Women’s sites have been among the most successful areas of content on the web, and mommy bloggers have anchored that growth. But mommy bloggers also have an image problem, thanks to some writers who take freebies from the companies they cover. It’s an issue that has now attracted the interest of federal regulators.
In response, a group of “mommy bloggers” has launched a campaign called Blog With Integrity. The nearly 300 signers (of as Monday afternoon) pledged to disclose all “material relationships, policies and business practices,” and clearly differentiate editorial, advertorial and advertising. Unlike the ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, BWI doesn’t have a regulatory board, and will instead police itself. “We hope that we can do justice this idea out of respect for one another,” said Liz Gumbinner, one of the four bloggers spearheading the campaign, tells
“All the press is about ‘Mom blogs are shills, are whores, are taking ‘blogola’ and doing pay-per-post. So we wanted to reframe the discussion,” she said.
BWI is the latest attempt to persuade federal lawmakers and regulators to maintain its largely hands-off approach to the industry, and it comes as women’s sites are one of the few places to see their ad revenues grow in the downturn. Most of the concern on Capitol Hill these days revolves around ad targeting rather than blogger ethics.
An informal, grassroots group like BWI sounds a fine idea for a few hundred bloggers to try to set themselves apart. But if the effort grows larger, they may need an independent overseer to give them credibility and guard against ethics breaches.