Media Monday! Today was going to be a review on 4Minute’s new song Hate, but then something came up so that’s not going to happen.
Oh well, okay if you must know! The song is okay, not as good as their previous release Crazy but after a while the weak drop (and it is weak af) grows on you and it’s an ear worm.
Now that’s out of the way.
While I was away for the weekend (thank you, it was very restful), it appears some parts of the Asian Beauty Western community collectively lost it’s mind and declared war on it’s bloggers for perceived slights. The biggest transgression they claim is that bloggers are manipulating the community towards certain brands and retailers for a kickback.
That was a little dismissive I admit, especially when you look at the community and see the level of influence bloggers command. It’s true that colorcrush’s review of CosRx’s A-Sol launched that relatively unknown brand into the limelight, it’s true that snowwhiteandtheasianpear’s review of the joseon cream lead it to be stocked pretty much everywhere, tracy from fanserviced’s review of avecko launched it into view, and chel from holysnails blog walked you through the process. Their words clearly have a lot of sway so they must be making mad bank right?
The money you are looking for is in another castle.
This might be hard to believe but there’s no money in blogging about Asian Beauty for the Western audience.
I repeat, there is no money here.
No-one is paying out money for reviews, why would they? If a company approaches a blogger to review a product and they receive a no, there are so many other Asian Beauty bloggers to approach with a similar enough audience who are happy enough to post just with a press sample. Why pay when you don’t have to? That goes for special collaborations with stores and blogger specific coupons. What do those events offer that the companies don’t already offer? That 15% off your purchase with bloggerx code is just a 15% off sale. Even if the bloggers were getting kickbacks (and they aren’t) if they were looking to make bank, this is the wrong community to do it from.
Facts & Figures.
How big is the community? The largest forum has only 37,000 subscribers. If we’re generous and double that to say there are more people who read but aren’t subscribed we say there are 74,000 people who engage with the content. In comparison, KathleenLights a single youtuber has around, 1,800,000 subscribers and she’s only been around for a three years, roughly the same amount of time the community as it is now has been around. Even if we halve that and say okay she’s been followed by bots, and some of those people don’t watch all her videos that’s still a single person’s content following dwarfs the content produced by the largest part of our community. She has 951k followers on Instagram, by comparison one of the big stores Memebox_USA only has 53.9k followers.
Real talk, we’re not that important.
Forget the Asian retailers then, let’s look to the Western brands releasing dupes who have set a precedent for paying for content. Do you think they look to bloggers who blog for the Asian Beauty audience? Absolutely not. They have their own pre-existing relationships with content creators, and none of our biggest bloggers have been blogging about this niche for more than two years. We’re absolutely irrelevant to the bigger companies who would actually pay out money to bloggers. Why would they send a product to an Asian Beauty blogger to reach 10,000 people in a month, when they could send the same product to a Western Blogger and reach a 1,00,000 in a week with many of those people in the first category being reached too? We’re just not that important a community to be specifically targeted.
I can understand the temptation to look at the bigger blogging picture, look at huge beauty content creators like Zoella, Michelle Phan, Temptalia and think, “holy crap there’s so much money in this!” look at the bigger bloggers and think the same thing must be happening here. It isn’t, the money isn’t there for it to be. Beauty blogging at the very top is very very lucrative, but even though Asian Beauty is now becoming the new hot ticket in the Western beauty world Asian Beauty Bloggers are nobodies in the grand scheme of things.
Sure! This might change in the future but for now, we’re really not .. anything special. I mean, in the international Get It Beauty episode, did anyone see our bloggers there? Did we get a mention at all? Not really.
Bloggers test! So you don’t have to.
When I joined the Western Asian Beauty community no-one had a clue what the hell was going on. Any information we had we shared out of necessity, and thus the hivemind was born largely out of self preservation. We largely don’t speak the languages these products are primarily in. We don’t understand the processes or the culture these products belong to, we aren’t even the primary audience! Any information we get is all cobbled together piecemeal through trial and error. I’m sure we can all remember being utterly baffled at learning a lotion is not a light cream (that’s an emulsion), basically having to relearn a whole vocabulary just to gain access. How many of you would have ever thought a First Essence was a thing?
This means, whenever someone translates something, or whenever someone dips a toe in the water (ie tries a new product or store) and says, “Come on in, the water is great!” we all lose it and jump on the bandwagon. I mean, can you blame us? The people who tend to lead that charge? The early adopters, the content creators, the bloggers, the vloggers, the instagrammers who all take the risks that we are not prepared to. They take that risk and we benefit from it.
You wanna be on top?
Blogging is not easy, Tracy really laid it all out here in her latest post about what it takes to be a kbeauty blogger. We talk about TOP BLOGGERS, like the gap is so wide, but it really isn’t such a gulf. When I first started Skin&Tonics was the TOP BLOGGER, she took a hiatus and poof in a few months someone else took her place, that can happen to any of the current bloggers. I love their work, but the only reason they’re at the top now is due to their consistency and prolific work.
Sure you get free products, but when you’re working for weeks on a single post that free bottle of essence doesn’t even really begin to chip into how much you’ve spent in order to get up and running. So why do Asian Beauty bloggers blog? Personally, I do it because I like talking to people. I like sharing, I like trying things and telling people about it. Many of the other bloggers I’ve spoken to echo my sentiment. We’re not doing it for money, or freebies, or for the mad exposure but for the love of it.
I’m going to stop here before I write out a thesis. Hopefully this adds a brick into the understanding that while yes there might be ‘glory at the top‘ that’s all there is at the top.
Here, take this, go in peace. Lay be with you.