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April 04, 2009

Mommy Bloggers' Liability for Product Reviews - Will It Cause a Chilling Effect?

Honest_product_reviews_blog Mommy bloggers are some of the most active participants in social marketing. Companies have been tapping into the social media power of mommy (and daddy) bloggers, because there is a certain authenticity and trusting relationship that develops between moms and their audiences...oh, and there is purchasing power too. After all, moms control the pursestrings in many households. It is not uncommon for marketers to reach out to moms in a very active way, sending them products for free to review and discuss - honestly and openly - on their blogs.

It is not news that social media - blogs, twitter, facebook - still lives in the real world and that defamation law and trademark rights and copyright protections and, yes, false advertising law still apply to these types of communicaitons. But there are many untested applications of law to social media. One of the newest facets of social media law is the consideration by the Federal Trade Commission of guidelines that would hold not only companies, but individual bloggers, liable for false statements made in connection with product reviews. There is a fear by advertisers that there will be a chilling effect on what bloggers write about products. And rightly so - false advertising is false advertising, wherever it takes place. However, don't forget that bloggers are very vocal. Writing is What. They. Do. I'm not so sure this business is going away. 

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