|July 16, 2009|
|'Mommy Bloggers' Become 'Mommy Floggers'|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Does the Federal Trade Commission really believe it can regulate the "mommy flogger" market? |
A Newsweek web exclusive today notes that mommy bloggers are gatekeepers to the female market that spends $2T a year on purchases for home and family.
Match that bonanza with 42M women who go online and you are talking about a humongous and tempting opportunity for corporate giants like Wal-Mart, Kraft, Walt Disney and General Mills.
Are the feds really going to round up all the moms who say their kids love the Dumbo ride at Walt Disney World without mentioning that Mickey Mouse paid for the family jaunt to Orlando? Not a chance.
And what about a mom flogger who fails to post a negative review for the free macaroni and cheese dinner that Kraft sent over with a truckload of other goodies? Does she dare damage the relationship with Kraft? What are you kidding?
Is the FTC in position to monitor every dinner table to make sure mom is blogging about good as well as garbage food? [Full Disclosure I: Disney and Kraft are used as hypothetical examples.]
The FTC's Richard Cleland told the New York Times that online consumers have the right to know when they’re being pitched a product. Does that mean that newspaper readers and TV viewers have the right to know whether PR had a hand in crafting a story that they read or watched? That would be the death knell for both media and PR.
The FTC is wasting its time. To begin with, Uncle Sam has no right to regulate free speech on or off-line. Let the people decide who is and who isn't trustworthy. Blogs that constantly flog products/services/destinations will eventually lose credibility and audience. Take every recommendation with a grain of salt. Understand that mommy bloggers are not in the same league as Consumer Reports. [Full Disclosure II: CR did not pay, ship over a new computer or even a offer a free subscription for the above plug.]
Yours truly waits with baited breath for next month's "PR blackout," the brainchild of Trisha Haas of MomDot.com. She says moms suffer "bloggy burnout" and are going to go cold turkey for a week on product samples, reviews and press materials for a week.
My solution: put down or walk away from your computer. Get some fresh air. Take the kids to the playground. People can wait a week before you resume plugging products.
(Image via Zazzle)
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