Fourplay — minus one and a PSA

First, we interrupt our fourplay post to bring you this PSA:  Bloggers!  Payola!  Ohmy!!!  

So all I want to know… if big, fat payoffs are getting coughed up for perfume reviews, where the hell are mine?!?!?  What am I, chopped liver?!?!?  I can be bought! Those of you tuning into Aromascope this week and the fragrance board at MUA might have seen that there is an allegation perfume companies have been offering or paying cash to bloggers to write positive reviews. 

Let me quote March on this, more or less…. “Hampton Court probably didn’t give me a free sample of this so I could piss all over it, but…” and then she proceeded to piss all over it…. a sample, not a full bottle, and definitely not thick envelopes that bled green.  If I/we ever got offered cash or more than a sample (which sometimes they offer a sample and send you a bottle of something you really don’t want in the least, which I promptly give away — why can nobody ever offer freebies of stuff I really, really want?  I selfishly digress), you guys will hear it first because we’ll come write about it because it’s a blog post that writes itself and would be monumentally entertaining.

But the bottom line on this — this is a private blog, written by private individuals who have very different ideas about what perfumes they like and don’t like. We don’t always agree, and we often question each other’s taste (not just on this blog, but looking over at our neighbor’s blog while they’re huffing that nasty Bleu Cheese perfume), but nobody I know is getting any payola or even the offer.  I mean, if that were the case, there would be about 7,000 perfume blogs up right now. Think about it.   What interests me more right now is who started this and why?  To tar perfume bloggers’ opinions?  Odd. Anyway, we may sometimes have crap opinions, but they are our honest, unpaid for crap opinions.

And I’ve got another bone to pick, Bond seems to send samples to most of the other bloggers, and we never get any samples from Bond or Creed or L’Artisan or any of those guys.  Do they hate us? Well, screeeeew you, we don’t need your stinkin’ samples!  🙂 I have a plane to catch.  *flounces off in a snit*

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Fourplay post 

This week March is gone…..  (tears and jealousy all mixed up into one psychotic bundle)…. but we shall endeavor to review our two scents. This week we have Guerlain Metalys, formerly known as Metallica until the band got its knickers in a twist and made them change their name.  We also have Annick Goutal Sables.

 

Where we answer the question: would Metallica wear Metalys?

Notes of carnation, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, rose, iris, tonka bean, vanilla, amber

March: *crickets*

Patty:  This is probably one of my favorite Guerlains. Soft, but hot, a gorgeous blend with the ultra-beautiful ylang-ylang, spiced up with carnation.  As much as I pay attention to Guerlains, there are very few that I actually wear, but mostly admire. This one I can wear any time, anywhere, it’s just a stunner.

Lee: Come ‘ere, you sparkling floral fizzer with the sexy oriental drydown, and stop backcombing your hair. You know you’re more soul than metal. Get your groove on, baby, cuz we’ve got some sweet sweet love to make.

Sables, or can you really wear syrup as a perfume?

Notes of immortelle flowers, cinnamon, sandalwood, vanilla, pepper

Lee: Immortelle, I love the smell, but in a scent, it’s more death knell. You see, like a day in fast forward – eating maple syrup pancakes with your breakfast meeting handshakes, wolfing dopiaza curry in a ‘reflux-later’ hurry, burning unnecessary tyre rubber whilst you unendingly blubber over some obscure sad song that goes on perhaps too long, ending with disappointing hubba hubba like a Speedy Gonzalez bedroom lover – it’s too much, too quick. Call me idiosyncratic, but I’d rather give my mwah! to dear Dior’s Eau Noire. Sables may be formidable, but the Noire’s incomparable. Even though I just did compare it. Oh well, I needed to end this nonsense somewhere…

March: (Insert more crickets and a weird Haiku that mentions pancakes and armpits.)

Patty:  Syrup and tar, sprinkled with lots and lots of black pepper.  A total freak of a scent that somehow remains lovable.  How?  I don’t know, the tarry pepper keeps it from being too sweet until the sweet just leaves more cinnamon than syrup, and then it just makes my toes curl in revulsion and love. Cuddly, like a big old stinky dragon that lets you scritch it on the nose.  The next day it smells like maple donuts…. hmmmm….. doooooonuts.  I haven’t had a donut in like two years?  So odd, one day the boys just outgrew them (the donuts, not the Sables), quit asking for them, and I haven’t bought one since. Well, no need to now, I’ve got it on my hand — apparently permanently.

93 Comments

  1. Speak of the devil, Patty, I was just leaving a post on Aromascope about this very topic x(

    To me, the frag blogs are simply a cool community of fellow fragrance junkies. I don’t remotely feel like I’m the victim of a stealth marketing attack – puhlease! How many of us have friends and family who think we’re speaking Swahili when we wax poetic about our love of perfume?! It’s just fabulous to read a blog and have discussions with others who share the love. Yep, that includes the negative reviews, too. One man’s *ack!* is another man’s HG, you know.

    Patty, you go catch that plane to Tom Ford’s ranch in New Mexico now – I’m sure he has a fat check waiting for you;) Oh, and when the lovely folks from Caron gift you a huge pile of Euro’s, would you ask them to make the original Violet Precieuse again? I’d be ever so grateful…

    • Hahaha! I would sooooo take Tom Ford’s money, and then write a bad review just to spite that gorgeous hunk. 🙂

      Now, Caron? They could slap me in the face, sue me, insult my children, and I would still crawl back to them like the Caron ‘Ho I am, begging for scraps from their table.

    • As I was saying to Serge the other day as he gave me several bottles of his new almondy number, just before I stopped off to see dear old Freddy for a couple of litres of French Lover, ‘Who do these people think bloggers are?’ He told me not to worry about it, and let me have bottles of everything he’s launching in 2008.:d

      • Oh, you braggart. Well, both Serge and Freddi and Pierre gave me the scents they keep behind the counter for themselves… not for the rabble, you know. And Tom promised to make a scent just for my youngest son as a graduation present next year. How sweet, yes?

        My next swag will most likely be what may or may not be the train wreck of Christina Aguillera perfume that’s coming out this fall. Yup, you guessed it… frooooty floral.

  2. I apologize to all. I had a major hospital emergency and I could not get to a computer to copy/paste my thoughts. Please do not let this reflect upon Patty nor Lee nor March. I am truly sorry and humiliated. :((

    • Bryan-the main thing is you’re ok, yes? yes? I just figured you’d run off to interrupt March and Lee’s assignation.

    • I hope you are feeling better! Please don’t feel bad. The important thing is that you are okay. 🙂

    • Even though I don’t know you, I hope you’re ok!

      What’s clear here is that my gallbladder uses Perfume Posse as a sort of victim radar, and obviously it tracked you down and jumped you from the bushes.

      Bad gallbladder!

      Well, best wishes from one recent hospital patient to another (or to whoever was in the hospital, if it wasn’t you)!

  3. Bryan, don’t worry. Silence is very Zen. In fact, I thought yours was part of March’s haiku.

    I’m grateful for the review because I am averse to cold, metallic scents, yet it seems that Metalys is hot and I should try it. I never would have guessed it from the name.

    Sables is another fragrance that I haven’t tried. As I’m on a diet, I think maybe I could substitute it for donuts, though maple flavor is not my favorite.

    As to payola, I just want perfume companies to know I can be bought. Aquolina would have to pay me cash, but Caron or Guerlain could have my praises in exchange for juice. Call me.
    :@)

    • yeah, Metalys is not metal. I’m wondering what genius in the marketing department came up with the name? It’s really a beauty and should have more attention than it gets.

      yeah, Caron, they could bribe me with a hairshirt. NOthing they could do would part me from my deep and abiding love for them.

      • Don’t speak in haste, Patty. I said the same thing about Dior. The they came up with J’Adore. And then they came up with Midnight Charm. ‘Nuff said. :((

    • Metalys is not the wisest of names. Maybe they were having a bit of antithetical fun the day they came up with that one in some big ole LVMH office somewheres.

  4. Hey, all the hours you guys put in, you SHOULD be paid for your opinions, because lord knows I’ve bought enough perfume on your solid recommendations! But, I never thought you were gettin’ paid, that’s for sure. All the references to buttcrack, cheese, and armpits probably weren’t what the perfume companies were hoping for, ha ha. No, really…I think it’s total bs that there would even be the question. If you were getting paid, hell…we’d all want to be in on it. Not that I would put my meager perfume experience in the realm of you wonders, not even close. I’m so glad you guys exist.

    On that, not sure if I even want to try Metalys or Sables. I ate pancakes the other day and they didn’t make me feel great.

    A serious note, Griffith Park, near my house in LA, is burning, and it makes me so sad. I run there every day, it’s my solace, and so far 500 acres have burned. All the little animals running for their lives, what a shame. Rumour is arson. Idiots. Thanks for letting me share.

    • 🙁 I’m so sorry about Griffith Park, Gina. I think I understand how you feel. My favorite garden and solace/refuge in S. Florida got totalled by Hurrican Wilma and I cried like a baby. It’s rebuilt (mas or menos) now, so hang in there. It’ll come back. Maybe you can volunteer for the restoration effort. It’s fun and healing, too.
      I have a Basenotes blog (Scented Planet) and for the record I am still waiting for my bag o’ Caron samples, etc., etc..

      • So sad to hear about Griffith Park. I spent a wanton late teen summer living with my sister right next to the park. It is lovely, and full of needed peaceful corner. I hope the fire is put out, and b-tard arsonist caught.

        • I’m glad you got to see Griffith Park, Louise. It’s a great place. Now it sort of looks like the moon, but we still have some park left.

      • Thanks for the really nice comments. I think volunteering for the restoration would be a great idea…it’s so sad. It’s still burning! I think something like 800 acres has been destroyed so far. I think of all the wildlife…unbelievable.

        I think it’s smart to address the issue, Patty, absolutely. But I can see that it’s definitely a labor of love. This much is obvious to me.

    • Oh, no!! That so sucks. I just never get people that do stupid or reckless things like that, unless it is teenagers, and everyone knows they are seriously mental until the age of about 20-25.

      Ah, it’s a labor of love. And I think it’s best if nobody gets paid to do it. I had heard of bloggers being paid for their opinions some time back, and I really hate the whole idea of it, so I think it is great in some ways for this question to come up so it can be addressed, which is better than some whisper campaign or gossip about it and idle speculation.

      I’ve had people ask me before if I get swag, and I’m always happy to tell them. *looks at very meager pile of swag that has long since been given away* I know some blogs get a lot more offers of samples and things than we do, and I’m just all distraught and in a huff over that! 🙂

  5. Adore Metalys. *Want* to adore Sables, but can’t as of yet. However, I keep trying, since I do love immortelle and one of these days I’m sure my nose will graduate to Sables.
    Bryan, like Maria, I just assumed you were making a profound Zen like statement w/ your silence. Or were, perhaps, protesting since Guerlain and AG had not sent you cold hard cash for positive reviews or Metalys and Sables. Just kidding!!!! And, just one last thing about the payola issue – it’s a matter of trust. I have *absolute* trust in you guys and the other blogs I read. I think if you read a blog regularly, it’s patently easy to tell if they’re legit or not. I simply don’t go to blogs I don’t like or consider suspect. But, even if I did, *nobody* is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to buy anything. And, as I said on MUA and on Ina’s blog, perfume is *fun*. Yes, it’s good to know that I can trust the blogs I love and maybe this needed to be addressed, but we’re still just talking about perfume – not dangerous new, potentially deadly (except to my budget) drugs that you’re trying to convince the FDA to let pass. This all seems to have blown into a major tempest in a teapot (perfume bottle?).

    • Sables does beg for love, no? I want to love it, and a part of me does, the same way I love pancakes and donuts.

      Hey, that would be a great post — we’ll put up the names of the scents, no comments, and demand cash to review them. 🙂 Hahaha! I know I should take this more seriously. 🙂

  6. I can only think envy is behind those absurd corruption claims. And envy, as my granny said, has to be deserved. So well done perfume bloggers ^:)^
    Everyone I have come into contact within the perfume community has been absolutely fantastic. However, as I learned from a couple of Basenotes moderators, there are some real spiteful weirdos out there. I would have never thought that abuse and even threat could feature when discussing fragrance preferences, but it happens b-(
    Providing quality daily posts is a great committment and if you get a little fame from it (surely not money), it is only deserved.

    • :d

      Though looking at the state of me, there’s little to envy.

      B, M and P are all stunners though.

    • Oh, I think it’s a legitimate question! I’ve had a couple of people ask me, just in passing, if we get swag, and I always answer them honestly, and we try to note when we’ve been sent things just so it’s said.

      Now, does that influence us? No. I’m not much in the perfume gossip thing, but it almost seems as if there is some weird thing going on. I know if someone is writing a perfume blog, becomes a somewhat regular commenter here, lets me know they have a blog, I link them and then try and visit their blog. Those of us that regularly comment on each other’s blogs have been doing that forever, it’s how we keep a daily conversation of our passion going, and I adore that back and forth.

      Other bloggers that never and rarely comment on this blog, I may or may not visit their blog and/or comment. It’s just a thing, perfume friendships go two ways.

      Somehow I have a feeling that what is really just a little commenting blog community is perceived as something that it isn’t, and that it is exclusionary, and it so isn’t. All one needs to do, either as a blogger or commenter, is start commenting, and, voila! You are part of the community. Even silent readers, I hope, feel part of that community, even if they never comment. I know you’re out there….. *peering*

  7. Speaking of donuts-and sweet syrup-did you ever try a “Fractured Prune” one when you lived here? Heaven, and I don’t even like them.

    • A Fractured Prune?? It’s a donut? No, I never even heard of a Fractured Prune anything in DC-MD. Who sells them?

      • Yup-a donut. Puts any Krispy Kreme to shame. Fried to order, coated on demand. Started in Rehobeth, expanding (oh, no!) ’round the state. Better than…well, no, not perfume, but incredible.

  8. Oops-impulsive threading-the above is for Maria-or other displaced Marylanders.

  9. Glad to see some others don’t like Sables here–I always thought it was a major failing of mine. DH calls is “Eau de Log Cabin,” and, well, I just don’t like it (too heavy-sweet). But, to tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of immortelle in general; even Eau Noire, which everyone loves, is not great on me.

    I do really like Metallica (the perfume), but have never tried the Metalys (I don’t think it’s supposed to be very different). For a moment, I read your headline for this section as a quesion about one perfume wearing another (MORE COFFEE! 8-|

    I just recommented on Aromascope about the payola hoo-hah, so I will spare you!

    • I think Metallica/Metalys are exactly the same. I have the original, but everyone that has tried both says the same, unlike Mahora/Mayotte, which are apparently very different, and neither of which I have smelled.

      Eau de Log Cabin, I love that!

  10. I think that to raise the question of payola is legitimate. I don’t think there should be censorship on this question. In principle, if someone gets paid to write a post they are obligated to say so in the post.

    In case some people are fantasizing that The Scented Salamander is getting a mountain of swag, let me inform you that I recently bought for nearly a $100 of samples.

    I always try to characterize scents, put them in context, and understand them, rather than just trash or praise them, which I think is a poor dichotomy, and even more so since body chemistry is a factor.

    To be honest, the only time I was a little taken aback was when I discovered that a perfume blogger who was praising a couple of scents was selling them. But, although the relationship can be felt as ambiguous, I am glad on the whole that samples are made more easily available.

    I think also that perfume reviews can sometimes be based on moods, humor, and strong opinions (including reversals of opinions) and that readers should not expect perfume reviewers to be perfect people, but honest and giving a shot at objectivity, yes.

    • I don’t think it’s not a legitimate question. I think my biggest problem is when people are commenting on other boards and raising the question and have NEVER come to a blog, that I’m aware of, and asked them directly. That’s the question I turn over in my head. It’s the same problem I run into at my day job… people “chat up” speculation but can’t be bothered to ask someone who actually knows the answer. I know this is a major Patty glitch, but it is why this whole thing bothers me the most. Not the question, but the whisper and posting that is going on talking about it, without any facts. Been the object of that, done it, hate it, have no tolerance for it.

      I spend a fortune on samples. I wish I could get all of them for free. I get tons of free ones thrown in with orders, most of them ones I already have and just pass on.

      Now, do you think a blogger can’t also sell samples/decants? I’ve always been very upfront that I do that, and I obviously talk about scents I have or have sampled, loved and wind up buying, some I didn’t love and didn’t buy, but I may have liked or not. Does that disqualify someone from blogging on a scent? I mean, I have like 300 bottles of perfume that I sell decants/samples of. Can I not talk about any of them without fear of tarring myself? I might as well get someone else to write my columns, then, and I’ll just write about makeup or movies or books.

      • Patty,

        Ultimately, and this is my profound belief, is that people should test the perfumes by themselves. When I read a comment where someone says they won’t try the scent because the reviewer sort of dismissed it, I think it’s infantile. Even my four year old questions my aesthetic preferences and is capable of being critical of them. But maybe some people are looking for life gurus more than perfume reviews. This ties into my answer to your question about perfume bloggers selling samples. I think that as long as it is visibly advertised that you do sell those perfumes, that’s fine. The rest is up to your own conscience and to readers’ choices. Sampling the perfumes is the best way to make up our minds at any rate and I always try to give elements that help readers think about the scents rather than just judge them though my eyes. I was referring to a case where the selling connection had not been clearly stated and was discovered by me after I bought.

        I also hope that people understand that perfume blogging cannot be an entirely money-free venture. We do get advertising banners on our sites and they help the blogs get going. There are no virgin perfume bloggers to my knowledge and if people want to stuck us in this position, it is quite unrealistic. Things should be above water, that’s all. If readers prefer that I signal to them when I review something based on a sample I received, I would have no problem doing that. In the case where I would be working for a perfume company, I think it would be trickier as there might be the risk of being dooced or biased. I personally recently refused to collaborate with someone from the perfume industry on my blog because I felt that it would change the spirit of the blog, make it less free and personal although it might have been good for my “image”.

        • I surely agree that anyone should test and not take anyone’s opinion. I think most of us start to figure out whose taste is most like my own, so is they like something, there’s a higher likelihood that I will like it or at least find it interesting. There are other people that have very different taste than mine, and I am more skeptical – not that their opinion is wrong or tainted, but that it will be a good scent for me, but I’m always willin to test it.

          I hope every blog and board reader does that and never just goes tripping over the lemming cliff because everyone else is. That is sure to end in disappointment. Been there, banged my head on the way down.

          On the selling end of it, I think there are a lot of people who assume that everyone knows they sell samples/decants, and it doesn’t even cross their mind that someone doesn’t know. I should probably put more disclaimers in my posts because I still get people that are surprised when they find out that I’m the same patty of the Frip and the Posse, but i also don’t want to be flogging my little business all the time too. I do put a note at the top of my Frip store, though, that says who I am, so I always hope that that clears up any lack of knowledge.

          so I don’t think we disagree on this, and each blogger brings their own voice to their writing. Each one has their own style, and people will find who fits them best and learn the writer’s tastes as well.

          if this discussion has helpe people to come to that understanding and not think something is wrong with their own taste, then that’s an excellent thing. I, nor March, Nor Lee– well, maybe Lee — try and claim that we know best, but I try to be definite in my opinions, even though I’ve also changed them! 🙂

  11. “Looking over at our neighbor’s blog while they’re huffing that nasty Bleu Cheese perfume” Oy! I saw that! :d

    I talked seriously about this issue on Ina’s blog yesterday, I don’t have any more fight left it me. The comment (on aromascope) about how the bloggers who write about “not noteworthy” (in the commenter’s opinion) scents are obviously bought left very deep impression. Apart from the understandable concern about “payola”, it seems some people feel they should more or less control what is written on blogs and how it is written and about what. Funnily enough those people are not perfume companies. Not a single one has ever approached me to ask to write or not to write a review in a certain way.

    My – polite- answer to those people would be: sorry, not going to happen. My less polite answer I will leave unwritten. Like you, Patty, I want to stress again that blogs are PRIVATE AFFAIRS. Our opinions are ours and are and will be expressed freely. We don’t ask people to pay to read the posts, we don’t, as Elle noted, hold guns to their heads to buy the scents we praised. Those who don’t like how we write and about what, should start their own blogs. Some already have.

    Have a great trip Patty!

    • thanks, marina! I think, probably unfortunately, that sometimes people do give more credence to the opinion of a blogger, and they shouldn’t. We each find different things lovable or not, and it doesn’t make us smarter or better noses in the least, it just gives us our own style and taste, and that’s the extent of it.

      For me, the best part of blogs is the community, between readers and the other blogs. If it weren’t for that genuine caring of perfumey people, I wouldn’t still be doing this. xoxo

  12. “Cuddly, like a big old stinky dragon that lets you scritch it on the nose.”

    This may be my favorite fragrance review ever.

  13. I adore Metalys. I loathe the name. I’ve tried parsing it by dividing it into syllables: “lys” is lily in French, and meta as in uber, but that doesn’t make sense, either, b/c it’s not really a lily scent. So, whatever. I just say it with a French accent and focus on the pretty noises and the pretty smell. It’s one of the few Guerlains I can get away with — the Guerlinade is a fickle bee-yotch, and most of the time she likes me not.

    I also adore Sables, which has none of that tar thing people keep mentioning on me, although the maple-y quality is definitely there. I might add that I know a 60-ish Argentinian man who wears it extremely well and while it doesn’t make me want to snuggle up to HIM, per se, it sure does make me want to put it on someone I DO want to snuggle up to. Meow.

    Payola? I wish! Especially since I’m blogging a lot about $600 shoes lately — General Public Notice: I’m a size 9, 9.5 if the shoes run small. (Can you hear me, Manolo Blahnik???) I will say that there are a couple of blogs that do seem to get an awful lot of their material from corporate press releases, but they’re less about reviews and more about announcements and release dates & whatnot, so I don’t mind that. Since you guys seem to have put the “vent” in “irreverent,” it’s never even crossed my mind. (OK, that’s weak, but you see where I’m going.)

    • The guerlainade is not my friend either most of the time, but I so love to sniff their stuff!

      yeah, I’d like a free matches set of all the Guerlain parfums in baccarat presentation boxes too! And the Carons in their cute little bottles and not just the plain up and down ones, though those are really beautiful.

      Now, I did manage to steal a vat of Chinatown and the urn on eBay last week, but I had to pay for it.

  14. Patty, we can tell you’re not paid off because you regularly diss things that you sell in your store! If that’s not a great display of fairness & ethics, what is? :d

    I was just reading a restaurant review this morning, which I hardly ever do any more. There are only two local ones who I think write well and they seem to love EVERYTHING. The one who has gotten all sorts of local & national awards either has no tastebuds or is quite conscious of who signs her paycheck — she has subjected me to too many lousy meals. I think the problem is worse here in MN, where “never is heard a discouraging word” — people seem to prefer sickly fake agreement rather than a respectful & honest disagreement — but I think that, anywhere, people have problems separating “disagree” from “disrespect.”

    You & the other perfume bloggers do a beautiful job of disagreeing respectfully. I’d like to give you a big smooch & a bunch of Carons. ^:)^ –Ellen

    • Thanks, E! I really try to make it immaterial what I have in my store or not. I used to sell just the stuff I liked, which I always felt uncomfortable with because I did like it and I said nice things about them!

      How people disagree and discuss is the foundation of a civil society. The thing that has pained me most over the last decade or so is that most issue discussions quickly devolve into shouting matches and insults and people declaring the other is an idiot to see it that way, and this happens on both sides of politics, and it grieves me that vigorous debate that is also civil, without just conceding grounds, is basically dead right now. It is sad. Now if anyone start with insults of public figures or other people in a discussion, I just bow out and shut up, there’s just no reason to waste time.

  15. Goodness it had never occured to me that any of the reviews I have read and enjoyed here (and on PST, Aromascope, and NST) could be anything other than well expressed personal opinion. If a reader is suspicious they should ask outright. Anyway, I’m very happy Patty sells decants – one I purchased recently was Sables. It is a weird one. I go between “oooh lovely” and “uuuh WTF?” in a matter of seconds. I like the pine cabin aspect – and actually it smelt great on my cousin’s DH. Well she and I thought it did – he sat there a little unsure but happy at being the centre of attention for a bit. (human scent strip, Ellen!)I am putting the Guerlain down on my list for the next FF shopping trip – sounds right up my alley.

    • Oh, definitely try it. It and Plus que Jamais and Sous le Vent and Djedi are the only Guerlains I can really wear, and Djedi only once in a while, though I am deeply in love with how it smells.

  16. Well, I’ve never been offered a dime. I either pay for decants, are given decants by other bloggers, pick them up in stores or sign up for the freebie giveaways on Basenotes. I’m sure that Andy Tauer was happy that his free sample resulted in a positive review: it did not however result in a free bottle under the table (damn it all!!!).

    Now if you’ll excuse me, Tom ford is at the door in leather pants with a satchel fullof fifties and a gleam in his eye…

    • yeah, Andy and Claude and a few others totally get viral marketing. While I admire Andy’s latest scent, it’s just not me at all.

      If I were launching a perfume, I would try and get samples in the hands of as many people as possible, like they and Les nez did, through BN giveaways, blogs, etc., if it’s a well crafted scent, it will have people that love it, people that will admire it, but give it a pass, others may hate it…. but people will be *talking* about it. Sheesh! 🙂

      give Tom a kiss and tell him I’ll see him in Aspen this weekend. 🙂

  17. One thing I don’t understand is why people keep saying that because a perfume has been dissed or trashed makes it a more objective review? What is the connection??? I personally think it’s best and more difficult to have nuanced opinions with elements others than just one’s likes and dislikes otherwise it becomes too subjective.

    When you get a press release, you don’t necessarily get samples. There are press releases that I won’t publish. You can announce a new perfume by referring to a press release or go to another site or print magazine for references. It’s just one of the sources you can use.

  18. I posted my opinions on Ina’s blog yesterday, Patty. To briefly re-cap, I have to say that conflicts of interest have crossed my mind, and I do think the MUA poster from Monday posed a legitimate question.

    Of course none of this will keep me from testing a fragrance myself to make my own independent decision. And, I am not going to stop reading my favorite blogs, like yours, and thoroughly enjoying myself.

    However, I think we may be skirting a deeper issue which is: As more and more people look to blogs for information and insights, should there be a code of ethics or a standard of conduct, if you will, that should be observed? Doctors, lawyers, journalists and other professions have them. Should bloggers? I’m not sure what these standards would consist of and bloggers aren’t “professionals” in the traditional sense of the word, but it’s certainly something to think and talk about.

    Now to the fun!

    Metallica smells divine and is a favorite of some of my perfume friends. It does not, however, smell that great on me, but I need to re-test it. And, I love that bottle!

    As for Sables, let me say just one thing here, and I will shut up: I hate maple syrup!! 🙁

    Hugs!

    • Morally, do I think bloggers should speak up if they are getting paid for their opinion? Well, yeah, I do, but I don’t think they owe it. do they owe it to say they got a free sample when they post about something? No, they don’t owe that. If that were the case, then every person who said anything about a perfume company, retailer, decanter who ever got a free sample from them would have to declare the same thing.

      who wants to do that? PR people want to get word out about things, and I’m happy to let them send me samples. I’m nonplussed if it’s more than a sample and give it away as quickly as I can.

      but that’s just me and my own glitches, i feel that way about anything I get as a gift, I never sell that. I may love it and buy another bottle to sell samples/decants from, but I won’t sell from a gift ever. that’s me, but I don’t expect anyone to do the same thing. each person has their own circumstances. I have been fortunate in my life that I don’t need to sell decants/samples, I do it to shut my husband up about how much I spend on perfume. Other people may not have that luxury. A friend pointed that out to me not that long ago, and she was absolutely right.

      So I pretty much just stand by the Ten Cs, and if someone were accepting money/perfume and did a review on it, as long as they didn’t violate Thou shalt not bear false witness, that’s as far as their moral duty goes. bloggers aren’t publicly appointed or elected figures who are accountable to who? We’re just a bunch of perfume nuts who wlike to write about perfume. if anyone is taking us more seriously than that, well, they shouldn’t.

  19. I’m a blogmistress, too (Is it just me, or does that sound vaguely immoral? lol), of a blog that covers what I’ll call here an entertainment topic. Over the five years of our existence, we’ve occasionally been accused of being ‘enticed’ to take a particular position by a commercial entity. Usually this accusation arises when our opinions disagree with those of the accuser, so we take them with the proverbial grain of salt. On rare occasions (I can think of only three), we’ve been gifted with an advance MP3 to encourage us to review it. Twice we did indeed review the music, being careful to state that we had received an advance copy for free. In the third instance we declined to review the piece. In none of these cases did the music come from anyone well-known. These were all individual efforts and were sent to us by the artist.

    Payola as we know it doesn’t really seem to be a factor in blogging from what I can tell. For one thing, although we adore our blogs, few have the gravitas of the New York Times, Variety, or WWD, for example. Most readers know they are getting the personal opinions of non-professional writers and afficionados. And I have to believe that most marketing departments realize that as well.

    However – lol – like the rest of you, if someone out there choose to ply me with goodies, I’ll be happy to review them! Always mentioning, of course, the source of the gifts.

    • what’s your blog, Teri? I love entertainment blogs, and as much as I despise that Perez Hilton one, I keep sneaking a peak at it from time to time. Ack, can he do anything but make little white erase photoshop drool and dribbles?

      I agree that we are not that influential. most of us have a lot of the same readers, it’s maybe a few thousand people. Viral can really work with that nugget, but bloggers do not affect many people directly

  20. First of all, respect to you Patty for saying upfront what your ethics are and for admitting what you do and clarifying what you don’t.
    This MUA thread had been brought to my attention by a worried reader of mine and I went to take a look. And then I saw people ruffled over this and wondered why the defensiveness of some.
    I do think it is a valid question as it has crossed the minds of what seem many and some form of clarification had to be made at some point.

    The point that Marie Helene brought up however about people saying postive things about certain scents and then selling the bottles is very intriguing. So it has been done???
    And I don’t mean selling as a business, upfront and clearly stated as you do Patty here (and we all thank you for that!) , but from what I infer from the above comment it was not mentioned being done at all.
    That way the reader cannot make an informed decision and judge for themselves, I guess, which is my main point of dissent.
    Because indeed many readers do base their decision on purchases on opinions they read on the Internet and many of them I even personally know go ahead and buy unsniffed only to be later on disappointed ~ and what’s more accusing themselves and not to judgement of the blogger whom they have come to revere as having a superior sense of smell and taste, I might add.
    You see, there is a moral obligation to the whole thing, which has been addressed by some posters here and I agree with that.

    Now, on to something else:
    on that particular MUA thread there is one poster who referred to very specific blogs of being above board, naming obviously their favourites ~which is fine on the one hand, as we all enjoy certain things; but on the other hand leaves the rest of us bloggers in the shadow of doubt, for what seems like a ridiculous proposition.
    Surely, leaving the leeway for someone to even tentatively assume that someone such as me who doesn’t even have any Ad banners on their blog (the info site is hosted for free and despite the content being mine it’s the host who gets all the money from the ads; it’s clearly mentioned)and is not within the reach of perfume companies for obvious reasons, is both a little maligned and diverting the question.
    So this vehement denial on the part of that poster who denied all implication on perfume business yet insisted that they know all the bloggers personally hence they state their opinion like that(and I wouldn’t know about that fact) adding only certain bloggers by name as above suspicion is tainting us smaller bloggers with a broad brush that is unfair and prejudiced.

    I guess I needed to address that: it seemed one-sided.

    Thanks for hosting my long (sorry!) comment and a pleasure to read you always.
    :o:-\

    • I thought that post was unfortunate- I understand that the person was pointing out that those four they are sure are above reproach, but it does by inferred comparison that it’s a circus outside of those 4 blogs, and I do not believe that’s the case: I’d be more afraid that viral marketers would be showing up on MUA or Basenotes, where anyone can sign up and post.

      Anyone who buys a bottle, unsniffed because they read something positive written by me, you, or anyone else is asking to get burned.

      I think you deserve a free bottle of Detchema for reminding me how wonderful it is. :d

      • Oh, thank you. I could put some Detchema to good use, I guess.:>”

        Thanks for seeing my point about the unfortunate nature of that post.

        I do agree about what you say about buying unsniffed, but unfortunately soooooo many people around the world do condone the practice simply because they do not have Barney’s or Aedes or Saks across the corner, so buying the stuff is their only way to try the scents…alas.

      • I have to disagree with dear Tom. Tom, it pains me to disagree with you on anything 🙂 But I hate to see a friend being slammed for something that wasn’t her intention.
        There are, gosh, more than a dozen perfume blogs out there? Is one person expected to read all of them? Because that is the only way one can vouch for a blog, by reading it. So those who were not mentioned by that particular poster shouldn’t see in it anything more sinister than the fact the poster is simply not that familiar with their blogs, doesn’t know the authors personally and thus cannot form any opinion of them. She vouched for those whom she knew, that is all.

    • Helg,

      To be more specific, I meant that I found out one day for the first time that a perfume blogger who was raving about a couple of scents was selling samples on eBay of these at the same time. Of course, the idea that a buzz was created on purpose crossed my mind. I felt a little uncomfortable at first, but saw that several other perfume bloggers were doing the same thing and got used to it.

      I saw that thread on MUA and did not think it was worth responding to it since it sounded very cliquish. The Scented Salamander was not mentioned because some perfume bloggers promote their friends and ignore the rest on purpose. There are also more and more perfume blogs, so maybe a neutral party could list them all on Basenotes and MUA. FYI, my readership is larger than several of the blogs that were mentioned there and are read by the very people who officially pretend TSS does not exist. At one point, they would even regularly email my posts between themselves. I did not start that kind of discrimination but followed suit afterwards in my standard practice as I got fed up.

      • Marie Helene,
        you do make salient points and as you know I consider your blog on of the very best.

        Apart from poetic writing there is something called educated opinion and serious pondering on scented matters and you supply that amply I always thought.
        Thank you for the clarification on what you saw happening regarding sales. (It did sound bad if someone reviewed something favourably only to sell more).

        You said:
        “FYI, my readership is larger than several of the blogs that were mentioned there and are read by the very people who officially pretend TSS does not exist. At one point, they would even regularly email my posts between themselves. I did not start that kind of discrimination but followed suit afterwards in my standard practice as I got fed up.”

        I do know that you have a wide readership (it’s only natural with such great material) and it always stroke me as plain weird that you didn’t get more comments. I did get a taste of your not being validated by a clique and I can understand where you’re coming from.
        I guess that other blogger who started it felt the same way (perhaps?)

        I do think that those of us who have a validating job outside this field to fall back on take this much lighter.

        • Helg,

          I want to nuance what I said by adding that it was really an initial spontaneous reaction and that I have become more sophisticated about it:)

          I don’t think also that selling samples is big business:) It probably makes more sense as a means to further one’s collecting than as a profit-generating endeavor.

          I completely agree with you that the most unpleasant part of that thread on MUA was the Holier-Than-Thou tone, implying that because X were buddies with W, Y, and Z they could only be saints and relegating the rest of the bloggers to a grey area. Since when being close to someone has made you more objective about that person? Maybe relatives and friends should be appointed in courts to defend the ones they love and (know from the internet)? A little neutrality and self-control would be appreciated folks:)

          • You know, I have to disagree with this and defend the blog commenters. People defend people they feel they know or actually know. if a blog is not geared to be personal or sharing, I think that’s great, but nobody should complain later that they don’t have the validation of the perfuming commenters or refer to them as a clique.

            Relationships are formed by learning about each other, and some blogs promote and have that as their focus, and others don’t. I think the diversity is wonderful, but if the focus is of a blog is not on relationships and community, why care at all if you don’t have it? Or have defenders because people don’t really know you because you don’t share things personal?

            sorry, IDGI, nobody gets it both ways.

            I don’t think the MUA comments were meant to exclude, but nobody is going to vouch absolutely for someone they do NOT know. I wouldn’t, and I don’t think you would either, or you shouldn’t!

      • You know, I’m getting out of this after this comment.

        People form relationships and friendships around perfume. Our style of writing on this blog is very personal — we talk about our family, our lives, and we relate that to how perfume fits into it, and it is a canvas to talk about a lot of things, with scent as the backdrop. That isn’t the style of all blogs, nor should it be.

        I don’t know what has and hasn’t been done between people/blogs, and I don’t really want to know because I just don’t like to get caught up in that stuff, but what I do know is holding onto resentments or slights does no one any good and usually more harm to the holder than anyone else since it tends to color how we perceive as long as it is sitting back there. any time I feel wronged, I just speak my piece and then forget it, usually because unless it is someone I deeply love who has wronged me, it really doesn’t have anything to do with who I am and how I live my life.

        Feel free to ignore this advice if it doesn’t apply. 🙂

        • OK, I’m not sure if I am supposed to respond to Patty here, but here it goes.

          Thank you for your advice:) May it be heard by others too:)

          And I absolutely agree that there is a plurality of perfume blogging styles. I am a fiercely private person and so my blog does not draw on biography as much as yours and others’. But I can see that readers adore that side of yours. We do what we feel comfortable doing:)

    • Helg, I don’t think it’s defensive as much as so many of us are pretty darn close. We spend time each day with each other, so when anyone feels someone is being attacked, they get defensive of their perfume friend. I know I do, that’s human nature.

      I do agree the comment was unfortunate, and definitely NOT intended to exclude perfume blogs that are also ethical, just the poster stating that she knew those few people and vouched they weren’t slime. 🙂

      I have no idea if someone has received a bottle and then sold it or sold bottles? At this point, it sounds like some allegation that started somewhere with katie making a comment on a blog about she had been offered money for a review, and then it turned into some other allegation that i’m not even clear on now.

      What I think people should do, if they have an allegation, they should go and ASK THE PERSON THAT THEY ARE ACCUSING. Sorry, that just needed to be in caps. what I have found so irritating about this whole thing is just the way it’s been raised and propagated.

      if people have an issue or question, and they don’t have the big round ones to ask the person/blog owner that’s being inferred as doing something, then they really should just stfu. maybe I’m weird that way, but if I have a question or issue, I don’t go yapping about it everywhere else, I either decide if it’s something I even care about or have any business caring about, and if I decide yes, I got take it up with whoever can answer it.

      No problem being long winded, you’re always welcome to leave short or as long as you like comments!

      anyway, I do hope people recognize that the lack of specific naming of blogs as being trusthworthy in no way should say other blogs are not. I presume all blogs are honorable bloggers who do the best they can.

      but the other issue that tires me, though — and I know you speak very plainly, so I know you’ll appreciate the same — is when there is disagreement on perfumes, the new chanels recently, it is possible that people simply disagree, not that they’ve been bedazzled by a legendary perfume house name. People can wind up liking sometehing that someone else despises or finds insipid. I disagree with lots of people on scents they like, but I assume we just perceive them differently and have different tastes that make us disagee, not that they are weak-minded ninnies who cannot form the correct opinion on a scent I despise. So every time I read that anyone who actually likes the Chanels is a dolt, I get my Irish up.

      • Patty,

        thank you for putting up with my rambling post 🙂
        I can understand your point about people wanting to defend their friends. It just seemed such a hostile tone of that one poster. I came very, very late on the thread and so opted for not responding, because I couldn’t have conducted dialogue. But it left a weird impression…
        I think with the whole Ebay brouhaha that erupted a little while ago and which put the credibility of one seller at stake, comparable allegations took a sinister turn.
        Whether they are just allegations on the part of Katie, I don’t know. I do trust her honesty, though, this much I can tell.
        As I do yours when you mention what you get and how.

        Why do people do not comment on the blogs accusing the owners? I think this is pretty simple. Because they probably know that they wouldn’t get posted or they would get posted and then erased/deleted/banned? It has been done, you know (or so I’ve been told; my tone is always polite, so don’t have comparative personal experience)

        You do have a point about tastes differing. And thanks for being so open with me, as you know I appreciate honesty.
        The Chanels was an interesting example and I guess I might have been a little harsh with them and people who loved them a lot (it has turned into a saga, hasn’t it?), because I expected so much from them and then found them nice but not breathtaking.

        However I have just received a very interesting comment on my blog regarding exactly this poit, that I think is worthy of mention, if you don’t mind. They chose not to leave a name (pity), so I don’t know how this might be construed, but here it is, for what is worth (comment by anonymous at the end):
        http://perfumeshrine.blogspot.com/2007/02/chanel-les-exclusifs-new-perfume.html

        • I’m not following what the ebay seller thing, polkadotpatty, had to do with this? is that where this is coming from?

          I like and trust katie very much, so I believe what she says, that she was made an offer. But her conclusion that others got the same offer and took it is based on no facts. I can tell you that, even though I joked about it, we get very few offers of samples from anyone. I’d make a more serious complaint, but I’m always awash in samples anyway, I don’t really need more. 🙂

          having read that MUA thread, I’m sure the original poster was sincere in wanting to know, but I think they either had more knowledge or an agenda they weren’t posting, as they kept commenting further down. It was a weird thing to follow, and my spidey sense was tingling that there was more to that storey. Maybe there isn’t.

          the chanel thing, I totally get why you felt the way you did, and I know a lot of people did, but I also think some/many people tried them and loved some of them. i’m not of the “everyone is equally right” school on most things, but on perfume, I am. People like what they like, and bloggers/consumers should disagree when there is disagreement, but I don’t think critizing other bloggers’ opinions, no matter who does it, is the way to go.

          I mean, poke fun at them, sure! I love to have someone put a stick in my eye about some perfume I love wildly that everyone else hates, but I think everyone needs to recover their sense of humor and joy.

          • Patty,
            I didn’t get the Ebay connection either at first. But come to think of it, I guess the Polkadotpatty thing opened up a valve of doubt on every lever.(however, why that one poster on that MUA thread was talking about a *reputable* seller on Ebay? Surely that can’t be Polkadotpatty???)

            As to the Original Poster asking on MUA, I thought she was rather clueless, hearing things here and there and nothing more. Surely someone who knows how the community works wouldn’t go about it that way.

            Indeed, Patty, everyone’s opinion is valid. Granted!
            Nevertheless surely I only inferred that perhaps some people -not mentioned by name in any case, because I don’t even know them!- were “fluxomed by the hype”, following the gravitas of LT’s opinion that had just been published and the impressive press-releases. If that is *such* a severe criticism that one cannot stand it, then I’d hesitate to speak my mind on such matters ever again.

            But humour and joy are trully the way to go! Hopefully after this sad episode we will all regain our sense of it and continue on our merry way hand in hand. 🙂

            • Helg, Patty, I do agree that the PolkadotPatty affair opened up valves of doubt and ill feeling, even if it’s not directly linked to the so-called payola affair. I’m absolutely not talking about myself, but I did get that vibe. It’s a strange thing, this internet community: because of geographical constraints the only physical interaction we have, mostly, is through parcels (sales, swaps). The absence of many signs of human interaction (expressions, tone of voice, body language) means we miss out on a lot of what we crave as human animals. Some people fill that vacuum with mistrust, especially when other facts seem to corroborate that there are untrustworthy people out there in the ether… Again, not speaking for myself, but I’ve been following all these discussions with great interest because they seem to say a lot about the type of communities that have been growing in the past few years, the way relationships establish themselves, etc. I’m sure a sociologist is studying this right now.

    • Helg,
      No slam on other bloggers was intended by not mentioning them. The comments on this topic have been full of people listing the specific blogs they read. Not for a second did I assume they meant all other blogs were suspect. I mentioned the blogs I knew and read daily. I also initially thought that Ysatis, the original poster on MUA, asked a legitimate question. I had no problem w/ that. However, it got to a point where she seemed positively relentless in her desire to foment scandal where none needed to exist. Yes, the question merited discussion, but I found her disingenuousness and almost willful desire to distrust problematic. Who knows? Maybe she was sincere, but I do like the bloggers I mentioned a great deal and it was hard not to take it personally when she continued to insist in their possible culpability.

  21. Oh and the smilies got to the completely wrong spot, sorry about that (inept me!).

  22. Ok, (taking deep breath). I feel compelled to post my first comment on ANY blog, so y’all bear with me.
    I found the Posse along with NST, Aromascope, Bois, PST etc. late last fall in the midst of the most stressful year I’ve ever experienced (health stuff w/spouse, leading to unemployment, bills, all that ickyprickly real life unpleasantness; better now).
    At first, I was just wanting to get some information about something new to smell, as I’ve long felt that satisfying all five of the senses is a great step toward managing stress *music, art, chocolate, silk…perfume*. I have learned SO MUCH from ALL of you and I’m so grateful – every little sample or discount scent I’ve managed to obtain is another little bubble of joy in my day. Reading the blogs – and sniffing my wrist – have become a deep source of pleasure that’s mine alone, ya know? Honestly, I don’t care where you all get your samples – here in the rural midwest, I’m sure as heck not finding anything but mainstream muck. I’m just glad someone can tell me what they think a perfume smells like. I’ll make up my own mind whether or not I want to seek it out myself.

    • Hey, Rosarita: Thanks for unlurking! Glad things are getting better. Something I do love about the perfume blogs is that I don’t feel that I have to be an expert, just courteous & interested.

      A couple of months ago, you may have seen the contest for a Perfume Posse slogan (that was put on a spiffy notepad, thanks to Patty). The winner was “Let Us Spray.” But I’m sure that “music, art, chocolate, silk, perfume” would be a worthy contender if there’s another contest! –Ellen

      • Nice to meet you, Ellen, I’ve long enjoyed your comments. Thanks for your kind words – my next Fripperies purchase will include one of those very cool PP notepads…

    • I totally get the rural midwest, having been raised there! 🙂 I think most blog readers do the same, read what has been said, decide to seek it out to try or not, and make up their own mind. I mean, rarely do we get a unified comments on any scent.

      I’m so glad you commented!!!<:-p See, not so bad, you're out now!! 🙂

      • Awww, you’re right – it might become a habit 🙂

  23. I feel I’ve written all the steam out of myself on the “perfume payola” subject on Aromascope and Perfume Smellin-Things, but:
    As I’ve already said there, beauty editors get tons of products every day, which most of them give away to colleagues and friends. Some of them are sold off on eBay. So what? They’re not being bought off, they’re being informed. They get a salary for writing. Bloggers don’t. Perfume bloggers do it for love. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes focus. It takes talent. All that for free… Hats off to them, to you, Patty, March, Robin, Helg, Marie-Hélène, Ina, Marina, Victoria, Lee, Tom, Bryan… I value the time and pleasure I derive from reading you, exchanging with you and with this small, vivacious, funny community you’ve created.
    The issue of ethics seems to me to be a big overblown: no one’s selling me stocks here, or pushing a miracle cure for cancer.

    Oh, and I too am a huge fan of Metalys: not very aptly named, I agree – no metal, no lily. But definitely on my full bottle list. Guerlain can bribe me anytime.$-)

    • Yeah, more bribing by Guerlain with beautiful bee bottles with our initials engraved in them and less offers for another frooteeflorl. 🙂

  24. It should be argued that the internet has replaced the physical american community almost completely; when these issues come up. Now, we have to decide whether or not corporations have a right to censor independent commentary. This deeper discussion is very important to preserving free speech, an’ I’m not talkin’ about perfume, y’all.

    That said, I think that *this* particular controversy must beea simple case of catty, personal jealousy. Peace.

    • Yup, that’s the one reason why I couldn’t do that, and I think most bloggers, we want to be independent voices with no loyalty to anyone. If I lost my love for Caron tomorrow (heaven forfend!), I’m free to, with no repercussions.

      • Patty,
        I think that it would show in the writing, too, if someone was endorsing a specific line, esp. for sales sake, alone. Crikey, if people are allowed to put up all forms of pornography for money on the internet, then non-profit bloggers should retain SOME basic rights, don’t you agree? Eventually laws will be drawn up, it just scares me to think who they will favor.

  25. as i told columbina, it’s clear that you guys write from your heart – your reviews wouldn’t be half as entertaining and pithy (yes, pithy) if you weren’t. the dirt throwers will only wind up burying themselves in their own muck. ne worry pas about them. keep up the fun! you guys (and those on columbina’s site) often make my day! xxx, minette

  26. as i told columbina, it’s clear that you guys write from your heart – your reviews wouldn’t be half as entertaining and pithy (yes, pithy) if you weren’t. the dirt throwers will only wind up burying themselves in their own muck. ne worry pas about them. keep up the fun!

  27. Well, in some ways this might be an example of how assumptions come into play. Some people might assume that bloggers are reviewing and selling decants of a scent because it’s new, and some people will assume that bloggers are reviewing a scent to make money.

    And the tricky thing is there’s no way you can possibly eliminate ALL possible assumptions. Could you imagine? First, you’d have to say where you got the scent from, and if it’s from a person you would have to explain your relationship, then explain why you are reviewing it, then put in a non-profit clause, and then…

    In my case, I just assumed that most bloggers either traded for a lot of scents or did get some samples for free. It just makes sense – otherwise it would be so EXPENSIVE. I’m sure you don’t review everything you sniff, and I’ve read a LOT of reviews the past few weeks. I don’t even write reviews, and I end up not writing about a lot of the fragrances I wear because it just isn’t…evocative. I imagine that for writing reviews a higher percentage of fragrances wouldn’t make the cut. I shudder to think how much money that costs, and knowing that it IS expensive, I really to hope that there is sharing going on.

    Anyway, it’s not a bad topic to discuss, and it’s good to say what your price is (in jest), since accidentally having Tom Ford show up wouldn’t be that bad.

    And, I also want to say that a reader needs to be a critical thinker. If a reader thinks about what they read, and they come to some bad conclusions then…they can close the browser window and stop reading that blog. If there was an immoral blogger, and they lost all their readers, then they’d lose their pay-offs and what is probably one of their favorite hobbies. So no need to raise a stink and point fingers, just don’t go places that don’t appeal.

    • there is a lot of sharing going on, absolutely, among bloggers and through mua and pol, etc., which is the only way to make all that sampling affordable! Swap out the samples you are done with for something else.

      I think if people were getting paid, it would show in their writing.

  28. I must say I agree totally with violetnoir. The original MUA post asked about money, but conflicts of interest usually arise from much more subtle influences. The desire to keep intact a valued professional relationship or to maximize status in a community (virtual or non-) is much more likely to be the culprit behind biased reviews than outright payola. This is why physicians are constantly being wined and dined by pharmaceutical companies. Handing them money would be vulgar, and of course they’d resist. Charming the hell out of them and lavishing them with gifts — in the form of resources, time, praise — is something else again. Also, blogs aren’t really private. They may be run by private individuals, but the very idea of a blog is that it’s publicly accessible (otherwise it’d be a diary). So the blogger needs to be aware of his/her public image. If the blog is devoted to reviewing consumer goods, the blogger needs to demonstrate independence if s/he is truly independent and wishes to be regarded as such. There are tons of businesses and “bought” individuals out there posing as independent entities (YouTube provides a great example of how companies pose as amateurs to get a pro-company message across to young people who would otherwise shun the messages of those they know to be advertisers), so why are bloggers so up-in-arms about this? The better your blog and the more readers you have, the more likely you are to be interrogated about conflicts of interest. Really, it’s a compliment. 🙂

    Immortelle — god, how I love it. I should have tried Metallica (or whatever it’s called now) years ago, but I have no memory of it. Must try it again. I’m one of those weirdos who puts maple extract in everything. (But EVERYBODY thinks my oatmeal-raisin cookies are the best, so phooo on you maple haters.) 😉

    xoxo
    kris

    • K — I totally agree that the issue is a valid one, and any reader should ask the question. My objection is to how it was raised by that person, who I don’t know, put out on a public fragrance board in such a way where it just seemed odd, and the whole ensuing back and forth seemed to have an agenda. i don’t know if there was.

      But had that same person contacted me or any blogger and asked our policy and then gently suggested that perhaps we should publicly post it and address the issue, I would have kindly done so in private to them and publicly. I know this is probably a patty glitch that has more to do with me than them, but i don’t like whisper campaigns, no matter how innocently done, it’s so passive/aggressive. I don’t think i’m up-in-arms about it as much as I am slightly irritated while also being entertained at the thought of getting money for reviews.

      My thinking is that whoever has to pay for good reviews has a pretty poor product to begin with, and they don’t have enough money anywhere to convince me to say good things about something that is crappy or to even give it attention.

      you know, I adore maple, and Sables, after a while, though, it was like how your fingers smell after you’ve been eating maple sticks. it was kind of yummy! 🙂

      Metallica is a wonder. I’ve ignored it a lot, had samples laying around forever. I need to also look at the new Mahora/Mayotte, too!

      • Hi Patty,

        Thanks for your insightful reply; it helped me understand a little better what the bloggers’ reaction was, and I sympathize with your frustration. I was on the fragrance board when ysatis’ post came up, and I privately MUAmailed her to explain what the board dynamics are like, and that a lot of perfume bloggers are members of the board. We’ve exchanged some mails since. I honestly don’t think she’s a troll. I think she thought the board was more of a public exchange-of-ideas place, where you can post challenging or controversial things and hash it out without offending or hurting anyone personally. (She’s been a member of MUA for almost 2 years but rarely posted until this year.) There is a certain “dogpile conformity” on the MUA fragrance board that’s all about preserving relationships. It is most definitely NOT a marketplace of ideas. Ysatis didn’t know what she’d set into motion. I felt the need to defend her question (if not her method) because I think it’s a legit one (even if the answer is “you’re wrong”), and I’m a debater myself. [Indeed, I got piled upon when I asked a few years ago if we could agree to make the place an oasis free of body-related laments of the I’m-too-fat or I’m-too-flat-chested type. As a body-image researcher, I know how crucial it is that women be given freedom from the pressure to obsess about such things. The answer to my request: an emphatic NO. 🙂 ] So, that sort of “How dare you ask that question when someone I know and love is a blogger and a member of this board she would NEVER NEVER NEVER blah blah blah” response is designed less to defend the person in question than to make a public statement of allegiance with that person. And it wears me out, since I don’t understand or operate according to those social dynamics. Ironically, it’s exactly that conformity on the board that sent me to the blogs, where I feel I can get more HONEST assessments of perfumes (and other things), and where I feel that bloggers can express themselves, complete with swearwords, without fear of being flagged. And where I can post comments like this one without fear of being flagged myself! Indeed, I’ve just added your blog to my own blogroll because, after reading it for the past few days, I’ve discovered that it’s hilarious and smart-smart. Maybe it’s the ownership of the blogging space that makes bloggers feel freer to express themselves truthfully than they would on a public board that is no one’s home turf. And maybe that’s why violetnoir and I love these blogs so much and really want to keep believing that they’re independent. I don’t know… I’m tired. Anyway, thanks for letting me take up yet more space here. I do think your blog is fab, and great fun to read. Thanks for putting so much creative energy into it. warmly, Kris

  29. Patty,

    I don’t think that the issue is what you describe it to be. You yourself acknowledged in an email to me that there were many insiders’ friendships on MUA and that you tried to stay out of it, except when you needed to track down a perfume bottle. I personally cannot base my idea of friendship primarily on exchanges of perfume samples and bottles. The one time I refused to exchange a perfume with the group I was deemed to be not a “real perfume friend” and shunned, LOL! Wow! What a change of discourse!

    My blog is – still currently, but less so than in the past because I’ve been wondering if it’s such a good idea to get pumped without being acknowledged – very generous and sharing of ideas and information, if not of private details.

    I am clarifying certain misleading statements rather than complaining that I should get the same treatment you so rightly deserve.

    • Helene, I’ve got to tell you, even though what you quoted there that I said in an e-mail is accurate and not something I mind the world knowing, that you would actually post on a public board something I said to you in a private e-mail bugs the hell out of me.

      but I’m not sure why anyone gets to judge someone else’s friendhips or how they were formed or what you would or wouldn’t do. doesn’t that strike you that you are judging other people’s choices in their life and finding them lacking somehow?

      and why do you care if they have those friendships when you don’t want them to begin with, nor do you design your blog to encourage those sorts of exchanges or that kind of community.

      March and I very much want that and always have, that’s the fun part of our blog, interacting with readers. March and I formed a friendship over perfume, is that a bad thing? She’s one of the people I adore most in my life, outside of my family.

      sorry, you and I have gotten on fine, and I’ll get over this last comment, but insulting other people’s choices and posting private e-mails are no way to change anyone’s perception.

  30. Patty,

    I’m sorry, but really, when you start lecturing me about that perfume community and friendship topic, I just had to remember the insightful remark you had made on a separate occasion. And I didn’t post the message, I just gave the gist of it.

    If you feel insulted, maybe I should start feeling insulted too. You have the choice of arms. Pistolet or sword? LOL!!! I think a little spritz of Annick Goutal’s Duel would be appropriate at this point.

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