FTC Guidelines: Mom Bloggers Report Not Much Has Changed
While the FTC now requires all bloggers to disclose any products or services given in exchange for a blog post, we found that the guidelines have not really changed behavior as Mom Bloggers in our survey have already been incorporating disclosures. Furthermore, the guidelines don't seem to dissuade Mom Bloggers from accepting the same number of sponsored product reviews: They report that the number of brands or agencies pitching sponsored product reviews has remained about the same.
Asked about the detail of their product disclosure, 78% of Mom Bloggers said they rely on general disclosures for product reviews, and 68% disclose the value of giveaways when applicable.
Where Mom Bloggers do voice some concern:
- Half of those surveyed believe that the guidelines seem to single out Mom Bloggers while outlining fewer disclosure guidelines for journalists (68%) or celebrities (82%).
- Nearly all believe it is ethical for Mom Bloggers to receive samples, giveaways and compensation. However, Mom Bloggers expressed anxiety about vulnerability to IRS audits, with 75% believing that they may be at risk for an audit if they disclose specific dollar amounts of the product value or compensation. Overall, 60% feel anxious about potential tax issues in general.
Authenticity of Mom Blogger Product Review
Because blogs offer the potential of powerful first-person brand ambassadorship, they have emerged as a key way to ignite consumers. More and more brands want to expose bloggers to their products and services in the hope they will post favorable reviews. Critics of Mom Blogger and general blogger product reviews have voiced concern that a blogger's receipt of free products or compensation may influence a writer to post more favorable reviews versus balanced reviews.
Only 15% of Mom Bloggers believe the value of the item impacts the ethical nature of the review. In general, Mom Bloggers strike a balance in their posts with 47% posting neutral reviews without negative language.
Mom Bloggers can, in fact, provide an "early warning" mechanism for brand managers. Among those surveyed, 72% said that they would send negative critiques to the brand/agency directly before posting a review.
This finding has important implications for marketers. Marketers may want to consider Mom Bloggers as front-line brand ambassadors who can alert them to any potential product or service concerns that can be addressed before the issue gains a viral buzz and becomes a larger public relations management crisis.
With their adherence to disclosure guidelines and willingness to share upfront constructive feedback directly to brands, Mom Bloggers can be a trusted resource to both their brands and their readers.