You must be getting paid!

In 2010 I wrote a post titled "Fanboy or Hater" and it was written to take a look at the range of people's loyalties to various products and brands. It stil amazes me that if anyone writes favorably or often about a particular product or brand,  more than likely there will be a comment along the way to the effect of "You must be getting paid!" 

Why is it that if someone writes favorably about a product/service or brand that you don't like, then they must be getting paid? Yet if you like it then it's perfectly OK for the writer to like it too? At that point no one is getting paid because you and the writer agree. High fives all around.  Wow! Let me ask you something. Do you like anything, say a favorite movie, restaurant, car, etc.? Do you tell your friends about how much you like it? Are you getting paid to go on and on about it by the movie studio, chef, car manufacturer, etc.? 

15 Replies to “You must be getting paid!”

  1. Terry, you may be getting accused wrongly, but many bloggers, reviewers, are shilling for corporations. It’s the new advertising. Ever read a photography blog where the photographer mentions the brand of CF card he/she is using? What does that have to do with making the photo? The photo is not going to be better because they are using a Lexar card as opposed to a Sandisk card. The only reason to mention it is that they are getting paid to.

    A year or so ago they was a ruckus over many of the mommy blogs shilling for corporations. What started out as young moms sharing their experiences and products they liked, turned into companies giving free merchandise and more to get favorable reviews.

    Go to IMDB and look at the reviews for a movie, especially a very bad one. You will have the normal bell curve of reviews with an improperly big spike of 10s. Some of this is kids punking the system, but some of it has to be the movie studios stuffing the ballot box to get the scores up. 14.6% of reviews for Bucky Larson are a 10 on a movie with an overall score of 2.8. That does not pass the smell test. The studios got in trouble a few years back for creating fake reviews that the planted in their advertising.

    I could go on and on with examples. Any time someone has a soap box and can influence an audience, there will be someone there trying to spin that message in their favor. People are aware of it, and they will be suspicious of the messenger, even an honest one.

    Don’t let it bother you.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Terry there are many of us who appreciate, depend on, and regularly read what you have to say. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Thanks.

  3. Good point Terry. We all have our t. What so wrong with recommending them to others. Our recommendations may help someone having a particular problem or spark an idea in an individual. So continue to recommend!

  4. The reason is that companies have gone down the darkside. They will do whatever they have to to get people to buy their products. This means that the odds are against you that you are just one of the people that genuinely love the product and not someone getting paid to push the product. Companies and even bloggers such as yourself have brought this upon themselves. Look at your good buddy Scott Kelby, 90% of his mouth movements is to push products that I am 99% certain he gets a little something something for pushing. You do the same thing. You push products. Also given how your relationship with the companies appear to be you can’t blame people for thinking your just a paid mouth piece. Look at Westcott Lights as a good example. With all of the stuff you do for them in photo shoots with their products and other things you do to push their products it makes you look like you were bought and sold. The same with your choice of camera brand. You look like you were bought and sold just like Scott Kelby and all of the other hosts of NAPPS programs. The relationship you have with Adobe comes across as you were bought and sold. So don’t act so surprised by people’s reactions. If you were a politician you would be accused of being in the pocket of lobbyists. I would suggest if you don’t like it that you don’t become so chummy with these companies.

    1. “99% certain” based on what? A gut feeling. Some proof or you just like making accusations that you can’t back up?
      It’s comments like yours that the post was directed at. Thanks for making my point.

      1. “If you don’t like the iPad, don’t buy one”.

        Robert, if you don’t like the blog, don’t read it.

        btw, I’m being paid by Terry’s web host to keep his bandwidth down so they can keep charging him the same for reduced traffic.

  5. It’s a no win for anything you say or do. Yes, I like to know what people are using and why. I shoot nikon but I’m not a canon hater. I like to know what cards people use, big deal. I’m curious. In the end, Nikon, canon, or any other vendor can shower me with support and I bet most of you would take it too. It is what it is. I’m thankful I live in a country where we all can express our opinions and people die defending that right. I did my time doing just that. So, express away…it’s all of our rights! Keep up the good work.

  6. I do not see a problem with getting an opinion from someone who might be getting free services. I dig deep before I buy and NEVER buy based on one persons review. There are people I trust more then others like Scott Kelby. Heck I think he has done more to bring photography to the masses then Poloroid. Does he get reimbursed,,,I don’t know. The guy has to make a living BUT every recommendation he makes he backs up with fact and then I make my decision to buy. I have not been lead astray once by Mr. Kelby or his colleague RC. The fact that Matt K…(spelling) makes Lightroom far too easy would be my only complaint.

    Stop blaming your parents, politicians, actors, corporations or TV. Make your own decisions. I made mine and trust what Mr. kelby recommends and as soon as he proves me wrong I will stop listening to him.

    So read all reviews, trust some and let the buyer beware.

  7. People think I’m getting paid all the time in services or products that I talk about on twitter or on my blog. I don’t get squat. I could if I wanted to. I could make a little spending money by adding banners and affiliate codes to my links. I’ve been approached numerous times to monetize much of what I do but then I’m stuck having to say things.

    I do have relationships. I have a great relationship with B&H because I love B&H. I get things like umbrellas for my workshops and I link to them. I have that relationship because I love them as a company. Other retailers have approached me with hard monthly numbers I could get paid and I’ve turned them all down.

    Have I gotten a free camera bag here or there? Yes. Have people sent me samples of things at times? Yes. It’s nice but 99% of my gear was paid for by me.

    I say this to say… plenty of people think I’m in the pocket of companies. They just “think it” when it isn’t true. Like Robert above. He has no clue as to what he’s talking about. He just sees a big name talking about stuff and thinks negatively about it. Kelby is a great guy. Kelby talks about what Kelby likes. If a company isn’t worth talking about I feel sure he wouldn’t talk about them.

    THEN… what if he’s getting paid?

    #1 – Yay! Someone is feeding their family and taking care of business. What in the hell is wrong with that? If he isn’t stealing or doing weird back room deals for cases of unmarked $100 bills then what is wrong with someone being paid to advertise?

    #2 – Kelby puts so much information out there for free. FREE. FREE bitches! He puts great information out for free and people want to hate on him. Ignorance runs so deep in this world.

    #3 – To do what Kelby does (sorry to focus on Scott but he’s a high profile guy and already brought up in conversation)… to do what he does costs him money. He has office rent, staff, bandwidth, supplies, taxes, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. He can’t pay for all of that with all of his free ass content he gives. So… he has to have income. Has to. If he doesn’t have income then none of it happens.

    #4 – Don’t we wish to see people succeed? Don’t we want people to be praised and even payed for their hard work? Doesn’t that give us hope the same can happen for us? Should everyone just sit and effing suffer and bitch and moan? No. I love to see success. I need to see success. If they can do it I can do it. I have four kids to raise and I need to take care of them and show them that hard work pays off. I want them to see that something can be made from nothing.

    So so-and-so is paid to talk about this or that. So what? Good for them. The beauty of our free market is you can decide how much you want to listen to them. I know several people “in the pocket” of several companies. They still have valuable information to share. I can listen to some Nikon folks talk and apply that to my Canon gear. It’s just f-stops and shutter speeds.

    Well said Terry. Well said.


    1. An absolutely brilliant response Zack! The internet has allowed a lot of people to make uninformed, unnecessary and frankly stupid comments on topics they don’t have an understanding of – all while “hiding” behind their screens.

      I feel that as a new photographer, it is extremely useful to know what other photographers think about some products – it makes my decision making process just a bit easier.

      Terry White, Scott Kelby and the other myriad of “gurus” are an absolute blessing for a generation of photographers that have the ability to learn SO much information online. I, personally, am so incredibly thankful for these resources!

  8. Terry, thank you for your post. I thank all of the people I read or listen to in various mediums for taking the time to express their feelings on products, testing products and being willing to share those feelings and results with the rest of us. It’s a huge help when it comes time to make my decisions on what to buy.

    Whether or not anyone is paid doesn’t matter (and I never assume someone is being paid.) I want to listen to people whose opinions matter to me. My choice – and if I don’t want to listen to them then I just don’t. No one forces me to listen to you or Scott or Dave or Rick or any of a number of other people. I choose to do it. And my advice to those who rag on you all for whatever reason is that they should not read the blogs of people whose opinion they obviously don’t value. It’ll help everyone’s blood pressure int he end.


  9. Totaly agree with you Terry.BUT,DO NOT agree with Howard. I have written reviews on some blogs including my own. I have said what I like and dislike about My Nikon D90 when I got it. I also said that I use Scandisk and PY SD cards.I have yet to recieve a check from eather, Nikon,Scandisk,or PY. It would have been nise if I did. Because I could use the extra income.

  10. Ditto Stan, David, Patrick & Zack. How much nicer it would be if the nitpickers, whiners and those lacking business sense and objectivity could direct their energy to something positive. They wear everyone else out.

    I continue to be grateful for all you share. I learn a lot from it and share it with others (including “Fanboy or Hater”, still loving that one!).

  11. The way I see it, is as long as you keep giving us FREE information on GOOD Products, helping us out with information, then it doesn’t matter if you get paid/or not. If you do, great, if you don’t, great again cause its obvious you chose not to.

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