For some time now, I have been wondering if I should write to fragrance companies to get on their press list. This might be an easy decision for some – after all, you would be invited to press releases specifically for bloggers, receive samples of releases that have yet to be launched as well as numerous other freebies. Yet I – and perhaps some of my fellow bloggers – value having my own independent voice and being able to write my own honest opinions on a fragrance, without having to worry about offending some brand and being black marked for it. Just recently, Persolaise penned a thought-provoking piece titled ‘Who Do You Work For? – Thoughts on Blogs and Perfume Criticism’, where he made extremely valid, relevant and incisive remarks on the state of independent writing with regard to perfume criticism.
I have no doubt we’re still years away from a time when impartial fragrance reviews are a regular feature of mainstream media; I think most of us are resigned to that sad fact. But I’m aware that many of us net-based scentusiasts had hoped the internet would be the site where honest, independent voices could flourish and gain legitimacy. I’m now beginning to wonder if these hopes were unfounded. Yes, there’s still plenty of excellent fragrance writing on the blogosphere, the audience for which appears to be growing. But the “climate of fear” alluded to by James seems to have affected the output of several online writers, to the extent that quite a few are unwilling to write about a scent in negative or extreme terms… presumably because they’re worried about being struck off a brand’s press list and not receiving freebies any more.