So, are there?
I've seen veiled and not-so-veiled references to this from other perfume bloggers in recent months. I've given the issue some thought.
When I started “Olfactarama” a few years ago, it was because I wanted to have a blog that delved into something that interested me. Perfume fit the bill. I had always had a small collection, grew up in a perfume-loving household, and thought I knew a few things about it. As my searches for information on particular scents began to uncover blogs like Perfume Shrine, I realized that I knew almost nothing! So that became my character: the Perfume Newbie.
I became obsessed. For a couple of years, I spent much of my spare time reading about, writing about and collecting perfumes, especially the vintage classics. The threatening specter of reformulation, combined with the existence of online discounters selling “older” (read: original) stock upped my buying considerably; suddenly, discounted bottles were much more desirable than the new ones. (I bought quite a few, and am glad now that I did!) I swapped, too, and acquired many decants, haunted estate sales, went to Sniffapalooza, and generally followed a trajectory familiar to perfume bloggers; reading all the blogs, trolling the fora, commenting, getting to know my fellow perfume-obsessed. A benefit of all this was realizing that my blog was being read. That had not been my original intent, but c’mon: who doesn’t want readers? You can only shout into a void for so long...
At the time I started, there were five or so “Majors” — Now Smell This, Perfume Shrine, Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc and Perfume Posse come to mind. After I had enough entries to assure their authors that I planned to be around for awhile, I wrote to some of them and asked to be placed on their blogrolls. For the most part I felt welcomed into this new world, particularly by Elena of Perfume Shrine. No one, back then, seemed to be complaining about too many perfume blogs. Everyone was lovely to me. Brian, of “I Smell Therefore I Am,” discovered me in a way — he wrote about one of my early pieces on his blog. We became real-life friends. We still are.
But things are different now, it seems.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the ratings game has come to the world of perfume blogging, and “too many blogs” means this: for every one of these upstarts, I could be losing a reader, or readers, and my rankings might suffer, and my unique page views might go down and then the industry won’t take me seriously and I won’t get samples and books to review. Insiders might not return my calls or emails. I might not feel important.
I’m of an age where being important isn’t, well, all that important to me. It used to be. Being Important, when I was in my 30’s and 40’s, was the most Important thing in the world. No longer, and what a relief.
So I welcome new bloggers. I feel that, at the least, I owe that to the perfume blogosphere; to treat the newbies as I was treated when I was one. Clearly, some are angling for industry jobs, book deals or are blogging as writing samples. Many of my commenters have blogs of their own with easily clickable links. So what? Chances are they’re younger than I am and still wanting to climb that ladder. No matter; that’s life. Maybe they don’t know as much about perfume as I now do, thanks to other perfume bloggers. Hey, everyone was a noob once. I still am, in my way. I’ll always be. Perfume is a complicated subject, which is why I chose to write about it in the first place. It is still the joy of discovery that makes me want to write about it.
I think there’s room for all of us.
What say you?
The crowd illustration is from a free-images site, freedigitalphotos.net.