July 12, 2009— -- There are the free trips to Sea World and Disney World and free hotels and car rentals, not to mention the free products that pour in through the mail every day.
Turns out, being a mommy blogger can really pay off.
By some estimates, there are as many as ten thousand mommy blogs on the Internet now. They share advice on everything from baby care and parenting to the best burp cloths or strollers. And as these blogs have evolved over the past few years, many have now become minibusinesses with little oversight by the government.
Colleen Padilla is the mother of two behind classymommy.com, a product review site she started from her house in suburban Philadelphia just for fun.
"I thought, let's write about products, because I knew when you're navigating new motherhood there's this overwhelming sea of new baby products," Padilla says. "You go to Babies 'R' Us when you're pregnant and think, 'They even have a product for this? My 7-pound baby might need this product.' And so I thought let's talk about products."
Her front room is filled with free products she's gotten in recent days. There's the new Nintendo Wii right in front. Toys and baby products are stacked up three feet high. Her freezer is filled with microwave meals from Healthy Choice.
Padilla never expected or asked for any of it. But after she'd been blogging on her own for a little while about the products she used and liked, her mailbox started to fill. First it was mom inventors sending products. But then larger and larger companies started sending her things for free.
"I think as far as companies sending me products, it would be too many to count," Padilla said. "If I were to think in the last couple years, I would say hundreds."
And now she's taken it to the next level.
Padilla is paid by Energizer to be "an official online brand advocate" for their rechargeable batteries. Better Homes and Gardens paid her to make over her kitchen. And a blog about her son drinking chocolate milk turns out to be "sponsored by Healthy Choice."