Is it a diary? Is it an ad? No, it's a mummy blog
New mothers are turning to the internet in ever greater numbers to record the highs and lows of parenting. Susie Mesure reports
Sunday 23 August 2009
It initially gave lonely new mums the chance to reclaim some form of social life once they'd finally got DD* or DS* down for the night. But the phenomenon that is mummy blogging is gaining a life of its own, turning from a virtual take on the church hall coffee morning to something approaching a business for many of the UK's emerging community of parent bloggers.
Mummy bloggers report companies are queuing up to bombard them with the latest children's DVDs, books, shoes and even kid-friendly holidays in the hope of scoring a favourable online review that might help their product to stand out amid the clutter in a fiercely competitive children's market.
Some blogging parents (there are a handful of dads among the mums) get at least 10 pitches a day from retailers and brands keen to harness one of the internet's newest sub-groups. And earlier this month, Butlins took a group of bloggers to the launch of its Ocean Hotel Spa in Bognor Regis, hoping to swap a free mini-break for some free publicity online.
Although a handful of mummy blogs were around as far back as 2006 – three years is an eternity in webworld – the vast of majority of bloggers such as mommyhasaheadache or londoncitymum are much newer to the scene. One relative old-timer, Laura Driver, who has been writing arewenearlythereyetmummy? for the past 13 months, said: "I can't believe how quickly it is snowballing. There used to be just a few high profile mum bloggers but now there are so many starting up each week that you can't keep up with them all. It seems everybody is fighting for a place in the top 100. People are getting quite frantic about it."
Last week, British Mummy Bloggers, a forum for the burgeoning community, hit a milestone when its 500th blogger signed up. By last night, it had gained another 25 members. Susanna Scott, who set up BMB in late 2008, said the UK was making up for its slow start compared with the US, which has at least 6,000 mummy – or mommy – blogs. "Mums used to share information over a coffee at the church hall. With blogging, you can effectively have a coffee morning whenever you want – even at midnight if that is when you have a laptop and a few minutes to yourself," she said.
The boom means that "everyone is targeting mummy bloggers these days", according to Ms Scott, 44, who has three daughters and writes four different blogs, including A Modern Mother. She has reviewed products for Dyson, HP, Sainsbury's, Snapfish, Disney and Blu-ray. "The whole market has gone crazy. I get, not kidding, about six to 10 pitches a day," she said.
Dulwich Mum, the nom de blog for another veteran, Bea Parry-Jones, is another popular target for companies anxious for an online mention. "I've been on luxury holidays, I've been sent designer coats, DVDs, handbags and copious amounts of cosmetics," she said.
As Dulwich Mum, she doesn't review products as such, but will instead "name drop appropriately" – product placing for a digital readership. What Ms Parry-Jones, who has more than 1,000 readers for her satirical musings, doesn't do is regard blogging as a get-rich-quick scheme. "I have a job. I don't see blogging as a business," she added.
Others, like Tara Cain, who writes Sticky Fingers, insist they're "not a news service" for new product launches. Instead, her blog is "the perfect online diary for the big things you don't want to forget" about her children. She discovered mummy blogs while she was pregnant, enjoying them for the "nitty-gritty details and brutal honesty" they provided about parenthood.
Freebies aside, most bloggers regard writing online as a form of escape. Catherine Sanderson, who is the "petite anglaise" who has been blogging about her life as an expat' British mother in Paris for the past three years, said: "I found it a nice way to reach out at a time when my social life had been reduced and I was groping to find my identity again."
*DD stands for Darling Daughter, while DS is Darling Son
Life & Style blogs
Best three-ingredient recipes: From Nutella brownies to mac and cheese and pulled pork
Topshop pulls 'ridiculously skinny' mannequins after being shamed by customer on Facebook
The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
The lesser known erogenous zones - and how to find them
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
- 1 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 2 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 3 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 4 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
- 5 What TripAdvisor users think of 16 of the world's most popular landmarks
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...
£30000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you motivated to hit and ex...
£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...
£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A technical SharePoint Consulta...