Friday, February 10, 2012

Are There Too Many Perfume Bloggers?

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,


Unknown said...

I've seen the blog posts too, encouraging perfume bloggers to consider if they really have something unique to say, criticizing those who know less.

I don't care. I started my blog for me, because I wanted to record my thoughts about my new hobby. I would still do it even if no one read me.

I'm not apologizing for my amateur nose or writing. Learning is part of the fun. If my blog is one that those bloggers consider annoying, they can stop reading me or they can jump up my rose-scented hiney.

Love your blog by the way :)

JoanElaine said...

Great post! I'm happy to see a positive response to this oft-asked question.

I'm in the same mind as Krista. I started my blog for me, I'm not apologizing for anything, and I don't care what anyone else thinks.

Who exactly are the people who say there are too many perfume bloggers? Are they the bloggers that want industry jobs and book deals? Are they bloggers in fear of losing their "authority"?

Whoever they are, they should concentrate on their own work and leave those of us who blog for pleasure alone. If these bloggers are good, their voices will be heard above the din I'm apparently creating with mine.

Carol said...

I totally agree with you, and K and JE. I really don't care, either, to be Important. Because I am not Important in the fume world and that is just fine with me. I enjoy perfume, I enjoy the people I have met in RL and on-line. I write (usually) short, shot from the hip thoughts about a perfume I sample. I'm not a researcher; I leave that for those who love to do it and do it well.

*laughing at K's 'they can jump up my rose-scented hiney" hahhahaa!!]

And I'm completely oblivious to 'rankings'.

Olfacta said...

Hi, Krista and JoanElaine -- Hmmm...looks like I hit a nerve? I'm not one to point fingers, so won't; will only say that some of the major bloggers are authorities, more that I'll ever be, that's for sure! And that I still read and refer to them pretty much daily. (Have to say that, In general living, I've noticed that real authorities tend to sit in quiet bemusement while the others argue and shout.) I read the new blogs, add the ones I like best to my blogroll, and have respect for anyone brave enough to put their opinions (and that's what we're doing: expressing opinion) out there.

Carrie Meredith said...

I like the tone of your post (cut of your jib?). I see no reason whatsoever to pull rank as a blogger and declare the internet cluttered with questionable dreck, or people who try too hard, or whatever. In a year's time, I went full circle. As a new blogger, certain other bloggers were very nice and supportive of me, and I got to send that positive energy back out into the universe by helping out a couple new bloggers too. It's just not nice to post something that is going to make other bloggers uncomfortable, where they're biting their nails in front of the computer as their courage flags and they lose heart.

I would really like everyone to know, it's OKAY to be nice to people. Really, it is! I know it can be tough for some folks not to display their jadedness openly, and that's fine. Just don't pee in anyone's pool except your own. :)

And on that note, I'll end by saying I've made some of the best friends of my life through perfume blogging, and if I quit blogging tomorrow, I'd still have that priceless gift.

Olfacta said...

Hi BF: Keep on keeping on!

Olfacta said...

Hi Carrie -- Nice words. And I love "questionable dreck." Isn't that how the Internet started? I can't help but remember how threated pulp 'n paper publishers were by blogs, but realized, eventually, that they could be marketing opportunities!

I've also made some wonderful friends here, lovely, nice, interesting people I hope to know for the rest of my life.

JoanElaine said...

Hi Olfacta!
Speaking for myself, yes - a nerve was hit, but not in a negative way. I was just so darn pleased to see a positive opinion.

I'm not pointing fingers - I don't know where to point them. My questions about who thinks there are too many perfume bloggers are rhetorical. But I sure would like to know why this question comes up so often.

Elisa said...

I agree with many of the voices here; there's plenty of room on the Internet for everyone. When people complain that there are too many perfume blogs, it always comes off as threatened and insecure to me. (If your audience is so tenuous, maybe your blog isn't really that interesting?) New voices are good and I think it's very, very rare that bloggers pretend to know more than they do -- I find most of them go out of their way to say "Maybe it's just me...." and fully admit they have no formal training.

mals86 said...

The short answer: Yes. All the rest of you stop blogging first.

(Kidding.) The true answer: Can there be too much of people saying what they really think about a topic which fascinates them, whether they're experts or not? Of course there can't. MORE STORIES, that's what I want. More. Now. Perfume seems to do that, to make people want to tell stories, because their emotional centers have been activated by something as trivial as a smell in a bottle - isn't that the coolest?

It does make me a little bit sad that I can't possibly catch up with everyone who's blogging about perfume, but it's wonderful to read what I have time to read.

Olfacta said...

Gracious! The last time I got this many comments this fast was that time I gave away a full bottle!

But seriously...Elisa and Mals -- perfume is a great subject for blogging, as you say. It makes us want to write. For writers as well as perfumefreaks, how can that be bad? Whether you have any formal training or not, your voice is welcomed, or should be, imho.

olenska said...

If something makes you happy, and putting your joy into words makes you happy, and reading your words makes someone else happy (maybe even happy enough to start putting their OWN joy into words), then WHY THE HELL NOT. <3

Asali said...

First and foremost; I don't think there are too many perfume blogs. Let me say that I am not a blogger, but an ardent reader and a contributor. The way I look at it is that of all the blogs which started out, quite a few are no more, or the person who started the blog has gone more or less into hibernation leaving the work to other, 'younger' bloggers. So my point is, that there should be a lot of new blogs, which at some point will be the old blogs with more knowledge that the next new blogs. Another point I want to make is that the variety of bloggers voices makes it easier to find people you share taste with, and who's writing you sympathise with, and leave out the ones you don't. I am glad you were treated so nicely when you stared, in general I think that people were very nice to me too. BUT I want to add that I did get the decided feeling with some new bloggers,as you write, that it is a lot about being important in the business and to prove your own status you are nice to everyone who is of networking importance, especially other bloggers, but that people who doesn't seem of much importance- in this case me- got a very poor and somewhat condescending reply. So I do think that you're right in the fact that many are using perfume blogging to try and further their careers. I love the part of the perfume community which is helpful and generous, and not so much the opportunist part.

Bernadette said...

I'm really glad I read this post!

I admit, I only started blogging about the fragrances as a necessity to complement my brand. Blogging was the in thing. After a while, I considered stopping for because there are a lot of better, well-written and relevant blogs and to be frank, the motivation and the passion to write wasn't there. I wrote something simply because I needed to. The blog wasn't updated and I needed to write.

I realized that it was simply the wrong motivation. With fragrances a big part of who I am, what I like and what I do for a living, my motivation is my passion. Took me a while to realize that what I needed to do was just to share my experiences, what I do know and that I don't need to impress anyone.

So if anyone says that there are too many perfume blogs, we should just say, so what?

Olfacta said...

Hi Olenska -- Yeah, why not?

Olfacta said...

Hi Asali -- I'm sorry you had that experience. Maybe it does point to a difference. There is not as much of anything to go around as there was even 4 or 5 years ago; I think it has negatively affected the way people in general behave. I was not important at all when I started (and am still not). I just like to write, like to write about perfume, and when I feel as though I'm not contributing or at least being amusing, I'll stop.

Olfacta said...

Hi Bernadette -- There are quite a few perfume bloggers who blog to support their brands. Often it's the only advertising they can afford. That said, there are charming, sincere ways to do that and others not so charming, just blatantly promoting, and people see right through it. I think the best brandbloggers are the ones who talk about their process at least as much as their product, but maybe that's just me.

DWR said...

Now that is what I'm talking about!

First, loved your post. Right there with you. Happy always to have new voices, new stories, new perspectives. For me Mals said it best:

"Can there be too much of people saying what they really think about a topic which fascinates them, whether they're experts or not? Of course there can't. MORE STORIES, that's what I want. More. Now."


DWR said...

Liked this piece, so much, I actually spent all night thinking/writing about it. :)


Ines said...

I agree with everything you said. :)
And I believe there is enough place for all of us. I enjoy the virtual friendship I have with some bloggers and I love the fact that if I want to find out about a perfume, someone had it covered and I'm not in the dark.
I'm no longer upset about not writing regularly or not having a large readership (I never had), I started my blog because I wanted to write down someplace my thoughts on things I was smelling and reading, and if I didn't commit to it in a virtual space, I would never write it down.

Martha said...

Too many? Inconceivable. The only disadvantage of having more and more bloggers is that I have trouble keeping my blogroll up to date, and I feel guilty when I realize that there are five more bloggers that I never saw before. But there is no way that there can be "too many".

Perfumaniac said...

I agree with those who say that the only problem with "too many perfume bloggers" is that it's hard to keep up with reading. (This reminds me: I need to update my blogroll!)

I started writing about perfume in 2009, and I've loved having people from all over the world share their ideas, thoughts and stories about perfume. I've found it very moving.

And I've also found that for the large part, the "eminence grise" of the perfume blogger world (Elena at Perfume Shrine, Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am, et al) have been wonderfully supportive and kind.

Basically, I think if you have something to say about should say it! Interblog dialogue is the best. And perfumistas are some of the sweetest, quirkiest people I've ever virtually and really met.

Geneviève said...

I love your topic! I am a perfume blogger as well, and I am not ashamed to say that I'm a newbie. I started that, in my own language (french), just for fun. To me it was the best way to keep updated about my passion and it was relaxing me from the stress I had in school.

I think there will never be too many perfume blogs because each and everyone of us can show it's perspective on a subject as emotional and vast as that.