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Women’s sites have been among the most successful areas of content on the web, and mommy bloggers have anchored that growth. But mommy blogg…

Blog With Integrity

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
AdAge.

“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.

  1. Thanks so much for covering the Blog With Integrity initiative. I want to be clear however that this is not an attempt to skirt the FTC or even to avoid regulation per se. In fact, we agree for the most part with the intent of the proposal, which is to stave off deceptive advertising practices across the board, and hold blogs to similar standards as other media in separating advertorial from editorial.

    We simply don't want people to think that we all *need* regulation, as the vast majority of bloggers operate with standards beyond reproach. Some don't even work with marketers or sponsors at all – imagine that.

    Blog With Integrity is the beginning of a conversation. We'd love the community's help in taking it to the next level.

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