Can the NY Times write about mom blogs without snark?

Rob Walker did this week.

Read Monetizing Motherhood in the NYT Sunday Magazine column Consumed, my totally favorite favorite-est column. (Although I do adore Virginia Heffernan and Amanda Hesser and God, I love Randy Cohen.)

His point:

Mommy Blogs +
Product Reviews +
Ads +
Disclosure of Gifts or Payment =

Sponsored Empowerment.

At least I think that’s the point. There’s a [-] before Disclosure in the visual but that doesn’t support the article. Or all the excellent quotes from my personal hero, Lisa Stone.

I think overall, it’s a great piece. What do you think of it?


19 thoughts on “Can the NY Times write about mom blogs without snark?”

  1. I think it's a miracle. I had to read it twice to make sure that I wasn't missing some nasty tone in there. I don't think I was. It's about time!

  2. I think he still called it a mommyblog and as we know THAT IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Where is the respect?! I'm outraged.

    It's in the magazine, which is a step up from fashion and style, but still not business. Oh wait, he's discussing BlogHer. Never mind.

  3. I was prepared for snark (and okay kind of hoping for it bc I wanted a blog post out of it) and didn't find ANY. Not entirely sure that sponsorship = empowerment but, on the other hand, better that we (by which I mean those bloggers who get ads and write product reviews, which no one has asked me to do…) better that we mommy blogger/writers review products than that ad agencies try to talk us into buying yet another feminine hygiene product.

  4. @mannahattamamma

    I agree, what's left to say? It's just an interesting, observational piece.

    Sponsorship may not be empowerment (though earning an income arguably is) – I think the point that Lisa made is that blogging is empowerment, and now it's just being sponsored.

    As for writing ads for feminine hygiene products? Guilty. But no douches, promise.

  5. The article actually gave me some new insight into a long running discussion- ok, argument- between my husband and myself about the time I spend blogging. He's occasionally annoyed by it, even when I point out that it is just a hobby and he has hobbies, too. But his hobbies seem more useful to him. Eventually, we realized that he'd be less annoyed by my hobby if I actually made money from it.

    Unfortunately for us (and our marital harmony), my readership is too small to make that likely. And I don't really want to change what I write about, because in the end, it is actually a hobby for me. Or more precisely, a way to reclaim a little bit of myself from this creature called “mommy”.

    So yeah, if I could get sponsored to write the same nonsense I write today, that would be empowering. Because it would allow me and my husband to move on to arguing about more important things, like whose turn it is to go to Costco. God, I hate that store. But the beer and diapers there are so cheap….

  6. I hope I'm not reading into this Cloud, but…

    let's say his hobbies include racquetball, gardening and watching the World Series. Those are okay but yours isn't unless it makes you money? Or are his hobbies things like selling items on eBay and hosting weekend car washes out of your driveway?

  7. It was a decent article, but leaves out the part no one ever talks about — men (many of whom I am assuming are dads) have been “monetizing” their businesses for oh, say, centuries. So why should it be such a surprise that women want to the same?

    That said, I was a little excited that he mentioned by BlogHer panel, even though it had nothing to do with making money. 😉

  8. Good point Pundit Mom!

    I think there's a chain of thought that goes: Moms spend the money ->Moms influence other moms on how to spend the money -> moms earn money doing just that.

    It's a more interesting story than a sports blogger who sells Gatorade ads I suppose.

  9. @Mom101- no, you're not reading into it. His main hobbies are gardening (which is useful- the yard needs to be cared for) and exercise (which is useful because it keeps him healthy).

    He does recognize the fact that it is unfair of him to resent my hobby, but the feeling is still there and bubbles to the surface when he's feeling particularly overworked.

    I think the problem is that when a couple has young kids, there is so much work to do that it is very easy to feel like the other partner is slacking. I read a quote somewhere that you'll each feel like you're doing 80% of the work. I think that is true.

    Anyway, for the most part we have a very equal relationship, so this particular issue is a small irritant to me, not a major problem. And it is clearly not stopping me from blogging. But think of how much more blogging I could do if I were making money from it….

  10. Thanks for linking to this article! I'm all for the empowerment, whether it comes financially or through the community, as you've discussed previously.

  11. I liked it too.

    Liz, you and Joanne make a great point – one that goes back to your point, Liz, at BlogHer06. Brands care what moms think! The final step in the chain of thought you outlined was just beginning back then with BlogHerAds.

  12. I feel like I'm missing something, but I didn't really get the point of the article. I think it was relatively vague and didn't take much of a stand one way or another. That said, I'm always happy to read about my friends in the paper, and the panel he mentioned was indeed one of the better ones at BH '10.

  13. I had a similar reaction, foodmomiac. Maybe if I weren't tuned into this market, I would have found that piece more interesting or revealing. I didn't see much new there, though. Was there a news hook? Blogher? Which happened in August? Kind of odd. Maybe it was a truce offering?

  14. I think is the best news of this month. I like to write about product revisionand get some sponsorship.

  15. Clearly, I missed something. I read the piece twice – since I was so thrilled it was there at all. And I don't think he had much to say.
    I think it's kind of sad that we're all so excited that the essay wasn't snarky. As if NOT being insulted is worth celebrating. Shoulnd't not being insulted be the norm?
    And what did he really say about…anything? That at least advertisers are paying attention to women bloggers? My guess is, they're not paying as much in hard, cold cash as they are in diapers bags and other swag.
    I know I sound so negative, but I didn't find the piece to be anything to be so excited about. Nice to be mentioned without malice – but I was hoping for more – especially from The Times.

  16. Your're not alone NYNancy, I've heard that same criticism elsewhere.

    I guess I saw it really the same way I see his other columns – an objective look at some marketing/ consumerist phenomenon or another; and this one seemed to focus on Blogher specifically, and the way disclosed marketing relationships are empowering women bloggers.

    To us it's not all that enlightening (hello!) but to the general readership of the Sunday Times Magazine, I'm sure they see it as a fascinating turn of events.

  17. Here's what I want to know: How come the deejays on the classic rock station in NYC go on and on about Bing and other products and services without divulging that it's a sponsored plug? And yet, bloggers need to reveal every little thing we get for free? Interesting, yet annoying.

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