Mommy Bloggers Offered $10 To Write Nice Stories About Toyota

Looking around the internet, there is often a thin line between editorial content and advertising. It’s not surprising to go to an entertainment blog on a Friday to not only see that the page has been skinned with an ad for a new movie but also a gallery of that movie’s star or a fluff interview with someone in the film. But some mommy bloggers say they’re not willing to cross that line by accepting a $10 gift card in exchange for writing a positive story about Toyota.

Over at DearCrissy.com, the author of the popular site says she and many other bloggers received an offer from a company called MommyNetworks that offered them $10 Amazon gift cards for publishing stories about the recent government investigation that found no evidence of an electronics problem in recalled Toyotas.

From the e-mail sent to the mommy bloggers:

It’s a big deal for Toyota since this has affected their reputation heavily and they had a lot of negative stigma around their brand as of late, and we’re helping to spread the positive news:

I need you to:
Write a post about the report & good news
In the post, link to a few of the articles or videos below
If possible, share on social networks or “thumbs up” the YouTube videos.

“That’s not spreading good news,” writes DearCrissy. “it is bribing moms to help bury bad press.”

A rep for Toyota tells Consumerist that the car company has no connection to the offer:

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. is currently working to find out where this payment offer originated from, but I would like to assure you that Toyota adheres to the highest standards when working with media, journalists and blogger and we find any sort of payment for editorials or blogs unethical and illegal according to FCC guidelines.

What do you think: Are companies crossing the line by paying bloggers to write nice news? Or is this just par for the course these days?

And isn’t a $10 gift card a bit of a paltry offer?

Toyota Pays Mom Bloggers $10 to Bury Bad Press [DearCrissy.com]

Thanks to David for the tip!