Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Mompreneur

Since becoming pregnant, I have learned a new term: "Mompreneurs".

What is a Mompreneur? From what I can observe, a Mompreneur is a woman who is a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and who tends to fall into one of four loose categories, or combinations thereof:
  • Those who make and sell their own products
  • Those who resell or redistribute products
  • Those who review products
  • Those who post other relevent information that many parents may find interesting.
Now, before I go on any further, I want to mention that I personally know several Mompreneurs, and this is in no way a slag on them, or what they are doing. After all, they are trying to make some extra income and raise a family, no mean feat. The fact that they're able to stay at home and take care of the kids while running a business is actually quite incredible, and I applaude any parent who is able to pull it off, it's not easy.

Having said that, I have a bit of a quibble with those in the third category, and this is a general quibble, not aimed at anyone in particular. From what I've observed, many of these Mompreneurs make their money reviewing product items, sponsoring giveaways and passing on discounts codes for said products. Basically, being a internet marketing affiliate.

Here are my quibbles:
  • I do not need more stuff. Those of you who pass yourself off as being "green" or "environmentally friendly" should not be convincing the rest of us to buy more stuff. Every product sold eventually lands up in the landfill, you can only re-use it so many times. Never mind the fact that energy, water and other toxic chemicals have been used to create said products. Plus, shipping the product to the winner only adds to your carbon footprint. The first of the 3 R's that we all learn is to "Reduce". Yes, reduce the number of products that you use. Our parents, grandparents and ancestors managed to raise babies with very little, we certainly don't need the same sort of stuff to do the same. I feel a lot of times the products are more of a "want" for parents than anything really beneficial for the child.
  • I always wonder about how objective the review of the product is. Sure once in a while I read a review that has a sentence or two "cons" against the product, but really, the reviews are there to drive traffic to the product's website and have people buying their products, after all, that is the real objective of the whole exercise. I really don't know if I'll be doing such a thing on this blog. I'd rather be honest and say that "Product X sucks, and here's why". I'd rather be honest than lie through my teeth about something I really don't like. After all, people are looking for that sort of information too. I know I wouldn't feel right if I was putting forth a positive review of a product when it really doesn't deserve it, that's just not me.
  • Many times, the person doing the review gets a free product sample to try out, before writing their review (which makes sense). They also get to keep the sample product. Not a bad gig, all things considered, even if they don't get monetary compensation. Just don't pass yourself off as being "environmentally friendly" because you're not, you're accumulating stuff (see point above).
  • I feel that this really is a big marketing ploy, because to get extra entries to these contests, the website (usually a blog), asks the entrants to sign up for their newsletter, Tweet about the giveaway, blog about the giveaway, email others about the giveaway, post about the giveaway on Facebook, join a Facebook Fan page, buy a product from the company's website that is being showcased, etc. You can see where this is going. I simply don't have the time to tell everyone about the giveaway, and quite honestly, I don't like endorsing products that I haven't tried out for myself, and I certainly don't like bombarding people with useless information It's also a really good tactic to drive more internet traffic to the blogger's website as well as to the company. And by the way, I hate Twitter. I don't like having information bombarding me, and I don't have time to read a lot of it as I have to take care of a baby.
  • I actually care where you, the reviewer, live. If you're not Canadian, I'm less apt to want to go to your blog on a regular basis. And frankly, if you're reviewing a product that is sold mainly in the US, I really don't want to buy it that badly, not unless the product is really WOW! or if you manage to ship to Canada using a reasonable shipping rate, or I can purchase the same item on a Canadian website or store. In tough economic times like these, I'm keeping my pennies a little closer to my chest. Plus, if I want multiples of the same product, I would think twice about buying it the first time if the only way to purchase it would be at a US online store, the exchange alone could kill me.
  • Don't believe me? This has been a topic that was brought up at the last BlogHer conference.
Plus, for the companies who give products to these SAHM for review, guess what: I very rarely read what was written, I simply don't have the time or the inclination. Most people simply aren't great writers, and even if they are, they don't post information that I really want to know about the product. The internet's partially about looking for information, and fast, and if I'm pretty certain that the reviewer only really gives it a good to glowing review, I don't read, it's pointless and a waste of my time. I certainly wouldn't promote the product just because someone said it's the best thing since sliced bread. I'd rather be honest, and if I am negative about a product, you companies, listen up, if I don't like it because of certain things, you will bet that other people won't like it. Reading a glowing review of your product just make me feel like I've been ripped off even more, and I certainly don't care for the blogger's review in the future, never mind your product. Fix what the problem is if you really want to give people a product they will like.

Having said all that, I am one of those people who enters these contests, after all, if they are willing to give it away for free, I am willing to take it, I don't say no to handouts. So far, I've managed to win a couple of prizes, one which I just received recently. It's a toy, but the toy will remain nameless for some time, I don't think Baby L is old enough for it yet. I may write a review about it when the time comes, but it will be an honest review.

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