A macaron war between a food blogger and Kensington bakery hit headlines recently, over the issue of bloggers getting product for free.

The controversy broke out after food blogger Mehreen A of Wrap Your Lips Around This, visited Patisserie Anges De Sucre, to write a review. Upon arrival she was reportedly offered a cup of tea and eight macarons - which proved not enough. She proceeded to purchase a selection of goods and post negative comments on Twitter and Instagram.

She wrote on her blog: “It went like this – I got to the bakery and introduced myself with the usual ‘Hey I’m Mehreen, I’ve been invited to review’. On this occasion the member of staff wasn’t aware that I’d been invited in, but offered to give me a tea/coffee and a selection box of eight macarons and marshmallows.

“I have a sweet tooth, but I don’t do eight hours of work for an eight-piece selection box of macarons and marshmallows. Writing is notoriously badly paid and photography suffers the same, but I value what I produce as worth more than that.”

Reshmi Bennett, founder of the Anges de Sucre bakery, posted her own blog in response: “It’s a lot more than we would deem appropriate to give out for free for a review (especially considering how insignificant this particular blog is).

“The blogger seemed shocked that she wasn’t getting all of that stuff for free, a real cringe ‘OMG-don’t-you-know-who-I-am?’ moment, and told our staff that regardless of whether she bought anything or not, she would be reviewing the shop, further insinuating that if we didn’t hand over all that stuff she’d be giving us bad reviews.”

While both parties offended each other, it brings up the issue on blogger reviews. A good review on a good blog can do wonders for business. Review site Trip Advisor contains over 200 million ‘unbiased’ traveller reviews. But this is a classic example of when it all goes wrong.

The issue picked up ample pace on social media, with the hashtag #BloggerBlackmail spreading like wildfire.

My main comment on #bloggerblackmail : everything that’s wrong with bloggers and freebies is in her justification http://t.co/viqefDoYiS

— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) August 17, 2015

If I tell a hairdresser that I’m going to write a review of their work, is my haircut free? Of course not! #bloggerblackmail

— Grainne o Keefe (@Grainne43) August 17, 2015

Blogging can be mutually beneficial to businesses and bloggers. Communicate and be professional. Period. #bloggerblackmail

— Arnebya Herndon (@arnebya) August 17, 2015

I don’t agree with EITHER side of the #BloggerBlackMail story- as both parties are in the wrong in one way or another.

— Amy Jane (@heyamyjane) August 17, 2015
  • We want to know your thoughts. Have you had any similar experiences online? Do you think bloggers should be rewarded or paid in your product? Get in touch, email bb@wrbm.com