If you’re a mommy blogger with a strong following, companies will fall all over themselves to show you a good time. The Los Angeles Times examines the culture of quid-pro-quo marketing, in which bloggers get bombarded with free samples and go on all-expenses-paid junkets with the understanding that they’ll write positively about the products.
Reporters P.J. Huffstutter and Jerry Hirsch write:
Free-flowing wine and buffet tables laden with crudites are now common features of a company-sponsored function for bloggers. Some companies are even offering free kitchen appliances, vacations, groceries and enough fruity snacks to feed a neighborhood’s worth of kids.
The growing trend is fueling legal and social debate over how bloggers disclose what goodies they get. New guidelines unveiled last month by the Federal Trade Commission say bloggers must divulge financial or product compensation they get in exchange for writing about a company’s products. The regulations are set to go into effect Dec. 1.
It remains to be seen how the FTC’s regulations affect the mommy blog culture. The FTC is hoping once readers get hip to the way the bloggers are being wined and dined, they’ll take product endorsements they read as the advertisements they are rather than off-the-cuff recommendations from a trusted pal. Do you think the strategy will work?