Small Fish in a BIG Pond: The Mode Media Bankruptcy Drama
Here’s the thing: I blog because I have a genuine and slightly obsessive love for the beauty industry. Since I was young I’ve loved makeup, the art of painting faces and the ability to transform myself day to day to suit my desires. The beauty industry is not short of bloggers, and I am a very very small fish in a very big pond. Sometimes I kick myself for not having the guts to start Girl Loves Gloss sooner, when I was younger and probably appealed to a larger audience (because a 23 year can make almost anything look good, I swear) but I love the insight I have now as a 33-year-old woman and how makeup has played a part in my journey to get here. I remember when I signed with Mode Media in June 2015 I thought I had ‘made it’ – I was going to be monetizing Girl Loves Gloss and my social media outlets with advertising and the occasional sponsored post, and the prospect of making a few bucks (and oh boy, do I mean a few) felt like a great milestone with hope of many more in the future of this blog.
“I was a bit crushed, you could say.”
If you are not in the blogging world (I suspect alot of my readers are) you might not know that Mode Media, the once valued $1Billion exclusive advertising network that was predominant in the fashion and beauty blogging world, abruptly shut its doors, subsequently locking out its employees and cutting its influencers off from funds that they were already owed. After working a 10+ hours shift at my day job I came home to hear the news around midnight – news that meant I would never see a single dollar of the money Mode owed me for placing its ads on Girl Loves Gloss, and doing a handful of sponsored social media posts for them. Work that is already done, the brands have already benefitted from, that I will never get paid for. I was a bit crushed, you could say.
You see, I am the small fish. One of many hoping to offer a voice or outlook on something I adore: makeup, skincare, nails and generally anything that gives women one more reason to feel good about themselves, or put pep in their step. There are some HUGE beauty blogs out there, incredible sources of information and insight that make thousands of dollars a year when you (lovely reader) click on their links, watch their sponsored videos, see advertisements on their site or read their sponsored posts. While I have dreams of one day working for myself, and nurturing Girl Loves Gloss into all that I see for it’s future, currently it is a labour of love, and not of financial stability. When you click on an affiliated link to a product that I have tested out, swatched, styled, photographed and reviewed – and then continue to purchase within a certain time frame, I might make a couple of bucks. I don’t write this blog to make money, but a couple of bucks here and there for the work I do put into it helps keep it afloat. While it is every reader’s right to have ad blockers and to go out of their way not to click on affiliate links, it saddens me. As a reader who enjoys the free content that bloggers (not just in the beauty industry) create for me to read while having my morning cup of tea, I willingly click on links if I plan to purchase something, knowing that a small commission is going to the person who deserves it: the one of sold it to me with their beautifully styled, instagram-worthy pictures, thorough genuine review and accurate swatches.
“We do what we love, yes, but it doesn’t come without its ups and downs and the constant hope that ‘the cheque’s in the mail’ for our hard work”
With Mode Media crumbling, there’s been quite the shakeup in the blogging world. While some influencers are owed upwards of tens of thousands, what I am owed seems minuscule – but to me it was money I worked hard for. Money that went to shipping giveaway prizes to winners, paying for domain names, and occasionally perhaps being enough to pay my monthly internet bill. I always promised myself I would be an open door in terms of this blog, and here it is: It sucks. I also hope that a bit of transparency into how a blog can be monetized might make you, dear reader, understand you favourite bloggers just a bit more. We do what we love, yes, but it doesn’t come without its ups and downs and the constant hope that “the cheque’s in the mail” for our hard work. There are more of us who just want to recommend our latest lipstick love to you because we just know you will love it as much as we do, rather than those who are trying to sell products for brands to make quick money. Because I will tell you this – nothing about blogging equates to quick or easy money!
Girl Loves Gloss is not going anywhere, and I will continue to write about incredible products (and sometimes not so hot ones too) because I love what I do. I will continue to be open to brand partnerships and sponsorships, as well as advertising because that helps pays the bills so I can keep doing what I love to doTC guidlines (and my own moral compass).
I will create my own destiny when it comes to the future of this blog, and while I don’t mind being a small fish in a big pond, I will continue to grow and hopefully make a bigger impact with the ripple of my waves.