Should Mommy Bloggers Be Paid?
Should companies pay mom bloggers for reviews?
From my point of view, there are several issues – and few clear answers.
At Child’s Play Communications, we know that good bloggers put a lot of time and effort into creating thorough and honest reviews. We get that. And we respect that. It’s why we’ve worked with them time and time again over the years, through our Team Mom™ and Web Mom review programs.
Here’s the win-win equation, as I see it:
- We give bloggers quality products to evaluate and we treat those bloggers with care and consideration. Resulting, from-the-heart reviews, none of which are paid, make our clients happy.
- By reviewing products in a forthright way, bloggers offer their readers a much-in-demand service. By generating a following that relies on authenticity, those bloggers become recognized influencers – a status that makes them happy and often leads to bigger and better things. Their readers know that the opinion voiced is real because there is no reason for it not to be – the bloggers don’t work for the companies they are reviewing.
Once that mom-to-mom trust falters – if mom-bloggers start getting paid and their audience realizes that what they’re reading is potentially as valid as advertising – the entire underpinning and appeal of blogging as a credible communication tool goes away. And all those companies and public relations firms that have been providing the information for those reviews, including my own, will likely follow. Bloggers, if moms no longer trust you, companies no longer need you.
Do I believe that the minute money is involved, bloggers will be swayed to write what companies want them to? Not necessarily. Bloggers are individuals just like everyone else – for some it will make a difference, for others it won’t. But I do know that a lot of clients are concerned about the perception that goes with paying for reviews, and won’t do it for that reason.
Do I think a paid review that’s not flagged as a paid review is dishonest? Yes, I do. And if it is identified as paid, or “sponsored,” is that OK – bloggers taking money for reviews as long as they say they are? Now, there’s the tough one. Probably…yes (shoot me, potential clients, I may have just cost you some money). I just don’t see a problem with Kmart providing bloggers with a gift certificate to shop the store with the goal of having them writing about the experience, when the bloggers are up front about it. But then, as they say in the journalism biz, the results of such relationships are called advertorials not editorials — and there is a world of difference in how the audience may read them, if they read them at all.
In other words, bloggers, payment may fill your purse but devalue your worth.
Moms, I’d really like your opinion. If you read product reviews, do you care whether the blogger is paid by the company for reviewing their product?
Mom bloggers, do you feel you should be paid for your time or do you consider that a conflict of interest?
And marketers, where do you fall in all this? What works for you?
Where do all of you draw the line?