I Blog Without Pay, and Here's Why

On 11 May, the topic of paid blogging made headlines on the Sunday Times Life section. A perfect time to relate this topic to my current blog.

I have been posting product reviews online since 2003. It was built using open-source CMS applications (Mambo, Joomla) hosted on my personal server. Then in Nov 2006, I decided to abandon the platform and used Google Blogspot for blogging, because I wanted to go casual on my reviews. Almost 8 years and 800 published posts later, Music.Photo.Life. has covered everything from my photography to my music compositions, and in recent years, tech product reviews.

If I haven't said that enough, I'll say it again. None of my reviews are paid, and I do not get to keep the products I reviewed (except for those posts labelled "advertorial"). I actually end up buying some of the products after I reviewed because I really loved them. The most recent one I bought is the Jabra Rox Wireless earphones that delivers excellent music and great for sports use too.

At times when I receive complimentary products from brands, they are given without conditions, for instance, media press kits (blog reference: Sony headphones, Logitech mice)

I could recall 2 instances where I was given the units a few months after I posted my review. I believe they are gestures of appreciation to me as a valuable influencer and contributor. Thanks HTC for the Butterfly S (which I still use) and Jabra for the Revo Wireless (an amazingly versatile headset).

Other cases, it just doesn't make sense to return it. Blog reference: Targus CityLite II Backpack. Nevertheless, I like using the backpack and has become my daily work bag.

People always ask me why I spend time blogging when there is no income to compensate for the laborious time and effort. Their wide-eyed reaction sometimes made me feel like fool doing this for years without monetising my blog (other than ad banners).

There are a few reasons why money was not in consideration:

1. My blog is not popular enough, so naturally I don't get much advertorial requests.

2. The products I review may be too expensive to be sponsored. They easily cost from $100 (earphones) to $2000 (laptops), so the brands might not have that much campaign budget. I would probably get more advertorials if I were to blog about clothes, food or services where the value is less tangible and less costly.

3. But the most important reason is my insatiable interest in everything gadgetry, and the inane pleasure of having an exclusive period of time to experience it as if I was my own, without paying for it. I often ask myself: how many people have the opportunity to play with expensive smartphones, tablets, laptops, audio products, without spending a dollar? That opportunity is worth more than a fee payment which influences me psychologically to write with a certain degree of bias.

Post by Music.Photo.Life.

There were times when I contemplated pulling the plug on blogging, but that would mean the end of - not money, but - opportunities to receive gadgets to play with. How else could I have the chance to try out the latest, the sensational, Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20, for a month, without buying one at S$199?

So, to sum it all up, the reason for blogging is to shamelessly try expensive gadgets without buying. The by-product of this process is posting blog reviews, which the online community gets to benefit.

Ultimately, the success of my blog lies entirely on you, my dearest readers.

With that, I thank you for your continual support and please share my review articles on your social networks if you like them.

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