Mommy Bloggers May be Held Liable for Product Reviews

By JustMommies staff

According to a report on ABC News, mommy bloggers may need to watch what they say when it comes to writing online product reviews.  The FTC is in the process of reviewing this issue.  The revisions being discussed would take existing advertising laws and apply them to new forms of social media marketing like blogs. 

Mommy and parenting bloggers are effective marketing tools for companies.  Some mommy bloggers’ product reviews and testimonials are very persuasive.  What is the big deal about this?  Moms often tell other moms about products they like; the only difference with bloggers is that they have the potential to reach a much larger audience. 

If it was just one mom talking to another mom, or even many moms, which happens when a mom reviews a product on her blog, there wouldn’t be an issue.  It only becomes a problem when moms are actually paid to review products.  This is when a mommy blogger could be held liable for her opinions, in the same way a company that makes false advertisements would be held accountable. 

When a blogger is paid to promote a product on her blog, it is not quite the same thing as her just telling users about the product just because she likes it.  If she is paid, the product review falls in the same camp as a product testimonial -- what you see when you watch an advertisement on television.  One big issue the FTC is trying to sort out is what to do about bloggers that aren’t exactly being paid to blog about a product, but are being compensated. Some companies provide bloggers with a product for free in exchange for blogging “promotion.” But is this the same thing as a paid advertisement?  The jury is still out -- as the FTC is still sorting this out.

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