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There was an interesting article highlighted on Twitter today. The LA Times wrote about Blogging Moms being wooed by the food industry.

I know there’s quite a stir being caused by this article on a couple of sides throughout Social Media and Traditional Media Circles.

While it might not be all that pointedly, LA Times writers P.J Huffstutter and Jerry Hirsch edge towards the possibility that food companies like Nestle, Hershey, Starbucks and other big food names are influencing bloggers by giving them free trips, hotel suites, free food and more to write about (and promote) their products.

Firstly, my standpoint on promotional blogging. There’s a full disclosure here on the TechBurgh blog, anything that is written about on here is written about honestly. Personally, I’ve turned down more opportunities than I’ve taken because I don’t agree with, or believe in the site, product or service that I’ve been asked to write about.
No amount of freebies or not so subtle influences will change my mind. Yes, there are sponsored posts and yes, there is advertising. All of the people who write for TechBurgh abide by Word of Mouth Marketing standards. There is full honesty, disclosure and no undue influence.
Also, I totally rip on stuff when it deserves it. I’m as much into profit and capitalism as the next person.

To me, in my experiences, there are ‘Mommy Bloggers’ out there who see themselves as something of an… elitist group. Naturally I don’t mean all Mommy Bloggers.
In my mind there are two types of bloggers, those who do it purely for what they’re getting out of it and those who are doing if for what others are getting out of it. Maybe the balance is off in the Mommyblogosphere.

In my experiences (and I’ve reached out to quite a number in a number of circles) they’re too busy being what they do and not finding much time for much else.

It would seem that every other day there is an ad network or a blog network popping up, seeking promotion within (and solely within) mommy blogging networks. With much exclusion to everything and everyone else.
That’s it – exclusion. You’re not a part of what they’re doing, you’re excluded. I think that sums up my irk more than anything.

Some term their blogs as a place to create buzz for products rather than… writing about them… Just because your focus is on creating buzz does it mean that you shouldn’t make it blatantly clear to your readers that your focus is just that and not to give an… honest… opinion of the product you’re writing about?

How about being sponsored by a company to go to a Mommy Blogging Conference?

Now, I do know a number of bloggers personally who are mothers, and darned good at it obviously (being mothers and blogging that is).  These bloggers write about real family matters, their families, yes, they might throw some ads on their sites but they’ll talk to you, reply to you, take suggestions, criticism, and write about you and yours without a second thought.

In my mind this is what sets bloggers, especially those of the mothering kind apart.

On mom-101, a blog highlighted in the LA Times article today, there is a post with quite a rebuttal to the article that she has her blogs, quotes and photo in. Naturally there is some disagreement with what the Newspaper article implies.

There are new regulations coming into effect on December 1st that, in a way, cover such promotional writing. The FTC has said that if you’re endorsing a product or service, as a ‘Word-of-mouth’ marketer, you must disclose your material connections (i.e add into your post that you were flown to California for the weekend to write). Some say that this is aimed particularly at the ‘mommy blogger sector’.

Where’s the line? Where is the point where you stop giving opinion and become influenced? At what point do you sell out? When do you stop being a blogger and start being a mouth piece?

Check out some real blogging mothers, some of whom have more moral conviction than a lot of people I know – ClumberKim – TheBurghBabyJayesel

See the LA Times article here

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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