Lifestyle

A Chat About Sponsors

November 17, 2014  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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We wanted to take a moment and address some comments and suggestions we received last week on a sponsored post. I’m afraid we may have given the impression that we don’t care about your opinions by not answering questions within the comment section of that post. Please know this isn’t the case – I simply felt/feel it would be unprofessional on my part to talk about contracts and clients on a post I was paid to write. I hope you can understand that, and know that we really do value your feedback.

Based on your comments, as well as similar feelings we’ve had recently, we’ve made the decision to no longer accept sponsorships from all non-project related sponsors. While we stand by our past sponsored content and genuinely love the products and services, we understand the concerns expressed and want to thank you for giving us the push we needed to make a decision that has been on our minds.

Going forward, we will let our plans and projects guide the partnerships we choose. Two examples would be Ace Hardware and Wagner. These companies help us check things off our to-do list, and allow us complete control over design and execution. We value these relationships and are excited to continue working with them and others as we DIY our way through improving our home. And we hope you’ll stick with us through the process.

Again, we sincerely want to thank you for the “tough love.” We all need it every once in awhile, and we feel blessed to have readers who are so invested and connected to us and our home. We’re excited to return to the focus we once had, and are happy to address any questions or thoughts in the comments below.

 

What do you think?

  1. There are so many ways to monetize a website without going down the typical path of sponsored posts. This is my first time to your site which I heard about because of your announcement. If I land on a blog with multiple sponsored posts at a glance its game over for me.

  2. Aly says:

    To be honest I don’t enjoy reading blog posts about subscription boxes because it’s just a product I would never buy and am not interested in….but seriously people….if your readers put any thought into how long it takes to plan a project, shoot a post, edit pics, write, edit writing, think of new content, AND then give it all away for free…. And then figure a way to make a living off of it. I’m generally always happy for the bloggers I enjoy to have the opportunities that they do. Screw the haters! Haha.

  3. Melanie says:

    Hi
    I just wanted to add my two cents. First off- you two are so nice and must have some very thick skin. I think you are getting nailed for all the sponsored content that has really saturated blogland and you are one of few blogs that actually let negative comments through the feed. My feeling is that the reason sponsored posts have become so annoying to us readers is because at the beginning blogs felt so personal and a refreshing break to regular media. They felt genuine and real.A great escape from advertising and such… But now blogs in general are starting to feel just like the rest of mainstream media, saturated with advertising and sponsorships. I wanted to join in to this discussion because I don’t want you and Chris to disappear like YHL. For lack of readers( disappearing because of non-interest in sponsored posts) or just losing interest in blogging period. It seems the blog world is going through some transitions right now, learning how to stay alive through advertising and keeping their readers interested. I think your new policy is a good step in the right direction and I certainly hope letting go of some sponsorships doesn’t cause you to leave blogging for good. I found you through Housetweaking a few years ago and was Oh so happy when I did. Keep up the good work.

  4. I’m a fellow blogger who also accepts sponsored posts, but I’m also an avid blog reader, so I 100% understand both sides of the argument. I do think your new policy is a great one, though! People come to our blogs for us, so giving them more of that will only be a good thing. :-)

  5. Shellie says:

    I’m saddened by how negative people can be. I admire both of you for hearing the message instead of the delivery. Words to live by – Grace without truth no one changes. Truth without grace no one listens. Your blog is one of my favorite things. Keep on keepin on! You both are fabulous.

  6. Amanda says:

    I don’t have any problem with bloggers getting compensated for all the hours of time it takes to do projects and write about them. In fact, I am guessing more projects can get done when there is $ coming in from sponsored post and ads. Why does everyone have a problem with bloggers wanting to have a successful blog that makes money? It’s like if you’re not starving you’re not an artist. BS. I don’t like ads in magazines or commercials on cable but I like magazines and cable so I just accept it as part of enjoying those forms of media. I am honestly a little annoyed you guys (and all of blog land) end up going thru this kind of lecturing from fan girls. Nothing is free ladies. Nothing.

  7. Niesha says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this blog! I enjoy reading and get awesome inspiration for my own home thanks to you! I am 100% on board with sponsored posts as I completely understand and enjoy many of them. Never once have I thought negatively about a sponsored post of yours. Just wanted to chime in as I never get a chance to comment! I read on the fly when my active 3 year old gives me a break ;) Thanks again!

  8. I’ve cycled through a lot of blogs over the years and CLJ has always been one of my mainstays. I like your voice, your design aesthetic, your photos and your honesty. This was a very tactful and thoughtful response to the comments you’ve been receiving. I really appreciate your approach; it’s given me something to think about as a fellow blogger, too. Class act, guys!

  9. Delia says:

    Hi! I’m a fellow blogger. I have never commented, but I love your blog. We are getting ready to build or buy and I was searching for some inspiration on Pinterest and found you!

    I just had to chime in and say a few words. I too am pretty particular about my sponsors. I want them to feel authentic. I also believe that this is your space. If you like water carafes and got an opportunity to share that love through a sponsorship collaboration, there is nothing wrong with that!

    There are so many great companies out there started by people like you and me. Why not collaborate and work with those people to create more creative content to continue inspire others? It’s a good thing! There are so many haters out there pining for the way blogs used to be. But…that expectation is just not sustainable. It limits bloggers capabilities to do more and to continue to pump out all that creativity they demand and expect. Goodness! Money or sponsorship doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Money can make ideas happen. Ideas that would otherwise stay in our heads or on a sketch pad, never to be realized without it. Thank goodness brands are recognizing that there is great creative potential in bloggers.

    I hope you keep on keeping on, and let the haters hate. You can’t please everyone. :)

  10. Allison says:

    I agree with the others that have mentioned the overabundance of sponsored posts across numerous blogs recently, I’m sure that had a big impact on the feedback you received. I’ve worked a dozen years in journalism and think you’ve taken a leap in the right direction. Having paid advertisers is one thing, but when you’re letting those advertisers dictate the content you start to muddy the relationship with your readers and, no matter how impartial you truly are, your objectivity is questioned. Personally, I’d much rather see more paid advertisements than sponsored posts.

    That being said, this is a blog, it’s not CNN. If something works out with a project you had planned as a long-time reader I’d say go for it, the Ace Hardware posts are some of my favorites!

  11. Just keep doing what your doing!! Your both amazing!!
    And remember… Haters gonna hate hate hate! Shake it off, shake, shake, shake it off!

    (Miss Taylor if very a profound person!!)

  12. Ingrid says:

    To me, this all seems very “nature of the beast”. You have a popular blog so naturally, companies are clamoring to work with you via sponsored posts – and I think that it is something that has been happening more and more in blogland over the last year or two.

    I feel comfortable saying that I was annoyed at KiwiCrate last week, but mainly because in the same day I read about them on your blog I also read KiwiCrate sponsored posts on LGN and Bower Power. I generally don’t mind sponsored posts, but obviously the market is saturated with them, so to speak. I do want to be clear; I love your blog and I will continue to read/subscribe to it, but it is semi-irritating when my bloglovin’ feed is crowded with sponsored reviews of the same company/product. That’s odd, right? And it isn’t your problem – how could you know who was posting what and when…

    I guess what I am getting at is I love this blog – I am selfishly very happy with the decision you’ve made and I will continue to read and enjoy the parts of your lives that you share with us.

  13. Danielle M says:

    I am a blog lover- I read many blogs from fashion, lifestyle, to home decor and DIY and parenting. I also subscribe to several magazines- HGTV is one of my favorites. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this, so why is it that you will pay for a magazine and half the content is advertising yet read for FREE (seriously nothing is free anymore!) a beautiful and informative blog with lots of great content and yet complain because they need to do some sponsored posts? I don’t get it. I’m not a frequent commenter but I have to say it. I felt the readers on YHL were acting like spoiled children and I think the readers from the Kiwi Crate post are too. I don’t know any of these bloggers personally but they open up their lives and their knowledge to us for FREE and we should be more respectful.

  14. Laura D says:

    Wow, I must say, I was not aware of the controversy. I read the comments on the latest sponsored post and while the sponsored posts don’t bother me, I understand and don’t even necessarily disagree with everything the commenters had to say.

    I applaud you for your integrity.

  15. Kristin says:

    While sponsored posts are not my favorite thing I’m glad you are being compensated for your hard work! I love your blog and will continue reading… I am thrown off by the food ads because I get all excited that Chris is sharing a recipe. Haha :)

  16. jimena says:

    You guys know I love the blog!! that said:
    I do feel the sponsored posts were a little too much, it was getting harder to read the “real” Julia.
    You guys don´t talk about familiy life any more really, (totally up to you, I am fine either way) but in the last couple of weeks there were 2 posts, and both sponsored. Would have loved seeing more of the halloween party and thanksgiving.
    Well, I am glad you listen to your readers, think about it and finally do what you guys feel is best for you.
    Sorry about my terrible english!

    • Julia says:

      Your english was perfect, Jimena. We love using Instagram to share with you more little glimpses into our lives. Make sure to follow there!

  17. Emilie says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and LOVE it. After spending some time reading through your archives I didn’t notice an excessive amount of sponsored posts (it’s pretty much common practice among bloggers these days) but I think it’s great that you are addressing reader concerns/comments.

    I have added your blog to my book marks and look forward to being a regular reader – your content is great, sponsored or not! :)

  18. Heather says:

    I was going to write a nice post applauding your decision to back away from sponsored content when I saw the last comment just above the comment box – where Julia logged into this site and posted a comment pretending to be a reader…but the comment is shaded just like all the other comments Julia/Chris post in reply to readers. Seriously, guys?!? If you’re going to pretend to be a reader leaving a comment, then try not to log into the site as yourselves.

    • Julia says:

      Heather, I am just logging in after being away for the morning to catch up on comments. That comment was not made by me. I promise! It looks like the system must have seen the “Julia” and marked it as me? Who knows. I am sure that Julia wouldn’t appreciate me sharing her IP address or email, but know I wouldn’t do that.

    • Julia J says:

      I’m the mysterious “Julia J” – sorry to cause so much confusion. Other than both being tall and sharing the same name, that’s about as close as we come to being the same person – in the future I’ll post as “Julie” or “Laine” (my middle name) to hopefully cause less confusion.

  19. Julia J says:

    I was a little appauled at some of the comments in the previous post. Everyone’s welcome to their opinion, but why do people feel that’s an opportunity to be really nasty about it. (not everyone was, but some…) Anyway, I see this as your job, and to earn a living, you take on sponsors, no big deal. If it’s a post I’m not interested in, I skip it, if it pertains to me, then I read word for word and may even pin in for later. Should I stop reading Better Housekeeping because I think they have too many ads? Um, no, and that’s the same reason I won’t stop reading decorating blogs, especially yours, which I really enjoy. Y’all keep up the good work!

    • Katie says:

      I might just be confused, but why is this comment written by Julia (identified as such and gray, and not white)?

      • Katie says:

        Hm. I’m referring to the comment which is now written by Julia J. and white instead of gray . I even have a screenshot, I swear I’m not crazy!

      • Chris says:

        Hi Katie! No, you’re not crazy. The blog glitched and someone else named Julia left a comment and for some reason it showed up as gray. The email the commenter left contained her last name, which starts with a J. So I just went in and added the J to it so it didn’t look like it was a comment from Jules. Kind of confusing, hope this clarifies. :)

  20. Amanda says:

    The only sponsored post that rubbed me the wrong way was the “Friendsgiving” one. I thought it was such a cute, sweet idea and that I would be reading details about the event/table setting ideas/recipe suggestions from Chris. Finding out that it was a sponsored post for a water filter was a huge let down and just seemed very random.

    I agree with another commenter’s idea to put “This post is sponsored by xyz” at the top of the post. Roo from Semi Proper does this with her sponsored posts, and I really appreciate it because I know immediately that it is not a “regular” post and can decide if I want to continue reading or not.

    I like that your new policy means that the sponsors products will be more relevant, but, for the record, I think the Kiwi Crate post was fine and that you have earned the privilege of being able to enjoy the perks of being successful bloggers, within reason of course :) Your blog has become one of my favorites and I look forward to future posts.

    • Julia says:

      Thanks, Amanda. I felt that sharing the filtered carafe as a part of our Friendsgiving tablescape and a small part of a larger post was the most seamless way to do it. But I’ll note your feedback.

      • Callie says:

        I felt the same way about the Friendsgiving post. Halfway through the post I felt tricked into an infomercial. I couldn’t agree more that it would be…”less offensive” to put the “Sponsored by XYZ” at the top, then I don’t feel as duped and can still enjoy the post.

  21. Shauna says:

    I just wanted to say that I love your blog, & that I don’t mind the sponsored content – if it interests me, I read it, if not, I don’t. And sponsored content is a great way for bloggers to make money. I hope that all these overly critical people do not discourage you from knowing that your blog is great and very inspiring. Comments like these are why I think that other bloggers like Young House Love get burnt out – they want to please their readers, as you guys do, but all the negativity has got to be a downer. It is so much easier to go around commenting on home blogs & criticizing people than to make you own blog, & you pour so much work into your blog, I admire you greatly. Please know that there are grateful people who simply enjoy your blog very much!

    • Kim B. says:

      There are so many supportive comments here that I could jump in on a number of them, but will do so here now on Shauna’s. just to say basically “ditto” — so that while being lazy, I can still lend support and say that I understand in order to provide content, you need some sponsors! Hang in there and I refuse to go back and read the comments on the other post — from the sound of some of the reactions here, they must have been quite impolite!

    • Julia says:

      Thanks Shauna!! We know we can’t please everyone. We know! But this was honestly something we have been feeling for a long time. Negativity does wear on us, but in this instance, we are excited for a more streamlined approach and to focus on what we love.

  22. Christine says:

    Well, you just won me back as a regular reader. I took your blog out of my feed because many posts were not of interest for me and felt more like advertisement than working with a sponsored product. But I always liked your design and DIY posts, so I will come back more often now.

  23. Theresa says:

    I love your blog! And all your content (sponsored and otherwise) feels authentic. I didn’t know there was any controversy. I just wanted to chime in and say I’ll be reading and following along no matter what! I think it’s expected that you’ll have sponsored posts, that has become a large part of blogging. And you provide us (readers) with these wonderful ideas and inspiration, it’s only fair that you are compensated for that.

  24. Lynnette says:

    I didn’t realize there was any controversy either but I can understand where the frustration is coming from because it does seem lately there’s been a lot of sponsored content shoe-horned into posts where it didn’t really fit.

    I almost think an easy way to avoid this would be to put the “This post is sponsored by X” at the top of the post rather than the bottom. Yes, some people will automatically skip those posts but for those that choose to read the sponsored posts, at least it won’t come across as such a bait when you get to the sales pitch. The Our Friendsgiving post is a perfect example since it was like “Oh Friendsgiving, fun idea! Oh wait, they’re just trying to sell us some random pitcher, nevermind.” It feels like you’re trying to sneak the sales pitch in there and hope we won’t notice too much, where as if you really stand behind the product you’re promoting, you should want to shout it from the rooftops to let us know about it. If it doesn’t pass the shout it out test, it probably doesn’t belong on your blog.

    • Julia says:

      We preferred to try to work it, and other sponsored products, into our content seamlessly. We were having a Friendsgiving anyway, it seemed like the most natural way to showcase our new filtered carafe rather than doing a forced separate post. But I do get what you’re saying and obviously we feel similarly hence the new policy.

  25. Val says:

    I love your blog and appreciate that I get to read it for free. I realize that sponsors help fund the blog. I thought the kiwi crate looked kinda cool so I looked it up. If someone is not interested in the item they should just skip it. You guys put enough other content on the blog to keep me coming back. Good job! On a side note, would love for chris to do a post on must have kitchen items whether it be favorite spices, knives, cookware, oils, etc. thanks!

    • Julia says:

      I’ll let him know! For the record, Kiwi Crate is REALLY cool and we love it for real. We have put other ads in place that will hopefully help off set the loss of some sponsored content, too.

  26. Emily says:

    One thing I really appreciate about your blog and a reason I keep coming back to it, is your response to reader suggestions (despite their total lack of class & tact at times). You rarely get defensive and snarky and almost always deliver a thoughtful response. I appreciate that!

    The sponsored posts across blogland are getting a bit ridiculous. Nature Box! Kiwi Crate! Blue Apron! Got it. It feels like reading infomercials instead of content. Blogs are free so I skip what I’m not interested in. No problem. It just feels like I’m skipping more than I’m reading these days.

    I love your new policy! I feel like this will keep your content tight & relevant. Thank you!!!!

    • Julia says:

      That’s the hope, Emily. We want to stay fresh and true to who we are. The comments last week only affirmed what we were already thinking.

  27. Lacey says:

    I was in the dark about any controversy. I went back to see what all the fuss is about, and I am so shocked at what people write and why they feel like being hateful is acceptable. Please know that sometimes the negative comments may sound louder, but there are plenty of happy readers out here that don’t feel that way.

  28. Amber says:

    I enjoy your blog but have also been losing interest recently due to all of the sponsored and seemingly off-topic content. I appreciate your new policy and wish more bloggers would follow suit, and will keep reading in the hopes that it will in fact be toned down a bit.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for your openness and amazing blog. I wish people could learn to be courteous and nice to each other rather than making hurtful, nasty comments while hiding behind a keyboard. As this is YOUR business and your family’s livelihood that you share with your readers for free, it should be up to you and no one else what you put up here. Those nasty readers can choose not to read posts they don’t like. I for one think your blog is wonderful! Thank you!

  30. Erin says:

    I’ve loved reading your blog! It is so well written that I have hardly ever noticed that anything was even being advertised. It’s never bothered me but it sounds like it’s something that’s already been on your mind and you just needed someone else to say it. Whatever your choice, do what’s best for your family. If you need a little extra pocket change for a project or Chirstmas… Sponsor away! You do a very good job at it so it doesn’t bother me at all. (Then again I do my read any other blogs so seeing other people post the same thing in the same week doesn’t effect my thinking) Keep up the good work, I enjoy it.

  31. Melissa says:

    Im glad you addressed this. I was kinda thinking it (but thought maybe I was being too critical so never commented). But yes, I really appreciate how you use a mix of higher end plus cheaper home reno solutions and I really love when you do a post that is house, art, cooking related.

    The kiwi crate, water filter and few other posts were kind of disappointing as you usually do a great job on providing engaging content… I come to your blog for mostly for reno ideas and recipes, not to see how well your water filter worked out for you guys! And I mean that in the best way :)

  32. Joy says:

    I missed that post but just went over and took a looksy, and while I think some people were a little rude in the delivery, I honestly think it came from a good place. People wouldn’t be upset if they weren’t fans of your blog, they’d just leave. And in the end, there was some constructive criticism in there that seems to have resonated with you.

    I have to admit, when I see a sponsored post, 90% I just don’t read them. They don’t really bother me because I bypass them. But I have to agree that I’ve noticed them more and more popping up. Honestly (and here comes some well-intentioned feedback), what sometimes doesn’t sit well with me are the legitimate posts that do interest me (DIY, decorating) and you mention a product you’re either thinking of buying or you just bought (at least that’s the impression I get). But then come to find out, you didn’t buy it, it was provided to you. And you don’t mention the cost but if you click on the links you see that it’s something relatively expensive. For example, the chandelier post in which you went with the $900 option. This is the one that especially comes to mind because I was excited to see that post since I’ve been looking for a new light fixture for so long, but then I saw the cost of all of your options and they were way out of my budget. And I have to wonder if it wasn’t being provided to you, would you be paying that much? I can’t say with certainty that I wouldn’t do the same thing in your position, but as a reader who likes to DIY and works with a modest budget, it’s just not relatable to see bloggers continuously outfit their homes with (expensive) free stuff. And not to jump on the YHL comparison train, but I think that was something a lot of their readers liked about them; the fact that they were upfront about the costs of all their renovations. And even when some things were a splurge by most people’s standards, it was still nice to know that they paid for it with their own money when they could’ve easily gotten anything and everything donated. Just do what feels right for you, your family and your blog. It is solely your blog to run how you best see fit, and as long as your content is coming from a genuine place, your readers will continue to support you.

    • Julia says:

      I see, Joy. This is a home that we plan to stay in for a longggg time. Forever? Who knows. But a long time. So we don’t mind investing money into things we love. In our last home, we bought a $400 chandelier for our dining room, so while Lamps Plus did partner with us for our current chandelier, we were able to choose which one we wanted and we chose one that not only we loved, but we would honestly invest our dollars in even if we were to pay for it. It’s the center of our great room, so the cost seemed appropriate. We really try to keep a good mix of DIY, budget fixes and long-term investments.

  33. Jessica says:

    I am interested in knowing if your readership has increased recently. I have noticed an increase in likes on instagram and comments on the blog. With the increase in readers comes a larger pool of people and those who judge perhaps? Just a thought.
    You need sponsored posts to survive and be a blog. Others don’t have to read the blog if they don’t want to. I’m annoyed at these people as we missed out on a reveal today whilst you had to address this ridiculousness!!

    • Julia says:

      Thanks for your concur, Jessica. Our traffic has increased steadily over time. To off-set the financial loss of sponsored content you made notice ads in our header and sidebar and even in the main body. Our hope is more relevant content will keep our traffic continually growing, too.

  34. Callie says:

    Been reading for several years and love you guys. I hear what both sides are saying on this topic. Sponsored posts have kind of taken over lately. But I understand that. I know you have bills to pay and need a way to pay them. I totally get that.

    Thank you for taking the time to think about how to handle these things in the future and for taking the stance that you did. It’s not that I agree one way or the other, but I do like knowing where you and this blog stand.

  35. Alison says:

    I am really glad you made this decision. :)

  36. Kates says:

    Wow I just read the comments in the post that was sponsored and I think some viewers could have been a little bit more tactful when addressing the situation. Regardless what is said is said and I admire your responses to them.
    I think the problem with some of these sponsored posts is that the Companies roll out a campaign all in the same day/week. So you, and a few other bloggers are all writing about the same things and talking about the same companies with the same talking points. It gets a little much when 3+ bloggers are all pushing the same thing.

    For me it really isn’t about you as much as it is about the companies that are sponsoring these posts and the fact that they are not staggering their project placements within the blogging community. I have felt that the companies really don’t do their due diligence when it comes to their customers and the bloggers they follow.

    I still love reading your blog and finding all the updates exciting and inspiring! Thanks for all your great ideas!

  37. Jen Renda says:

    Hi –

    I personally have no hard feelings about the post, as long as your true to yourselves within them. The way I see it, what is entertainment for me is a business for you. A business has to be supported somehow. (Similar to how I also follow blogs that post rarely, and find it a delightful surprise when they do post!) I am entertained at no cost to me, looking at a post that does not apply to my married, professional employee, who is soon to be working two job (one full time, one part time), and grad student lifestyle, matters little.

    I am still aching over Young House Love going away. So I implore you both to stay true to yourselves, and let no one, sponsors or readers cause you to lose your shine.

  38. Megan says:

    I have been a reader for a while now, and I appreciate your honesty.

    I think, like a few others mentioned, that some people just reached a tipping point. Pretty much every single blog out there has recently got on the Blue Apron and Kiwi Crate sponsorship bandwagon. I get that it’s the company reaching out to as many bloggers as possible to get their name out and make more money. But when you start to see every blog you read have Blue Apron or Kiwi Crate posts on it, it does get a little old and disingenuous. I know I personally can’t help but think “Of course they like it, they get it for free!” My family cannot afford those types of things and I wonder how many bloggers would actually be subscribing to them if they had to pay out of pocket.

    I know it must be tough to balance bringing in an income and staying true to yourself. I think you’ve done fairly well at it. One of the other blogs I read I think maybe 2 out of the last 10 posts were non sponsored? That’s just hard to relate to as a reader, because we are doing these projects and remodeling in our own homes without all this free stuff. It can feel a little “well of course they can spend x amount of money on this when _____ was free!”

    I keeps reading your blog though because I like your (unsponsored) content and design aesthetic! I don’t expect you to stop all sponsored posts as let’s face it, this is a job for you and we aren’t playing to read your blog – for which I’m eternally grateful! It’s wonderful to have access to so much free content.

    Sorry if I sound like I’m talking in circles. I think with the upsurge in sponsored content all across blogland lately is making some people feel a little off.

    I’ll just end this saying I love your blog and I hope you continue doing it! Couldn’t stand if another of my favorite blogs closed down!

  39. Evelina says:

    I hope all of the “tough love” comments didn’t get you down. I didn’t even realize there was drama until you addressed it today. Remember why you started this blog in the first place. We don’t want to lose you like we lost YHL! Sending you a virtual non creepy hug!

  40. Lindsay says:

    I think people have a choice…..to read or not to read….. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Don’t add negativity! Let freedom of the press reign. THanks for doing what you do. Still love the blog.

    • Helene S says:

      First of all, a personal blog ( design blog even more) is not The Press! It’s a very enjoyable part of the internet, it’s a place of complete freedom, it’s an escape it’s everything you want BUT the press. A journalist can not accept paid swag by companies to push on it’s readers. If they do, they’re not journalists, they’re PR people! (Press relation not sure of the exact term, english is not my first language)
      In any case, I’m glad for Chris and Julia that they have so many people rooting for them, that’s always nice when you do something you believe in. Yet I’m part of the people that was getting annoyed at the sponsored posts. And No, not that they exists, I do understand that they are needed if you want to make monetary gain at this blog thing, but mostly, the VAST amount of said sponsored posts. Lately, almost all their posts were sponsored, and i felt a bit like i was watching commercials/ads.
      So you ‘re going to say then don’t read the blog if you’re not happy… But that’s where those remarks are flawed : I read the blog because in enjoy their voice, their style (or at least used to) and not reading them anymore is not helping them if they lose too many viewers, they lose pull to companies , they lose the paid projects…
      That’s why i’m actually glad people are giving feedback, negative as it may be, about those issues. Because if you decide to sponsor your posts, it means you do it for a living, thus it’s your job, and any professional person should be able to accept criticism. I don’t see why, because it’s blogland, and highly personal, it should be all rainbows and puppies and pat on the back.
      Though i do take exception when people are rude. Criticism doesn’t need to be insults. I haven’t read the comments of the last post so i’m not trying to excuse, condemn nor applaud those specific ones.

      Sorry for the rant…
      Chris and Julia, i’ll keep on reading and hoping you stay true to yourselves, not to some else’s bottom line.

      • Julia says:

        Thanks for the thought out comment, Helene! There has been a LOT of the same sponsored content in the blogosphere lately (something we weren’t aware of when we contracted with certain companies) and we see both sides of the arguments. In the end, we chose to do what is best for us and our blog and what makes us most happy–which is improving our home. We are grateful last week’s comments pushed us to that decision. But, I am surprised that I haven’t seen any negative comments on the same sponsored posts on other blogs. I guess we should be flattered you all hold us to a higher standard–and we are!

      • Emily says:

        Knowing what I know about some of those other bloggers I wouldn’t be surprised if the comments are there but they just aren’t coming through. I was recently blocked on Instagram by a well known blogger for what I thought was a harmless comment in response to someone else’s criticism about having seen the same thing on three different blogs that day. After an email exchange it was clear she does this regularly which I find so deceiving especially for her sponsors.

        Sorry this is a response for Julia but I can’t respond to her response. :/

    • Sarah says:

      Freedom of the press means that journalists are free to write what they want without fearing prosecution by the government. Much like free speech, it doesn’t protect you from every negative consequence that might happen based on what you write. Readers have exactly the same right to voice their opinions.

      Aside from that, Chris and Julia aren’t journalists, so freedom of the press is not really the question here.

      I appreciate the decision to stick with on-topic sponsored posts. I don’t think anyone expects you to not monetize your blog at all. I’m glad you guys are stepping back from the off-topic sponsorships.

  41. Hi Chris and Julia,

    I think it’s really brave and admirable of you to give up on paid sponsorships that are not project related, but I do want to say that I for one have not been offended by any of your sponsored posts. In fact, I appreciated the post on the kiwi crate because I live in Minnesota with a toddler and felt it was a fun idea! One I would not have known about if not for your blog. I also feel that you two genuinely publish sponsored posts of products you actually are into yourselves. As a wife, mother and fellow renovation blogger, it’s nice to see a break in a post of home renovation to a recipe or something useful for my little boy. I like the diversity. I think as long as you are staying true to what you want to publish, then it seems ok in my playbook.

    Given the recent YHL announcement and lots of bloggers going “mainstream” I can understand some readers distaste, but I just wanted to give you peace of mind I have not ever taken offense to any of your sponsored posts. However, I DO value your content more now knowing the monetary sacrifices you will be making in an effort to keep your blog clear of what could be considered not authentic content.

    Love you guys and your work! Keep it up!

    http://www.wastingtimewisely.com

  42. Nayla says:

    I agree with many more of these comments (Kari and Justynn esp). If there is a product you woukd stand behind, then it’s possible others may like it as well. (In fact, I think one commented to you about signing up). If it’s something a person isnt interested in, they should just check what’s in store the following day.
    If someone offered those who complained free items that they or their family would enjoy, they’d take it. Also, to go as far as saying you invited friends over just for the sake of photographing a water picture- that’s legitimately laughable how crazy some people can be. Or that you invited cousins over to do crafts that they undoubtably enjoyed and then accused you of doing it for your personal gain… I can only say that you could invite my kids over for crafts anytime- if it wasnt so geographically inconvenient. :)

  43. Blair says:

    i just wanted to chime in and say i understand the sponsored posts. do i love them? no, but they’re worth it to continue to read the great content you guys are providing FOR FREE. honestly, it frustrates me a bit to read comments that complain about this. but, now that you’ve decided to cut back, great! i will love your blog even more!

  44. Firstly, I thought the comments on the sponsored post were beyond rude and should have been handled directly through a private email. The proof is in the pudding readers, If you continue to hound bloggers for taking paid or sponsored posts they will continue to close up shop. Then what will you read during your lunch break or whilst folding laundry on Sunday afternoon? Take John and Sherry for example. They tried everything to keep their readers happy, and found it impossible. I for one miss their posts. And their “Sponsored” posts were free things for their readers- not them.

    Sure, sometimes sponsored posts seem forced, but that’s the nature of the beast. Being a part-time blogger myself, it’s hard work to continuously come up with great content that hasn’t been played out too many times, photographed beautifully, written with wit and humor and loved by all your fans. Not to mention that people expect for you to do it for free to entertain them during a 5 minute break at work? Sorry, I’m not sorry for applauding bloggers for making money off what they do well. And for C&J, this blog is written and ran WELL. I will continue to come back here until they decide to do it no more- because it interests me. Sure, I don’t need to know posts about baby stuff, as it doesn’t relate to me, but someday I might, and I know just where to find it.

    If you aren’t doing the writing, you don’t get to dictate the content. This goes for readers and sponsors. If you don’t like the content move on to a blog that better suits your needs. C&J can adjust their content as they see fit for them.

    Justynn

    (As a side note, I appreciate sponsored post, especially this season as it helps me find ideas for gifts for friends and family. So thank you.)

  45. Tara S says:

    I had read through all the comments from last weeks posts. I appreciate you addressing it here. However, I needed to address my thoughts on the topic. I’ve been a reader/follower for a long time and I’m happy to say that I’m loyal to you. Honestly, the sponsored posts don’t bother me one bit. We look at your blog for FREE! So I just look at the sponsored posts as advertisements that you need to fund your blog. If it’s a product that I’m interested in I read it, and if I’m not into the product then I just skip that post for the day. No big deal. If I PAID for a magazine, I read the articles that I like and I skip over the advertisements that I’m not interested in. Same concept!

    Keep doing what your doing. I have always loved the diversity of your blog: house, family, food and art! Love you guys. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • AnnMarie says:

      I second this whole comment. I totally skipped last week’s sponsored post because I’d already seen on from that sponsor on Little Green Notebook, because I’m currently childless, and because even if I wasn’t, it’s still not the kind of thing I would buy. But, it’s relevant to your life, and this blog is more than just your house, it’s about your lives and family. That’s why I read this blog, because I like your “voice”, not just your projects. If something is really something that fits in with your lives and family, I feel that’s relevant — even if it’s not exactly relevant to me personally. I agree with an earlier commenter as well — I think most of the annoyance is with the over-saturation, not necessarily your individual sponsored post. You do what feels right to you, and I’ll keep reading.

  46. Shannon says:

    I really appreciate your thoughtful response to readers’ concerns on sponsorship. I respect that bloggers need sponsors from time-to-time, and if the sponsorship is relevant to your projects, why not! I’ll be continuing to read :)

  47. Lakitia says:

    I feel that you should do what you feel is right. It seems like people are coming down really hard on bloggers who try to bring great content to their readers. I can see why Young House Love walked away and they didn’t even accept swag, they gave it all to their readers. I’m a new reader and I like your blog and the ideas you have. Keep up the good work!

  48. Tracy says:

    I think you should feel free to do any sponsored ad that you like – it’s YOUR blog! :) I feel certain the comments came from the fact that “everyone” had a Kiwi Crate post last week – castles and catapults! I don’t have kids, and don’t have anyone that I would send a Kiwi Crate to, so guess what – I skimmed those posts, or marked them as read and moved on!

    I enjoy your blog – keep doing it your way. :)

    • Emily says:

      I just said this on Instagram but I’ll say it here too. I think part of what frustrates me about the sponsored post is how many of the blogs I read all seem to do the same sponsor at the same time. Rarely is there a totally unique perspective. So as a reader I find myself less inclined to buy those particular products and I give a tiny side eye to the blogger because I feel like they fell victim to this company’s marketing shenanigans. I’m all for continued partnerships with companies like Chris and Julia have with Ace Hardware. But it’s the little in between start ups with the blog land saturation that I get frustrated with. I get that bloggers need to make money to survive but can’t someone say “I’ll post about your product but not the same week you have twenty other bloggers posting about it” so that we aren’t all ignoring what might actually be a worthwhile product?

  49. Amanda B. says:

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness about this. I love the tone and personality you share on your blog, not to mention your amazing sense of style and great writing! Just wanted to send a little positive feedback your way. Happy Monday!

  50. Kari says:

    Your response to this comment controversy is admirable. I’m someone that would tend to agree that the sponsored content has been getting heavy – but I absolutely disagree with the way my fellow readers approached it. I think reader frustration has stemmed far more from the over saturation of sponsorships across all of blogland, as opposed to just your web home.
    Your responses have been intuitive as well as professional. I am so annoyed by my fellow readers anger and lack of tact, however, that there’s a part of me that wishes you would have held your ground and told them to find another blog. If they can’t handle the real world of business, cost, sponsorship, and what a truly authentic voice can sound like in midst of it, I hope they will create a blog that looks (and succeeds) differently.

  51. Jenny says:

    Well, I guess I’ll be the first to say I WAS annoyed by the subscription service ads, here and on other blogs. They made your blog seem “for sale” in a way your other partnerships don’t. I appreciate your new policy.

    • I really agree with Jenny and am so grateful for today’s post. Your blog is wonderful and your projects are just so inspiring—your style has made its way into our home time and time again. I like knowing that your projects are yours and not “coerced” by companies looking for a good way to advertise. I get those requests in my e-mail once in a while to do such random giveaways—thanks for keeping your blog full of great, original content!

  52. Kelly says:

    Just want to chime in and say that I’m grateful for ALL of your content! THANK YOU for sharing your life with us. I’ll keep reading as long as you keep posting!

  53. Haley says:

    Wow! When reading blogs (free to me content) I expect to see sponsored posts. I think you generally do a good way of still offering content to your readers even when it’s a sponsored post. Across the blog board, bloggers are releasing the same sponsored content at the same time (kiwicrate, blueapron, etc) and I think that gets kind of annoying, but that is the sponsors fault. I think all of your sponsored content still fit into your blog (cooking, family, home improvement.) so I’m not sure why people are whining.

  54. Interesting, I didn’t know about any controversy. I’ve always thought that your posts (sponsored or otherwise) felt authentic and genuine. Keep up the great projects – love reading (and being inspired by) your blog!

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