To My Readers
Those who have been reading about Perfume Blogging Payola on Makeupalley, Aromascope and Perfume Posse, know what I am talking about. For those happily unaware of the Payolagate, I will sum it up. There are not particularly subtly veiled accusations flying around that some bloggers (unnamed) have been taking money from some companies (also unnamed) to write positive reviews. It all seems to have started with one blogger saying on a forum that he or she was offered money for a review. When the blogger then saw positive reviews of a product in question on other blogs, he or she assumed that the reviewers have accepted the offer. It seems that certain parties who love nothing more than to stir trouble and to incessantly throw as much dirt as they possibly can on their fellow bloggers, took the comment and ran with it.
To my readers who might or might not at this point be wondering whether they can trust Perfume-Smellin' Things to write from the heart and not "from the pocket", I would like to say the following:
Neither I, nor Tom, nor Mr Colombina, nor anyone who has ever written for Perfume-Smellin' Things have ever been offered money to write a positive review or not to write a negative one. We almost feel offended at being left out of the payola bonanza that seems to be taking place...somewhere.
The advertisements on Perfume-Smellin' Things, including the one for Boutique des Aromes, are and have always been clearly labeled as such.
Most if not all of those advertisements have always been for Stores rather than Perfume Companies. When, at the end of my reviews, I supply names of the stores which carry the scents I reviewed, I always attempt to find the ones that have the beast deal on a scent in question and/or are the ones which, as a buyer, I can trust myself.
A valid point was raised yesterday by a commenter on Aromascope, about a conflict of interests. If a blogger is in some way personally familiar with someone in perfume industry, the blogger might not be completely objective anymore regarding the perfumes created, produced, or what have you, by that someone. I believe I can only (very proudly) call those involved in Made by Blog project and, in a less direct way, in S-Perfumes, to be the people I sort of know in perfume industry. My involvement in Made by Blog has been announced at the very beginning of the project and since then mentioned numerous times. As far as I am aware, I am not in any way affiliated with any other perfume company.
The houndstooth background is there not because Dior paid me to advertise them in such a cleverly subtle way, but because I like it. The header is now displaying a Guerlain bottle for no reason other than I fancied the way that bottle looks. The same applies to the Chanel and Tom Ford bottles that graced the header before. The same will be true of whatever bottle I put there next.
I don't praise certain companies more than others because the praised companies paid me in any way to do so. I don't write consistently negative reviews about others because they refused to pay me or were late on their payments or their competitors paid me to diss them. I am not on the take from Dior, Chanel, Lutens, L'Artisan, Parfumerie Generale, Tom Ford, Malle, Parfum d'Empire or any other brands whose scents I consistently like. I am also, as I said, not in any way related to those companies...although I do like to imagine that I am Dior's long-lost great-granddaughter.
The samples of most of the scents I review are bought by me, swapped for, received from fellow perfume addicts, gotten for free in stores. Sometimes, when an exciting new scent is launched, I would write to a perfume company to ask to send me a sample. Sometimes a perfume company (or a distributor, or a PR firm, or a perfume store) would ask if I'd like to be sent a sample. Some, usually very big, companies rather touchingly call full size bottles "samples". So far not once a single sample or a bottle has come with a condition that a review MUST be written and must be written POSITIVELY. When a scent touches me enough, in a good or a bad way, I write about it. Often I am not moved enough either way to say anything.
My perfume blog is a PRIVATE AFFAIR, as are the perfume blogs I read and love. I feel the need to stress that over and over again. The concern over our objectivity is legitimate, no doubt about it, but I see it taken rather to an extreme. We do not require a payment from people to read our blogs, and really we do not owe anyone a detailed explanation of why and how we write about the scents. We don't force anyone to act upon our reviews, to make a purchase or decide against it based on what we say. We don't coerce anyone to even read us. Those who do not like the way we write or what we write about, are welcome to start their own - and better - blogs. They are not, however, welcome to then proceed to malign our work and try to raise their profile at our expense.
A comment was made yesterday on Aromascope, which rather shocked me. It stated that, when the commenter sees the scents he or she considers "not noteworthy" being praised over and over again on a blog, she tends to assume the blogger must be paid in some way to write about the "not noteworthy" scents. I read similar sentiments on other sites. It was as much as implied that those of us who write positive reviews about the scents the authors of those sites do not like, are either being paid to write such good things or unable to think independently and objectively evaluate the scents because of the promotional razzmatazz surrounding them. I cannot but admire the self-confidence of these self-appointed arbiters of good taste, objectivity and noteworthiness. I can't even dream of being an Independent Thinker of such caliber. I will just muddle somehow through my very subjective and very personal likes and dislikes and hope that the reviews I write will keep pleasing the readers I am so lucky and so honored to have. I hope that the readers will continue viewing my reviews as nothing more sinister than an expression of me and my tastes.
Thank you very much for reading!