May 22, 2009

Blogging for Freebies

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.

6 comments:

MaryAnne said...

I read a mommy blogger review in a completely different way from how I would read a newspaper article about the same product, and I agree that it's typically pretty clear whether the blogger bought the product themselves or was given it by the company to review. Besides, I don't see how the FTC can possibly control what all mommy bloggers say - seems a waste of time and taxpayer money...

Quadmama said...

I don't see how blog reviews are much different than going on, say, Amazon and reading a customer review. Can you guarantee the customer actually bought the product or isn't an employee of the company selling the product? I would hope most people read blogs differently than news articles.

LauraC said...

This has come up for me, as companies contact to pay to advertise. But that is not the intent of my blog, and my employer prohibits me from other gainful employment. So I don't do it.

But Chicco did offer me a stroller to giveaway if I would do a writeup of the stroller. I really agonized over it and called them and said I would feel comfortable doing it if I could give it to our multiples group to give to a family in need. So I did it.

But I also understand people getting paid for their time!

Quadmama said...

Oh don't get me wrong... if any companies out there want me to review their products I would be happy to do it (hint hint). I would also be upfront about receiving the product for free. But, as you said, it's not the intent of my blog. If it's a nice side-part of the blog, so be it, but I don't want to write a huge commercial every day.

Stephanie B said...

Seriously, until our LAWMAKER stop accepting gifts and kickbacks from lobbiests for special interests that affect the job WE PAY them to do, I think there are more important matters for folks to be worrying about.

Quadmama said...

Good point. Why govern a free stroller or snacks here and there if you aren't going to follow the same rules?

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