Parent Blogs Facing Disclosure Issues
By Tom Ryan
The Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) is considering imposing new rules for parent-bloggers. The agency
is concerned that the manufacturer-blogger relationships may not be transparent
enough for endorsements in which the blogger receives
payment nor for those in which they receive free goods from manufacturers.
"The sticky issue
that is raised is what happens if a product is given for free," Richard
Cleland, a spokesman for the FTC, told ABC News. "That’s something
we’re going to have to address."
Mr. Cleland said that
similar to false advertising cases, a blogger may
face a cease-and-desist order as punishment. Procedures may also be developed
to reimburse consumers who bought a product under false circumstances. "What’s
driving the issue is one of disclosure," he said.
Many parenting magazines
also receive free samples for review and Mr. Cleland said that each situation
will be examined on a case-by-case basis. The FTC hopes to address the
issue by the summer.
The Wall Street Journal notes
the FTC’s review comes as a number of parents have turned to blogging as
a way to earn income or get free products. And it also comes as blogs have
become a critical voice for mothers to learn about and exchange information
Speaking to ABC News,
Maria Bailey, the founder of BSM Media, which specializes in marketing
to moms, was concerned that the new FTC guidelines would be too restrictive. She
noted that 80 percent of mothers buy a product on recommendation of another
mother, and 87 percent of mothers read blogs.
"From the business
side, it’s a terrible thing because that’s how much moms find out about
a product," Ms. Bailey said.
Do you see a need for greater disclosure around parenting blogs?
Should there be different standards for endorsements based on payment
versus free products? How will any restrictions impact the marketing
opportunity around parenting blogs?
- Parenting Blogs May
Be Held Liable for Product Reviews – ABC News
- Is a Crackdown Looming for Parenting Blogs? – Wall