I was reminded this morning by a dear and respected friend of mine to wake up and smell the coffee.
Not surprisingly, the Federal Trade Commission is currently working on a blogger review and endorsement policy focused on false advertising. Basically if a blogger is paid to write a review on his or her blog, the FTC will require the blogger to disclose this information. Where there is currently some gray area is when bloggers are provided free product to conduct a review. You can read the full story here: http://is.gd/sAAQ
This is nothing new when it comes to magazines and newspapers. You see this all the time in what we call in the marketing, public relations and advertising business “advertorials”. It is actually an ad that is made to look like an article. However, you will find at the top of the ad “Paid Advertisement”. At the end of the day, consumers are still misled.
When it comes to blogger relations campaigns, the agency has conducted numerous blogger campaigns that have proved to be very successful from mommy bloggers testing cleaning products to diabetic bloggers testing blood glucose meters. One hundred percent of the time the products have achieved rave reviews and drove significant traffic to the clients’ web sites. Here are just a few examples:
I have diabetes, and am always looking for a glucometer that is more accurate, less painful and more informative. I got that with the WaveSense Jazz™, a great blood glucose monitoring system. I am especially pleased because it provides mealtime averages, which helps me track my readings throughout the day and provides averages and graphs that help me track my numbers. – Redsoxmommy.blogspot.com
I recently came across a ton of items that I can definitely use in my kitchen, and I know you can too! These are all made my Weiman Products and should be every kitchen! – Lisareviews.com
From a public relations and marketing perspective, regulating blogs will likely change the way we work with bloggers and cut down substantially on the number of review opportunities for manufacturers and service based companies. To that end, it will actually make our job harder.
However, since it is likely that the average Joe doesn’t realize the difference between a blog and a traditional media review (objective reporting), regulating blogs is the best approach to protecting the consumer. You cannot pay media to write a review; therefore, you shouldn’t be able to pay bloggers either, send them on lavish trips or entice them with loads of free product. Where the gray line is for me is that we send media free product to test all the time. In very rare cases, we will get media who cannot accept the free sample product and have to run to a store to purchase it (Consumer Reports, etc.).
Certainly if this policy passes, it will change blog product reviews. However, it is beyond me how the FTC will actually regulate this. There are millions of blogs and everyday more and more blogs are added to the mix. I assume it will be something like online music sharing sites. A few people are caught, fined and made an example for others. But that hasn’t stopped music sharing sites from operating or others from downloading illegal music.
I am so very pleased that technology and the Internet have brought us all together. We are all now united under the happy-happy rainbow of unlimited connectedness.
Last night, my wife an I actually removed ourselves from the house, drove to the local recreation center and walked the outdoor path for about an hour – not for the exercise, but to clear our minds from all the noise.
The TV, the radio, the internet, the iPod, the cell phone, the house phone, the office phone, the instant messages, the text messages, the emails, the elevator discussions, the street corner protests, the grocery story PS system. As they say in Italy, Basta.
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
Along the way we met a woman who had a great big silver dog whose breed was undiscernable to us. So we asked, “What kind of dog is that?” “A goldendoodle!” she replied. Kathy looked at me and I at her. “Goldendoodle?” we whispered. “It’s not gold and what is a doodle?” Then we laughed and kept walking.
What cha knowin’?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Anyway, after a bit more than an hour of walking we worked our way back to the car, drove to the local store and eventually headed home. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Enough to quiet all the voices and rest the mind and get back in touch with ourselves. With our souls.
I’ve got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.
To everyone of every persuasion, have a blessed, holy and sacred celebration this week.