Mom Blogger To PR Firms: We Don’t Work For Free

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While the era of brands and bloggers working together in a completely unregulated environment may have changed a bit with recent FTC guidelines, a recent New York Times story reveals that things actually may not have changed all that much.

At least for some bloggers. While the FTC guidelines state that bloggers must disclose when they receive payments and free products or services from companies, it’s virtually impossible for the government agency to enforce this.

The latest example is Tiffany Romero, co-founder of Secret Is in the Sauce, a community of 5,000 female bloggers. Romero recently told attendees at a conference to let PR firms know that they don’t work for free.

“Your time and your experience and your audience are worth something…It’s capitalism, plain and simple,” she said. The gist: we expect to be rewarded when we write about your product or company. Whether or not disclosure is a part of the exchange, the comments are an alarming recommendation.

This trend in online publishing may be responsible for the recent Edelman Trust Barometer findings that revealed the number of people who view their friends and peers as credible sources of information about a company dropped by almost half, from 45% to 25% since 2008.

To give one an idea of just how important the FTC regulations are, IZEA, a company that enables “sponsored” blog and Twitter posts, prominently featured the FTC in their marketing campaign at the South by Southwest conference this week (pictured above).