinion, so if you (truly) think it’s amazing, I’m gonna listen!

  • Dee in BC says:

    I’d say “go for it”. Many other well known ( & well respected blogs) do this- Young house love – Pink Loves Brown ect… I think I’d likely read your blog no matter what ( well maybe- if you stopped blogging)
    Have a super day
    Dee in BC (Canada)

  • Jenny says:

    I think there’s nothing wrong with an occasional give away. I do get tired of those uber popular blogs where every 2 days they are doing a compensated review or giveaway.

  • People come to this blog to get your unique perspective on whatever it is you’re sharing that day. If you stick to giving away or featuring products that you honestly enjoy or believe in, it will stay your blog and we will love it!

  • Connie says:

    Please don’t accept the free items. As it is now, your blog feels like a friend is talking to me… I’m worried that it would lose it’s friendly, personal feel, and it would reduce your creative freedom. I don’t like how blogs are becoming more commercial. (But of course, I will still “like” you, whatever you decide.)

  • diana says:

    Interesting question! I wish they would give you freebies AND pay you for your work … but no, *sigh*, then you would be a Madwoman (adwoman), not the best durn blogger in the hemisphere …
    I can see pluses and minuses. Why don’t you try it a few times and see how you feel about it? You can always stop if you don’t like it.

  • Amanda says:

    I agree that it is perfectly ok to do reviews and giveaways as long as they aren’t too frequent and you are upfront about it. I appreciate knowing when a blogger has received a freebie for a review, when a link is an affiliate, etc.
    Thank you for your blog, by the way. I don’t think I’ve commented before, but I’ve been following it for a while now. You have some great projects and inspiration!

  • acidspit says:

    Please DON’T do it. It makes bloggers looks cheap and as if you were on sale. I absolutely think less of bloggers who do these giveaways, especially when they say offer to “increase” your chances by posting something on twitter and facebook in addition to commenting.
    You always have great ideas, and I adore reading this blog. Please don’t cheapen it.

  • Julia says:

    Go for it – we’re under no obligation to apply for the stuff and if it’ in keeping with the style of your blog what’s the problem, we’re here because we love what you give us on a daily basis 🙂

  • Blake says:

    I say go for it if you really want to (but only products that you’d already be interested in), but I agree with some others here who say that it’s not the kind of post that makes me really love Chez Larsson. I love the personal touch of your blog, and the fact that you’re so full of ideas for making, doing and reinventing. I guess I don’t think of “stuff” when I think of Chez Larsson… I think of ideas.

  • I don’t like blogs that feature a lot of giveaways. If I wanetd to win something, there are other sites for that. That’s not why I visit a blog. That said I think it would be ok if there was something REALLYREALLYGREAT that a reader could win. Otherwise… I’m not a fan.

  • MissKitten says:

    Off course you should!!! You put so much time and effort into this blog (even though you do it because you like it, but still) and you give so much inspiration and share so much of your life that it´s not more than fair that you should get some benefit from it. I say go for it!

  • cheryl martin says:

    I think Miss VanDroo said it best. I value your opinion Benita, and this may be a win/win situation.

  • Carmen says:

    You are so honest that I know you will do the best for your readers so go ahead and do what you think is best. Go on like this. You are one of the best bloggers I read by far.

  • Rhonda says:

    I’m happy for you to receive goodies! My view is enjoy it. :O) Rhonda

  • cm says:

    While I completely appreciate the time and energy it takes to write a blog, I personally wish they’d stay commercial-free. I subscribe to yours via google reader, and its the only one I receive which has ads running at the bottom – I confess it is a turnoff.
    But, it is your zone here, and you should do whatever you want to keep it going and you feeling good about it. Readers like me can just skip past content that is not of interest to us.

  • Patia says:

    I’m fine with it as long as a) it’s a product you’re genuinely excited about, b) you’re candid about what you’ve received in exchange for your review, and c) you tell the truth about the product.
    Congratulations being so successful!

  • Cher says:

    I agree with anything you decide. I love your blog and trust your judgement.

  • Caroline says:

    We read this blog because we are interested in what YOU are interested…and if you are interested in a certain product or creation, I, for one, would love to read about it. If you want to make it a giveaway- if it is something you really like and want to share- then sure! Why not?
    Thank you for caring enough to ask us!

  • Karen says:

    Yes, accept the ones that you think you would really like (and benefit from). We know you have impeccable taste. Go for it.

  • Thanks all so much for the comments so far! I really appreciate all of them.
    Here are a couple of things that I’d like to add.
    I did accept to review a diy product once about a month ago that sounded really interesting. The PR people required nothing in return for sending it to me but let me know that I could do a give away if I were interested. I tried the product and it didn’t perform as I’d hoped so instead of posting about it I sent them the review via e-mail and kindly turned down the give away. I would never gush over something I didn’t like but also wouldn’t post anything negative about a company who’s product might not work for my needs but might for someone elses. I’d rather not post at all in that case, unless of course they required a post and then I’d be completely honest in my review.
    About ads in general, they are a way for me to earn a little extra cash. I stopped working Fridays so I could spend more time on my blog because it’s what I enjoy doing most but working four days instead of five and with Martin being currently unemployed it’s hard financially. I hope those of you who are hoping for a completely ad free zone understand that it would be really hard on our finances. I’m not making a lot of money blogging but at them moment every little helps.

  • Jag håller med Orghlaith som skriver högst upp. Visst kan man ta emot en och annan gåva som man tycker passar sig själv och bloggen och som också kan vara ett mervärde för sina läsare, det tycker jag nog. Det gör ju jag 🙂
    Som limpistolen tex den är superbra och jag fick en och en som jag lottar ut. En win-win situation tycker jag. Lycka till!
    Jenny

  • bec says:

    Sounds like a great idea to me.

  • GingerYoshi says:

    I read your blog every day but this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I say do it.. but just occasionally and make sure YOU benefit. You give so many of us such pleasure with your writing and photos. You deserve some treats!!

  • Rija says:

    Giveaways are fun- you should do it if you think you’ll like the product or have use for it! Your voice through this site is so honest that it won’t change your dynamic.

  • Linda says:

    Wow, lots of responses already. I say yes. Yes to well edited giveaways that are a positive reflection of you. And I like the overseas shipping too.

  • Maggie says:

    I will still love you. If you get to test something you truly love it is a favour to spread the word.

  • Chelsey says:

    I understand both sides of the coin. But honestly, if it were me, I’d do it. And I’ve won giveaways before and it was awesome. I do understand what they mean about a “this blog brought to you by…” atmosphere. It starts to get off-putting. I love your blog, writing style, photography, and home, by the way. I want an amazing woodworking husband and son duo to come and live at my house!

  • Fiona in Oz says:

    HI Benita,
    I think if you are maintaining the integrity of your blog then i wouldn’t have an issue with it. If it changed yr Chez Larsson vibe that would be sad. Don’t sell out but i see no reason not to accept and promot goodies you believe in or which “fit”.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Fee x

  • kelly says:

    I think that Orghlaith really said it best. If left to my own devices, I’d say something like, “Go for it, sister!”
    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I’m sure that whatever you do, you’ll be true to yourself and your readers.

  • Britta says:

    Well if Oprah can have give aways who not you 😉 LOL
    If it’s something you like and you want others to try, then why not. I like give aways – who dosn’t?

  • srbradford@columbus.rr.com says:

    I say go for it. You keep your integrity by how you go about it-by being transparent and not hyping up something for the sake of hyping… I have become aquainted with some of my favorite companies by seeing them endorsed in such a way on other blogs.

  • rose says:

    It has been interesting reading these comments. It never occurred to me that there would be negative thoughts about a blogger getting merchandise to try and then write about. But, I am in the U.S. and there is hardly anything anywhere that doesn’t have some sort of advertisements. I guess I just don’t pay attention to them. So, if there is something you would like to try or play with, go for it. Tell us if you like it and if you don’t. Annnnd if you could make a living blogging then that’s even better!
    Enjoy yourself.

  • LisaB says:

    Totally go for it if you want to! I love entering giveaways – and I’m sure the stuff you’d be interested in reviewing is the kind of stuff we’d all like to enter a contest for!

  • rose says:

    Sorry, don’t know why I posted twice. lol I am not comment savvy.

  • April says:

    Don’t do it if you don’t want to. Do it if you do.
    That said, there have been some recent laws put in place in the US about blogs reviewing products that may or may not affect you. You should probably read up on it. Here’s one blogger’s summary of it: http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2009/10/what-does-ftcs-new-ruling-mean-for.html
    At the very least, you may want to read her opinion on doing it at all, after having done it for quite some time: http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2009/10/are-product-reviews-and-blogging-rotten.html
    My personal opinion is you don’t need to do this—your blog is healthy and interesting enough without it. But if it appeals to you, you should do it and don’t feel guilty for it!

  • Yasmine says:

    No giveaway is going to stop me from reading your blog because I am pretty sure that you are going to do it the right way. You should listen to your conscience, I have confidence in your judgment. What I would appreciate is that you eventually consider creating a separate section (link in the sidebar?) for those kind of things and you continue to write just as you are doing it now. Yeah, I would love to see it this way.

  • Icka says:

    I think you should write down a policy where you state your opinion; that it should be OK for you to say things are good/bad, you like the product and use it yourself (or would like to use it), it has good value for your readers etc…
    Everytime you are approached by a company, you can use these written “rules”. Both for your own peace of mind, and for the companies to know.
    Never do things if they don´t feel right, OK? You have a lot of “trust capital” right now, and you risk to blow it all away.
    If you want, you could read the policies for Swedish journalists regarding their integrity.
    http://www.sjf.se/portal/page?_pageid=53,38437&_dad=portal&_schema=portal

  • I’m usually reading your entries via the google reader but for this one I wanted to be able to comment, too.
    I don’t feel like you’re being ‘bought’ if you accepted some odd item to review or to give away, not the least. Your blog has so much actually interesting and very informational content that it wouldn’t change the quality. You know your limits and you know when it seems like it’s too much, product-wise or else. We trust in you!

  • Monica says:

    I say go for it and enjoy!!

  • Rebecca (the 2nd) says:

    Different Rebecca here… I love your blog just the way it is, and agree with the others who do not read posts that are about give-aways. But, this is YOUR blog, and you should do what you feel comfortable with!

  • Jennifer says:

    I think it’s important to be completely transparent that a company has offered a free product in return for your thoughts.
    I value other bloggers opinions, but I would like to know whether they are spontaneous reviews or sponsored ones.

  • I think that many of us enjoy your blog because it’s so inviting and homey, not commercial. But at the same time, I understand that when you have a blog with a large reader following, companies will try to get you to endorse their product. And if it’s something that you’d blog about anyway you might as well get something out of it. We trust you to choose wisely!

  • Jo in NZ says:

    It’s a big no from me! I have stopped reading a popular blog because I simply could not face all the promo stuff. I think it is a slippery slope and sits uneasily alongside quality content. My two cents..

  • Thanks! I printed it and will read it carefully.

  • Thank you for the links. Very interesting!

  • Paulette says:

    I agree with everyone that says it’s okay, once you geniuinely like the products you’re blogging about. Just be upfront with the companies that you won’t blog about something if you don’t actually like it. You know what they say, If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!

  • Imene says:

    Ii think you should do it. As lobg as you really say what you think of it. I like reading blogger reviews and i appreciate honesty. I say go for it

  • Catherine says:

    oh good! I’m relieved! 🙂

  • carol says:

    If it is a product you believe in, sure! We trust you !
    carol

  • elizabeth day says:

    Create a heading for your giveaway that you use consistantly. Explain your policy in your “about me and my blog”, ie number of times a month, for example. State that occasionally you accept gifts in lieu of payment. Your responsibility to your integrity is met and your readers are informed. This is no different than advertising and many blogs accept that. If you have a successful blog, it is time consuming and does cost you in terms of creativity and time, time, time.We, your followers, pick your brain and take away what we will. I, for one, would do that if you had a blinking banner ad for GE across the top of your blog. Taking payment for your talent is not shameful and only comprimises your integrity if you lower your standards. If you do not, then-no problem. If you do, then one of your mouthy followers, like me, will remind you! LOL!

  • April says:

    Hm. I definitely posted a comment here the other day, but now I can’t find it. 🙁
    My comment was basically: If you really want to do it, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. My personal opinion is that there’s no need for you to do it since your blog is healthy and interesting without it. But you should do what you want, since it’s your blog. If it isn’t interesting to you, then it won’t be interesting for your readers.
    I also mentioned that there’s a new law in the US about this that may or may not affect you. A blogger summarized it, and also gave her opinion on this matter in another post. Thought you might find it an interesting read.
    http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2009/10/what-does-ftcs-new-ruling-mean-for.html
    http://scribbit.blogspot.com/2009/10/are-product-reviews-and-blogging-rotten.html

  • April says:

    ….and of course, now that I’ve posted this comment, my original comment showed up! Weird. I checked three times and I swear it wasn’t on the page before!
    Anyway, please disregard this second comment, then. I don’t see a way to delete it.

  • jja says:

    “You can be choosy and only do the stuff you fancy. It’s not being ‘bought’.”
    I agree.

  • Paulette says:

    Benita– I just found a great set of FAQs on Cook & Eat that speaks to the question of reviewing materials from sponsors. Hope you find it helpful.
    http://cookandeat.com/about/

  • Julia says:

    There’s nothing wrong with you benefiting from the blog you write! If you’re comfortable doing it, do it! It’s not as if you’ll be saying “yes” to every offer one you say “yes” to one. It’s not a pandora’s box. You’ll still be in control of your blog, since you’ll still be the one making the decisions. I don’t believe that’s “bought” at all.

  • Julia says:

    Oops! Correction:
    It’s not as if you’ll be saying “yes” to every offer *once* you say “yes” to one.

  • Angie says:

    Of course you should do it! AND get free stuff! And I love the idea of shipping anywhere- I am in Washington state and would love to receive something in my mailbox from all the way around the world!

  • Angie says:

    Go for it! 🙂
    Cheers, and have a nice week!
    Angie
    🙂

  • sfgirl says:

    If you love the product, we’ll love it too!

  • Kristin says:

    Wow, I’m really behind reading your blog. I love catching up though, there’s so much fun stuff to read at once!
    I love your ideas, your projects and how you organize your home. If you have a chance to try something that you think is interesting and it’s related to the content on your blog then why not? I trust your judgement and think that you being offered is a sign that you’re doing a great job. Just be true to what you’ve always done and your loyal readers will still be happy!