Feds Eying The Mommy Blogger-Brand Relationship

imageThere’s a reason that brands love mommy bloggers. With more moms turning to the web for parenting advice, camaraderie and product recommendations — a favorable review from the likes of bloggers like Dooce, Melinda Roberts or even a less-known mom with a blog can translate directly to an uptick in sales. But with the FTC trying to tackle the issue of “truth” in social media advertising, the relationship between brands and mommy bloggers is coming under scrutiny.

Nearly 80 percent of moms that blog actually review products, according to Mom Central Consulting (via Mediapost). With that in mind, brands like Frito-Lay and HP have shifted from just sending moms free products to review at random, to cultivating long-term relationships with bloggers that include sponsored vacations and parties. Mom-centric social network CafeMom has an “Influencer” program that members can sign up for specifically to review products.

Laura Fortner, CafeMom’s SVP of marketing and insights, told the AP that the moms aren’t required to give the products favorable reviews. But it’s the assumption that they might feel compelled to do it — in order to receive more products, or because they were outright paid to — that the FTC has to grapple with as it tries to come up with new guidelines for endorsements and testimonials this summer.