Tomoson Review

We’re going a little meta today. Blogging about blogging.

Tomoson is a platform that many bloggers use to get free stuff. Uh, I mean, it’s a platform that bloggers use to receive items for “testing and review”. I understand why it exists on both sides. Bloggers spend a lot of time, effort and their own money to grow their blog. New businesses have trouble getting the word out about their products. I don’t have a problem with the idea of these kinds of platforms.

I’m on a few of them. I’ve been a member of Influenster since before I had a blog. I’ve received items from Brand Backer. I tried Tomoson.

I’m not above wanting free stuff. The problem with these platforms is that you’re often incentivized to leave positive reviews to keep receiving things. With Tomoson in particular, “influencers”/bloggers are rated by the company they work with, with the more legit companies seeking out people that have done more campaigns and have a higher rating.

What ends up happening is that people request a lot of the easy items to review (ebooks, weird supplements) in hopes that one day they can get nice products. A lot of these campaigns request Amazon reviews. Amazon has a HUGE problem with fake reviews at the moment. I wasn’t planning to be part of the problem.

I did one campaign for a menstrual cup, Cali Cup, which was great. It’s a genuinely good product that I was happy to put the word out about. I did a facebook and instagram post for them. And then nothing. I realized that I needed to play the game and do some ebook reviews.

Now, I like books. I just thought that the ebooks on Tomoson seemed like garbage. I bit the bullet and requested a kind of self-help/time management/personal success book. Right up my alley. I love planning stuff. I thought FOR SURE I could find something nice to say about this book.

Guys. Entire pages were missing from it. Short lists of tips had duplicates. There were weird condescending bits about kids these days. The author photo was a stock photo. This was a clear scam product.

I had no way to report the listing on Amazon for being a sham book. There was no option to contact Tomoson directly about my issues with the product. I emailed the company through the platform and told them about the missing pages and poor editing, asking if I had received a draft. They just emailed me the same book in a different format.

So my options were to give the book a nice Amazon review, or to not submit anything and let my account be shut down for not completing a campaign. I didn’t complete the campaign.

And now I’m SUPER suspicious of any disclaimer that says the item they received was from Tomoson. There’s absolutely no product oversight on that platform. I don’t want free stuff that badly. Neither should you.

(Edit: Side note, pretty sure that leaving Amazon reviews in exchange for products is against their ToS and people are having their accounts shut down for that. Fun and good ethics all around!)

Stuff I liked: July/August 2018

Yeah, we missed July’s wrap up the first time around. July was the longest month of my life. Buying a house is no joke. We’re completely moved out of the apartment now. Settling and unpacking takes a bit longer. I’m working on a “what we did in our first month” post, as well. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress when there’s so much to do.

I have some post card paintings to mail out and more to work on. I don’t have a good set up for painting as of yet. I kind of, uh, threw a lot of stuff away in the move. Like my office chair. I figured it would make me buy a new one quickly. I needed a new one.

I have not bought one.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Meg Cosmetics Good Night PM Mask
9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life
Ipsy, A Year In Review
Aritaum Ginger Sugar Overnight Lip Mask
My Birchbox Free Gift
eShakti Review
Birchbox July 2018
Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur Lipstick in Orange Ya Glad (uncharacteristically for Grumpy Skin, I LIKE this one!)
Valjean Labs Facial Mist in Clarify
We bought a house!
The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Mask Sheet by Tonymoly

I’m almost caught up on my reader. I’m actually writing posts (like this one!) instead of relying on my queue. We’re getting back to normal.

I’m low on media recommendations for you guys. Next month!
Stick your best blog post of the past two months in my comments so I make sure I don’t miss it.

Stuff I liked: June 2018

I almost have some exciting real life news, but I’m going to wait until next month to tell you all. I don’t want to jinx it.

I can tell you that my birthday fundraiser for the ACLU went really well! I raised $200 with an additional $10-30 in late donations. I need to hunt those down. That translates to A LOT of painted postcards. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s two that I’ve mailed out already:

Watercolor painting of Killmonger from Marvel's Black Panther movie. It says "IS THIS YOUR POSTCARD?"
Watercolor painting of a Siamese cat on a blue background.

Only, uh, 20 more to go.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review
The Ordinary Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion Review
Birthday Fundraiser for the ACLU! (The fundraiser is over, obviously, but there’s some more art here!)
What Subscription Box Should I Try Next?
June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!
Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid

Podcasts

Reveal I’ve been going through Reveal’s back catalogue. They’re a treasure. They have a really good series on immigration, if you’re not quite sure what’s going on.
ZigZag Radiotopia got new summer shows! This one has women explaining blockchain. I’m two episodes in and it seems like a great podcast.
Ear Hustle Episode 17 – The Row Ear Hustle is on their summer break, so now is a great time to get caught up with them. They interview inmates on death row in this one. An important listen.

I clearly don’t know what fiction podcasts are any more. If you listen to a good one, let me know about it in the comments.

Books

Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and Fonografiks
Saga is so consistently good. If you’re looking for trans characters and discussions of abortion in your sci-fi/fantasy, this is the volume for you. And yes, I look for those things. I can only read about so many stoic middle aged men in spaceships, okay?

Video Games

That summer Steam sale got me. I bought something like 6 games, hated three of them, returned them, and bought two more. Steam has a nice return policy. “It wasn’t fun” is a valid return reason.

Right now I’m playing Fallout 4 and I love it. It got some bad reviews, so I had stayed away from it. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’m having a great time with it.

What are you guys doing this summer?

April 2018

I did things and liked stuff this month!
The weather is warming up, I’ve been watercoloring (below), and I’m starting a new job.Watercolor painting of red flowers.

Spring is looking up.

ICYMI/Blog stuff

Okay, I’m finally done with The Ordinary
Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Pink Clay Mask
Don’t Cover Yourself in Glitter and Run Into the Ocean
BLAQ Meteor Shower
April 2018 Ipsy Bag
DearPacker Gold Collagen Eye Mask
Earth Day Reflections

I made a Grumpy Skin twitter! Blogging twitter is actually the nicest twitter. I’m used to comics and science, which is pretty aggressive and not always woman-friendly. Give me a follow and tweet me weird skin stuff!

Awards: Teresa nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award and Mel nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award! I’m still not a fan of the question chains, but I do appreciate it.

I also changed my theme to be a little more minimalist. Let me know what you think!

Podcasts

Toxic tech in America by Reveal
The people manufacturing your electronics are dying.

Disposable workers in Asia by Reveal
Samsung in particular has had to compensate people and families for injury and death, but they’re far from the only one.

Lessons from Las Vegas (Episode 302) by 99% Invisible
Denise Scott Brown is fantastic. And some people don’t think Las Vegas is meticulously and purposefully designed?

Tesla and Beyond: Hidden Problems of Silicon Valley by Reveal

Cold Case (Episode 88) by Criminal
Literally a superhero origin story. CASUALLY CRACKING COLD CASES.

Thick Glass by Ear Hustle
Parenting in prison. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Books

GUYS I READ BOOKS THIS MONTH. It’s amazing what quitting your job can give you the time to do.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume 5 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Kevin Wada
Sakhmet from The Wicked + The Divine. Basically Rihanna with some cat aesthetics.
I had a few people ask me what I was reading when I was carrying this around, and it’s a hard one to casually explain. I’m pretty sure Rihanna ate some people in this one. Gods are reincarnated as pop stars and everything is so extra.

The Greatest of Marlys by Lynda Barry
Lynda Barry is a national treasure. This book is a series of shorts of a girl growing up in the 70s. A lot of the books I read as a kid took place in this same time period, so I had some bookworm nostalgia while reading this.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
A book about the Holocaust that was published the year I was born should not feel timely, but here we are in this hellscape of a year.

Branding and Growth: Day One

After a year+ of blogging, I’m finally digging into the WordPress resources to see how the overlords think I should be running a blog. They do benefit from me doing a good job. I trust them.

The first recommended course is called Branding and Growth. WordPress sends you an email with prompts and tips for ten days. I’m not going over them here in real time. I all ready have the whole set sitting in my inbox. We’ll get to them when we get to them.

Day one is about setting goals. I love goals.

Today’s task: write down three concrete goals for your blog.

1. Have more consistent traffic. I’m trying to write my posts so they are more search engine friendly to bring in traffic on days that I’m not actively posting.

2. Publish a post every week for 2018. I published 35 posts in 2017. Writing and queuing posts has been becoming easier. Goal #1 isn’t quite in my control, but I think that this one is attainable.

3. Have 100 followers.  Hi guys! This number has also slowly been creeping up.

So, there are my little goals. What are yours?

February 2018

Thank you, February, for being like two days long after January lasted for five years.

A Blog Update

I bought a domain! April Speaks is now Grumpy Skin. One of my 2018 goals was to put more effort into my blog. Do you know what motivates you to put more effort into your blog? Spending money on it.

Hopefully this year long subscription is more enjoyable than ipsy.

Nice Life Things

Image of my cat and a bunch of sheet masks on my bed, with the Snapchat caption "Gonna be so fucking hydrated"
My friend in South Korea sent me some nice sheet masks! I’m reviewing all of them. Be patient.

One plate of desserts from our dessert buffet. I've got two things of chocolate mousse, a truffle, a fancy hostess cupcake, and a fancy version of those strawberry shortcake ice creams.

And, I surprised the boy with an anniversary/Valentine’s date to an unlimited dessert buffet. Feminism is really ruining relationships. Look at how much we’re suffering.

Podcasts

Managed Retreat (Episode 293) by 99% Invisible
What do you do with buildings on the coast when the ocean starts eating up the shoreline?

A Very Fatal Murder by The Onion
Start with episode 1. The ultimate true crime podcast.

Episode 84: Masterpiece by Criminal
Do you ever feel like your crime stories need 100% more poodles? Here you go.

The secrets of church, state and business by Reveal
I had somehow missed the Jehovah’s Witness child sex abuse scandal, so I was glad to be going through the Reveal back catalog this week. I’m no longer avoiding eye contact outside of the train station, I’m glaring.

The story about high speed internet is also worth a listen. The situation in my home town is a bit better than it was growing up, but we’re still leaving the south behind.

The Man Who Ate Everything by Sawbones
I am fascinated, upset, and need to read a biography now. My favorite feeling.

Episode 2: Something Large and Wild by This is Love
Have you guys noticed that I love the podcast Criminal? 2018 is looking up because now they’re making a second podcast about love. Please listen to this. It’s beautiful, unexpected, and makes me miss my aquarium so much.