FTC to Regulate Blogger Endorsements
(Note: I was not paid to write this.)
Being a new mother, the term “all-nighter” has taken on a whole new meaning for me. One that consists of endless diaper changes, round-the-clock feedings and endless bouts of screaming and wailing (the baby, not me. I promise). One would assume that after being awake for what seemed like days on end, when offered a break, a logical person would head straight to bed for some much needed rest. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” is what the doctors recommend. However, in my zombie-like state I found myself trudging up my stairs straight towards the computer room whenever I had a moment to spare.
Why? Honestly, I went online to find help and answers from women who had been there, done that. One answer I was seeking was to why my baby screams like I’m setting him on a bed of needles when I put him in his bassinet to sleep at night. I’d warmed the mattress with a heating pad and swaddled him as tightly as I could. Heck, I even brushed the mattress with my hand one night just to be sure no needles had magically sprouted out of it. (Hey, sleep deprivation does strange things to you…)
Anyway, I visited one mommy blog (my first one ever) and there was a product recommendation that I immediately sprang on. I sent Dad to Target right away to pick up what was going to be our life-saver: The Sassy Vented Sleep Wedge. Hey, cut me a break! I was tired. I was vulnerable. I was lacking my usual mental capacity. I work in marketing. I know that some of these women get paid to make product recommendations—but in that very moment of complete disparity, I wanted to believe that perhaps this was an exception to the rule.
It probably wasn’t. Which brings me to the moral of this blog post. Bloggers, mommies or not, have an extremely strong influence when it comes to word of mouth marketing. In fact, the FTC has recently announced that as part of its review of its advertising guidelines, word-of-mouth marketers and bloggers, as well as people on social-media sites such as Facebook, will be held liable for any false statements they make about a product they’re promoting, along with the product’s marketer.
Are those people blogging about a product they’ve been paid to review, or sent for free, truly credible? From personal experience, the Sassy Vented Sleep Wedge was a dream come true (literally) for us, but undoubtedly there are those people making false claims about products because they are being paid to so. Is it fair for the FTC to force bloggers to disclose if they are being paid or received a product for free in exchange for a few nice words? Aren’t consumers smart and savy enough to detect paid product endorsements?
While some feel that the government is sticking its fingers where they don’t belong, others are in full agreement with the feds on this one. Be sure to let us know where you fall!