TB-Gate: a beauty blogging uproar!

Decided to add my own two-cents about this Total Beauty article malarkey. If you aren’t already aware of this then to start with you should read the article to get an idea of what this is all about. To give you the gist, the CEO of Total Beauty has come out saying that PR’s/brands shouldn’t work directly with beauty bloggers to arrange product reviews. Of course, this is not just a sweeping statement by MR CEO of Total Beauty, but it is qualified by the fact that he works with bloggers- but of course THIS is OK…. Anyway, read it and decide for yourself your view on the piece (link at the bottom of this post)

The article has causes quite a stir in the beauty blogging world as it essentially is a direct criticism of our ethics and directly implies that all we are is puppets of the PR and marketing industry and personally, I take objection to this.

I would like to take this chance to explicitly say that Beautyjunkielondon does NOT get paid to write reviews of products on the blog. I do however receive free samples from PR representatives, but stress that regardless of this all reviews are 100% honest and based on MY OWN first hand experience of a product, or that of a friend if they are not suitable for me. In this instance I will interview the tester to get a thorough view of what they think of the product.

The relationship I have with PR’s is vital for the existence of Beautyjunkielondon and I really appreciate the support they offer. But as grateful as I am for the support, I will ALWAYS review products honestly and this is the gamble that they take when providing the samples to test. I fully trust that all good PR reps are well aware that this is how it works when they provide samples, there is always the chance that review wont be 100% positive.

The appeal to readers of beauty blogging is the uncensored honesty and freedom that they have to write truly honest reviews of products. When have you read an honestly negative review in a magazine? And don’t get me started on the tie between advertising and editorial….

Anyway, saying that PR’s shouldn’t work with beauty bloggers inherently implies that the blogger will simply regurgitate the press release as provided by the PR and this is simply not the case. I read a number of blogs and never read anything that reads like a press release. The thing to remember is that beauty bloggers have taken the initiative to go out there are start the blog, we are not puppets and we are not so naive to the PR/marketing spiel that we will just write as we are told.

Any good PR who is confident in their product should feel comfortable with taking the gamble and working with bloggers. But if you don’t feel confident in your product then you probably will shy away from the uncensored world of beauty blogs, that’s the decision you take as a PR.

Anyway, that’s what I have to say on the matter. I am pleased to have built some good working relationships with PR’s and feel confident that these will continue, as will this blog.

To read the Total Beauty Media post click HERE

To read some other beauty bloggers responses to this see below:

British Beauty Blogger – I whole-heartedly agree with this response!

Beauty and Fashion Tech News and Reviews



  1. June 24, 2009 / 10:28 pm

    Nicely said! You’ve captured my thoughts and reactions to a T. I’m off to read British Beauty Bloggers response now.

    Thanks so much for responding to this nightmare… and keeping a mature and level-head about it. 🙂


  2. Robyn @ Purely Cosmetics
    June 25, 2009 / 12:14 am

    As offended as beauty bloggers are at Mr. CEO’s thinly veiled sales pitch in the guise of topical news (meaning the FTC proposed regulation), I’m equally disgusted as a “brand”.

    Yes, I send out free product for review. I’m not a large conglomerate, and have pretty much a zero advertising budget. I depend on bloggers for my livelihood. Will every person who receives my products like them? No. I know this, and wouldn’t expect any differently. I also know that if I provide bloggers with a cross section of samples of several different products in my line, I increase the chances that there might be something that they like. It’s ludicrous for the layman to think that a blogger who writes several reviews a week actually purchases all of those products out of their pockets. Unless you’re a Rockefeller with bottomless pockets, that’s an awful lot of dough to shell out just for your readers to read for free. Oh – and then you’d be bashed for spending so much money on beauty products!

    One of the things that distinguishes my products from many others is my level of personal customer service. I return all phone calls and emails, making suggestions where I can. Just as I establish relationships with my customers, I do the same with bloggers. I don’t go through an intermediary, and I don’t randomly send products to any blogger whether the fit is right or not. I don’t even have a press release. Much of this business is based upon relationships – not impersonal sales pitches. How would readers even know about smaller, independent brands if not for bloggers and other forms of review? To think that blog authors should only promote well-established, deep pocketed commercially known products is ridiculous.

  3. June 25, 2009 / 12:27 am

    Thanks for your great post on this! The idea that companies should work through an intermediary (who in this case happens to have advertisers interests at heart) goes against much of what bloggers seek to do–provide timely and honest reports about products to their readers.

    The more I think about it, the suggestion is also a bit condescending to companies and PR reps, who certainly are capable of determining when and to work with bloggers and how to deal with them. I have seen a number of PR agents today express surprise at Mr. Kovacoglu’s comments.

  4. Recessionista!
    June 25, 2009 / 3:21 am

    BRAVO!!! Couldn’t have written it better myself. Honestly, I take the most offense by his implication that most of us have no command of the English language. So many of us are committed to writing honest, helpful, well-written posts that to have someone of his “stature” dismiss us as being akin to children with little education, structure or ethics…it just is NOT the kind of label that should be slapped on entire group of individuals. Especially when said individuals are your bread and butter, Mr. CEO.

    And one more thing: If we all worked through a middleman and were dependent on one source for all of the products we review, what a bland, Orwellian world this would be!

  5. June 25, 2009 / 8:19 pm

    Total Beauty? Total nob more like. Who wants to be in a network with a fatcat CEO…not me. If and when I do join one it will be a small, bespoke network that is the very opposite of what this stands for….they are cropping up. I think of all the comments the one that irritated me most was the ‘buffering’ one…..ho hum, if only us empty headed girly bloggers could stand on our own two feet we really wouldn’t need ‘buffering’ by a network….he clearly thinks we can’t. I say again Total Nob!!!!

  6. June 26, 2009 / 6:30 pm

    Great response! It was a very unfortunate move by Total Beauty. Nobody can stop the power of bloggers and the evolution of the media landscape and the way consumers report on the products/companies. I wonder how many blogs will stop working with him.

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