Going AD Free (Integrity and Influencers)

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

In September it was agreed that going forward all Rock My content would be advertisement free. No more paid for campaigns, no more affiliate links, no more ad blocks linking you to a particular website that have paid us to do so.

If you read our The Future Of Online Media feature earlier in the year, you will be familiar with how the company generates revenue. Our main source of income is our membership based hand-picked supplier directory hosted on Rock My Wedding. Prior to Rock My being sold to WLS Holdings, we would also receive payment for styled campaigns and the associated promotion across our websites and/or social media platforms.

We have always endeavoured to build the Rock My brand based on integrity and community, we have only ever worked with brands/products we would ordinarily be associated with/purchase ourselves. However, if we are essentially paid to encourage our community to buy something, our recommendations are not completely unbiased, whether we mostly use/like the brand in question outside of the campaign or not.

The meteoric rise of “influencer” marketing and in particular Rock My Style often being categorised by potential partnership brands in the same circles as various influencers, has been challenging to navigate to say the least. Our new parent company has wholeheartedly backed us in our desire to become 100% transparent, offering our readers unbiased recommendations and a place to discuss relevant topics and offer advice to each other, in a safe and positive online environment.

Dropping advertising doesn’t come without risk, and there is a lot of work to do in order to make the Rock My business successful financially with a strategy that retains integrity and continues to inspire and engage our community. It’s ambitious, but we’re confident and motivated to succeed.

This time last year I decided I couldn’t personally be involved, or involve my family, in any kind of paid for campaign. I have never been an influencer in the traditional instagram/generate revenue for my personal gain perspective, but Mabel, Iris and I have occasionally featured in Rock My paid for partnership campaigns where we have been photographed wearing a particular brand of clothing.

Full Disclosure: Earlier this year I borrowed a dress from a brand we were working with on RMW for my sister’s wedding (it was a sample so it was returned – it was not a “gift”). The brand were very helpful, the dress was beautiful and as it was a very special occasion/specific to my “niche” I deemed the loan appropriate. A lovely lady direct messaged me via instagram to say she had been inspired to purchase the gown herself as she had seen it on a real person (ie a short arse and not the 6ft model on the website ha!). I was glad to have been of (sequin) service, but ultimately I had this unexplainable sinking feeling that I could have afforded to buy the dress myself yet here I was, waltzing about FOC, influencing this nice lady into paying the full RRP. The feeling of discomfort (also see prize numpty) outweighed any potential adulation I may have experienced as an enabler.

As the poor regulation of what is an advert/gift continues and the controversy surrounding influencers implodes, I have become increasingly disillusioned with traditional paid for advertising as a revenue stream. I very rarely engage with #AD myself, so how can I expect this community to?

For clarification, there is nothing wrong with a brand/person being genuinely influential. There are many courageous and hard working folk and excellent causes being promoted in the right way. I don’t want this to be lost in the message.

As always your thoughts and feedback is most welcome in the comments area below.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
This post may include affiliate links.
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88 thoughts on “Going AD Free (Integrity and Influencers)

  1. This is a very brave move! I very much applaud it (I am absolutely sick to the back teeth #ad posts filling my social media feeds), and can’t wait to see how things work out for you guys. Good luck! x

    1. Thanks so much Gem! and me too, I need to do a significant cull of accounts I follow as it’s verging on the ridiculous! x

    2. Here here. I don’t watch live tv purely because of adverts, I came off Facebook years ago because of adverts & IG seemed like a “safe” place however now everyone wants to advertise something & it sickens me. If I want something I like to go out & search for it. In this day & age if I like something I see anywhere it is soooooo simple to pop it into google & locate it!
      I definitely applaud this move & encourage others to do the same….

  2. “However, if we are essentially paid to encourage our community to buy something, our recommendations are not completely unbiased, whether we mostly use/like the brand in question outside of the campaign or not.” To me, this just sums up the problems with influencer advertising. The recent instamum “scandal” has opened my eyes a bit to how much I was letting my feed become dominated by essentially strangers trying to sell me stuff. I’ve unfollowed loads of influencers but I’m so pleased to know that I can continue to follow RMS! As always, a fantastic post and decision Charlotte.

    1. Thank you Katie and yes, I have been so disappointed recently – what happened, the reaction, it’s just all so incredibly unpleasant. I don’t know/follow most of whom I’ve seen mentioned (I have never boarded the instamum follower train) but I’ve read/seen enough to know the behaviour on instagram of certain circles is appalling. It’s truly amazing how low some people are willing to go for publicity.

  3. I really applaud your decision and as part of the community who enjoy your content, massively respect your honesty and appreciate how transparent you guys always are with us readers. It’s a bold move but one made with complete integrity and I think the community here will grow even larger and more engaged because of it.

    I guess it’s a point of difference in your brand values that will really set this lovely corner of the Internet apart even further.

    I feel really excited for you guys and what you have coming and wish you huge success with it all.

    Can’t wait for the Beauty Pie posts and the make up hauls to start again, I’ve made some right errors in judgement without the rock my influence 😂

    One thing that is always nice to have is a discount code for a product or brand mentioned, even if there’s kick back for using it. I’m not sure how that falls in the murky world of online advertising but where relevant as a reader it’s nice to feel I’m getting the added value.


    1. Beauty Pie Lynne yes! Marcia Kilgore sent me a few DMs (long story) and I nearly died. Legend! As per the kick back yes – that’s how I see us working with brands/giving back to the community in the future. It needs more thought/organisation but I’m getting there! x

  4. Wooooop! I am so glad to hear this!
    Just the other day I was looking for an eye cream / miracle product to make my skin look 10 years younger (I’d just celebrated a birthday and was feeling old).
    As I searched the net, seeing all the beauty bloggers, women’s magazine websites, amazon and even leading high-street brands websites, I realised I didn’t trust any of them. I felt they were all being paid to promote certain brands and don’t actually give a hoot if they work, which, when you’re spending lots of cash on something you know little about (my idea of a beauty routine is cold water and a drop of cheap moisturiser if my skin’s dry) is an extremely disappointing way to feel.
    I then thought ‘I know who i can trust’ and jumped on Rock My Style! And there it was a completely independent recommendation of skin care products!

    I was worried you might be disappearing with the streamlining you have been doing over the last year (I use to pop by twice a week to read the blog). But this is the best news! So glad you’ve decided to go in this direction and wish you all the best for the future, it’s fantastic we can have somewhere we can trust!

    1. Hi Victoria! Eye cream! I rate Dr Perricone – the one in the green jar, very fresh and light. Bobbi Brown “extra” eye cream if you are really dry – need 10 minutes or so to sink in before applying make-up though. For more of a bargain I know Beauty Pie do one that’s about £7 if you are a member, I haven’t tried it so I can’t personally recommend it but my sister has been getting on with it really well x

  5. So refreshing to read – I did wonder based on the skincare post the other week. And it’s very much needed in this day and age. The never-ending stream of ads on social media is exhausting and the sometimes lack of disclosure is also infuriating. I definitely agree with your last statement – there are a handful of accounts I follow who have a clear idea of what they’re about and work with brands that match their ethos, making sure there is a good balance between organic and sponsored content. However, they do seem like a rare breed.

    In general, I think there needs to be more regulation on social media – when the new ASA rules came out, everyone seemed to do their own interpretation of what it meant and that has led to a lot of confusion I think. The lines between ad/gift/press discount etc seem to blur quite a lot of the time. With regards to the latter, I think I’ve only seen one Instagrammer disclose how much discount they’d received for a holiday. It was met with a lot of positivity in the comments which only highlighted how many people clearly feel frustrated by these terms being used and never fully explained.

    Looking forward to future posts on RMS and seeing what you have in-store for us all!

    1. Thanks for the support Jo! and yes completely agree, they are a rare breed. I find it almost comical when groups of people start advertising the same thing at the same time, and it’s blatantly not a product they would use/have never mentioned the brand before. It just makes the whole thing absurd. Also highlights the brand in questions lazy attitude towards marketing – how much can they care about their consumer? x

  6. I love the trailblazing nature of the rock my’ empire. It really speaks to me. Echoing the comments above I’d be happy to see the odd special discount code and if you get a kick back that’s cool with me.
    Are you contemplating going down the paid membership/subscription avenue? I read/listen a bit to industry news and I’ve heard that this is the way content online is likely heading. I’m sure you feel a weight off your back changing your model, I know you’ll figure it out, lead the way and rock it – pun intended!

    1. Hi Lisa, there are no plans for a subscription model for RMS – but I do subscribe to several news apps, I do think it’s a viable business model. The ability to genuinely write/compile content and offer 100% genuine reviews at all times is amazing, it has certainly bought back a lot of creativity/motivation x

  7. As always Charlotte, you and the team are leading the way and shaking things up online in a really good way. The Rock My brand has always been about authenticity and a really friendly, positive community and that speaks volumes about you and the team (past and present).
    I used to get really excited about social media, having worked in online marketing and communications in the past, but have completely fallen out of love with it in the last few years. It’s not about specific people or accounts I follow (there are a handful of genuinely great ones), the whole “influencer” and #ad thing just makes me feel odd. It can make you feel a pressure to wear/buy/decorate with certain things which has sometimes given me this weird feeling of financial deficiency because I can’t always afford to buy the items everyone is talking about. It’s also a very “throw away” and wasteful phenomenon, which feels awkward when I’ve made a real effort over the past year to eighteen month to make more considered and ethical choices when it comes to what I buy.
    Sorry for the epic waffle, I think what you’re doing is brilliant and look forward to seeing what comes next for you guys!

    1. Waffle always welcome Kitty – so interesting to hear your thoughts, especially as you have worked in online marketing. It makes me feel really sad when folks say they feel inferior when they see what is essentially highlights of other peoples lives, but it is a very real issue. If everything was more transparent then maybe there would be much less pressure/incorrect perceptions of influencers seemingly glossy/gifted lives.

      And you have hit the nail on the head there, our new platform concept addresses making more ethical choices/going some small way to move away from the worlds giant land fill hole. x

  8. I’m delighted with this news, I’ve really missed Rock My blog posts and am excited for an (ad free) return! I totally feel the same re insta and influencers – last Christmas, a handful of people I followed all held separate ‘festive gatherings’ over the same weekend…. all using the same company’s tableware etc. They all marked it up as #ad / #gift / #sponsored in slightly different ways which added to the daftness of it all. I was beginning to feel like influencers were all having a merry party (meet ups / press events) that none of the rest of us were invited to. But then came the insta craziness / mummy blogger fall out of last week and I deleted masses of accounts I followed. I enjoy the comments section of Rock My posts as much as the article itself ~ the real life experiences & recommendations. Looking forward to reading more in the coming months.

    1. Hi Nicola! The bizarre thing about the vast majority of these press events is that they “cost” the attendee, often significantly. If you add up the price of say a train ticket/fuel, a day out of the office….maybe even an overnight stay, it certainly outweighs the cost price of a fancy candle. I can of course understand the benefits of networking to an extent, but based on what we (RMS/RMW) have been invited to over the years, and (politely) refused, it really must be more about the “being seen” than any true business benefit.

      I have various people mention they felt there were circles of “friendship” groups that have evolved from instagram – great if you meet likeminded people, whatever platform it is but….as you mention, I think the murky/fake relationships have been clearly outlined. It’s all incredibly distasteful. Which in turn makes everyone question the integrity of the products/services these people “sell” x

  9. Hurrah! The steady stream of #ad on social media is very off putting on so many levels. Looking forward to see how this works for you. I hope it does as I’ve missed the blog and the very honest debates that have happened here in the past.

    1. These debates and discussions are what I have missed from the blog. Glad to have you back and behind you all the way!

  10. Hi Charlotte, I’m sure this wasn’t an easy or overnight decision considering the potential financial risk, but an interesting and standout one in the current climate. For what it is worth I have always felt that RMS have done paid campaigns in a genuine and natural way and as a poster above mentioned, a discount code from the partnership was great if it was a product I was interested in. But I also agree with how some influencers lack integrity with ads and partnerships, often pushing different versions of the same thing claiming it to be the best in a short amount of time. That is frustrating and means you take the recommendation with a pinch of salt rather than trusting it too much. Also agree on your response above about brands run advertising through several influencers at the same time, it is bad business and doesn’t show much care for the consumers intelligence. Anyway, thank you for explaining the transparency RMS seeks (though I think that’s always been there) and I’m excited for the next steps. I look up things in the RM/ and RMF archive more than I’d like to admit!! Xx

    1. Sophie I’m so glad the archives are useful, I’ve been genuinely surprised (and quite regretful) about how much RMF has been missed, we had resource issues with regards continuing at the time but I do feel there is a real requirement for a family resource that has integrity.

      I’m glad our campaigns have come across as genuine, they always have been x

      1. I use the archive ALL the time! On the weekend I was re-reading a post on children’s books which had loads of comments underneath and writing them all down as inspiration for my sons Christmas presents !

    1. Hi Helen, it’s been in all of the press – which in itself I find frustrating, what with real world issues that need addressing. Essentially a prolific influencer created an anonymous account on a forum and allegedly said not very nice things about other influencers whom she was supposed to be “friends” with. Some of the alleged victims have been discussing it very publicly which only serves to draw attention to the situation (and themselves). Everyone involved appears to be in the circle that is labelled “instamum”. I don’t know the facts (does anyone except the accused I guess) but having discussed it with some of the team, I do feel it has had a measurable effect on how influencer marketing is viewed in general.

      1. I can’t abide this ‘insta mum’ garbage. I’m a mum and I’m on instagram, am I one? It seems a very odd way of categorising a person. I’m a mum and go in Tesco’s does that make me ‘Tesco Mum’? (other supermarkets are available)

        1. Maybe I’m Wilko Mum – based on my current requirement for the large transparent boxes they sell (to put away Iris’s clothes). Any category seems odd, I believe it’s a way of referring to influential Mums on Instagram…? That is what I interpreted from the associated press as mentioned above.

  11. So pleased you’ve made the decision to approach things this way and wish you every success with it as you navigate how it’s going to work out. As mentioned above, this is why we love The Rock My brand and continue to keep checking in every week. (Even those of us who don’t comment very often, we’re still here cheering you on!)

  12. This is very interesting and welcome- I personally find the most frustrating part social media is the constant “where did you buy that?” questions in the comments sections which then leads to affliate links or extra posts to clarify where things come from. It all fuels this mass consumption epidemic we are in (which I am just as guilty of).

    Coincidentally, I had been pondering about your blog not so long ago. It had become increasingly evident that you had chosen to take your family and yourself out of the spotlight, and I wondered how you were squaring this approach whilst essentially paying other members of your team and their families to take part in sponsored content? I think the fact that you have chosen to take sponsors/adverts out of the picture and practice what you preach is to be applauded.

    Looking forward to read the blog on a more regular basis x

    1. Hi Liz! yes it’s been challenging, the members of the team that felt comfortable with it/wanted to take part in sponsored content did, and those that didn’t, didn’t – but yes you are absolutely right, practice what you preach. The mass consumption epidemic is hugely fuelled by influencer marketing, and like you, I am also guilty of buying things I don’t really need. I am acutely conscious of what example I am setting for my daughters/their future, I think about it all the time x

  13. Thanks for the post, I really look forward to seeing what direction you are taking RMS in.
    I too get annoyed with the amount of ads and in particular #gifted. If a company can afford to give so many influencers its product for free, I’m not sure I feel like paying the mark up for that. And as much as I may respect someone’s opinion, if you are reviewing say, a £1000 free pram, you are just not going to have the same opinion as if you had forked out your own hard earned cash for it. You’re just not. You might live it, but is it worth the money? Value for money is something that is never ever discussed on Instagram yet surely would be the number one consideration if you were telling a friend about something you had just bought?

    1. Nail. Head. on so many aspects of your comment Victoria. Yes, it would be the number one thing, not just “Do you love it” but “is it WORTH it” – how can anyone who has received a free product even comment on that 🤔🤷🏼‍♀️


  14. I love this. I miss the days when i found blogs written by people who wanted a creative outlet before money could be made from them and then #ad took over and Instagram exploded with influencers
    I do also appreciate though that when blogging becomes a job, money has to be made and so its a hard balance.In the past i just skipped past sponsored posts here (sorry!), its instagram that has become too full of ads for me (not the Rock my insta – mainly solo influencers) i have bought items that i have seen on Instagram, mainly from small businesses, and i love that i can find things this way, but i also tire of seeing houses filled with items so far above my reach and never ending clothes hauls. It saddened me when a lifestyle influencer who i follow, who originally started with mainly vintage fashion posts, said she still loves wearing and buying vintage but her followers are dissapointed as she gets asked where its from and of course cant provide a link for them to buy the same, so now she buys much more high street so she can add links. The world is mad!!
    Anyway, so glad you are doing this , wishing you luck and sat here waiting for make up recommendations 🙂

    1. Hi Rachel, that’s a shame about the vintage clothing, if she wants to make commission from affiliates then I understand where she is coming from with regards high street pieces. I wonder how she feels about it though? Perhaps when it is a “job” then it’s viewed differently…? But yep, it’s often barking mad out there! x

  15. Love this! It puts me off brands when I see them giving away freebies to people who don’t need it when others often save or have to go without. Not much charity going on either. It leaves a bad taste. Well done rock my style!

    1. Yes Amy, there are brands I don’t buy now – I just can’t help but associate them with lazy marketing/not bothering to research who they are sending their products to. They don’t seem to care that much about their customer/have any integrity, they just look at follower count/their perception of popularity x

  16. Such a brave move and so refreshing in a world where being an influencer and #ad seems to be the way of the world these days.

    I have followed all of the Rock my Platforms for years and check in every day: RMW has been my daily lunchtime treat for as long as I can remember, is proving invaluable whilst planning my own wedding and I’m sure I will still read daily once the wedding is done!

    Usually, once I’ve had my fix, I spend my afternoons dreaming of working for a company like Rock My that is transparent and has honesty as it’s first policy (and also all of the pretty stuff!!)

    You guys are so great and I will be a RMW and RMS reader for as long as you’re posting!! (
    Secretly (not so secretly) hoping that one day you guys will need a Warwickshire based wedding obsessed project manager to join the team!!! X

    1. Cate we are currently expanding the team so you never know – please do send in your CV! congratulations on your wedding and I’m really glad to read RMW is proving useful x

  17. I think this is a great move! Really exciting when a business bucks the trend and genuinely follows it’s values. I look forward to future topics, conversations and recommendations and hope you smash it!

  18. Thank you so much for all of the really positive messages. Going “ad free” has been a really challenging process for us yet it’s been 100% supported and championed by all of the Rock My team as well as our new parent company.

    With the sale of a business there can sometimes be a sense of selling out, but for Charlotte and I, the acquisition of Rock My has ensured that our integrity can continue and develop. Now we can ensure all of our current and future platforms are undisputable sources of impartial and unbiased information and opinion, without any clouding from #ad.

    It feels like we’re breaking new ground, perhaps for the first time in a long time, and that feels great.

    Thank you all for your continued support x

  19. Wow! Well done guys! Most of the comments echo what I would say too. Its a brave move and one to be applauded! I honestly feel the most important thing a business can give its customer / client / reader is trust.

    There was a time I didn’t mind the odd #ad #gifted item but I literally cannot bear it any more. Its a shame because I enjoyed a lot of content on Instagram specifically, that I feel is lost now. I literally cringe watching some of the #ads and all it does is put me off ever buying the product. I really hope that for the sake of our children, you are leading the way to change in this industry. Hats off to you all!

    1. Same Sarah, I’ve been encouraged to drop brands I previously loved. I just feel now that some of them are lazy/don’t care about their customer. And it takes the “special” element away from some of the more gift-esque brands as I just see them poorly advertised/associated with the whole influencer controversy/lack of transparency. x

    1. Hi Dan, interesting article – I think the subscription model is the way to go for loyalty, no plans for RMS to go in that direction but that’s not to say we wouldn’t ever consider it/build something else based on that model.

      1. If you don’t go down the Ad route and you don’t go down the subscription model route

        How do you generate revenue in that sort of market?

        Isn’t that really challenging??!

        1. It is really challenging but we have a strategy – and it’s about the bigger picture not just RMS as a platform per se. We already have a subscription model directory on our wedding resource platform which we are currently having some development work carried out on and another platform in design/consideration. Who’s to say RMS couldn’t be an added bonus/extra arm to our business that doesn’t generate revenue in the traditional sense. If it has integrity and continues to build an amazing community, then it is still a valuable asset to the company.

          1. Top work….you’ve got a wocked business there and a great model

            more importantly u have some honest principles which is pretty awesome

  20. This is a really brave and interesting move. I have just come back to pilfer through the RMF archives because I remember all the helpful list and tips you had.
    I personally don’t mind ads. I can’t be expecting people to work for free and it is an easy way to make money. And I think it’s opened peoples eyes to the way celebrities had been living for years!
    But keen to see where you go now and a decision to be respected and applauded.

    1. Hi Steph, I don’t mind ADs when they are done well/creative/made with the consumer in mind. And yes you are quite right – celebrities have received free products/been paid by brands for ever. They usually have their celebrity status due to a specific talent though and I feel there is far more thought put into who and what. They also more than likely have PR/advice – influencer marketing is largely unregulated. Also hello! haven’t “seen” you in ages! x

  21. Sorry to chime back in, but reading through more of the comments again this morning reminded me that I wanted to say that I’ve missed RMF too! I used to follow it before I had Hunter, but since he came along I’ve often referred back to posts. There’s a massive gaping hole for community centred parenting websites I think. The ones that spring to mind are so heavily sponsored and full of ads, or are known for being quite scary and judgemental communities.

    1. That’s good to hear Kitty, I’ve never frequented any of the parenting websites. It used to really frustrate me that the forum based ones have such good SEO – if I searched a question Mumsnet et Al would often appear…and I simply wouldn’t bother clicking the link.

  22. I am so glad to read this post and all of the supportive comments. I am well and truly cheesed off with #ad being everywhere and the blatant falseness that seems to have become the norm. As part of a bigger event, I recently sat in on a workshop on how to do Instagram accounts – OMG how anyone has time for all of the faffing, planning, sticking to strict posting schedules, buying lighting equipment etc, on top of working and normal life is beyond me. What goes on behind the scenes is not just the quick iPhone pic it is made out to be.

    There is always a reason why I started following blogs and accounts and I find it quite sad that so many seem to have lost their authenticity. My own account is for moments that have made me happy and I want to look back on, remember, and enjoy these moments again. My pictures might not be always be the prettiest or have the right lighting, but they have more meaning to me than a free candle.

    1. The workshop sounds as though it really highlighted to you how instagram “success” (?) really is Claire. I made Becky laugh out loud some months ago when I commented that some of these influencers must have really great friends to accompany them in the middle of the day to take photos of them in a field…she informed me that no, they take a tripod. To take a picture of…themselves. I’m assuming the more seasonal/sensational the backdrop the more likes (posted at a time with most engagement and not in real/instant time of course) Genuinely thought she was pulling my leg!! And she thought it was hilarious that I didn’t realise! I mean each to their own, everyone is entitled to have a job that they love etc etc but I just found it all a bit….black mirror.

  23. A bold move indeed but this will really set you apart and hopefully end up being a great success!!
    To an extent, i dont mind being ‘influenced’. I have bought concealer, moisturiser, shoes AND a jacket as recomended by your good self and i continue to enjoy them. Also the joy of spray mops and Lakeland storage has been brought to my sad life by Mum ‘influencers’. But its getting out of hand as there is now so much cash involved that you cant believe anything you read.
    Will look forward to all the new content!!! Good luck

    1. Nikki I don’t mind either when it is genuine – I didn’t want that message to get lost. I want to know what jacket?! Ha! I have always banged on about stuff I do love/use which didn’t work that well for an AD revenue model to be honest (!) but it’s great when you find something that’s useful/a bargain/really makes a difference and you know others will benefit from it too.

  24. Great move. The future of rock my sounds great, I was worried things may be cut back so cant wait to see what the future holds. Personally as soon as I see #ad I dont even read the post. Oddly I have never minded ads from you guys as I feel they were done with real integrity and I was actually glad to be able to give something back, but well done for breaking away from what everyone else does – that’s why rock my has the community it does! Xx

    1. Hi Emma, they always were, we turned away a lot of revenue as we just couldn’t promote something we didn’t know enough about/wasn’t our cup of tea. We had some “grey” experiences sometimes, so for example, we might work with a clothing brand that we did wear in real life, but the items we wanted to promote to the community were out of stock…so they would send us alternatives that we didn’t “choose”. Then it doesn’t feel as authentic as it should. I’m a Parka girl, it doesn’t feel right to try and flog you a floral print rain mac even if the brand works…..does that make sense?

  25. I’m so excited about the future of Rock My. It feels so GOOD to be involved in a business that has integrity and the way we are considering every movement going forward is something I really enjoy and am so proud to be a part of. My conscience rests easy.

    This community is so great and thank you to everyone for your support. Let’s continue to have a safe space for enlightened and intelligent debate.

    You are all part of what makes the Rock My brand so successful x

  26. This is brilliant! Love the Rock My world and on another note so pleased to see readers comments back up to full volume this week ❤️❤️❤️ X

    1. Me too Sarah, I’m currently responding from the car whilst on the school run (I’m stationary and parked up obviously!!!!!) x

  27. This is great, I can’t wait to see what you have planned! It has always been really clear to me that the rock my writers were genuinely enthusiastic about products they wrote about, but very refreshing to have set out exactly what you’re about and see the direction you plan to take things.
    I always loved rock my family long before I had my daughter this year, and I referred to it loads during my pregnancy! Particularly posts like what to pack in my hospital bag, breastfeeding journeys, birth stories… Would love to see that part of the brand be revived! If you ever do a shout out for reader content I will be at/near the front of the queue!

  28. Applauding over here and that doesn’t happen very often. Nothing else to say. Well done.

    The fact you’ve kept your families out of it is something else to be proud of.

    Currently eating my hat.

  29. This is so brilliant! As others have said, I would also be happy to pay for a subscription service.
    This post has really made me think. This week several bloggers I follow on Insta have all shared ADs for the same brand, but these are at least labelled. What got me thinking though was the fact that these bloggers have then liked and commented on each other’s posts without any acknowledgement that they too are being paid… This all seems to be getting a bit murky! Well done RMS for taking this stance.

    1. Anne that’s so kind of you to say – there are no plans for a subscription service to RMS so for now it’s both Ad free and FREE ha!

      Yes, I’ve seen the same type of comments, often very gushy and as you say, a bit peculiar given they are all advertising the same thing. Comments equals increased engagement which equals more visibility of the post which equals more folks to put the product in front of so…..they are all helping each others algorithm. How noble of them.

  30. This is fantastic news! I’m so excited about RMS going forward having read through this and your last few posts. I’ve been such an avid reader in the past, and have really missed how it used to be (lots of engagement and debate, recommendations from RMS but also other readers). I was also gutted when RMF came to an end, and have referred to the archives so much whilst pregnant and since having my daughter 10 months ago. I feel the same as a lot of people about #ad. I appreciate we’ve all got to make money somehow but what / who can you actually trust? Unbiased reviews in particular for parenting/baby stuff are surprisingly hard to find! I subscribe to Which? so assumed you’d be taking the same route but to see you’re going to keep the resource free for the foreseeable is amazing! Best of luck 😘 xx

    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback Katie, another RMF fan! I largely rely on recommendations from friends/family now as I was disappointed to discover even reviews on John Lewis are paid for/BS. John Lewis was always my go to….and now I just feel like nothing is honest anymore. Congratulations on your daughter! little girls are lovely (and that’s where I am allowed to be biased!) x

  31. What a brave move and one which I hope for many reasons allows others to follow and do the same. I used to work in the media (planning and buying) industry until quite recently and cannot go back… it’s changed so much and not in good ways. I always wondered how you felt running the same campaigns as the influencers or being put in the same “target market” box. Looking forward to fresh, ad free content. (I would add that until recently I didn’t mind being influenced at all as I am good at self selecting… but the mood has become very dark). xx

    1. Hi Jen, that’s so interesting about your career history. We always tried to avoid the same campaigns as influencers – we (in the past) were happy to create campaigns with some of the same brands but it all became very grey/the integrity etc etc so we just decided to stop that revenue stream altogether. It is a very odd time – onwards and upwards x

  32. This is certainly very refreshing to read and I look forward to welcoming the new content. The whole MOD fallout the other week has been embarrassing and eye opening in equal measure. It has really made me aware of how many of the people on Instagram receive free things, or certainly tout for free things. One in particular who you have featured on here before in terms of her home tours is outrageous. She lives such a curated lifestyle and is now doing the same with her daughter. I don’t deny that she has beautiful taste and her home is incredible, but she was gifted a £1000 pram and a lot of other things that I just don’t believe she uses (a milk warmer for example – she seemingly breastfeeds so this is unnecessary?!), travels business class on flights etc etc and this simply makes people feel inferior (while this is not the intention I’m sure!)

    What also amazes me is how many bloggers etc hold out for free things – “we can’t do the bathroom at the moment” and then lo and behold they’ve been gifted one! However I suppose I would struggle to turn down a free kitchen if someone offered me one as well!

    This seems a long rant to simply say, I applaud you changing the way things are done around here. I have long been a follower of RMW, RMS and really miss RMF. I don’t mind #ad posts, and have tended to find yours have been done well. Although more often than not no matter what forum its on, its a bit forced!

    I too have been going through the archives recently looking for home inspiration (just moved house!) so looking forward to fresh content as well!

    1. Hi Marianne, it’s all very murky isn’t it. I find the begging element extremely unprofessional and embarrassing (and obvious) – why not email the brand you want to work with and justify why they should work with you based on your skills/integrity/relevance? Otherwise it is just….look how many followers I have.

      I don’t mind Ads when done well, in fact I really enjoy clever marketing.

      Hopefully we can pave the way for change.


  33. Hi team, having known you all for a long time now – via the wedding world – when I was fresh out of uni writing for Wedding Ideas mag in 2010 (!) and you were doing your thing with Rock My Wedding, I guess you can say my life and family has grown with the Rock My Brands – I guest wrote for you when I was pregnant with my boy Franklin (now a lively three year old!) and I’ve used plenty of articles around homes, decor and house buying – so I’m certainly so happy to see you back and excited for the future and the content you produce. There’s definitely been a RM Style and Family gap – and it is SO refreshing to hear you’re moving into an ad free and sponsored post free world. It’s bold and I know from my background in journalism and now comms and marketing its not the norm so for that I applaud you all. Getting stuff for free in return for content or ad space has been the happening in the media world for so long – no one batted an eyelid when PRs sent magazine editors clothes, shoes, make up ect in return for promotion. And I’m not judging it at all – I went on lots of incredible press stays abroad and in the UK and I remember the fights in the office about who would keep whatever freebie turned up in the post that day – but we did try to keep some integrity and only feature things our readers would want….and that’s the problem now, in particular with Instagram and influencers, they are no longer considering their audience or brand they’ve become greedy and now just take everything they’re offered without any regard to whether its suited to their ‘audience.’ And maybe because its all so shameless and obvious – it just makes it so uncomfortable for the average, hardworking woman (usually) in that we end up feeling poor, unsatisfied with our own lives and homes in comparison and more often than not disillusioned that we can’t ever have such an unattainable lifestyle ourselves.

    Greed is getting the better of these people and it’s an ugly trait to have. Featuring products or doing reviews with good journalistic integrity to genuinely help and benefit your readers is fantastic – but taking items you have no need for and more importantly could have paid for yourself just doesn’t sit so well with me.

    Sorry for long post, but it’s something I’ve been feeling for so long and has switched me right off of instagram as everything feels so fake on there now.

    All in all….can’t wait for the future of RM and you have my full support 🙂

    1. Hi Alice! Thanks for your feedback, really appreciate it. The greed upsets me, I always consider how my daughters (should they be a bit older) would feel if they were subjected to such unrealistic expectations. It’s when the gifts are sold on ebay etc that I found truly shocking, ie they use it for a while, profit from the commission of “sale” from their unsuspecting readers…then profit again. And if they are re-selling, they didn’t really want/need the product at all. It makes the whole thing a farce. Do the brands in question even know this happens? I feel like I came back off maternity leave and influencer marketing had lost the plot. Thanks so much for your continued support x

  34. This is great! One of the things I’ve taken most inspiration from in the last year has been your thoughts on reducing waste – clothes, plastic, buying stuff in general: I’m currently really struggling with the amount of non recyclables in our family shop – so any future content you can consider in that stream would be appreciated (and very definitely doesn’t fit it with paid promotional content I would guess!) There aren’t many sites that have actively discussed how to NOT buy things, and I appreciate the discussion/ inspiration.

    1. Han absolutely! We have made so many changes as a family over the last 12 months in particularly. I’m always looking for new ideas x

  35. This is a great decision (and brave), well done you and the team! But I hope you’ll keep bringing us fantastic un-influenced fashion inspiration!

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