X-Deal or No Deal for bloggers?

Today I’m sharing my thoughts about a topic that could possibly ruffle a few feathers… and that is the sketchy little thing we know as Exchange Deal, or X-Deal. Before I go any further, let’s define what an X-Deal is. An X-Deal is an agreement between 2 or more parties wherein services rendered will be compensated by tokens other than cash. When we say non-cash tokens, it could be products, GCs (Gift Certificates), or services.

ex-deal or no dealThis stock image was borrowed from pngtree.

For bloggers like me, services rendered can be anything from blog posts, social media posts, video posts, event attendance / appearance, and/or online advertising space.

When I was starting out (this was almost a decade ago), I was approached by a high-end powdered milk brand to come up with a certain number of posts and to attend an event in exchange for products. I remember receiving 3 big boxes of powdered milk from them. I did everything that was asked of me (also known as my deliverables) and everyone was happy. But here’s the thing. My children decided they didn’t like the product and refused to drink it. So I was stuck with 36 units (one box had a dozen) of product. In the end, I ended up giving everything away to friends whose kids could use it. In effect, I worked — spent time and effort — for nothing, since I gave all my supposed payment away.

These days, I’m older, wiser, and better-versed in the ways of the online world. I no longer accept X-Deals when I know I won’t have any use for whatever it is they are giving me. But that is not the point of this post.

So here’s the thing. The moment I did all the work required of me and was given the 3 boxes of products, those products became my property. That means I can do whatever I want with them. At the time, I decided to give them all away. But if I had decided to SELL them instead, would I have been wrong to do so?

I ask this question because some bloggers I know have been, for the lack of a better term, persecuted for selling products they had gotten on the basis of an X-Deal. While I have not yet experienced being called out for selling whatever, I know people who have been. So are we supposed to hang onto the things we get via X-Deal like relics? Can’t they be converted to cash or something useful? Sometimes brands and PRs seem to forget that bloggers are an entirely different entity. They attend events and do media coverages but nobody pays them wages to do so, unlike traditional media people. They don’t get travel allowances. Everything is pretty much out of pocket. Yet the expectations for bloggers and trad media people are the same — they have to put the story out.

Of course I also can’t blame the brands and PRs for being paranoid because crazy things have happened. Once there was an event that was still ONGOING and the attendees were already selling their tokens lol.

I guess what I want to say is, let’s be rational about this:

  • Don’t expect bloggers to hang onto all the things they are given for eternity.
  • Don’t expect bloggers to just give everything away. They actually put time and effort into whatever it is so it would be unfair to decree that the only way for them to destash is to be Santa Claus.

Bloggers, on our end, let’s be discreet and learn how to observe proper timing in whatever it is we choose to do.

And that’s just my two cents.

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  • Reply Cristel Ocampo March 11, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Para saken po ok its unfair po na wala man lang bayad mga bloggers kundi yung product lang. Mahirap din po mag isip ng isusulat. Tsaka wala na pong libre ngayon .

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei March 12, 2018 at 9:41 am

      I guess kahit papaano meron naman choice to accept the offer or not, kaso yun nga, tulad ng nangyari sa akin, inayawan ng mga anak ko ang produkto kaya napilitan ako ipamigay.

  • Reply Louise March 11, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Just my two cents, I have seen some beauty bloggers selling make up they have reviewed soooo well from pr. ( new, swatched or preloved) as a viewer I have no issue with it only because we (viewers) aren’t forced to buy.. HOWEVER I cant deny that I start to question the credibility of the review they previously made (sometimes some dont disclose pa if its sponsored) kasi diba nga if it was soooo good, why would they sell it? more so if it was sooo bad. I do understand some are disposed because it just didnt work for them or they have many similar products…and then there’s a need to make a living.. Kung wala naman legal agreement between a brand and blogger about not selling items after a service is rendered then by all means they shouldn’t be persecuted for it.

  • Reply Jolly Carissa Teanila Francisco March 12, 2018 at 5:51 am

    For me as a reader or a viewers , I have no issue on that matter we have our rights on what we believe in life. Just do whatever you like because it’s your own preposition. You never push anybody and life must go on. No matter what happen just trust yourself.

  • Reply Irish March 12, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I think it’s a blogger discretion if she want to sell those items. Especially if you can’t use it. But I notice some bloggers don’t put disclaimer if the product they review is sponsored or not.

  • Reply Michelle March 12, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Truth be told, I’ve done that “Santa Claus” bit in giving away some items I got from events that I’ve attended (kasi sa Pasko ko binibigay, hehe!).
    I guess it’s up to the blogger if he/she would agree with x-deals. Pero deliverables have to be fulfilled first before the tokens are given away or sold. Tsaka if the items are just gathering dust, sayang lang, baka may iba pang pwedeng makinabang doon.

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei March 13, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Ako din naman sa totoo lang, ang pinang re-regalo ko pag pasko ay yun mga gamit na yan lol.

      • Reply Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy March 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

        I do the same and give the stuffs out during Christmas! I’d go with it’s okay to sell the items but discreetly and only after deliverables have been done.

  • Reply Karen March 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Agree with this. Once a blogger finishes their deliverables, their obligations are done and they can do whatever they want with the items.

    How can anyone even think that a blogger can use up that much stuff? For example, 100 bottles of lotion. It’s just not realistic. Of course, the practical thing would be to sell off those that they can’t use.

    Then there are those “bloggers” whose purpose for going to an event is to haul as many loot bags as they can to sell. Iba naman yun.

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei March 13, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Actually feeling ko lugi pa yun mga attending to haul pag compute nila yun pamasahe, time, at effort. Example meron shampoo event. After the event they give you all the variants of shampoo and conditioner, let’s say 3 variants yun so 6 bottles. Magkano lang ba isang 200ml bottle? P100+? Six bottles would come out less than P1k in terms of value. Kumusta naman ang transpo expenses, tapos gagawa ka pa ng posts. Kaloka. Talo pa day job. LOL.

  • Reply Nish Ching March 12, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Exactly what I have been thinking lately! I haven’t tried selling out any ex-deals I got for a blog post or event attendance but it’s such a good idea to convert them into cash when somebody else would make good use of them and it’s not just you! 😀

  • Reply Star March 12, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    For me, the most important thing you said here is timing and to be discreet about it. Technically, it’s not bad to sell stuff. As you said, it’s yours, You didn’t steal those items.

    The only problem I see is the perception to us readers, and maybe PR people/brands too, when a blogger says something is really really good and then they sell the product after. It can appear that the blogger is not honest which can hurt the blogger’s credibility, in turn less opportunities. That’s the risk you’re taking if you’re not discreet about selling products. Also, when stuff are sold, taken at face value and without context, parang the product is not good, I understand why PR people won’t like that and we can’t control how people think.

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei March 13, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Yes I agree, if a blogger goes around and sells a product he/she has been raving so much about it really puts credibility into question.

  • Reply Veni March 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Hi! For me being new in this industry and most of my blogs are ex-deal, so far I didn’t receive an item which my family don’t use. 🙂 Well, one is milk, ayaw talaga ng anak ko but I didn’t sell it, I gave it away. Pero my friend was generous enough to give me a small amount since the formula milk is very expensive daw. I resisted the cash kasi I said I got it for free naman.

    Point here I think is the right of the blogger, once you are done with your deliverables I think it’s just right that you do whatever you want with the items. 🙂 But still, depende sa mga bloggers. 🙂

  • Reply Monaliza Valencia March 15, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Last 2016 lang ako nagstart maging active sa ig. At doon may pinallow akong blogger. Dun na din ako nagstart magbasa ng blog post n’ya. Hanggang sa nadagdagan ang pinafollow ko at binabasa. Among the bloggers that I followed and read blog posts, you are the only one who wrote about this. I think, nasa blogger na ang decision kung ibebenta ba n’ya o ipamimigay, as long as tapos na at nagawa na nyang lahat ung agreement nila. Matagal ko nga tong tanong eh, pano kaya sila kumikita? Review ng review ng iba’t ibang products? Tapos ibibigay din nila? Wala ba talaga silang bayad as in cash? Pano ang pagod at time at traffic na ginugol nila sa event?

  • Reply EINz March 15, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Truth. Bloggers don’t have wages and yet they have the nerve to pay with samples or free products only?! Not unless we are okay with those products that can be worth of our time, and own pocket money.

  • Reply Meikah Ybañez-Delid March 15, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Good points you’ve raised here. I agree that bloggers should not hold on to those freebies for eternity. Of course, they need to be discrete about disposing them. What’s important is that the bloggers stick to the agreement as regards to the deliverables with the brand.

  • Reply Aci Girl March 15, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    when I started attenting events, ansaya, I felt wow, nasasali sa vip launches and all but pag lipas ng panahon I realized magastos sya. dsl, mobile plan/load daily, transpo, and etc, and it takes a huge chunk of you time pa tas ang ending products or corporate giveaway or worse ball pen and notepads. Lugi.

  • Reply Kim March 17, 2018 at 3:12 am

    I agree, the blogger worked for it so he/she can do whatever he/she wants after doing what needs to be done. And totoo, minsan actually lugi pa nga pag x-deal.

  • Reply edel March 18, 2018 at 10:45 am

    I agree that bloggers spend not only money but time, effort to go to the event, and then write about the event or product. Most of the time its not really a win-win situation and of course, bloggers can’t play Santa Claus most of the time.

  • Reply Czjai Reyes-Ocampo March 18, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    It’s been awhile since I last attended an event. Lugi kasi ako sa pamasahe/gas/toll pa lang since ang layo ng pinangagagalingan ko, lol. Unless Kpop or MMA-related event, pass na ako ngayon.

    When it comes to products that I receive, it’s either I share them with my siblings or ‘re-gift’ the brand new, unopened ones na hindi ko naman magagamit. 🙂

  • Reply Joy March 19, 2018 at 5:31 am

    You nailed it. I think it’s okay to sell, kasi sayo na naman iyon, pinag trabahuan mo na yun. Actually, kung iisipin medyo lugi pa nga ng bahagya. Minsan parang nakakatamad pa mag benta kasi iba-blog mo na tapos ipo-post mo pa tapos makikipag usap ka pa sa bibili, ipa-pack mo pa at ishi-ship . Daming work involve, it’s okay to sell everything away basta katulad nga ng sinabi mo we should sell it discreetly and not on the day na natanggap mo o during the event.

  • Reply tweenselmom March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Agree with everything, Plus now I realized, bloggers should really choose when to accept invitations and not to accept them. In the long run, it will hurt your blog and you personally and financially if you do not choose at all.

  • Reply Louisa March 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Blogging is a passion so they say but there are various reasons why someone blogs. Some because they just want to write, some to meet new people, some to just get free stuff (sad to say) and some to earn, I think if you’re doing it to just write, meet new people then expenses that come from blogging is something you should expect without any return. If you’re blogging to earn then you need to be smart about it and figure in the expenses whether you’re attending an event or doing a sponsored post. Even ex-deals have some kind of expense if not monetary then with your time. I take the time to go out and take pictures of products to give varying sceneries. I make an effort to use the product in different places. So if you can equate and accept the expenses and earn from it then good for you, As for selling, I think it’s best to at least wait until you’ve done your part and blogged the product or service and then maybe wait a decent amount of time like 2 weeks or so. I also agree with Denise, if you give rave reviews on a product and then sell it sometimes it doesn’t make sense, Also, be sure to check the fine print if you’re even allowed to sell the product especially if you have a standing contract.

  • Reply Mommy Levy March 19, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Halos lahat ng hindi ko na nagagamit sa bahay ay pinamimigay ko tuwing pasko, kasi kesa ma expire mas okay ng mapakinabangan ng iba and kung ibebenta that’s okay too basta tapos na ang dapat gawin.

  • Reply Janice March 19, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I think it’s really up to the blogger whether to accept an x-deal arrangement or not. Like you, I’ve also learned my lesson already and only accept x-deals if I think we’ll be able to use the products. As for selling what I’ve been given by brands, I think I’ve only done that once or twice. Most of the time I give the excess to relatives or as gifts. No blogger should be persecuted for selling or giving the products away because they’re payment for work already accomplished. But yes, definitely timing is key too.

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