Dainty Alice

A pretty little LUSH, Beauty & Lifestyle blog.

The Dark Side Of Working With Brands

Working with brands can be so much fun. Feeling like you're finally being rewarded for all the hard work you've put into your blog by being gifted pretty products and amazing opportunities is one of the best parts of blogging. However, it seems like there's another side to working with brands which often stays hidden away by bloggers for fear of ending up on a PR's blacklist. This is the dark side of working with brands, and it's not a pleasant place at all...

Please note: These stories are not my own. They are a collection of experiences which I have gathered from other bloggers for the purpose of this blog post. Stories have been paraphrased from the original quotes, and I will be keeping all the contributors completely anonymous.

Email Harassment

"I'd barely had the products a week before I received emails every day asking when the post would be going live. As I work full time, the only chance I get to take product photos is at the weekend, which I told the PR. I promised the post would be up the next weekend, but she found this unacceptable, demanding it either goes live with the week or I would be billed for the products. 

I ended up posting the review the next day with absolutely awful photos I had taken in the evening. It's certainly not a post I'm proud of, and I ended up deleting it as soon as I thought it was safe to do so."

Overdue Payments

"I wrote a sponsored post for a jewellery company after they emailed me wanting to collaborate. My usual rate is £100 for a social and blog package, but as they said it was too high, I agreed to £70 as I desperately needed the money. I wrote the post, shared it to all my channels and then sent them the invoice for my work. I was told that they would pay me by the end of the week, but this came and went with absolutely no payment.

I sent them a follow up email which was completely ignored, yet they seemed to have no problem re-tweeting my promotional tweets about then post. Almost a month later I was finally paid, but it took me calling them out publicly on Twitter to do so."

Aggressive PRs

"I was paid £50 for a sponsored post about my experience during driving lessons. The PR never mentioned that she expected a do-follow link within the post, or else I would have refused to write the post.

The post went live after I had been paid, but she stated they they required a do-follow link as had (not) been "previously agreed." I was told to either put the follow link into the post, or else I would have to send the money back. I felt bullied into including the link, but I later deleted the post altogether."

Lying to Readers

"One time I tried a product that I really didn't get along with. It was one of those oil-pulling kits for teeth whitening and one of the first things I had ever been sent for my blog. I tried my hardest to use it, but every time I swilled the oil round my mouth I wanted to gag.

I emailed the brand, but their response was less than sympathetic. Suggesting that I simply 'tell the readers that it's good', I couldn't bear to lie to my audience and so I started ignoring their emails asking when the post would be ready. I know I've totally blown my chance from working with that PR again, but from my experience I wouldn't want to!"

Do you have any horror stories from working with brands?
I'd love to read them in the comments!


  1. I don't think I have ever had any MAJOR horror stories but I have had a few nightmares! This was an interesting read though, I hope 2017 is the year brands start to respect bloggers more.

    Kirsty Leanne

  2. I don't know if this is classified as "nightmare", but there was an experience that put me off working with brands/companies. I think at some point, I have shared a similar experience with a fellow Girl Gang member at the Facebook group.

    Someone from a company asked me if I would like to work with them re: Fear of Missing Out--basically, what Fear of Missing Out is, and how to combat that fear. Imagine! Anyway, excited little moi jumped at the chance--who isn't excited to work for a brand/company for the first time? So, with very little guidelines, I wrote a blog post about it. (http://straightontillfriday.inspirelight.net/2016/03/053-fomo.html) However, my contact from aforementioned company pointed out this and that and God knows other things in the post I wrote--despite having emailed her my initial writeup, AND HER GIVING THE GO SIGNAL TO POST IT. However baffled I was, I still complied with their request, and the post went through SO MANY REVISIONS THAT I COULD HARDLY REMEMBER HOW MANY THEY WERE. After emailing Ms. Persistent Company re: the final revision, I NEVER BLOODY HEARD FROM HER AGAIN, not even to acknowledge my work.

    I found that pretty tacky especially after how she relentlessly followed me up, and pestering me with making those revisions. After that, I have not worked with other brands/companies, and I am still feeling leery about it. Would think more than twice before jumping at the opportunity!

  3. I've had one brand telling me to change the post as they weren't happy with it, which is fair enough as they are paying me. However, they would not tell me what they wanted me to change. I ended up submitting about 10 different posts before they decided that they liked it! It was a total waste of time

  4. I've only worked with two brands so far, and they've both been more than lovely with me - it makes me anxious to think that I might experience this though... x


  5. Wow, what a nightmare! It's a shame that so many brands are willing to treat bloggers so badly - especially when they've been the ones to reach out in the first place! It honestly baffles me, but I suppose some brands just don't care behind closed doors. It makes me wary of working with brands in the future. Thank you for posting this and raising awareness - and to those who contributed! Also, another blogger mentioned this in the comments, but what is a do-follow link?

    - Alicia x

    www.serenitylifeblog.com | Advice & Lifestyle


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