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Blogging in Dubai – what’s it like where you are?

We all read blogs from all over the world and we all have readers who check in from far-flung places. But do we ever stop and wonder how blogging might differ from place to place? I would imagine that blogging in Dubai is not hugely different to blogging in the UK, but maybe I’m wrong? Read on for my two cents on blogging in Dubai.

What’s a blog?
Blogging is still a relatively new thing in Dubai, and the Middle East in general, so there is still a real lack of knowledge about how blogs work and what they’re about. Plenty of bloggers and PR’s still have no idea what Google Analytics is and some think Bloglovin is a fan club 🙂

I once asked a PR friend of mine why her brand were engaging with bloggers who she knew had little to no traffic and she shrugged her shoulders and said “coverage is coverage” Any coverage is generally good coverage here, even if it means the coverage is coming from someone with no traffic who usually blogs about food and you have sent them a lipstick.

Don’t get me wrong, some brands here are really clued in when it comes to doing what they do, but I think it’s hard for them to stand out in a sea of pretty poor PR.

All the beauty booty
The second biggest Sephora in the world is in Dubai Mall and the only Bloomingdales in the world outside of the US is in Dubai. Unsurprisingly, this makes for some pretty amazing beauty hauling along with more hauling in our local pharmacies (Boots, Bin Sina, etc) – which are choc-ful of hard-to-find French skincare brands.

You can’t sit with us
No links to products, no price or stockist information and little to no interaction with followers on social media or in the comments section of blogs is pretty normal here, along with a general ‘you can’t sit with us’ approach. The more you blow yourself up here and the more aloof you come across to both PR’s and readers, the ‘bigger’ you are perceived to be – regardless of whether anyone actually reads your blog. Funny, eh?

Events a go-go
If you like events, Dubai is the place to be. There is a launch, re-launch or tried and tested event on every five minutes, with two or three often clashing on the same day. Some of the events are really fun and well thought out; makeovers, chic breakfasts and evening soirees with brand experts but of course, they are not all fun (some of them are downright terrible). I think the best event I have ever attended here was the Nars launch a couple of weeks back. You can see some of it in this vlog.

Buy all the (social media) things
Twitter and Instagram followers increase dramatically overnight here but interaction levels stay the same. It’s quite normal for someone to suddenly have 10k Instagram followers today when yesterday they only had 1k, but of course no one will admit to buying them.

And there’s a real impatience about blogging in Dubai. Everyone wants to be big right now this second. Very few seem to want to put in the actual effort of growing and maintaining a blog so they just buy followers and think that makes up for it.

New launches before anywhere else in the world
From time to time, new collections will launch in Dubai before anywhere else in the world. Bourjois in particular are great for this; Rouge Edition Velvet Liquid Lipsticks, Flower Perfection Foundation and the Happy Light Collection all made an appearance here before anywhere else. We also get only-for-this region launches; Estee Lauder, Roberto Cavalli, Lancome and many others brought out new Oud-inspired fragrances just for the Middle East market.

Gimme the freebies
We all know plenty of blogs are born out of a want for freebies and Dubai is no different. The awkward thing about it here however, is that there seems to be absolutely no embarrassment attached to requesting freebies as soon as a new blog goes live. Once, a PR cc’ed everyone in her mailing list in an email and one blogger accidentally replied all with “send me the products now thanks”. Eeeek.

The good blogs are really good
I’m sure most of you know Laura and her blog, and there are lots of other bloggers in Dubai who are really lovely and really good at what they do. Zein’s blog, The Beauty Residence, is one of my favourites, along with Aseya’s blog; Pretty in the Desert, Louise’s blog; Mum of Boys, Laura’s blog; Laura Etc and Stacey’s; Expat Makeup Addict.

And we love each other
If someone is back in the UK/US/wherever they will happily pick up products for the rest of us that we can’t get here. There’s much product enabling, particularly on Instagram between the beauty bloggers and a lot of love and support when it comes to sharing and linking to each others posts and so on.

Blogging here definitely annoys me to the point of distraction in some ways as it’s light years behind the US/UK, but in other ways it gives me all the feels 🙂

So, what is blogging like where you are? I know some of my readers check in from places pretty far afield so I would love to know what your local blogging scene is like 🙂


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  • Reply Kellie

    I think you’ve got it really spot on there Simone to be honest!

    July 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm
  • Reply maitha

    I agree, I set up my blog in London so started out blogging there and I’d say while you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the negatives here in Dubai, the one big positive is that brands are more open. In London the slog is much harder (with blogging and pretty much everything else!) so it takes longer to establish yourself. In terms of a blogging community I left lots os like-minded blogging buddies behind so am looking forward to making new ones here 🙂 anyone else obsessed with nail varnish, coffee and Zara?!

    Maitha x

    July 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm
  • Reply Elisabeth

    I was about to type a reply to this post and then got very distracted buy the Topshop sandals you have in your ‘Currently Coveting’ (another reason why I love your blog, it provides my shopping list with a never ending supply of options!)

    Just wanted to say what a great post. I’m fairly new to the blogging world and I started mainly because friends kept asking me for advice and where I got my clothes from etc. I got hooked on a few blogs (yours included!) and enjoy the social aspect, mainly because other than shopping, watching tv and eating – I don’t really do a lot else at home and blogging is a nice little hobby for me. I haven’t been lucky enough to receive any samples to try out or go to any launches but I’m happy to work my way towards that because I know that that kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight 🙂 based in the UK means there’s a lot more competition also sadly!

    Sorry, rambled a bit! ooh and you should definitely get the Clarins self tanner, I purchased this week and I love it 🙂

    Lis xx

    July 30, 2014 at 9:46 pm
  • Reply Maya

    What a brilliant idea this post is:D
    It have always wondered what blogging is really about in different countries and you made some real good points in your post!
    Definitely doing my own version “The Blogging in Lebanon” one.

    July 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm
  • Reply Lucy

    What a fabulous read, my sister pointed this out to me on your Facebook page and I’m so glad I read it. It’s really interesting to hear your side of things from Dubai when I’m so used to blogging in London. London is very competitive for blogging it seems, new blogs just want to go to events etc but the same as Dubai, good ones are very rare nowadays. You’ll have to introduce me to your beauty stores if I come next year! xx

    July 31, 2014 at 1:29 am
  • Reply Rosie

    I’m a relatively new blogger from Perth, Australia. Blogging is starting to get pretty big here, although it has not yet flourished to the lengths of the UK/US.
    I’ve always wanted to visit / live in Dubai! I’d love to hear all about your experience in Dubai and what it’s really like.

    July 31, 2014 at 3:00 am
  • Reply Divya

    This was quite an eye opener of sorts to read about the blogging scene in Dubai! Who knew? Especially the more aloof the more important one.. sounds very strange!

    July 31, 2014 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Lex

    My husband’s parents live in Dubai so we got out there at least once a year and although I’d agree with you about Bloomingdales, I think the Sephora’s are awful! I had a huge list of about 30 things I wanted when I went and only managed to find 2! They seem to focus on the high end stuff and don’t offer much of the midrange. I was quite disappointed.

    July 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Zein

    This is so true! I’m actually going to live in Lebanon this year for university (I’ll still go back to Dubai every now and then though), so I’ll be exposed to a completely new blogging experience. How I imagine it: less press releases thrown at you to read, samples to try and events to attend.
    Thank you for the mention! 🙂 xx

    July 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm
  • Reply fiona bradley

    Great insightful post Simone! Really interesting observations 🙂


    August 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply Filipa

    Hi Simone! thanks for the lovely post. I read your blog form Portugal where i once wrote a colaborative blog with a friend and actually loved doing it, but it got complicated so it soon finished. I would love to have one again, and i´d love to write in english but there is always the language barrier and the insecurities that come with it. As i am soon to move to another country maybe i´ll get around to it once i gain the confidence…. Anyway thanks for all the info, and your honest opinion as always. XX

    August 9, 2014 at 7:36 pm
  • Reply Pooja

    Simone, hands down the most informative and near to truth (so i assume) blogpost! I started blogging in april this year and though i enjoy myself and the work i am doing i cant fight the saddness which comes from time to time in waiting to be recognised and approciated! I started with the midset of literally reviewing beauty products in depth on the lines of (not that vast though) because thats the kind of blog i find misssing here in dubai (not to be rude). Its very easy to get sucked up in the number game in dubai but like u said and pointed out its the content that matters at the end of the day and ur hardwork! I read a similar post by ‘jamtheglam’ and even hers was very good. Its always helpful for newbie bloggers like me to understand the situation and the naunces from ppl like u. This post def put me in a better mood and a new zeal to persue BBlogging with! Keep doing your awesome work and btw i love ur YouTube channel as well.. Good luck! 🙂

    August 14, 2014 at 1:12 am
  • Reply Kelly-Louise

    This was really helpful! I am actually just looking into starting a blog here. I’m originally from the uk and have been here a couple of years. I may need to drop you a line and pick your brains a little 🙂

    August 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm
    • Reply Simone

      Of course, of course! Would love to hear from you 🙂

      August 28, 2014 at 10:06 pm

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