Friday, August 27, 2010
For those of you who do not know, I am currently camped out in the middle of Theo chocolate factory at the International Food Blogger's Conference in Seattle. I made the trek up from Portland yesterday, got overwhelmed by parking in Seattle, and then got overwhelmed by the conference itself. It's kind of like Comi-Con, with a bunch of geeks who normally hide behind their keyboards and twitter handles, just with WAY more free eats and sips. I feel a bit out of place - this ain't no farmers' market - but everyone is really friendly and excited to make real-life connections with familiar URLs. The food's been great, but, full disclosure, this place is basically one giant advertisement. I'm really new to the world of blog product placement, and it's hard to know how to react to dozens of vineyards and breweries, lamb and beef PR, drink manufacturers, publishers, and food products giving me free things and tacitly expecting me to blog about them, organize giveaways, and basically serve as free, well-written advertisements.
If you've read LemonBasil AT ALL, you'll no doubt be thinking that this concept is completely foreign to me, and you'd be right. I'm really weirded out by slipping in products and links into my blog, but I've been chatting with people who make a couple hundred dollars a month by writing about and having ads. Hundreds! Of Dollars! Guys, that's a few more nights out, a few more kitchen gadgets, and a few more dinner parties for my friends and local blog readers. Conundrum.
I've never used ads on the blog, I'm Portland-centric, and I'm also more than a food blogger. But it seems to be more and more common for blogs to monetize, advertise, and name-drop... I'm fine doing that for local Portland businesses, local restaurants and chefs, and local artisans. But when the Wisconsin Cheese Board emails me and asks me to write a post about my favorite places in Portland to buy Wisconsin Cheese, a little red light goes off in the back of my head, flashing "SELL OUT WARNING. SELL OUT WARNING."
I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the conference turns into something other than a soap box for the Lamb Council of America. Even though that caveman-sized rack of lamb last night was really good. Damn, I'm already doing it. There goes my conscience.