I recently read an article about moms who blog and the freebies they receive. Essentially it discussed the ethics of receiving products from companies and then blogging about the products. Apparently the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing its advertising guidelines to figure out how to police people who are compensated to promote or review a product.
It's an interesting issue. Journalists are not supposed to accept any type of gifts because of the conflict of interest it would pose. But are bloggers considered journalists? When I read a blog I don't take everything as fact. When I have written product reviews I have written about products I use. I make it clear I have not been compensated for talking about the product. The majority of blogs I visit are very upfront as to whether they received the products from a company or whether they bought the product themselves. I guess I don't have a problem with it. When I'm thinking about buying something big I tend to search the internet for product reviews... but I take everything (good and bad) with a grain of salt until I do my own research.
The bigger issue probably goes beyond product reviews. If I write a blog about finding a quick snack for the summer and somebody posts a comment about Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (no compensation I swear!!!) is that person making a suggestion or do they receive free snacks from the company? But how do you control that? I don't think the FTC can say we have to blog about things in generic terms. "Hey Quadmama, maybe you should try crackers shaped like animals that swim in water." I'll be keeping an eye out to see what new guidelines are put in place.
I'm interested to hear what other bloggers think about the issue.
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