Companies are paying bloggers to write about their products. Many of these bloggers don’t disclose that the company whose product they write about is providing compensation, whether it’s $5 per mention, a free vacation, or several thousand dollars.
Should there be mandatory disclaimer so an advertisement isn’t mistaken for a legitimate review? It may breach Federal Trade Commission guidelines without one. In fact, the Federal Election Commission is holding hearings this week to discuss the full disclosure of funds bloggers receive from political campaigns.
I’m fine with reviewing products on Consumerism Commentary. Throughout Consumerism Commentary’s run so far, I’ve been asked to write a few impartial reviews. I’ll gladly give an honest review for free (though I may be a little bit slow getting around to it), but it seems to be unethical and a conflict of interest to accept money for disguising product placement as a legitimate review. I have advertisements, yes, and anyone can buy an ad fairly cheaply, but they are clearly advertisements and not endorsements.
Updated July 16, 2010 and originally published June 28, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.