A lot of bloggers are selling you something. Not surprised? Most of them are up-front about it, but those that aren’t will have to deal with the FTC.
Blogging is, quite simply, an excellent way to push products. I suppose there is some research that proves this, but I just like this quote from business consultant Michael Margolis:
At its essence, people don’t buy your product, service, or solution, they buy the story that’s attached to it.
That’s a specialty of bloggers–telling stories. And many of them tell stories about products and services besides their own.
At least, I think it’s funny. Sometimes they . There are a lot of amateur bloggers who get invited to special events put on by advertisers, who may even require them to blog and tweet about their products on the spot or right afterward. In return, they just get “swag” (cool free stuff,, gift cards, or discounts coupons. (Who’s selling to whom?) Plus snacks and the thrill of being at an “insider” event, of course.
The really good bloggers, the real pros, do two important things:
If you know there’s a relationship, then you can make up your own mind to heed their advice or ignore it.
FTC guidelines went into effect on December 1, 2009 requiring “online publishers” to disclose their connections. Here’s a quote from a great post by Paul Mussel, Senior Counsel for Wells Fargo’s Intellectual Property Group:
Bloggers and social media users must disclose their relationship with a company when they are being paid or otherwise compensated by the company to comment favorably on its products or services. The guidelines also state that bloggers may be held individually liable for making misleading or unsubstantiated claims about a product or service.
Anyway, not much has changed in marketing or advertising. It’s still “caveat emptor.”
I actually took the photo for this blog entry in Newport Beach on Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago. I’ve always thought it’s an excellent example of truth in advertising–in this case, not truth about the product, but about the consumer…