First go read/watch this “review” then come back here.
Now, what was that–Chris Brogan and his daughter having a spontaneous love-fest about a $329 messenger bag or Chris Brogan doing a paid endorsement for the bag? While he does offer a “very special thanks” to someone for “connecting” him with the company that makes the bag, he does not come out and say, “I got this bag for free in exchange for blogging about it.” In the comment section he says:
“Well, please understand that this isn’t an ad as such. I wasn’t paid to talk about the back[sic]. I was sent one for review. I guess one could say that might count as a payment, but I don’t see it that way.”
The question is, does the FTC see it that way? Is giving a blogger with a huge following a free bag to review ethical? Is accepting it and blogging about it without fully disclosing that you got it for free ethical? While you’re thinking about it, go back to Chris Brogan’s post and scroll down to the plug for the Thesis Theme for WordPress. Now, is that an ad? Or is it just him again expressing free love for a product? Does it even matter?
I personally happen to think it does matter. I used to read Chris Brogan’s blog because I valued the content of his posts. Now I look at each post and/or badge on the page and have to wonder “wait, is this an ad?” It’s like those spreads in magazines that look like articles or testimonials, but when you look at the top of the page you see “Paid Advertisement”–and ignore those pages.
Not to beat a dead horse or anything; after all, I’ve blogged about this before….but this bag review post really stuck in my craw.
Here is some more food for thought about sponsored posts. Here are some great links/resources from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).
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