That's the kicker. The 'positive' review. I've long since turned down specific invite-to-review meals but I don't begrudge anyone else going to them, as long as they're disclaimed. They're more able than I am, to be able to make seemingly impartial judgements. They're more able to deal with the awkwardness of the no bill situation, the fawning staff. Hell, if you've got the arrogance and the belief in your blog to approach a restaurant and ask for a free meal in exchange for a review, you're braver than I am.
But when you're asking for something free in return for a positive review, especially when you don't disclaim it, it is not cool. It's a shill. It's breaking trust. It's tacky and desperate. It gives bloggers a bad name, one I've tried hard to defend for the 6 years I've kept this little thing going. People don't talk or write about the bloggers who do have integrity; they don't talk about the bloggers who spend their free time doing the hobby they love, taking time to write just because they like to do it. No, whenever bloggers are in the press it is to complain about their big cameras, to complain about the sole person who broke the rules and offered a positive review. It really annoys me when bloggers give the haters such easy things to pull us up on and tarnish us as a whole.
Why don't we all just be decent? I subscribe to hundreds of blogs; blogs that take free meals, blogs that take products, travel writers who go on trips. I trust them and I continue reading them from a judgement call I made for having all the information available to me. Disclosure. That's what it's all about - not who got what free, but the ability to know when you can trust what you're reading.
The email I retweeted had the guy's phone number in it. I didn't realise that, it was a mistake. I think I broke the rule that says you can't publish someone's personal details. I assume that's it - I've heard nothing from Twitter yet. Can I come out of jail now please?