Why I Don’t Compare Myself To Other Bloggers

Why I Don’t Compare Myself To Other Bloggers


Ok, here goes…a post I’ve been wanting to write for quite a while. I’ve chickened out of doing this post on so many occasions, but it’s finally time. Back in December, I opened up my emails one morning and saw that there was an anonymous email (I didn’t even know you could do this!?) with the title , ‘Find out which bloggers are buying followers on Instagram’. Initially, I just thought it was one of those spam emails but as I started to read through it, I realized it wasn’t. It was all very very real.

I knew straight away that it was definitely somebody here in the US who had sent it because all the bloggers that were mentioned were US-based. I will NEVER EVER name names here on Retro Flame, it’s just not my style, but basically there was a list of people who had ‘allegedly’ bought followers and a list of people who ‘allegedly’ hadn’t. There was also a link to the website which allows you to check. The website is called, ‘Social Blade’ – some of you might already know about it, but it was my first time hearing about it. I’m not going to go into the specifics about how it works, that’s what google is for, but it basically shows you how much a blogger is growing by each day. Sounds pretty tame, right? But the catch is in the fact that some bloggers are growing by quite the suspicious amount on certain days and even going DOWN followers on other days (BIG question marks here).

So for example, if a blogger is growing by a steady number of say 100/ 200/ 300 followers per day for a week but then all of a sudden on the 8th day grows by 1,300 and then on the 9th, 10th & 11th, it’s back down to 100/200/300 again…it’s pretty clear that this person decided to treat themselves to an extra 1000 followers on the 8th day of the month. Very convenient. I even saw one blogger give themselves a 10,000 follower ‘treat’ one week and literally had to laugh. I’m pretty sure the max it shows is just the past month, so it may not always come to light if the blogger has bought before this, but if they have been doing it in the last month, Social Blade will point it out pretty clearly. Finally, a pretty decent/reliable way to catch out people who haven’t been playing very fair. I totally understand that this might not be the most reliable thing in the world (I feel like it’s only the starting point for more advanced tools) but what it does do though is point out the VERY obvious cases. Of course people can fluctuate a couple of hundred from day to day ( it all depends on following), but when it starts to be a big difference, that’s when it gets suspicious. Oh and another thing to note is that of course, if a blogger runs a big competition or is tagged by a big account, this may explain the jump…but it’s when there isn’t any explanation, that’s when there’s a need for questions.

I guess all along in the bloggers head, he/she figured that no one would notice, but the industry is getting tired of it, people, and things are changing. I’ve had this exact conversation with so many of my close blogger friends and we all feel it’s just getting a little bit old now. Social blade is only one tool that does this and apparently there is a lot more new technology on the way too. It really was only a matter of time.

So why has this bothered me enough to write a post about it? Well there are two main reasons.


The first is in relation to the brands that work with the bloggers who chose to buy followers. At the end of the email, there was a line that read , “It’s not fair on the brands who are paying influence imposters – who only ‘influence’ their audience of bots. They ruin the authenticity of the industry and take advantage of brands.”

I have to say that this was the part of the email that resonated with me the most.

Obviously I’m a blogger, but I think why it struck me the most was because I used to work full-time with a brand here in the US who worked with influencers on a paid-basis. I couldn’t help but be mad that maybe some of these people we worked did not deserve the money they were being paid. So many brands out there are scraping from the bottom of their marketing budget to pay bloggers huge sums of money in accordance to their followers, and are getting absolutely nothing back in return. Surprise surprise. So many brands are totally new to influencer marketing and are genuinely been taken advantage of left, right & centre. So being someone with a huge interest in digital/influencer marketing and experience in that field, nothing annoys me more than when these ‘big’ bloggers are conning their way into deals.

This sounds crazy but my annoyance at all this genuinely all comes down to growing up playing sports. I was always taught to play fair and that the harder I worked/trained, the better I would do. I’ve carried this work ethic and ethos right through to my career and to this day, I really really really don’t like when people cheat.

Back when I started blogging, it really was all for a bit of fun. Retro Flame started as a hobby while I was bored in university. Back then, I had absolutely zero idea it would eventually turn into a business and my full-time job. I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now and  it’s been very interesting (and sometimes on occasions like this, annoying) to see how the industry has changed. Quite frankly, people got greedy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s business. I understand you have to do whatever it takes to do well but personally, I genuinely believe there are smarter ways to do so then buy your way (fakely) to the top.


And then for the second reason and coming back to the title of this post – “Why I don’t compare myself to other bloggers” – another reason this fake-follower revelation has struck a chord with me is because of the ‘comparison-obsessed environment’ it has created. We live in a world where everyone compares and this recent dishonesty isn’t helping anything. I get emails from so many young followers every day  asking about the tips and tricks to gaining a following fast and asking me why they aren’t growing as fast as x & y even though they are doing their best and my answer is always STOP COMPARING. This industry almost has us programmed to compare and I’m just sick of it. So why have I decided to not compare myself to other bloggers EVER? Simply because you just can’t believe everything you see – something we’ve learned from the start of this article.

I’m really lucky in that I was brought up in a way where my biggest competitor was always myself. I’ve been forever just trying to do better than I did yesterday and forever trying to improve. But even with a strong mindset like that, every now and again I would catch myself comparing my work/followers to others. Every time I would do it, absolutely not one good thing would come from it and as time has gone by and things like Social Blade have come to light, I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t waste one more minute on it. So next time you go to compare yourself to that blogger you look up to, be sure that they’re worthy of your time & praise.  “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – you have absolutely no idea what’s going on behind somebody else’s doors, you have no idea how they are doing things – so please just wake up every morning instead with the aim of being better than YOU were yesterday. It may sound a little cringey, but a few years ago when I started to do this, absolutely EVERYTHING changed. Remember, slow and steady always win the race.

And the end of the day, something I’ve always believed is that ‘if you’re good and you work hard, you will eventually be great”. When I moved to the New York, I really was just a small fish in the blogging sea over here. I knew I was a tiny blogger in relation to the rest but at no point did I think, “Oh let me just go and buy an extra few followers and that will surely make me better”. NO that is not going to make you better!!! Even if you have a million followers but the content you’re putting out there is absolutely CRAP, nobody (nobody decent anyway) is going to care about you. What I’ve learned since moving over here is that no matter how ‘small’ you are, if you’re truly passionate about what you do, produce valuable content that the brand knows you put your heart and soul into and are genuinely just a nice and honest person – YOU WILL STILL DO WELL. Two recent event jobs I’ve done here in New York have been with bloggers who have about 20 times my following. So yes, I’m a tiny blogger in comparison but the brand doesn’t care about that. The brand still wants me involved because despite my smaller following, they still trust that I’m a right fit for the brand and that I will produce good content. It baffles me when other bloggers believe that it always comes down to the number of followers they have. Working full-time for a fashion brand before going full-time with my blog taught me A LOT of very valuable lessons that I’ll always be grateful for.

Workwear Ideas - Dorothy Perkins Workwear

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the most controversial person out there, the content you see here on Retro Flame is always usually pretty tame, but when it comes to something like this, I had to speak up. I guess the whole thing got me thinking and made me feel like I really had to start talking about it. In the blogging world, we all know this is happening but so many stay quiet (I guess, we know the reason why so many of them do) but I just couldn’t stay quiet anymore. I genuinely have no idea what kind of reaction this post will get, but if it does nothing else only makes those of you who work with brands reassess the bloggers you’re working with, those of you who are start-up bloggers to stop being disheartened by those ‘bigger’ ones who may have conned their way to the top or just those of you, bloggers or not, who are victims of a little comparison every now and again, to always remember that there’s more than meets the eye.  Oh and always always always be supportive of the people who are doing things the fair way. Surround yourself with those kind of people, ignore the rest and I promise you will go a long way.

And as I always say, ‘Trust no B*tch ;)”

I’d love to know your thoughts? Snap me @retroflame1 or head on over to my Instagram @retroflame and let me know.
Erika x



  1. Sharon McClelland

    25 January

    always love your content and work ethic. you never seem to change from your true self. wish I had your determination and self belief. keep the great work going love your influence x

  2. Claire Bowman

    25 January

    Absolutely love this honest, well argued piece! I really agree with your point on competing only with yourself, fantastic advice. X

  3. Rosie

    25 January

    Love your honesty keep the Irish flag flying in NYC. Your doing a brilliant job xx

  4. Chantel

    25 January

    Its really refreshing to see a blogger be so honest and open about the blogging industry. We can all be so easily fooled by what we see online and constantly compare ourselves to others. Fair play to you for speaking up, its things like this that show why you have such a true and genuine following. I have followed you for years so i have seen first hand how you have grown your brand organically. Keep doing you and trust no bi*ch 😂 x

  5. Elishia

    25 January

    I feel so naive reading this! I always heard rumours but reading this post has shed a little light. I’m a casual blogger, but it really saddens me that people who work so hard and want it to be their job are being swindled by con artists!!

  6. audrey leighton

    25 January

    i just looked into a certain blogger who gained 17k followers in one day last week.

    social blade also tells me all im doing is losing followers.
    go me. hahaha.

    love all your posts babe, this one especially.

  7. Marbecs

    25 January

    I love your post on bloggers. I wouldn’t name but as a new business owner I have come across such bloggers and mind you due to their misleading crowd I got ripped off. Sent out stuff from my store only later to realise it was just a scam to get free items and such bloggers are still live and ruining the whole industry and what it is about. Don’t get me wrong I understand promoting a brand on its own is a challenge but often we complain about companies using bloggers but never about those bloggers scamming small newly opened business and taking advantage of the term ‘bloggers’

  8. Grainne

    25 January

    Great read👍

  9. Ioanna

    25 January

    Amazing post! I totally agree that your biggest competitor always has to be yourself. In the beginning I used to compare myself to other bloggers and why they went “big” and I didn’t. But now I just enjoy what I’m doing, I always try to do my best and only future can tell if you will succeed or not. Either way I’m going to enjoy the process to the maximum!
    You are one of the few bloggers that give me motivation! Keep up the great job!

    Lots of love,


  10. Andrea

    25 January

    Erica!! I just read this article.. I’m not a blogger but definitely can relate to the comparing. And in that year I got to know you, you worked so bloody hard and deserve all the recognition and followers for your genuine authenticity..Your doing amazing…what a great honest read..xx

    • Andrea

      25 January

      Course I spell Erika with a c Xxx

  11. Jessica O Sullivan

    25 January

    AMEN!!!!!! Thank you!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

  12. Karen

    25 January

    Very well written, fantastic piece. Agree with everything you say, very honest.

  13. Claudia Di Capua

    25 January

    This is pure gold. I love that you said something about this because it is something I have always wondered about and am glad that others feel similarly! Great piece!

  14. Una

    25 January

    Oh my god BRILLIANT post!! So so true. Well done you for speaking out. Everyone knows this happens, even in different areas of life, not just blogging. It’s like we’ve turned everything into a big digital popularity contest! Content is king xx

  15. Karyn Moriarty Designs

    25 January

    Well done Erika and for speaking the truth and from the heart.You are so passionate and love what you do but you got to where you are now from sheer determimation and hard work .I know it can be disheartening when others are dishonest. I’ve had designs and ideas copied and yes it’s upsetting and then I use to compare myself to other designers . But now my daily mantra is if you Compare yourself to others you become bitter !!! So when you stop comparing …you become better 💋

  16. Katherine

    25 January

    Thanks for sharing Erika. I can see how this happens in blogging as I have seen it in other areas. So sad. Be proud of you. I truly enjoy following you. Best of luck to you and Kaelin.


  17. Hey Erika! I saw your post shared on Facebook and had to check it out because I shared some things I have learned about blogging my first year and “don’t compete or compare” was on the list. You are exactly right. It’s so frustrating when people buy followers and likers, however, I know that I am “playing the game fair” as you said. I believe I have integrity and am genuine and my journey will reflect that. <3 Great post! I appreciate your vulnerability.

    You have a new reader and Instagram follower. Glad I found you!

    P.S. You're stunning, by the way. I love your hair! I am also a redhead. :)

  18. This is such a great post! We can totally relate to what you wrote about sports. It is SO frustrating when people go about anything in a sketchy way, especially when you are working so hard and playing by the rules. It’s annoying to the core. Anyways, thanks so much for the encouragement (because who doesn’t struggle with comparison in this industry at one point or another) and speaking up on the topic!

  19. Louise Deane

    25 January

    Great Read !!! 👍🏻🗒❤️ Comparison is the thief of joy!!!

  20. Yalaina E'lori

    26 January

    This post was beyond great, I am so glad I ran across your blog. This topic needed to be addressed and you certainly addressed it right in a decent tone and way. The thoughts are mutual for this post, I feel as if you have to buy your way to the top, you’re not truly in it for the right reasons.
    I have been blogging for a while and have a very small following but I am still able to work with brands that I thought I would never be able to work with. As long as your content is great and your consistent and genuine that alone will take you a long way. You definitely have my follow and view.

    BTW, I found your blog searching through NYFW post since I will be attending for the first time, for the spring show.
    I am so excited and so thankful I trotted across your post. Keep up the great work!

  21. Gabrielle

    26 January

    I love how you are so positive and upbeat! I think it’s great that you’re so honest on your blog – it is definitely appreciated. Also “trust no bitch” 😂 Yes Vlogmas!!! 🙌🏽

  22. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I think one big vice in this industry is inauthenticity. People don’t value being ‘true to themselves’ anymore and they’re prepared to go to any extent for a ‘reputable following’.

    I’m, too, a ‘small’ blogger, but I’ve no problem with that. Because my content is primarily ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ based I feel that it’s important to be able to be accessible to all who follow me. If I were a ‘huge’ blogger I would be less accessible to to those who needed my advice, and that defeats the purpose of mental health advocacy. Moreso, whilst it talks longer to grow a ‘real’ following, at least it’s based on authenticity.

    It’s like your designer bags, Erika. Let us compare the ‘bought followers’ to a fake bag one for an eight of what you’d spend on a real one; it has no real value and it won’t support you, or even last long. However, taking the hard-working time to save for a real 100% designer bag, just like authentically growing your following; you’re guaranteed consistent and lifelong support.

    Sorry, I rambled there, but what you’ve written completely resonates with my beliefs and constant questioning of the blogging/marketing world.

  23. Danielle

    26 January

    Thank you for this post! I play the compare game more often than I should….

  24. Lauren

    26 January

    I love you for this post! When I see bloggers do this I lose all respect for them. Why would I want to spend time supporting someone who is so clearly not a genuine person. Obviously people do this as a job, and at times it IS about money and making a living, but buying followers is like a slap to your real followers. It makes it look like the money is all you care about. Thanks so much for putting it out there. Anyone who follows you can clearly see that you are a truly genuine person. Trust no bitch! Lol

  25. Stephanie

    26 January

    I feel the same way! I’ve always been taught that the more work you put in, the greater rewards you’ll reap, but when people buy followers and then get deals with brands it can be SO frustrating. I just don’t think i could ever buy followers, because even if no one else knew, i would know that I had cheated my way up. I also can’t believe some people buy 10000 followers in one hit, that’s absolute madness!

    Steph –

  26. Erin

    26 January

    Thank you so much for this post! As a young blogger wanting to grow her audience fairly and communicate with REAL people, you give me so much hope. It’s about creativity and quality, not always the number of followers. Thank you!

  27. Michelle

    26 January

    Great post and good to know there is a site that can check it.

    I am so happy that I was a blogger before I set up my own business. I know how hard bloggers work but I also know that the number of followers mean nothing; it’s all about engagement.

    I would rather work with a “small” blogger with a lot of engagement and an authentic voice.

  28. Shannan

    26 January

    Amazing post! As a relatively new blogger, this post means a lot to me. You are a breath of fresh air and I hope more bloggers pay attention!

  29. Emma McCaw

    31 January

    I love that you’ve written this post. I saw you worrying about posting and I’m so glad you did. I’m a very new blogger and I always hear the words of community around bloggers, but to be honest I’ve never felt that. I feel like everything is a competition for numbers, for money, and for attention (from brands or otherwise). Bloggers tear each other down in order to ‘come out on top’ when in reality, they come across as cut-throat. I have been comparing myself to other bloggers in my position a lot recently. It’s hard for me not to. I always try to think of that saying about everyone having their own timeline. It’s not my time, I have so much more work to do and I want to improve myself more and more. I’m willing to stick it out and see where it takes me. Thank you so much for being an inspiration to someone like me. I’m such a fan of your blog, and I wish you success upon success for many years to come.

  30. […] proud of is the fact that I didn’t take any short cuts to get there. In an industry where every second blogger is buying their way to the top, of course it could be very tempting to follow suit….but that feeling when you achieve […]

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