Thank you, Big Brother
The FTC recently passed legislation regarding bloggers’ disclosure of compensation or swag. As blogs rise is both popularity and authority, the authors have found themselves with some real power. Who would have expected the mother who started posting recipes to share with her friends to be able to not only create a community around her blog, but even a livelihood?
As a fledgling PR professional, I understand the value of these bloggers. Even blogs that have a unique audience of 2,000 a month are considered valuable. Those 2,000 readers might be looking for guidance and have their own circles of 2,000 and the idea/product/brand spreads. Hopefully.
The problems arise when bloggers are looking at the bottom line. Surely, when they started their blogs, these writers were looking for an outlet or a community and had few other aspirations (other than fame, duh). Correlating to their rising Technorati rankings, some bloggers head down a more sinister path.
Suddenly, the blogger isn’t looking for the best products, but the ones with the best kick-back.
We should be thanking the FTC for stepping in. This will maintain the purity of blogs and product promotion. Bloggers are kind of like your friends. You go to them for advice and you trust them. Now, you will never have to wonder if the author is being paid, as you will already know. For PR people concerned, these measures will only amplify the placement if there isn’t a monetary exchange and if there is, any exposure is good (SEO, anyone?).