Why I don’t read compensated blogs

I tried a certain doughnut store last night. There was a lot of hype created for it online after it came out on a lot of blogs, even before it opened. All the reviews were good. The bloggers were “invited” to the grand opening, with celebrities “modeling the doughnuts” and all that BS. I do not know for a fact, but I surmise that they were given “complimentary” doughnuts. Of course, they would end up writing stellar, salivating reviews which would come out.

However, their doughnuts suck. They had interesting flavors, I’ll give them that, but conceptual originality is nothing with tasteless, rubbery bread, and bland coffee. Caveat emptor indeed. I feel so stupid, and disappointed with myself for believing the hype. I told myself before, and I remind myself now, I’ll just stick to getting restaurant advice from the people who know their food.

In the Philippines, at least, supposedly third-party blogs serve as marketing/advertising tools for start-up restaurants. Some are paid in cash, some are just given the chance to get free food. There are even instances of food bloggers, posturing against new establishments. Essentially, they threaten “blackmail,” that they would write negative reviews if they don’t get freebies. This is what I mean by the term “compensated.” I won’t get into the ethics of  all of it anymore. I’ll leave the judgment, if any, to you, dear reader.

As a law student, I place freedom of expression in high regard. So inasmuch as I respect the rights of food bloggers to write positive reviews about restaurants which give them food and money, and negative reviews about those that do not, I reserve my own right to voice my displeasure with this practice. This is why I generally don’t review restaurants myself. Ugh.

Instead, I’ll advocate blogs with integrity. And while it may be politically incorrect, I will admit to enjoying more the blogs of persons who are relatively well-educated and have a profession other than “independent food blogger,”(1) because they do not need to be compensated to come up with an honest review; (2) they tend to really know their food; (3) they blog just because they enjoy food, writing, taking pictures; and (4) they have decent, if not excellent grammar.

I have links on the left sidebar of this blog. There’s a list of the latest entries of the local blogs I follow (although that list includes personal/diary blogs). Below that is another list of links of reputable sites relating to food, beer and the like.

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