My gut reaction to the question was to snort "No!" and leave it at that, but then I made the mistake of clicking through the link and reading the article. Still working against my better judgement I left a comment.
Before I get ahead of myself, the gist of the piece is that PR companies should pay the expenses of bloggers that they invite to attend events. Then there were eight comments in agreement with the blogger. I felt it was time for some balance, so left a dissenting comment. It wasn't an attempt to be controversial, I just happen to disagree with the post and commenters so far. My comment got a couple of responses and I replied to some of them, but there is more to say about this and I don't want to appear to be a troll over at Tots100 so I'll marshall my thoughts here.
So - should bloggers expect to get travel expenses to attend marketing events paid by PR companies?
No. If you really want to go find a way to pay for it. Otherwise, don't go and write about something else. As I said in my comment, you've decided to go it alone as a parent blogger and you have to live with that choice. If you want to work for a media organisation with a budget for travel then go and do that. But it's better to make what you're doing work for you. If you attend the same product launches as everyone else your blog will be just like everyone else's. Surely an advantage of running your own blog is the freedom to write about what you want, when you want, how you want? Don't be a mouthpiece for big business; do your own thing.
But we're only hobbyists, we're not running a business here.
I know. My hobby is photography and if I want to go to London to take photos I don't expect to get train tickets sent in the post by the London tourism board. If it's your hobby, it's kind of the idea that you pay for it yourself.
PR agencies who did an occasional blogger outreach out of London would get a lot of kudos (and probably some good write-ups for their clients).
Yes, but your review of something should depend on the quality of the item, not how well you're treated by the PR company.
What I think is saddest about this is that the bloggers are letting themselves be partially driven by the agenda of the PR circus. Blogging should be about doing your own thing, writing what you want to write. A day spent making a six hour round trip to London for a thirty minute event could be spent finding local contacts. There will be people making stuff near you, there are baby groups you could visit, and local newspapers who might want columnists. Rather than be driven by the marketeers use some of that initiative you showed when you learnt to self-host WordPress, get out in your communities (real or virtual) and bring in your own stories.